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


I spoke to my uncle on the phone this evening.
The doctors at the psychiatric center are making him go for a colonoscopy. He had had a routine one about a year back, and now the doctors are saying that the test suggested he had an enlarged prostate, which could be bad. My uncle relayed the conversations with the doctor by repeatedly employing the sentence, "They want to stick something up my ass." It made me giggle.

At the end of our conversation, he said, "Thanks again for calling. Stay in touch. See you later, doll."

I think if we have to make too many more Ira visits, Brian's going to lose it. But I'm actually almost enjoying them. Sure, the man drools and screams and snots on his plate, but he calls me "doll" and says how much he likes our company. And he sings doo-whop. Sometimes I worry I am suffering from Stockholm syndrome. But then again, the man is my uncle. My blood.

And how scary that the same conversation which Brian finds repulsively demented, I find charmingly quirky. Twenty minute ramblings from a psychosis-addled brain make sense to me. Should I be alarmed?

I just finished an essay I had been working for the past few months.
Now I'm doubled over with stomach pains. It could have been the Thai food for dinner, but I'm pretty sure it's the writing. While I was in graduate school, I developed a medication-worthy gastrointestinal disorder. It got better once I graduated, which coincided with a long period of not writing. Now, when I write for long periods of time, I want to vomit.

Andrea Blanken says she saw the clown shoes guy the other day. She said she was emerging from the Bowling Green station, and there he was, petite, suited, enormo-long dress shoes. She said she took one look at the shoes and said, "Oh my god! DebCentral!"

Andrea says I never lie. But she says I do often exaggerate. But not this time.

Thank you, Andrea, for validating me.

Brian is in Clearwater visiting his mother for the Memorial Day weekend. My plans for the holiday weekend involve working as if it weren't a holiday weekend. It's okay, though. I would probably just spend my day-off-without-Brian playing Spider Solitaire. I'm lousy when it comes to being routine-less.

I have been sitting in front of the computer since about ten this morning (not including the break I took to have Thai food with my grandmother). It's after nine at night. I think I'm going to take a break and rest my eyes by watching some TV.

Almost two years ago exactly I was experiencing consternation concerning my impeding (in two years) ten year high school reunion. Well, those two years have passed, and during that time, I have realized that I am STILL IN CONTACT with our senior class treasurer, my friend Seth. So, if the reunion team were compiling a call list, Seth wouldn't even need to google me and find my site as the number one place for Deborah Schwartzes. He would simply have to look in his cell phone for my number. So?

So nothing. It is almost June, and I have heard nary a word about a Hollywood Hills High School Reunion (class of '95). Which is just fine with me, but now I'm really annoyed. What kind of shitty high school did I go to that they can't even get it together for a ten year reunion? Sure, our Student Council president that year was deported, and the year before that, the president dropped out of school. Sure, the really smart kids in the area went to the magnet schools and our athletic teams were nothing to write home about (skipping class and getting high in your car was a million times cooler than being on the football team or the cheerleading squad). But, regardless of how I feel about my high school, there's a right and a wrong way to go about doing these kinds of things. High schools need to have ten year reunions so that I can avoid them and feel self-important for doing so.

I told my friend Amy about how annoyed I was. She said she had been speaking to our friend Marc, who said that he would surely be attending their ten year reunion. Amy said, "Why would I want to see all the people I couldn't stand when I was in high school ten years later?"

Marc then spouted off a litany of people from their graduating class whom he had heard had gotten fat or changed sexes or were in crappy jobs.

"By the time he finished," Amy said, "I really wanted to go to our reunion."

Heather, Brian, and I were in Barnes and Noble a little while back, when a certain card caught my eye. It was so god-y, so horrendous, it practically spoofed itself. So I bought it.

The card looked like this on the outside, and this on the inside. Now really! It was absolutely screaming PHOTOSHOP ME!.

So I did. I think the card looks much better now, with the same front, but a new message inside. How many times have I looked for a card for someone whose only intrinsic value was that they were one of god's children?

I feel I have done my part to tikkun olam, to repair our fractured world.

God bless those who force me to make jokes at their own expense.

Our Miami Vice party was a moderate to great success.
It never got too crowded and there was a lot of booze left over at the end of the night, which is both good and bad.

Two lawn flamingos, which I had purchased off eBay, were on display. We had pencil fighting and Polaroid picture-taking. We had the first season of Miami Vice on the TV, which nobody watched, and my 1984 mixtape, which no one could hear. We also passed around a baggie of confectioner's sugar. For a more realistic look, I tried to snort the sugar. It hurt my throat.

I took some pictures. Here they are.

I dressed up in a lovely number lent to me by my grandmother. About half-way through the party, I changed dresses, just to mix things up. I put on fake tan, which stained my hands, suntan colored stockings, and coral lipgloss. I was dressed up as a generic Miami Vice person. Brian dressed as a Colombian drug lord. He wore a guayabera, a large gold necklace (which was actually a co-worker's chain belt), and a fake mustache. A half-hour into the party, I caught Brian trying to cut the mustache off. I got so annoyed (I paid $9 for it), that I glued the cut-off piece to his face. Every time I caught him trying to pull it off, I would re-glue it on again. But Brian finally outfoxed me, and the mustache is nowhere to be found.

Anyway, I had a good time, and my throat is feeling a lot better too.

Brian wears a 16 1/2 34-35 dress shirt.
I know this like I know his social security number. Like I know my social security number. I also know that Brian can be a bit sloppy. His shirts are magnets for mustard stains, coffee stains, ink stains, and at time suspicious-looking dark red blotchies. Whenever I find myself in the men's section of a discount store, I buy my husband a couple new dress shirts.

For several months now, Brian thought the washing machine was shrinking his dress shirts. He would put them on in the morning and hold out his arms. "Look at this," he'd say, and it was evident that the cuffs were ending several inches shy of his wrists. We decided the best thing to do would be to begin sending everything to the dry cleaner. We felt this would be cheaper than buying a new dress shirt every time one needed to be laundered.

Still, the short sleeves persisted.

"Have you been taking the short shirts out of circulation," I asked. "Or have you been throwing them into a pile, and we have been dry cleaning them, only for you to rediscover the short-sleeves again a week later?" Brian admitted he had not been taking the shirts out of circulation.

On Wednesday of last week, when another short shirt resurfaced, I got the bright idea of looking at the short shirt's label. Maybe only a certain brand was shrinking in the laundry. That's when I noticed the shirt was a 16 1/2 32-33. I had actually purchased shirts with too-short sleeves for Brian. Nothing had shrunk. The shirts had never been long enough.

I felt bad.

Brian just laughed, but I felt very bad for putting us through this too-short-shirt anguish. And for not checking the shirt size when I purchased shirts (which was very unlike me). And for wasting money on the wrong-sized shirts. I looked through the closet, and produced two such dress shirts. On Thursday, I resolved to take the two too-short shirts (along with a bag of old clothes that had been sitting comfortably behind a chair for six months) to the Goodwill.

While I was there, I picked up some new old items for myself.

The next day, I noticed there was still a 16 1/2 32-33 shirt right where I had left it the day before. Which meant that one of the shirts I had brought to the Goodwill had actually been a correct-length shirt. Not only had I wasted money on buying two wrong-sized shirts, but I had wasted even more money in donating a perfectly good shirt to the Goodwill. I was very ashamed. I confessed to Brian what I had done. He didn't seem bothered, but I was. I marched myself back to the Goodwill and announced that I had to look for a shirt I had accidentally donated the day before. To avoid undue suspicion, I threw the too-short shirt on the counter. "You can keep this one regardless of whether I find the other," I said in my most magnanimous voice."

I looked through the men's rack for over half an hour. There was one candidate that could very well have been Brian's shirt. But it was a little rattier than I remember it. What if this wasn't it? They had priced the shirt at $8, which was more than half what I had paid for it new. What if they didn't believe my "I accidently donated this shirt yesterday" story? Was it worth it to make a fuss to bring home a ratty-ish shirt that might not even belonged to Brian?

Finally, I left the store empty-handed. Then I marched myself down to a discount department store and bought Brian a couple new dress shirts. 16 1/2 34-35.

So far, I haven't yet donated them to charity.

I almost forgot!
Uncle Ira passed his latest forensic examination. He was telling us this during our most recent visit.

He said he told the doctors all about his changed lifestyle, how he works in the art room and reads and goes to religious services every week. When one of the doctors looked impressed, my uncle continued, "I even fasted on Yom Kippur."

The doctor said, "You fasted? With all the medication you're taking? You shouldn't have done that. It was very dangerous."

So my uncle, a little taken aback, said, "I'm not taking that much medication."

The doctors looked down at their charts and shook their heads. During our visit, my uncle admitted what he should have said was, "I only had a half-day fast." He said, "I know you're supposed to take food with the medication because of the side effects." My uncle had had essentially two rebuttal:. One was that he wasn't taking that much medication; the other was that he had in fact eaten some food during the day. I happen to know, from previous stories, that the latter is what actually happened. The staff forced him to eat with his medication, and he complained about it bitterly and howled that they were persecuting him. However, my uncle chose to tell the doctors in the forensic committee the former. Even though it wasn't true. Even though the doctors had his chart in front of them and could see the smorgasbord of psychotropic drugs.But, my uncle realized he had made a mistake, and admitted it to the doctors. And for this, they passed him.

Meanwhile, the patient at the table beside us made my uncle look sharp and neat. He would pick up a chicken leg, gnaw it for a couple seconds, then lob the greasy thing across the room. There was a pool of loose food pieces all around him. At one point, he threw a cup of soda at my uncle, but missed. His elderly mother turned to us and said apologetically, "My son graduated from NYU." Then she turned to her son, who was about to lob another chicken leg, and said, "Irving, didn't you graduate from NYU? Look at you now!"

I leaned over a bit and whispered, "My uncle has a master's degree from the New School."

We both had a chuckle.

I am making a compilation of songs from 1984.
I have been consulting sundry unsubstantiated "billboard hits" lists I've found on the internet. One of the songs on the list is "Drive" by the Cars. I remember watching this video when it first came out. I was about eight years old. I think the video mostly consisted of shots of a morbidly despondent woman sitting on a couch. Sometime, our neighbor, who was my older brother's age and a bit of a bully, would come over, and we would all watch MTV together. This was when he wasn't beating us up. Once, when we were all sitting on the couch watching the video for "Drive", the bully neighbor said, "Did you know that the girl in this video is retarded in real life?"

"No she's not," my brother said.

"It's true. I read it in a magazine. She's retarded. This song is about the retarded girl. For real. I'm not making this up."

I just sat in the corner picking my toes and taking it all in. So, the girl in the "Drive" video was retarded. The song was actually written for her. I was never sure how to assimilate that little factoid. But I had it filed away in case someone should try to quiz me on it.

I was thinking again about the girl in the video when I started making my 1984 mixtape CD. It occurred to me allofasudden that she was probably not retarded at all, and the song was in fact not written about a retarded person. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that this was just another one of the mean lies that the bully down the street told us (when he wasn't beating us up).

Why in the world do our brains choose to capture some scraps of information, while letting other more valuable pieces get swept away into the entropy of time? If only I could remember my lunch after I've made it, and not forget it on the kitchen table. I have had to look up the word "obstreperous" more times than I'd like to admit, but I still can't remember what it means. I took A.P. European History in high school and got a 4 on the exam, but the only thing I remember from the class is the name Fra Filippo Lippi. Probably because it sounded funny. I went to see the Frick Collection with my parents this last October. In going through the galleries, I came across a painting by none other than Fra Filippo Lippi. I got excited and called out to Brian, "Look! I can't believe I'm seeing an actual painting by Fra Filippo Lippi!"

Brian said, "Who's that?"

"Fra Filippo Lippi?" I said. "You know, that guy we studied about in A.P. European History. He was a Fra. And he painted and stuff. I think it was during the Renaissance or something."

Brian still looked confused, and I had completely exhausted my knowledge of Fra Filippo Lippi. Yet I had fully internalized that the chick in the "Drive" video was retarded, and if anyone were to have asked about it in the 21 years since I first heard the factoid, I would have had my info on the ready.

Here's another old picture of Uncle Ira.
I found it when I was at my parents house. Who could guess?

I'm trying to put together a 1984 mixtape. I'm looking for some songs. Does anybody have "The Heat Is On" by Glenn Frey, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes, or "Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder? I'm also trying to figure out what rap songs were popular that year. In advance, let me tell you how great you are. Keep up the good work.

Thanks again. More substance later.

More fun with misdirected emails!


Hope your Arizona days were good ones. Bet this is a great time of year to be in Arizona.

Thanks for calling me before you left. All things being equal, Wednesday, June 1 would be our first choice for the Celebrating Women early evening event and then Wednesday, 5/25 as second. Both dates are OK for Paola, and she is holding them open. It turns out that our VP Development, Victoria Silverman, will be coming back from NYC on the 25th. I’m still hopeful that she will be able to be in Santa Barbara with Paola.

However, the most important factor is the date that works best for all of YOU. I’d love to be coming. It’s been months since I’ve seen Paola’s slides and I miss the inspiring moments…

Talk to you soon.


. . . . . . . .

Hi Marilyn,

As it turns out, not only is June 1st the best date for many of us, it is also the one date that the venue of our choice is available. So, we’re on for Wed. evening, June 1st for Paola’s event in Santa Barbara.

Deborah, you had offered to send us a press kit, and I think the time is finally ripe for that. Please send it to me at: [blah, blah, blah], Santa Barbara, CA 93105; or, if there is an electronic version, you can send it to my e-mail address. Also, is there a sample invitation that we might plagiarize from to create our invitation?

I am working with the Democratic Women as co-sponsors and will try and tag on to the Women Lawyers as well. The venue is the Faulkner Gallery in the downtown Public Library, and it can be made totally dark for the slide show. I believe we decided to not charge an attendance fee, so as to draw the largest crowd, and that the IMOW would be represented and be able to discuss/pitch the Museum as well.

We’re looking forward to a fun and inspiring evening and I will get back in touch with you again as plans shape up.


. . . . . . . .

Hi, Alissa,

Looking forward to June 1! Please let me know what time the event will begin so I can make plane reservations.

As soon as I know a few more details, I'll post it on the Events Calendar on the Celebrating Women website. Just need a time, street address, exact sponsoring organization(s), and a name/contact for more information.

The Celebrating Women electronic press kit is available on the Press page of my website: www.celebratingwomen.com. Of course, you'll want to include IMOW information as well, and Marilyn is the best resource for that.

With best wishes,


. . . . . . . .

Hmmm. That Deborah Schwartz, she's awful quiet. Why doesn't she ever reply to Marilyn's emails? She's always offering to send press kits, but never following through. Thank god Paola stepped in, otherwise it would have been embarrassing. She's never been supportive of Paola's events. Maybe she's anti-Arizona. Or anti-plagiarism. Or maybe--just maybe--Marilyn has been sending her email messages to the wrong address since September 2004.

Reasons Why I am not a bad person (short version):

  1. I give my food to homeless people
  2. I help blind women across the street -- and down the block
  3. I insist on treating people with disabiling physical affectation fairly and equally
Reasons Why I am not a bad person (long explanation version):
  1. Brian and I were going to see a program of films starring pesky monkeys, and we hadn't left enough time for dinner, so we stopped by the pommes frites place. Because I am a greedy little hamster, I convinced Brian that we needed the "double" sized pommes frites, with double helpings of rosemary garlic and dill lemon mayonnaises. After about four minutes of speed-eating and without much damage done, I thought I was going to vomit. "Let's just take it with us," I said. "We're going to be late. We can finish it while we watch the film."

    Brian said, "It's in a big oozy cone. How are we going to smuggle it into the theater?"

    He had a point. We began walking the six blocks to the theater hoping to come up with a solution. Like an angel from heaven, a bedraggled individual approached us shaking a cup of change and asking for money. Brian and I looked at each other and smiled. "Here," we said. "Take our pommes frites." Brian said, "They're pretty good. We'd eat them, but we're going to a movie." I said, "The sauce is rosemary garlic and dill lemon mayonnaise."

    We were on time for the monkey films.

  2. We were at Lexington and 86th, walking back to our apartment Saturday afternoon, when I saw a woman with that classic white cane. She was calling out to people. I paused, wondering if I should help her, but then thought better of it and continued on. We hit a "don't walk" signal at Third Avenue. And there was the blind woman. She was just behind us, and was walking into trash cans and hitting people's ankles with her cane. "Excuse me," I said. "Can I help you? Where are you headed?"

    She said she was headed to 86th and First, and since I was going that way, I told her I would escort her there. She was very thankful, and soon became chatty. When we passed a movie theater, she said, "Oh, how I love to catch a movie now and then. I'm always curious to see what's playing." We walked passed a fruit stand, and she said, "Do you know strawberry's have the same effect on us as two aspirin. It's true."

    "Aspirin?" I said. "Well, strawberries taste a whole lot better than two aspirin. Haha (what a card I am!)"

    "It's true," she said. "I am always reading about the good effects of different fruits and vegetables. I mostly read it in magazines."

    I looked over at her. The same blind stare. The same sweep with the cane, knocking the ankles of passers-by.

    When we were almost at First, she said, "I'm visiting my son. He works at the Pharmacy on the corner of 85th and First. He's a good kid, but he stays out all night long, and it scares me to death. I know I used to do the same thing when I was his age. When I was 19, we used to close down the bar. Then we'd go for a four o'clock breakfast and crash. Yes sir. We would close down the bar every night. And it was fine. But when my son does it, frankly, it scares me to death."

    When we got to the correct corner, I bid her farewell, then turned to Brian. "I'm not sure if that woman was not-really-blind or just delusional."

  3. We had brunch at the Sarabeth's on the upper-east side. I am a relatively astute person, so I noticed almost immediately after he sat down that the man two tables over had an ENORMOUS tumor thing growing out of his head. It was REALLY REALLY BIG. Like a softball. Or a smaller grapefruit. The whole thing was made worse by the fact that he had a comb-over, and he had combed hair up the unnatural steppe up his grapefruit-sized head-growth. A worse person than I would have stared inappropriately. Instead, I said, "Hey, Brian, don't look now, but the guy two tables down has an ENORMOUS tumor thing growing out of his head."

    When the coast was clear, Brian looked over. "I don't see anything," he said.

    "Are you kidding? It's the size of a freaking grapefruit. It's protruding out of the side of his head. There is NO WAY you could miss it."

    Brian stealthily peered over, then turned back. "Got it," he said. "Wow. And he made a real effort to comb his hair over it. That's kind of sad."

    "Heh heh heh." We cackled for a good two minutes. Then I said, "Let's not stare at the poor tumor man. It's not nice."

    So we turned back to our omelettes, which were good, but not super-duper. I continued to mostly no-stare at the tumor guy for the rest of our meal.

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