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

Fun with Email

Recently, I got another email from Arthur. What is the deal? I don't get it:

From : arthur schwartz
Sent : Friday, November 18, 2005 6:32 AM
To : deborah_schwartz@hotmail.com
Subject : Dec 4

Hi-- I also enjoyed the dinner. Again, congratulations on getting that increase from the funding committee you told me about. It's really remarkable that you convinced them to give you exactly what you argued for--when in fact a cut had been considered initially. That's a great

testimonial to your preparation and argumentation skills. The merits of the case are indeed the merits of the case. But the case could easily have been muffed by a poor presentation. I'm sure Sharon appreciates all of this--especially since you are still new at this kind of thing (was it just August 1 that you started?!!).

About brunch at Tutti's--I'll see Deborah today and ask her--she likes Tutti's, and it would be a treat. Besides, it's been a while since she visited with you, and would like to catch up.


And here is a list of 19 of the most recent emails from my grandmother:
FW: Worm Bearing Email - not a joke!
FW: How to Stay Married
FW: smarter than you think
FW: Baking Cookies With Your Cat
FW: 3 Ducks
FW: Clean jokes.gif
FW: Fast Facts
FW: For the ladies, again...
FW: Answering the question - Kilt Complex!
FW: Never underestimate the power of a makeover
FW: Big Boobs
FW: Cold Winter?
FW: Yodeling
FW: Child custody ruling
FW: John & Marsha
FW: The farmer
< fwd > Let's just call this um, UNUSUAL....
FW: upcoming wedding
A mother and her two children entered my subway car yesterday evening.
The children, maybe six and eight years old, were both holding inflated mylar balloons. On one side, the balloons said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY". On the other, they were silver and reflective. I was sitting, and the family was standing up about three people down from me on a rather crowded train car. When the silvery side of one of the balloons was facing towards me, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be funny if I could see myself in that mylar balloon?"

I peeked over, but was disappointed to see only the reflection of the three people between myself and the family.

So I craned my neck farther. Still I couldn't see myself. I scooted closer to the person sitting next to me. Now I could see only the red of my coat sleeve in the fisheyed corner of the balloon's surface. The balloon bobbed playfully as the two children, soft-palleted, talked to one another, sometimes motioning with their hands. I started to get annoyed. Why didn't I appear in this subway tableau? Why just those three random people beside me. Why not me?

I scooted in even closer. And craned my neck even more. I was absolutely determined to see myself in the balloon. As if it had stole something from me and I was going to get it back. There was my coat sleeve. Now my lapel. Finally, I could see my the whole of my reflection in the balloon. Small. Peeping. Distorted in the balloons ending curve. What I saw in the balloon's round silver surface was the image of three strangers sitting normally, then what appeared to be a dumpy little girl in a red coat straining to see her own reflection.

This made me feel small and stupid.

Brian and I are back in New York City.
Thank you everybody for your birthday wishes and condolences. I got a whole bunch of emails, text messages, voicemails, and zonks. It was very sweet and futuristic.

This has, of course, been a very difficult and often sad couple of weeks for us. But we were much refreshed to spend Thanksgiving with my parents in Hollywood, Florida. My brother was there too, as was my sister and her boyfriend Joel. And special guest NONNA.

We had only been there a couple of hours when my grandmother discovered that my wedding dress (which had been her wedding dress back in 1937) was hanging in a closet. She told my sister that if she wanted to wear the dress for her wedding (my sister isn't even engaged), she would have to get some sort of extenders for the bust. Then she said of me, "You know, your sister couldn't even fill out the top of the dress. But I had a bea-utiful bust line when I wore it."

Later that evening, Ali, Joel, Brian and I were we were chatting in the kitchen when my grandmother walked in. She slipped her arm around Ali's waist in a gesture that appeared at first to be uncharacteristically affectionate. Until she suddenly used her little old woman talons to grab my sister's side and scream "FAT ROLLS! I FOUND FAT ROLLS!"

We were all so mortified, we just stood there dumbfounded (including Ali's poor boyfriend). Now, I do want to say that for the record, my sister is a very nicely built person, and one of the last things someone would think upon seeing her would be "FAT ROLLS!"

"Nonna," I finally said, "Ali has a very nice body. She doesn't have any fat rolls."

"Then what are these?" She dug her little evil hands farther into my sister's flesh. Ali just laughed and tried to twist her body out of our grandmother's cretin-like death grip. Again, she repeated to Ali, "What are we going to do about these FAT ROLLS!"

I could certainly stop here, having elaborated on more than enough Nonna-evil for one blog entry. But there was more. Brian has been through a very stressful two months, and just recently lost his mother. So for condolences, my grandmother walked up to him and said, "I see you've got quite a bit of gray hairs now. You're not going to look so good in another five years."

The next morning, as we were eating breakfast, my grandmother leafed through an old photo album. At one point, she said, "Debbie, you were such a cute kid. What happened?!?" She cackled at her own joke, turned the page, and said, "Dennis, you were such a bright little boy. What happened?!? HEHEHEH" She turned the page again and pointed at a 20 year old photograph of my mother. "Elaine," she said, "You used to have such a nice figure. What happened?!?"

My mother half-laughed, half-rolled-her-eyes and turned away. At this point, we were all thoroughly annoyed with my grandmother. But she was obviously having the time of her life.

After a three and a half year battle with ovarian cancer, and two months after being admitted into hospice care, Brian's mother, Dr. Meryl Riveles Geller passed away at 11:22 in the morning.

The funeral will be this 10:30 on Sunday morning in Clearwater, Florida.

Here is the next installment from Brian's journal from 1984: What is a Mother

My ears woke up first in the inky blue darkness of the early morning hours, and I heard a muted crash and rumble outside, which I took to be the sea hitting violently against the shore. How nice, I thought to myself, I'm at the beach.

But as my small apartment came back to me, I remembered that I lived in New York City. The sound was just a big truck in the night.

I got up and shuffled to the bathroom, only to find five new roaches at the bottom of our bathtub. So I scooped them up with a tissue and flushed them into the sweet hereafter.

For those of you who heard me screaming like a crazy bag lady in the bar about playing Oregon Trail on my computer, here is the link:
Thanks, Heck's Kitchen.

Today is my birthday. I am 29. But I feel much older. I feel like that ceramic mug you dropped on the kitchen floor and then glued back together. I am in a panic again. I purchased a plane ticket last night. I leave for Florida late this afternoon. Mostly because I can't stand this waiting around. I can't stand how I bother Brian by calling him up every five minutes asking the same questions, knowing that he doesn't have any answers. I can't stand how useless I feel, how I stare at my computer screen for hours as if it were an open window, how I am so tired, I can't stay awake, but am too anxious to remain asleep for very long.

But also, the thought of spending my 29th birthday grouchy, agitated, and alone makes me want to puke.

So for the low, low price of $147, I will be spending my birthday evening drinking cocktails from small bottles at 30,000 feet. Cheers!

I'm am still here.
Brian is still in Florida.

Here are a few more pages from Brian's journal:

Locked in the Zoo
My Favorite Food
I Got Really Scared When
In other news, Uncle Ira's hearing was postponed.

Brian pointed me to this article about a small community's great battle to keep clowns out of its local hospice.

Last weekend, when I visited the hospice in Pinellas Park, clowns showed up and I had to hide. They are so so scary. Scarier even than protracted and painful death.

I feel like I am having an anxiety attack.
It's like the silent shriek of a dog whistle in my ear.

Now, I will present you with two items.

The next page in Brian's composition notebook from 1984: When I Grow Up

The next installment in my sister's drama, "Appalachian Psych Ward":
About two weeks ago, I was starting my Interpersonal Skills group, and as I always do, I was asking the group members to explain what Interpersonal Skills are and why they are important. A middle aged male responded to my questions immediately. He exclaimed, "Interpersonal skills...Interpersonal hygiene...This group is about personal hygiene, someone needs to take a bath, it stinks in here!" Just to give you the context of the group, it really did stink in there. Unfortunately, this is an all too common experience that I have, encountering stinky patients with poor hygiene, but this is the first time that I have heard other patients complain about it. I actually did chuckle a but after this gentleman spoke, because not only was I surprised that he said this, but it was all too true. We resolved the issue by opening a window and moving along, or so I thought. Throughout the group, this man was so inclined to participate, but with the pretense that the group was about personal hygiene and that it was his responsibility to inform the group members that someone smells bad and that they need to bathe regularly. I later found out that one of the RN's does, in fact, run a bathing and hygiene group, it's just a shame it wasn't that day! Moreover, I think this patient was transferred to another group because he never came back to my group after that (maybe he thought it was me that stunk, just kidding!). That was disappointing to me, because I always got such a boost from seeing this man flash his mostly toothless smile and invite some of the other patients to his house after discharge. Tis life, I suppose.

On Friday, we got a new patient in our group. This is an older gentleman who is in a wheelchair. We were watching a video about schizophrenia, and for some reason, he felt the need to wheel himself around the room. The main problem with this was that he kept wheeling himself into the corner, and then proceeded to continue to try to wheel forward (hitting his head against the wall, if you will). My supervisor had attempted to assist him on a couple of occasions ("Are you trying to leave the room?"), but it didn't get us anywhere. Eventually, the video was over, and the group was having a discussion about schizophrenia. Not only does this man like to tool around the group room aimlessly, he also likes to participate. That would be fine...if he could speak! He opened up his mouth, and it sounded something like this, "Whhhemm alllls akt pfelkl sppegh..." My supervisor has attempted to clarify his speech with him several times ("I didn't quite understand what you are saying, can you speak louder, can you repeat that" etc). Again, it was another losing battle and we just eventually ignored him. Unfortunately, he didn't quite pick up on the hint and spoke over us in gibberish. Much to my delight, though, he slept right through my group this morning, which was just fine with me! Sometimes I think the best treatment for some of these patients is a nice, long rest to calm their nerves and shut them up!

We can only think about lousy things for so long before we feel like jumping out a window.
So, just for kicks, let's look at a picture of the Geller family taken circa 1980.

Nice jumpsuit, Brian!

Those cookies were not served at a hospice Halloween party. They were served as to Brian's mother on a dinner tray as the dessert.

Oh, boy!

My grandmother has been calling me a lot.
She has been calling because she is concerned. And for obvious reasons. But it has been too much for me, and I almost yelled at her on the phone earlier. She just keeps asking the same questions over and over again. But the answers haven't' changed. Nobody knows. Nobody knows except god. And since god hasn't bothered to fill me in, I don't know.

"Do you think Brian will be home by Wednesday the 9th, because if so, I was wondering if he would like to escort me to a fundraiser that evening?"

This morning, my grandmother left a message on my home answering machine as I was getting ready for work. When I arrived at work, there was a message on my voicemail. Later on in the day, I was forwarded a message by a co-worker in a neighboring cubical. She said, "I think this call was meant for you."

The message was from my grandmother. It began: "Hello, Debbie. I just left a message on your other voicemail. . . "

NONNA! I ONLY HAVE ONE VOICEMAIL! You just left a message on SOMEONE ELSE'S voicemail.

I can't handle it anymore.

Maybe if I'm feeling down, I can read one of those nice very personal emails my grandmother has sent me recently. Here's a peek at the last 19:

FW: What do they call the @ sign?
FW: Two Sisters
FW: I.D.
FW: DeLay really did say all of this
FW: Argument about sex
FW: Contractors
FW: A love story
FW: Down on his luck
FW: Stuff The tourist
FW: Who's the Daddy?
FW: Two alligators
FW: Boudreaux been fish'n
FW: Hope you had an easy fast
FW: FW: child missed - maybe we can help
FW: What do computers do at night?
FW: Who's the Maven?
FW: Job hunting advice
FW: Police Report
FW: Something to smile about?
In addition, I am famous in Germany. That's right. That's Julian and me looking at the Jüdischen Gemeinde Münster website we created. Brian says I am the new David Hasselhoff. In that I too am famous in Germany.

Now, for a picture taken by Brian of the most inappropriate cookies to have at a hospice Halloween Party. Thanks, Brian! And thank you, hospice, for making the picture possible.

ps: It's my parents' 37th wedding anniversary today. Happy Anniversary, Parents! May you continue to put me on speakerphone when I call for many many years to come!

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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

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