Who is Deborah Schwartz?
The experiences of Deborah Schwartz
The persistance of Deborah Schwartz.
The relations of Deborah Schwartz



clare & stephen
amy & scott
andrea & jonathan
marc & liza
our honeymoon

grandma's window
state of mind

blizzard 03
blizzard 05

hair issues:
my pink hair mistake
my purple hair mistake
my red hair mistake
my hair and dress mistake

chinatown/little italy
thanksgiving 2003
brian's graduation
dennis's graduation

moving day
our new digs
garden of stones

eleanor turns 26
deb turns 27
deb's birthday collage
susan's holiday party
new year's 2004
new year's 2005
rich turns 30

jenny miller in nyc
lakeland, fla
the unveiling

zina and me
i and the matzo
telegram from fanny
telegram from deb
port authority heights

our ira visit
gators v. vols
ny state drivers license
the nobel manatee

The Tailor Part II

I went back to the tailor to pick up my blouse.
I tried it on in the little changing area. "Oh! It's perfect," I said. And it was.

"Let me see," the tailor said.

I opened the curtain. "Oh! Yes, it is perfect!" he said, and he gave me a hug. Then, with his hands, he motioned to the place where he had taken in the blouse. "See," he said, running his hands over the blouse. "The fit is perfect."

His hands were a little off-base. "You like a shirt that is fitted, eh?" he said. "This is very fitted." And he ran his hands over my sides where the new seams were. Only he was a little too front and a little too high.

"You are very slim," he said. "The shirt fits you like a glove." He held out his hands, as if looking at a masterful work of tailoring, then outright cupped my breasts. I was a little taken aback. All I could think to do was to pull back the curtain so I could change back into my street clothes and get out of there.

I picked up my things, thanking him for his work, and turned to leave. He said, "Have a great weekend," and tried to hug me again, but I managed wriggle a bit, turning the embrace into a shoulder pat.

As I walked back home, I couldn't stop thinking: My tailor felt me up. I was really taken aback. This kind of thing doesn't happen to me often. Sadly.

By the way, I found this picture when I was home. Some things never change.

Oh, and lastly, go visit Debcentral regular Charles Blackstone's new website. I made it.

I have not yet officially broken Passover yet.
Though I am abiding by a relatively loose interpretation of the restrictive Passover diet. I have said no to dinner rolls, flour tortillas, breakfast cereal, beer, and the like since Saturday evening. Everything else I've let slide. Good for me.

I was back in Hollywood, Florida for the holiday. My family has traditionally employed a children's coloring book as our Haggadah lo these many years. This year, we used he Publix grocery store Haggadah. Because it appeared to be poorly translated into English from some unknown language, and because the pictures inside were very silly (even for my family), my father moved to toss the Haggadah entirely, and we commenced the meal-portion of Passover after only 15 minutes. This is a new record for the Schwartz family.

The weather was beautiful the whole time we were in Florida. I even tried to lay out. After sitting in the sun for a half hour, I flashed my legs at my sister and said, "Well, what do you think?"

"White tights?" my sister said. "Are they new?"

"They are not white tights! They are my legs," I said. "And they are 30 minutes tanner than when I first arrived, thank you very much."

My tanning endeavor was not as successful as I would have liked.

Brian and I came back into town late Monday night. On Tuesday, we went to see Baby Face at the Film Forum. The guy behind me was really loud, and the girl he was sitting next to was very quite. Before the film, he spoke often and with a strange accent that I couldn't quite place. Because I am very interested in the politics and cadences of dialogue, I jotted down what this man was saying. Also, I enjoy making fun of people. These are the notes I took (please note, the woman with whom he was speaking was too quite for me to hear her part of the conversation:

I am very into symmetry. . . . But still, you always have choices. To eat oranges is a choice. You could eat oranges for the rest for your life. But then you would have Orange Dreams. HAHAHAHA! . . . . Some people find me annoying. . . . I do not think he has found a job yet because I do not think he is as good as he thinks he is. Otherwise, he would find a job by now. I saw once a recommendation of his on the printer. It was very unimpressive.
I both loved and hated this loud man. He was noisy and spoke pretentiously. Still. Orange Dreams. I could never have come up with something that dumb on my own.

I bought a blouse on sale at one of those bargain stores.
I think it was Century 21, but it might have been Syms. Some place where you have to dive head-first into a bargain bin and wrestle fellow shoppers for name brand merchandise. In a like type manner, I found a black dress shirt with pearlized buttons and a ruffle down the front. I really liked the blouse, but it was just too blousy in the back. There was enough free space in the front of the shirt to allow viewers to ponder if I were pregnant. Or maybe smuggling food in a pouch around my middle. I am already the heaviest I've ever been, and I felt I needn't give viewers anymore ammunition.

This morning, on my way to work, I stopped off at the tailor. He is a compact little man from Greece. He has a sweet disposition, and reminds me of a weeble person. I tried on the blouse and said, "What do you think?"

"Eh," he said. "It is not easy. I have to open both sides of the shirt to take it in. It'll be no less than $35."


"It doesn't look like a lot of work, but it is."

"But I think that's what I paid for the entire shirt."

"I know. I know," he said. "But it is a lot of work. You see, you are very slim. I will have to take in a lot of material."

"Me?" I said. "Slim?"

"Yes," he said. "You are very slim. It must be hard for you to find shirts that fit you good."

"Oh, no," I said. "I'm not slim. I'm actually getting quite paunchy. Look at my belly." I rubbed my tummy.

"No. Never. You are very slim. You know how many women would give anything to look like you do?"

"Oh, no. No. I'm not slim," I giggled. "$35 sounds fine. I'll pick it up next week?"

Self-editing a personal essay is cruel and unusual punishment.
I am trying to compose a short-ish essay about one or two aspects of my dumb life, and rereading it is about as enjoyable as having my fingernails burned off with a sandwich press.

I sit at my computer in my house clothes for hours at a time. I rummage through my inner dirty laundry. I write a paragraph. Then I reread it. Then I think, Good God! Who's life is this ridiculously boring?!?

I imagine a global image of myself. I am sitting at my computer in my house clothes. I am bent over the keyboard, tapping out dumb facts about my dumb boring life. I see the scene from above, the bird's eye view. Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. My life. Hm. Blah, blah, blah. Think. My life. Me, me, me. GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE CLOTHES, DEBBIE! I yell down at myself. TAKE A GODDAMN SHOWER AND GET DRESSED ALREADY! YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS!

I admit that in theory, visiting an uncle in an insane asylum looks like fodder for an interesting personal essay. But it is not. Because no one *poof* winds up in an insane asylum, and no one allofasudden finds themselves visiting an uncle in an insane asylum. There is always a good amount of back-story. And the back-story is often ridiculously boring. Do you need an example? Okay, let's do this little exercise:

You: We should get together sometime soon. What about this Sunday?

Me: I'm sorry. I can't. I'm visiting my uncle in the insane asylum.

(now if I stop here, this would be interesting)

You: An insane asylum? Why is your uncle in an insane asylum?

Me: Because he sets fires.

(this could still be interesting)

You: How long has he been there?

Me: Almost a decade.

You: He just went crazy one day and set a fire?

Me: No. He's been in and out of mental institutions since he was in his early 20s. He just turned 60.

(this is starting to get a bit technical)

You: But why do you have to visit him?

Me: Because those are the conditions under which we live in his apartment.

You: Whose conditions?

Me: My grandmother's. She owns the apartment. It's a co-op. We get to pay sub-sub market rent in exchange for monthly visits to my uncle in the crazy house.


You: Are the visits fun?

Me: No. They are extraordinarily painful.

You: How long have you been living there?

Me: About two and a half years.

You: Where were you living before that?

Me: In Queens.

You: Then who was visiting your uncle?

Me: My brother was.

You: So how did you come to be living there?

Me: My brother left for a year to go to Israel. That's when Brian and I moved to the crazy apartment.

(yawny mcyawnington)

You: But you're not from Queens, are you?

Me: No. I'm from Florida. I grew up just south of Fort Lauderdale.

You: But your grandmother and your uncle are both in New York City?

Me: Actually, I was born here. My family moved to South Florida when I was four. I moved back to New York after grad school.


I almost do not have the stomach to finish the thing I'm writing. But what else do I have to do? It's true: many games of computer solitaire are going unplayed; life's double-helix of corny happy hour poems will be stillborn; there is an endless number of faces to photoshop onto famous people's bodies; once, I ran an errand, and it wasn't so bad.

Still, if I could just finish this personal essay, I might be able to send it out. I haven't added a new rejection to the pile in quite some time. People are depending on me.

I haven't been blogging about my life because I've been too busy living it.
Just kidding.

I had a really busy week and then my parents were in town with my sister, Ali. Here were some of the highlights:

  • Ali presented my grandmother with a box of organic chamomile tea. My grandmother said, "Ack! This is my least favorite tea!" My sister than gave her a box of organic earl grey tea, and she said, "Ack! My two least favorite teas!" Ali then said, "Well, I know you like dark chocolate," and gave her a brick of organic dark chocolate. My grandmother took the chocolate into the kitchen, but didn't say anything in response.

  • My grandmother gave my sister and I each a gold watch to match the gold earrings she had given us previously. Because, she noted again, we only wear silver. She gave my mother a silver watch, because she usually wears gold. She told us the watches were free with only $4.95 shipping and handling.

  • Ali and my dad came with me to visit Uncle Ira. Ira spent the first half-hour of our visit asking us why we were only staying an hour. Then he sang his prayer. In the middle of the prayer, which my uncle had specially crafted, he paused, trying to remember the next line. "May you be successful . . . May you be successful . . . ," he said, struggling to remember. Suddenly, we heard the burst of shrill laughter. I looked over, and saw my sister covering her mouth. Afterwards, she asked me if it had been obvious that she was laughing at our uncle. I said yes, very, but still, I didn't think he had noticed.

  • My parents discovered one of those one-cup coffee making systems in their hotel. They proceeded to experiment with it for a half hour.

    My cousin just moved to New York City, and crashed at our pad for the last couple of nights. It was discovered during her last visit that we have the same pair of jeans -- same brand, same style, same size. I thought that was both odd and enlightening.

    Danny from work says I'm a three-Poper.
    I was born in November of 1976. Pope Paul VI served until 1978. Normally, I suppose, I might have been a two-Poper, but Pope John Paul I died 33 days after being elected to the position. In a few more weeks, both Danny and I will be four-Popers.

    Thank you, Wikipedia.org

    Charles Blackstone sent me this image. Then he said, "What's going to happen to Christmas? They're burying Santa Claus!"

    I still thought it would have been neat if the pope had been put on life support. We could have had a Terri Schiavo replay.

    Enough of this. My grandmother takes classes at Marymount Manhattan College, which I guess has continuing education courses for the elderly. She has been perennially enrolled in their dramatics class. The students practice scenes, and at the end of the semester, they sometimes perform for a live audience. Brian and I met my grandmother yesterday for her final performance, which was held . . . in the cafeteria of a homeless women's shelter in the Armory.

    Brian kept complaining about the ever-present smell of canned corn. And I have seen the future of homeless women's fashion. It consists of flip-flops, sweat pants, and thin, button-down house dresses with no discernible brasierre beneath. My grandmother had to wait to set up her scene, because some of the audience members were still eating dinner.

    Well, the old people were feisty. They performed scenes from Albee's Zoo Story, Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Durang's Beyond Therapy. It was often hard to divine the politics of the performed situation, as sometimes both mother and son in a seen were octogenarians. When phrases like "sex-sual intercourse" and "fridgid bitch" were pronounced, the audience hooted and clapped ecstatically. My grandmother played the flirtatious murderess in a scene from Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. She flubbed a few of her lines, because she had forgotten her hearing aid and missed a few of her cues. But it was otherwise very cute.

    Before we left, my grandmother said goodbye to her scene partner, who was soon to leave on vacation with his wife to China. She said to them, "Have a wonderful time. But stay away from the dog meat. Heh, heh, heh."

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