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
rich turns 30
new year's 2005
miami vice party

jenny miller in nyc
lakeland, fla
the unveiling
arts & letters

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
old crap

A Weekend in the Life of a New Yorker

I bought a new dish-drying rack from Bed Bath & Beyond on Friday.
The dish-drying rack was rather large, and I had to schlep it all the way from 18th Street to Houston, only to find out that the movie I had planned to see was sold out. I met up with Brian and we schlepped that sucker back uptown another 15-20 blocks.

While we were schlepping and bearing our dish rack, we arranged to meet Sam for dinner in the greater Meat Packing District/Chelsea area. Before we were able to settle on a restaurant, we witnessed hundreds of cyclist associated with Critical Mass cycling down 7th Avenue. Then we heard sirens, and cops on motorcycles began close-lining the bikers and arresting them. The cops were screaming at the cyclists, the cyclists were screaming at the cops, and traffic was backing up for a cool mile.

We ran inside a quasi-reasonably-priced Mexican restaurant. They didn't have air-conditioning and they made us sit in the hot back corner next to the bathroom. I used my menu like a fan and complained loudly about the heat. Until, ten minutes later, Ethan Hawke and a friend were seated two tables up from us. Mr. Hawke looked a little like this, but actually a little worse. Brian was the one who spotted him. Mr. Hawke and his friend got their margaritas before us. And they were served before us too, but not by that much.

Because I am partially deaf because I insist on vigorously cleaning out my ears with Q-tips, I couldn't hear a thing that was going on two tables up. But Sam said he hear Mr. Hawke say something like, "She had the same rack." It was immediately assumed that Mr. Hawke was discussing a woman's chest. But I knew in my heart that he could have been discussing a dish-drying rack -- one not unlike the one I had just purchased and which was propped up right beside me in the booth.

Brian and I saw Bernardo Bertolucci's 1970 classic, The Conformist at the Film Forum. It was really very wonderful. I mean, not in a happy, life-affirming way. But it was breath-taking. And nail-biting. Brian and I liked it so much, we think we will go see it again. Especially because we both didn't totally understand some parts of the film, and feel we would benefit from a second time around. If anyone is interested in coming along, let us know.

After the film, we had pizza at Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza. It was, I seriously believe, the best pizza we've had since moving to New York. Though it really was not what is commonly thought of as "New York style pizza". There is almost no such thing anymore. I have childhood memories going to Ray's Pizza and getting enormous cheesy slices piled high with broccoli, the crust perfectly crusty, the cheese perfectly melty. Now, all the Ray's Pizza's have melded and grown unfathomably dirty. The slices are soggy and anemic. And dirty. I don't get it. Why are they so dirty? It's gross.

But Arturo's wasn't dirty. Or maybe it was, but we ate outside and the street is always dirty, so we really weren't bothered by it. There was a middle-aged woman standing near us arranging dog biscuits in Ziploc snack baggies. At first, I thought she was a random crazy lady, but passers-by began coming up to her and saying things like, "Hey, how's your father?" and "Look! It's Arturo's daughter!"

So I guess it was the owner's daughter. Anyway, we had a very nice meal.

This morning, on my way to work, no less than six Guardian Angels passed me while I was sitting on the 4 train. I didn't know they were still around. But they are. They were all young slim men wearing the signature red beret and vest and a shirt that said "SAFETY PATROL." Nothing was doing on my train except for the fact that it was running slow and would be stopping three stops short of my final destination due to "track work." I totally despise the MTA.

There are two kind of Schwartz children:
Those who choose to hang out with crazy people, and those who are forced to in order to maintain their cushy living situation. I, as you must know by now, am of the latter. My sister is of the former.

To complete her doctorate in psychology, she is interning at a mental hospital in rural (Appalachian) North Carolina. She recently emailed me the following story:

I have an individual therapy patient at the hospital who I started seeing today. In many ways he reminds me of Ira. He likes to write poems and draw and was showing me his art in his composition book. He showed me this diagram-ish thing and asked me if I could decipher it. He pointed to the picture of the Sun and said, "It starts here and goes up." There were kind of random figures like a + and = sign. I told him I was unable to figure it out, so he explained it to me. This is what he said:

"Sun, plus, parenthesis, equals, multiply, minus, lightening bolt, three pyramids..." I can't remember what was after the three pyramids, I was struck by the similarity to the pyramid of power. He told me that he wound up back in the hospital because his sister thought he wasn't taking his medication. He insisted that he was, but that he was just preaching. When queried about what he was preaching, he said, "about the Lord, and me, and how I am the Lord." Great!

That is mild compared to the patient that I had for psychological testing this morning. He was grossly inappropriate with me, suggesting that we "make love" and "get dirty in this room alone." He was so psychotic. He asked me to take off my shoes so he could see how tall I was. After a VERY, VERY long and somewhat traumatic session, I was locking up the room, and he lunged down for a kiss. I jumped back, and he apologized from scaring me, but explained that he was just trying to smell me because he thought I would smell good. Oy, Vey! Apparently, he had been taken off his medication, and thankfully, testing will not resume until he is stable. i had no idea he was off his meds to begin with!!

Oy Vey is right!

I'm getting really into craigslist missed connections.
They are so great. While many of them are written by people wanting to hook it up, some are not actually missed connections at all. They are complaints, criticisms, or weird creepy observations.

I think it would be neat to start writing missed connections which exclusively concern annoying MTA experiences. If I wrote one, it might look something like:

4/5 train on monday

We were both on 4/5 train heading downtown. We were standing near the doors in the first car. Your soggy umbrella dripped a steady stream of water into my shoe. Why?

or maybe it would look like this:
rusty bucket at brooklyn bridge

I never even saw you, but you left a rusty bucket filled with dirty water and an old schmata right below the turnstile at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. I believe this was last thursday evening. I didn't trip on it, but I almost did. If I had, I would have totally sued your stupid MTA ass. WILL YOU PLEASE PAY CLOSER ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU LEAVE YOUR GODDAMN RUSTY BUCKETS FILLED WITH DIRTY SUBWAY WATER AND SCHMATAS!?!

or maybe:
bike courier during rush hour

Your bicycle was as big as a horse. Why did you bring it on the train with you? And during rush hour? You are a bicycle courier. Aren't you supposed to be riding your bike, not dragging it around on a crowded subway and scraping up people's legs with your spokey things? You are dumb and lazy.

Is there a future in this? What do you guys think?

A letter from Charles Blackstone to his landlord. Barb Willis
Beal Properties
2320 North Damen
Chicago, IL 60647

Dear Barb,

I received your letter that acknowledges that I, Charles Blackstone, of 3829 N. Fremont St., #2W, have not submitted my signed lease renewal, which is true, but I do, as it turns out, wish to renew my lease for another term, preferably a six-month term. I recently purchased a condo in the new Lakeview Station development on Sheridan Road, and, as you are probably aware, construction has barely gotten started. The developers' website estimates that the units will be completed in January 2006, which means that I would need to occupy my current apartment until that time. My current lease, as you are also probably aware, expires July 31, 2005. I would like to request a six month lease to commence August 1, 2005 and conclude February 1, 2006. I think this is a pretty reasonable request.

The aspect of my situation that others might not consider reasonable is the fact that I was virtually without any radiator heat throughout the 2004-2005 winter months. I made several calls to the engineer-of-the week, and he typically responded that he would come over, which he never did. I made most of these calls on Saturdays, since I am a working professional without the opportunity to stay at home during regular business hours. Perhaps I should look into telecommuting. Perhaps Saturday is too busy a day for maintenance staff. The engineers also told me several times that they would visit during the week, during hours that I was at work, which was fine with me, but none showed up, the heat never came back on. I bought a space heater and was uncomfortable most of the time.

According to the Chicago Tenants Rights document, which I received another copy of with my last lease and took an opportunity to peruse at that time, I was reminded of the fact that I had several other options than to just freeze and use a flimsy space heater. In fact, as you are probably more than completely aware, I could have withheld rent, moved somewhere, made Beal Properties pay for the rental of another apartment or a hotel, demanded to be reimbursed, etc., etc., and of course I did none of these things. I suffered, yes, wore additional sweaters, but always paid my rent on time. Actually better than on time, usually up to 5 days early because of the annoying nuances of the auto-bill paying system that my bank provides.

I think that you, Barbara Willis, and Beal Properties, could make an exception and give me the lease I deserve. I have a legitimate reason for needing a shorter lease and you have more than enough reasons to want to give me one. I'm sorry about the rental market, but I'm sure now that dogs are allowed to use the common areas as a run, my unit shouldn't be open too long in February. Plus I'm sure Beal Properties isn't strapped for cash, given the number of animal-loving tenants that now occupy the complex. Please let me know if you are at all able to break the "no exceptions" rule, which, you even told me you find reason to amend from time to time. Perhaps I will in the meantime find out what the statute of limitations is on filing tenant abuse cases with the city. Just to keep busy.


Charles Blackstone Soon after this, Mr. Blackstone was thrown out of his apartment. But just before this happened, he posted this note on craigslist.com:

$800 - ISO 1-bedroom 7 or 8 month sublet

I ended up on the losing end of a battle with the slum landlords at Beal Properties, so I need to vacate my apartment July 31. I'm looking for a one-bedroom sublet, preferably with hardwood floors and radiator heat. It would also be nice to have more than one closet. (The place I currently rent, the Beal Properties "sleeper," though charming, has so little storage space, I have to hang clothes on doorknobs and on the towel bar in my bathroom.) I'd like to spend $750-$800. I have excellent credit and have been known to offer bribes in the form of cash or fake Rolexes to the right lease-offerers. Oh, yeah, parking would be nice too. And please don't tell me that there's "plenty" of "street parking" in Wrigley or Lakeview, because we all know that is a bit of urban legend bullshit, now don't we.

Andrea Blanken is moving to Florence.
This saddens me more than I can say. But my anxieties were allayed temporarily when she fowarded me the email message below. Andrea is looking for housing in Florence, and began an email exchange with a young Italian gentleman who had advertised an available room. His email reply to her inquiry goes as follows:
dear Andrea!
I'll try to be clear:
The apartment is in a central place near ponte vecchio, palazzo pitti, and piazza S.Spirito.(one minute of walk in every directions)
The place is very cool, silent, we are at the last floor so we have even light.
Im living in via dei neri, another wonderfull street of Firenze, where you go down the street and you become friend of all neighbours.
I decided to move there because of the night noise produced by drunk people down the street.
Firenze is very nice but full of paradoxes.
Im moving in this new house (for wich i look a homemate) because Im sure it to be a jump in quality.
I want to be really clear: After ten years I kcnow how hard is to find a home with minimal conditions.
The most of houses here are old and with problems, this one its ok (ok means acceptable, that is in my personal experience a good job).

The house is composed by five rooms.
The mainroom.
The kitchen-diningroom (it is possible to eat contemporaneously for ten people) but not that kind of german wonderfull steel kitchen, no, sorry, it's a basic fucking few modules kitchen.
My room.quite big.I've been living with two other girls for one year, and didn't have any problem.
Your room.I think a little bit less than mine.
The bathroom.Acceptable! Not the classic micro bathroom!
Actually there are friends (girls) inside.

If interested write me back as soon as possible.
If you take the room alone by yourself (as single room) the cost is 600 euro. In few days your room will be painted.
The mainroom (livingroom) is full of strange art pieces left by student of architecture passed in the last ten years.
My feeling is to drop everything out of the window.
Once inside we can do everything we want.
That house is not the house of an emperor but Im sure that if some basic rules will be observed it is possible to live it like emperors.

No screaming if no one is killing you.
No drunk girls talking about sex, found down the street, during the night.
(if it happens is not a dramma, anyway not everyday)
If you find a boy, a new uncknown person every day, it is obviously a problem, if I would be your brother I would drop them out of the window with the art pieces, so if you come there you are even going to get a new brother.
I must study (Architecture), the less I can, but near tests I need a quite dominion.
I dont create noise.
Sometimes you will think to be living alone because I close my self on my computer and bye bye.

Anyway inside my self there's even a 15 year old boy (Im 30).
Girls Im living with, love me not because Im a quite cute boy, but because Im a very good guy.
I already have keys.
I can evenctually send you more informations.
I need to find a homemate before : 2 - september - 2005

New York has horrendous customer service.
And some of the worst New York customer service can be found at any local Duane Reade.

Saturday evening, I went in to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled. There appeared to be no one behind the counter, so I waited. While I was waiting, I noticed there was a man in a lab coat perusing the power bar selection. He did an in-depth analysis of his options before making his choice. Then he walked behind the pharmacy counter. He looked up and said to me, "Is anybody helping you?" I told him that no, nobody was helping me. At this point, he held up his index finger, making the universal sign for "give me a second" and proceeded to ring up his power bar purchase.

He actually had trouble ringing it up, and had to call another clerk to help him enter the information.

When he was finally done, having put his two dollars into the register and withdrawn the correct amount of change, he looked up at me again, smiling. I began handing over my prescription, but he gave me the "give me a second" sign again. Then he opened and ate the power bar. Please note that he was not so crude as to gobble it down quickly. He took his time and chewed his food well, so as not to choke.

Eventually, he wiped his chocolately hands on his lab coat and took my prescription from me. Then he walked up and down the aisles of the pharmacy, half-looking at the shelves, but mostly talking about a musical artist he has seen in concert recently. One of the other workers speculated that the musical artist possessed a less than desirable moral compass. My pharmacy man replied jauntily, "No, he's not a player. You think he's a player, but his not."

The other worker said, "Yes. He is definitely a player."

"No. He's not a player. You think he is, but he's not."

"I know a player when I see one. And he . . . he is most-definitely a player."

The pharmacy man redoubled with a "Did you see him in concert when he was here last time?" The coworker admitted that she hadn't. "Well, okay then!" he said triumphantly.

The whole time, the pharmacy guy was pacing up and down the aisles, half-searching the shelves with his eyes, but not really looking. After about 10 minutes of player talk, he came back and said, "We don't have this in stock."

Then he just stared at me for a while. So I said, "How soon will it be in stock."

He said, "Monday, I guess." Then he started to turn away.

I said, "Do you need my name? That prescription does not have my name on it."

"Oh," he said, "Yeah." And he gave me a prescription bag to fill out.

I said, "I think my insurance has changed since the last time I filled a prescription here."

He said, "Do you have the card." I handed him the card. He said, "I will need to make a photocopy of your card." I told him this was fine. He looked vacantly at the card for about three minutes. Then he handed the card back to me and said, "Just bring the card with you when you come to pick up the prescription."

The next day, I got a message from a woman at the Duane Reade pharmacy saying that they couldn't fill the prescription until they got a copy of my insurance card.

I think customer service is worse at the Duane Reade then it is at the Post Office, but still not as bad as at the DMV.

Somber news, folks:
Uncle Ira has tested positive for prostate cancer.

He is going for a CAT scan soon to see if it has spread. I know he feels very low about it, because the couple times I've spoke with him on the phone, he has been short with me, and has hardly mentioned the diagnosis. Brief conversations with Ira are rather highly unusual, and therefore must be taken very seriously.

I would like to soliciting cards from you, my loyal DebCentral readers, for Uncle Ira. You can email them to me at contact @ debcentral.com. If you prefer to send them by postal service, email me, and I will give you my address.

If the card is funny, I will post it on the website. If it is nice, I will give it to Uncle Ira. I await your creative sympathies.

To keep up your spirits. I am providing you with the punch lines of three email messages my grandmother forwarded me recently. They are as follows:

The grandmother replied, "I sent my daughter to Virginia Tech and this is what she came home with!"

The advantage to the loaf form, he said, is "it can't make as big a mess."

"How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?"

People keep telling me that I should go to my reunion.
But I'm not going to do it. I will stand my ground. And anyway, I work Sundays, so it would be difficult to get the day off on such short notice.

I have been avoiding watching anything concerning the terrorist attack in London. Because I'm a selfish jerk. And because it will only make me worry.

Brian's sister just moved to New York City. She asked Brian and me if we worried about terrorist attacks when we rode the subway. We told her mostly we worried about getting smooshed up against a person with extreme body odor. I also worry about perverts rubbing up against me during rush hour, and sometimes I worry about getting mugged. For the most part, I am too physically uncomfortable during my train commutes to be worried about terrorist attacks.

Jessie Geller is subletting Heather Scott's apartment while Heather traipses around Australia for six weeks. This past Friday, Heather and I went to see March of the Penguins. When Heather suggested that we go, I asked what it was about. She said, "I think it's about two gay penguins who raise a baby penguin together."

I thought that sounded very nice.

The movie was actually about the emperor penguins of Antarctica and their unusual coupling, mating, birth rituals -- which happen to involve frequent 70 mile hikes to and from the sea. About mid-way through the movie, Heather said, "Where are the gay penguins?" During the mating portion of the film, the penguins were caught on camera nuzzling and having sensual penguin love. Heather commented that I was noticeably uncomfortable.

At the end of the movie, as we watched the credits, Heather said, "What about the two gay penguins!?!" And then it she remembered that she had read the plot summary of the two gay penguins in a review of the children's book, And Tango Makes Three.

It was a cute movie anyway, though I could have done without all that prurient penguin action.

I would like to offer an image that will both flout the terrorists and keep those reunion advocates at arms length. Here's a picture of me in fourth grade.

Take that, Terrorists! And, yes, those are reversable pants I'm wearing.

I am still very white.
After two relatively recent trips to Florida, during which time I made valiant attempts to sun myself, I can still see blue veins through the plucked-chicken flesh on my legs.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that my building established a small deck area on the roof. I thought it would be a swell idea to go up on the roof of my building (which houses mostly toddlers and elderly people) and sun myself into a lightly-cooked-chicken state. Now, it should be noted that until Thursday of this past week, I owned only one bathing suit--a non-sensuous black number I bought at Costco back in 1994. It is only slightly less tantalizing that those sweet knee-length wool cuties they wore back in the earlier part of the last century. While full-body swimsuits are very "hip", it is difficult for one's legs to get any sun when they are trapped beneath a layer of old, stretched out swimsuit material.

So I embarked on a quest to buy myself a new swimsuit. But because I insisted on paying under twenty dollars for one, I went to H&M. It took two hours to find the correct size/style combination of bikini top and bottom that didn't make me want to jump out the window when I looked in the dressing room mirror. Then the cashier was very rude and slow and kept badmouthing the woman who had been in front of me in line. At one point, she engaged a coworker in what appeared to be casual conversation while swinging my swimsuit pieces around and throwing them down on the counter. I was thinking of remarking on her poor customer service skills, when I realized the conversation had something to do with her knocking $2 off each piece of the bikini. So I said nothing.

I was off on Friday, and went up to the roof deck, which was very nice. While there, I chatted with my mother on the phone and we made fun of people. That was nice too. Now I am plucked-chicken flesh minus .005.

Over the course of the afternoon, I think I might have had some wine at some point and played several games of Spider Solitaire. Then Susan called me and said she was going to be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I headed on over to meet her. We saw the Matisse exhibit, which only made sense after we read the wall text and labels (something we both hate to do). The we saw the Chanel exhibit, which we both agreed totally sucked. We agreed as well that the mannequins all looked really creepy and the lighting was bad and some of the outfits were downright frowzy. At one point, Susan and I stared at an ostentatious pair of leather and gold-chained platform heels. Susan looked like she was struggling for a word. Then, matter-of-fact-ly, she said, "Hooker heels!"

After this, we went to the roof and ordered strawberry daiquiris. Who knew? The weather was wonderful. The view was fabulous. The daiquiris were tasty. We sat on a bench and made fun of people's clothing.

On our way back, we both became ravenously hungry, and were forced to stop off at a grocery store and purchase a box of little chocolate donuts and a large bag of Frito's with onion dip. We ate these things while walking back to the apartment, taking turns dipping the Frito's in the onion dip. Then we felt gross.

Last night, Brian and I went to Mike Thompson's roof top party to watch the fireworks. It was fun, but there was an apartment building strategically placed to block our view of anything but the most remote tendrils of fireworks.

I spoke with my mother on Saturday
Guess what arrived at my parents' home addressed to me. An invitation to my ten year high school reunion!

It arrived on the second day of July and the reunion is scheduled for July 22nd and 23rd. The "final advanced payment deadline" is July 21st. And did I mention it was sent to my parents' address? Very strange. The postcard invitation had a hazy collage of pictures from the 1995 year book on the front and my mother was especially excited because I can be seen in not one but TWO of the 15 pictures in the collage. This has less to do with how popular I was in high school, and more to do with how many year book pictures I was able to weasel my way into. I am 13.33% crafty!

My mother was so excited, she typed the entire message on the back of the postcard into an email for me, then went to her office on Sunday and scanned in the image to email to me. She remarked several times how the advanced payment deadline is exactly one day before the actual event. We snickered together.

I don't want to sound too mean. The contact person was not actually on our senior class board (to my knowledge). She probably realized that no one was getting off their fat ass to do anything, and decided to throw this together last minute. The July 22nd event is being held at a bar in Fort Lauderdale. I thought that was kind of sweet and unpretentious. The Saturday event is $85 a person, is being held at a Marriott, and the attire is suggested as "Dress to Thrill". I think that's obnoxious.

Thank you, Organizer-of-My-Ten-Year-High-School-Reunion, for giving me this opportunity to reject you!

Two out of 15!

Happy Independence Day!

All Guest Blog submissions should be emailed to contact @ debcentral.com

tikkun olam in space provided below

more zonking @ heck's kitchen

heck's kitchen
julian in new york
rebecca in progess
adventures in andrealand
anthony litton
kevin de young
no home-like place
underblog rides again
thanks for not being a zombie
puritan blister
this is grand
charles blackstone
smartish pace
marc & david
writing right (or wrong)

andres dubouchet
bob and david
tim and eric
the lonely island
midnight pajama jam
ovos films
bloggedy blog blog

please feel free to contact me. I can be reached at:
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