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





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M. Chat Chart

The cat and I have reached an understanding.
I do not try to touch it, and it does not attack and bite my ankles. Sometimes.

I think the cat has was acting out. Yesterday morning was one of the worst. The cat spent much time knocking things into the toilet, taking only brief respites to attack and bite my ankles. When I tried to scold it, it would mistake my finger for something that was supposed to be clawed and bitten. By mid-morning, we were both sick of each other.

That's when I got the wise idea to open the blinds in the bedroom. The cat jumped up on the bed and mellowed out, gazing vacantly outside towards the garden to which we have no access. It all looked kind of cat-romantic, so I jumped up on the bed too (our cyber sleeper is rather high off the ground).

But then I got tired, so I took a nap.

The cat napped as well, curling up tangentially beside me. Sometimes it would wake up and lick its privates, which annoyed me. But then it would fall back to sleep. I even caught it sleeping on its back with its paws up and its tongue lolling out of its mouth. I think it was trying to mock me.

And so this is how we were for a better part of the late morning, laying on our backs with our tongues lolling, falling in and out of sleep. Sometimes the cat looked very adorable and warm, so I would try to pet it, and then it would attack my hand and bite and scratch me. So I stopped trying to pet it.

At one point, I half-awoke with the eerie feeling a strange and imminent presence. I opened one eye to find the cat right in my face. We were nose to nose, its catish fishy old person's breath warm against me. And then I knew . . . It was trying to steal my breath!

"Nice try!" I screamed, and threw the covers over my head. So long as I hid under the comforter, the cat did not try to steal my breath. The furry, breath-stealing she-witch was foiled!

So now the cat and I have come to an understanding. Which is to say I think I am getting a better understanding of the nature of this cat. I even made a pie chart to illustrate what I now know.

My Cat Chart

This year marked the 4th Annual Asian-Food-and-a-Movie Christmas Eve.
Sam, Brian, and I all met for dinner at a sushi restaurant in the West Village. We ordered a bottle of wine. As usual, the waiter poured a little bit into a glass, waiting for us to taste and approve. So I did my classic move, which is to drink it all quickly, then say, "THIS IS TERRIBLE! SEND IT BACK!" Then I laugh, and the waiter is apprised of the full measure of my hilarity.

Sam has been complaining about this joke of mine for over three years now. But I can't help myself. That weird expectant interchange is just too awkward for me. And, truthfully, does anyone really send their wine back? Why even engage is such a farce?

Nevertheless, Sam tried to kill me with his eyes.

But then we all drank the wine, and everything was okay.

There was a real dearth of movies of interest this holiday season. So we ended up at the Film Forum watching a movie called The Case of the Grinning Cat. I think it was a documentary, but I'm not really sure. It was pretty cute, but it was preceded by five nearly-unwatchable short films. Half way through the main feature, Sam fell asleep.

Maybe it was the wine.

We returned home to our real cat, the one we are cat-sitting for. It does not grin. Mostly, it mistakes my ankles for mice and tries to bite and claw at them. It can also walk through walls. We will close the door at night, because we don't want the cat's rustling to keep us up, but also because we don't want it to steal our breath during the night, and within a couple of hours something will fall off the dresser. We wake with a start, and there, in the dark in the night staring at us with its weird cat eyes is -- THE CAT!

The cat is young and I think it wants to play with us. But we are old and unused to cats. So mostly we just run away from it.

Because who wants to play with someone with carnivores' teeth and sharp claws?

Two more holiday parties down.
I am now completely exhausted.

We went to one holiday party of a coworker. While we were there, someone came up to us and asked how we knew the host and hostess. We said through work. The person said, "Oh. I heard you had some party the other night."

I said, "Really?" And then I said, "Wait. How would [the coworker] know? He wasn't there."

Brian and I looked at each other. "Wait," I said again. "We didn't even invite [the coworker]." I began to sweat. We had not invited the host to our birthday party, mostly because we thought the person, a very hard working individual, would have no interest in such silliness and merrymaking. But still, he had found out about it. Was he angry? What was going on? I began to back-peddle.

"We meant to invite him, really, but we just didn't think [the coworker] would want to come. It was just a stupid little birthday party. I mean, we both turned 30 recently . . . ."

Now the person talking to us looked confused and annoyed. He said, "Office party. I'm talking about the office party."

"OH!" Brian and I both breathed a sigh of relief, which bore a strange resemblance to stupidity. "Yes! The office party. It was okay. I guess it was crazy. Kind of. I mean, it wasn't too rowdy or anything. I mean, there was no karaoke."

We felt dumb.

Yesterday was the Moroch Family Chanukah Party, which was in New Jersey. A bit of a schlep for us, but enjoyable. I have some pictures, which I plan to post eventually before we are all too old and cataracted to see the computer screen.

When we got back, I received a call from Uncle Ira, who is now up to 4 day unescorted passes. As I was talking to him, the cat we are cat-sitting for jumped up an bit me. I cursed loudly.


"Oh. It's a cat. We're cat sitting. We've never had a cat before, but this cat seems to be on the mischievous side. . . . Hey, Uncle Ira, you used to have cats, no?"

Before Uncle Ira was locked up, he used to pick up cats from the animal shelter. Always black cats. He would take them home and name them all Jessica (after his first love). Then he would crack up and get institutionalized, and the cats would go back to the animal shelter. This was a pretty regular thing.

"YEAH," Uncle Ira said. "I USED TO HAVE A CAT. JESSICA. DO YOU REMEMBER HER?" He spoke of the myriads of Jessicas as if they had all been the same cat.

"I remember a little bit," I said. "Do you have any tips for me?"


Let us recall that my uncle's drink of choice used to be Bacardi 151 (he claimed the lime kept him from ever really getting drunk). Poor cats.

We are cat-sitting.
Our friends Ryan and Oliver have left their cat, Ate, with us for the week. Neither Brian nor I have ever had a cat, and know almost nothing about taking care of cats.

In fact, our interactions with cats prior to this have been limited to the occasional peeking-out of a cat from under a friend's couch or around a corner of a friend's apartment. Then the cat usually scuttles away or sits down and licks its privates. Our interactions with felines have been similar to those one might have with a friend's poorly socialized younger sibling.

Oliver dropped Ate off last night and gave us a number of tutorials regarding feeding and cleaning up after the cat. Brian and I listened and nodded. Oliver said,"It's really pretty simple. Do you have any questions?"

So we asked what we felt he had glazed over, which was if the cat would try to steal our breath during the night.

"No." Oliver said.

We asked if it were true that cats were just shape-shifting witches.


What about demon-carrying? Are they hosts for the dark forces.


Mice. Do they really eat mice?

"Yes!" Oliver said. "Why? Do you have mice?"

"No," Brian said. "But I guess it's good to know.

"Are you sure?" Oliver said, "Because Ate's very good at catching and killing rodents."

"I don't think we do. But I guess we'll find out."

So here she is perched uncomfortably on our windowsill

Ate: Doesn't steal your breath during the night

And here she is being mischievous.

What fabulous taste in websites!

So far, so good.

Brian was lucky enough to get a sweet gmail email address.
It is very simple and basic. And, apparently, easily mistaken for other people's email addresses.

Here is one of his recent misdirected emails:

From: William Harris
To: Brian Geller
Subject: Hey


I'm pooped today and very full still from all the cookies. They are a smashing success, raves all around. I gave you and Bagwell credit as I did a lot of standing around and talking, which I do feel contributed to the success.

I have a couple of questions... When should I arrive for the holiday in Morristown? Is it lunch, dinner? Of course, where should I go and how is best to get there? How should I dress? So many questions, but I always like being prepared.

I'm really getting excited about NYC. And we've figured out the dinner party, I think. We'll bring JB's table to my place so we can have to groups, works out best. We will be very festive with silver and white balloons everyone and streamers.

Oh, I found the tapers online... 18" and 24". I think 18" is the right size.

Anyway, rambling, not wanting to work, but I have so much to do.


Mostly, I just like the part about the cookies.

I'm feeling a bit better today.
Today, I would like to present you, the reader, with two items.


Why I do not like children
(This picture illustrates why I do not like children)

This is a picture of my family taken in the Summer of 1988. While my brother and I were away at summer camp, my father was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism and hospitalized. He was still in the hospital when we returned home.

My mother is taking the picture. My brother is probably trying to tell a joke. My sister is making faces at the camera. I am giving the lamest peace sign anyone has ever beheld. My father is in the hospital bed, and appears to be either only semi-conscious or in such excruciating pain, that he is transending his corporeal self. Oh, and there's some pink crud on the picture, probably because someone ate breakfast on the print.

What am I trying to say? Children are selfish. They are so selfish, when you are in sick and in the hospital and conducting deals with your maker, your children will be at your bedside making fart noises and giving lame peace signs. And then they will say they are hungry and bored and want to go home. I know how selfish children can be. . . . I was once one.


Molly has achieved a state of low-grade quasi-fame through the publishing her subway haikus on my site. And she's done it again. This time, those loveable Lubavitchers are both her muse and target.

"Shake! Shake the lulov!"
I avoid Lubavitchers
And their creepy fruit.

~(and here's a double)~

If I miss the F
I can hitch to Brooklyn
On the Mitzvah Tank*

(*Put on tefillin
From a Winnebago and
You will get a rash)

Certainly now I feel better.

I've been feeling very anxious lately.
The other day, while I was walking to the subway, I got to thinking how 2010 is not actually so far away. It sounds so future-like, but it's not.

Feeling 2010 closing in, I could see time spilling around me like sand. I could feel the sand underfoot swirling and pulling out from under me. And me, being swept up, like in an undertow.

My chest got tight. I couldn't breathe. The infinite was upon me. I could feel what a speck I was. How insignificant. I began to hiccup. And my hiccups were all soap bubbles of all the things I had meant to do, but never got around to. One by one, they burst into nothingness. I could see for a moment in glimmer of the streetlamp the momentary brilliance of the reflection of all the things I had meant to do as they burst into thousands of shards of soapy nothingness.

There I was. In the premature night of an unseasonably warm winter at the tip of a great city. Amid the cacophony of construction in the park. I couldn't move. I was a inert little lump, my heart bleeding like a candle, my feet intractable as wax.

The holiday season is upon us.
Brian and I spent the better part of Saturday preparing our holiday cards. We are sending out about 100 cards this year. I think it's such a nice thing to do, but it always takes so horrendously long to write all those little notes and then stuff the card in the envelope and put a stamp it. I get to feeling like I just wasted three hours of my life.

We had a holiday party Wednesday that we missed because we both had to work late. On Friday, we had another holiday party (Susan's), which was very fun. But I ended up getting to bed a little late and then waking up a bit too early.

We had two holiday parties on Saturday. One started at 5 PM and the other at 8, so I thought for sure I shouldn't bother to eat dinner. I hadn't eaten since noon.

There was actually not too much food at the first party, and by the time I got to the second party, I was too drunk to remember to eat anything. The second party actually had a nice amount of food, but it was almost exclusively meat. So it wouldn't have helped much.

I woke up feeling terrible this morning. I was fully dressed. Still wearing everything from the night before. Except for shoes and glasses. I didn't quite remember getting home. Brian said we took a taxi (which I kind of remember), but then I sat down in front of the computer and passed out on the keyboard (kind of cute/kind of nerdy). He made me some soup, but as I was too passed out to be hungry, he ate it himself.

I had to work this morning. But I could hardly move, I felt so awful and nauseous. I'm getting too old to be that drunk. And I'm sure I said awful and embarrassing things to Brian's coworkers. I always do. It's my calling card. Right before I'm about to pass out, I come up with some vaguely offensive and mostly inappropriate observations. Then I toddle home and crumple into oblivion.

Someone at work suggested a drink seltzer, which actually did make me feel a little better. I can't take many more holiday parties.

By the way, Happy Third Night of Chanukkah. Please celebrate with me by helping me in my campaign to rename this minor Jewish holiday Cankersore.

It's holiday card time!
Have you received a holiday card from us recently? Well, then, you might get another one again soon.

Have you received a card from us, but recently moved and didn't tell us? If you don't give us your new address, we will be wasting postage, and you will not get your card, and everyone will be unhappy. So email me your new address.

contact @ debcentral.com

Have you never received a holiday card from us, but would like to get one? Well, here's your chance. Email me your name and address, and we will spring for the $0.39 stamp.

contact @ debcentral.com

Have you received cards in the past, but they have made you uncomfortable? Would you like to stop reveiving cards from Brian and me? Email me and let me know. Because we never really liked you anyway. We were just sending you cards because we felt bad for you.

contact @ debcentral.com

If you don't already know it, here's the email address:

contact @ debcentral.com

I love when you write me email messages with funny spam-sounding subject lines like "why your schlong is so small??" and "IT IS ME ABEL OKO MULABE FROM SUDAN". Ha ha! That's hilarious. And it's even more ironic, because I get so much spam on my website email account. But don't do it. Because I won't be able to tell your email from that wiley spam.

Seriously. Want a card?

contact @ debcentral.com

We had a joint birthday-and-housewarming party on Friday.
I think it went pretty well.

Before the party, Uncle Ira called to say hi. I told him about Brian's birthday, and my uncle said, "THIRTY AND DIRTY!"

"Oops," I said, "I guessed wrong."


"I thought it would be 'Thirty and Nerdy.'"


I'm not sure how I missed that one. It was so obvious.

But Brian and I had a lot of fun at our party. We saw a whole bunch of people we hadn't seen in a long time. I feel bad, because I didn't really get to talk to many of them. Even though they had braved the extreme cold to see us. But I didn't take any pictures either. Frankly, I am not sure what I was doing during the party. But I do know I was having a good time.

Our friend Heather total saved the day. She came in and helped me prepare all day Friday. Brian got stuck at work until 6:30, and didn't get home until after 7. But it was okay, because Heather helped clean and made a cake and cut up vegetables while I flitted around trying to decide onto whose body I should to Photoshop my face.

So it was cold, like I said, and a whole bunch of people didn't make it out. But a whole bunch of people did show up, some of whom I hadn't seen in years. It was really wonderful. And, like I said, I did not take pictures. But someone else did. Here are a couple I found on my camera the next morning.

doesn't this pictures simply scream 'I'm having too much fun to focus the camera!'

Hm. Artsy.

I think I like the last one the best. It's kind of Rothko-esque.

Our party was so crazy, we even had someone show up a full 25 hours late. Sorry Anna. It was on Friday.

Really, though, I was in bed by 1:30. Not too bad, though a bit on the lame side.

If you couldn't make it out to our party, or you weren't invited, or you came, but were too drunk to make out the funny pictures on our walls, I didn't want you to miss out. Here are some party favors, my Photoshop masterpieces. . . .

Fin de Siecle Deb & Brian
Roaring 20s Deb & Brian (new immigrant style)
Greatest Generation Deb & Brian
Endless Summer Deb & Brian
"We're 10 years old!" Deb & Brian
I hope you enjoy!

I'm totally in love with this guy . . .

What a total cutie!

What a cutie!

Why is this baby smiling?

BHG - Born December 7, 1976

It is because he knows that one day he will be happily married to ME.

Just kidding. He probably just belched. Or maybe someone waved a set of keys at him. Babies are like that.

Roughly 30 years after this picture was taken, this baby is now celebrating his 30th birthday.

By celebrating, I mean he's at work, going to meetings and stuff. What a total cutie Baby Brian is! Do you think he looks cross-eyed here? Sometimes I think that Baby Brian looks a bit cross-eyed. But then I think, no, he's just thinking up funny jokes and laughing at them. Just like he does now.

Even way back then, Brian knew how to have some serious "me time".

Happy Birthday, Old Man!

Here's to 30 more years of cross-eyed "me time".

(just kidding — I love you, Brian)

Brian said, "Do you ever have that dream with the ocean?

"What do you mean," I said.

"You know," he said. "The one where you're at the beach and the waves are really big and they reach higher up the beach than you think they should."

"I'm not sure," I said.

"Big waves. Like tsunamis."

"Are there creatures inside the waves? Like sharks?"

"No. I don't think so."

"Oh. Because I once had a dream about a giant tidal wave and there was a giant shark in it. I think I was in second grade. I was so scared, I woke up and peed on myself. That's why I remember the dream so well. Because, you know, my sphincter control is usually pretty good."

"I keep having these dreams where I'm at the beach and the waves are very high."

"Is it a scary dream?"

"Yeah. I guess."

"No," I said, "I don't really have dreams about the beach. Except for the one with the shark in it. But that was a long time ago."

"I think it's a reoccurring dream," Brian said.

"I don't really have reoccurring dreams. But I do have reoccurring places in dreams. Or reoccurring themes."

"Like what?"

"Like I'm usually in some dark alley. Or walking down some dark hallway. I can hardly see, the light is so bad. And everything is very labyrinthine. And dirty. And I am trying to navigate, but I can hardly see. Usually, I'm trying to find a bathroom, because I have to pee."

Brian just smiled.

"But I don't. I have pretty good sphincter control. I mean, you know I do. I don't usually pee on myself. I mean, I never do. Except for that time in second grade, but that was a really long time ago. And you didn't even know me yet."

Brian said, "Isn't it amazing how you can dream about peeing, but not actually be peeing?"

"Yes," I said. "Thank god."

Last night I had a horrible dream.
I dreamed I was pregnant. Five or six months down the road pregnant. Maternity clothes pregnant.

At first, I started freaking out, because I wasn't ready. Brian and I had just moved to a one bedroom. We were barely making ends meet. The timing wasn't ideal. And to be so pregnant so suddenly. . . .

I tried to snap out of it and start getting prepared, buying baby things and setting up our apartment in a baby-friendly way. I didn't have much time. I started making serious baby-plans.

But people kept asking me questions like, "Is it a boy or a girl?" I didn't know the answer.

I realized there were a lot of things I didn't know about being pregnant an having a baby. I started to get very anxious and flustered. Then someone pointed out that, according to my accounts, I should be nine months pregnant. But I still only looked five or six.

And that's when I discovered . . . that I wasn't actually pregnant . . . but just really fat. I had gained a whole bunch of weight and thought I was pregnant. But I was just horribly, distortedly, grotesquely fat with an enormous lumpy belly that could be contained in nothing short of maternity pants.

When I woke, I was afraid to open my eyes. To see my body. To see my apartment shamefully strewn with foolishly bought baby paraphernalia.

I keep looking down to check that my stomach is still my stomach. I don't feel I can trust it anymore.

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