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






hair issues:







Love and Marriage

I took my camera along on our anniversary dinner.
I uploaded the pictures yesterday, and was shocked to discover that there were 45 of them. What did we take picture of? I didn't much remember.

Scrolling through the many blurry, underexposed shots, I felt both baffled and ammused. If would like see some of our 5th wedding anniversary dinner pictures, please visit here:

click here to see pictures of our 5th anniversary dinner

My sister Ali sent me an email she had just received from our grandmother. This email too left me baffled and ammused. So I will repost it here.

Things you should know before reading the email:

  • Ali is getting married in March
  • She will be having a bridal shower soon
  • It will be held in Florida, while my grandmother lives here in New York
  • My grandmother will turn 89 in March, but is still as feisty as ever.
  • Ali is presently living with her fiance, but other than that, has never spoken with my grandmother regarding her romantic life with Joel.
  • My grandmother has an eerie fixation on my sister's weight. My sister is actually in excellent shape, is a marathon runner, and just completed another half-marathon this weekend. But my grandmother is constantly implying (to me, to my parents, to Ali herself) that she is a fatty with a hefty build (She also likes to call attention to that fact that I am small-chested, but have a big rump, and did this very publicly throughout my own wedding). That's just her way.

  • So here it is:
    Ali --

    I just received the invitation to your bridal shower. Of course, I'd really like to attend. However, the map and directions that were included only gives directions for driving. Even if I rented a car and tried to follow the directions, I'd probably arrive in time for your tenth anniversary. So, just forget about seeing me there.

    Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I did buy a gift and am having it sent to your address. I had tried several places and couldn't find the nightgown and wrap that I wanted to buy. Today I went to Macy's because I know that they have a store in Ft, Lauderdale where you can exchange it for something you like better, etc.

    They did have what I was looking for and I bought you something that I liked. I didn't buy a white gown and wrapper because you've been sleeping with Joel for a couple of years now and you aint no virgin.

    I saw something nice in blue but I could only find size large or extra large. Then I saw the one I sent you. It's a soft red flowered color (that was marked S/M which is small/medium) and not too short that it doesn't cover anything and not too long so that it's dragging on the floor.

    I had a little more trouble finding a matching gown. The only one they had was marked Large and it was so short and so tiny on top that I hated it. I looked some more and I found a solid red, trimmed with lace in the same shade as the negligee and made by the same manufacturer. This one was an M for medium and I couldn't find a small anywhere, But I tried them on together (on top of all my cold weather clothes - but I figured that you're taller than me and you have a bigger frame so It should fit you okay) and I really liked the way they looked together.

    If you tell me that you only sleep in a a torn tee shirt, this is not for sleeping with Joel. It's for when he takes you on some wonderful, exotic, expensive vacations. Anyway, if they don't fit or you don't like them or you'd rather have something else - - - just take them to the Macy's in Ft. Lauderdale? You will find a gift receipt which has the price (in code) and you can get whatever pleases you. I liked it and I thought you would look good in them, but if you don't -- don't wait go change it. I will not be insulted if your taste is different from mine.

    Have a wonderful party. All my love, Nonna

    P.S. I forgot to tell you they were have a Valentine's Day sale and I think I got a bargain!

    Brian says about the email:
    Wow -- in one e-mail, your grandmother manages to sound mean, cheap, lascivious and thoughtful.
    How boring our lives would be without our Nonna!

    It only took four months . . . .
    But I have finally finished posting the first three days of our six day vacation to Prague and Budapest. So here it is:

    I am hoping posting the Budapest pictures will take less time, as I believe there are fewer of them. By the time we got to Budapest, we were just really pooped. And taking pictures can sometime be a bit of a drag. Especially when your camera is kind of old and clunky and refuses to focus properly.


    This was a bit of a squeaker. But Rich has won by one vote!

    Congratulations, Rich!

    Jill was a close second. She will receive a consolation price.

    Vote analysis has proven that most people thought that Jenny and Sara were too cute to be nerdy. Brian was accused of being a "DebCentral insider", and a number of people complained that Eddie was a plant.

    Thank you everyone who participated in this contest. I think we all feel a little better about ourselves and each other.

    Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary.

    This picture was posed

    Last year, Brian gave me a wedding album that he had been making himself over the course of several month. It was one of the nicest presents I've ever received. I gave him nothing.

    This year, I wanted to do better. So I made dinner reservations. But I wanted to do even more. So I made him a bouquet of socks and ties.

    Manly bouquet of socks and ties

    He at least pretended to liked it.

    Brian, thank you for making an honest woman out of me. I'm sorry that I'm occasionally pushy and shrewish.

    I received the contract from the Kenyon Review last Tuesday.
    It was kind of extensive and a little bit intimidating. But, then again, I am intimidated easily. They asked to have to contract signed and returned no later than 1/24. Not much time to turn it around.

    Still, I preceded to act incredibly slowly, reading and re-reading the contract. They asked for a short bio, and I spent the better part of a day trying to perfect one. I produced a short essay about my life, sending it to Jenny and Bob and Sam and Brian for editing and review. When I was entirely content with what I had produced, I re-read the contract, only to discover they asked from something no less than three lines long.

    I started sweating.

    I finally got it down to this:

    Deborah Schwartz has published stories in Collectanea and Arts & Letters: Journal of Contemporary Culture, winning first prize in their 2004 competition. She has worked for a sculpting resin manufacturer, a September 11th commemorative gallery, and a Holocaust museum. Presently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband.
    I had to lose "and her enormous ego" because I just couldn't get it to fit. Besides, I did think I was already pushing it with listing all my non-literary non-accomplishments. These are the author bios from the latest issue. I have such a tremendous inferiority complex. What's wrong with me?

    So if anyone wanted to know what the back page of a signed Kenyon Review contact looks like, it looks like this:

    Why do I have the handwriting of a 12 year old autistic child?

    and here is what the Kenyon Review's return envelope looks like when it is sitting on top of a pile of other random mail.

    No postage necessary. How classy!

    About my 30 & Nerdy contest . . . I have received very nice amount of responses on the voting front. I was really feeling unloved by the low submission rate. But friend Heather, who is now living in Ithaca, pointed out:

    So sorry to not be entering the Thirty and Nerdy contest. I think I have a problem shared by many would-be contestants...my nerdiest photos are not in my possession. They live at Mary and Bob's [parents]. And they'd have to scan them in, which would be WAY too many phone calls.
    Have you voted yet?

    Have you voted yet?

    Let the voting begin!

    DebCentral's 30 & Nerdy Contest!


    NOTE FROM SARA: So here's what this is: the date on the photo says 1985, but I actually think it's closer to 1983, which would make me about 8. I liked to climb things, including door jambs -- this is the kitchen entryway in my parents' house. I'm happy to say that after at least 20 years, that wallpaper is no longer there.

    Things to take special note of: My mother dressed me like a boy. This pre-dates my boycott of jeans, because my mother only ever allowed me to wear jeans that came from the Army/Navy store -- no Esprit or any other named variety for me! -- which means that those were Lees. Also note the Ocean Pacific t-shirt. This is key: not sure why I thought Op was cool, but I did; there was oh so much surfing I was doing in suburban NJ. And, yes, those are velcro Adidas sneakers, thankyouverymuch. But, really, the reason I think this is from 1983 is because there were only a few times in my childhood that my hair was permitted to be "long" and I only really remember 2nd & 8th grades, not 5th. It is, however, very unlikely that my mother waited 2 years to process this picture, precious as it is.

    I have no idea where I learned how to climb doors.


    NOTE FROM JENNY: is this nerdy enough?


    NOTE FROM JILL: Take your pick.
    NOTE FROM ME: I can't! I'm posting them all.


    NOTE FROM RICH'S WIFE, KAREN: I mean, these are pretty amazing.


    NOTE FROM BRIAN: CAPTION: "I got this baby rigged to run at 128K."


    NOTE FROM ME: I found these around our apartment. Since I had so few entrants, I thought I could bulk up the contestant pool. Firstly, yesterday was Brian's brother Eddie's 23rd birthday. So I thought I would enter this montage in his honor. Secondly, Eddie never reads looks at my website, so I think I'm in the clear.

    Email your votes here or zonk in your votes anonymously. Voting ends Thursday.

    The contest has been extended through the weekend.
    So get those pictures to me. Voting on Monday.

    Be there!

    Remember that dream where you walk into school and you allofasudden realize you have finals?

    You didn't study. You aren't even in enrolled in classes any more. But you're sure in a panic. Okay remember that feeling.

    Before we left for Key West, Brian was aware that he and some coworkers would be taking a day trip to Washington, D.C. And then we went away and had no internet access for the better part of the long weekend. Brian checked his work email Monday afternoon and discovered there had been quite a bit of back and forth between coworkers, all of whom came to the conclusion that they should travel down Tuesday evening. And they all had places to stay for the night.


    Panicked, we emailed and called a number of our DC friends, giving them just a smidge over 24 hours notice that Brian needed a place to crash. And then we heard nothing. Until Tuesday morning.

    The first response was from a friend who said he would love to host Brian. Only he did not have an extra bed. Or a couch. Hell, he didn't even have a big cushy chair Brian could sleep on. But if Brian didn't mind sleeping on the floor, this friend would put him up. Brian was game.

    When Brian told me this, I said, "If he doesn't have a couch, he probably doesn't have a blanket or a pillow or an extra set of sheets for you."

    Brian said, "That's ridiculous."

    "Call him back and check."

    So Brian did. And then he called me back. "You were right," he said. "He asked if I had a sleeping bag." Brian was sad, because he really likes this friend and was looking forward to hanging out. Still.

    The second response was from Jenny, who said she had a spare bedroom with sheets and a pillow and everything. Our search was over.

    Ms. Kitchen was a wonderful host, and on very short notice too. Thank you, JM. We owe you one.

    Entries are trickling in for the contest. Keep 'em coming. In the meantime, two more Haikus from Molly:

    My iPod competes
    With the mariachi band
    A losing battle

    I try to duck, but
    The pigeon grazes my head
    With its filthy wing

    The Key West wedding was fun.
    Except for the dirty roosters. They were all over the place. And they're just like pigeons – dirty, stump-legged, loitering without the slightest fear of man. But they were a good deal bigger. And louder.

    I never spent time on a farm, so I have no idea what normal roosters do. But I can tell you that in Key West they crow constantly. At first I thought the sound was an injured dog calling for help. Then I thought it was some creepy drunk guy right outside my window. But it was a rooster. And it crowed all weekend long. Right outside the hotel window. Day and night. Night and day.

    I tried to kick it.

    When I wasn't trying to kick the dirty fat roosters, I mostly just stared at them with much disgust in my eyes. Brian thought it was funny, so he took a picture. It looked like this:

    Roosters are just like filthy fat pigeons

    But, as I said before, the wedding was fun. Here's a picture of Leo and Cousin Jen getting married by the Westchester friend.

    Weddings are fun

    Can you tell that I was standing very far away? This was because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to make me beautiful, and therefore walked into the ceremony late. I accidentally entered the wrong way, and had to run down the aisle and under the trellis. Someone shouted, "YOU ALREADY HAD YOUR CHANCE!" It was kind of funny and kind of weird.

    When I came home, I was very depressed to find that only two people had entered my contest . . . and one of them was my husband. Come on people! Don't you want to win the things I want to get rid of around around my apartment? Doesn't anyone have an unattractive childhood picture? Contests are only fun when they are savagely competitive.

    The contest announcement can be found here and the rules can be found here. Enter. I double dog dare you.

    30 & Nerdy Self-Morification through Staring at Old Bad Pictures Contest.
    30 & Nerdy!

    Here are the contest rules:

  • Anyone can send in a photo: casual DebCentral readers, randoms, regulars, and people DebCentral knows and loves. Flattering email messages may increase your chance of winning.
  • You can be any age to play, but it is preferred that are 30 or over. However, flattering email messages may increase your chance of winning.
  • There will be three top prizes. If more than three people enter, winners will be determined by DebCentral readers.
  • If less than three people enter, I will personally go through my old photo albums and post unflattering pictures of people I know and love. This is to punish them for not entering my competition.
  • All entries should be emailed to contact @ debcentral.com. There should be a reference to the contest in the subject line.
  • The tentative last date for sending in photos will be Friday, January 19th. After this date, all submissions turn into pumpkins.
  • After the submission period ends, there will be a brief voting period (remember: flattering email messages may increase your chance of winning). Then there will be a brief winning period, during which time the winning contestants will receive their prizes.
  • Then there will be a prolonged period during which I return to blogging about my dumb life.
  • I will be in Key West for a cousin's wedding this weekend. I will try to get some sun, as currently, my legs are a sheer and translucent white.

  • May the nerdiest, dorkiest, most embarrassing among us . . . WIN!!!

    Okay. We're having a contest.
    Now that I'm 30, I have a little more distance from which to reflect upon my life. Which mainly means I am able to spend hours at a time leafing through old photographs as a growing anger swells within me regarding my past hairstyles and fashion choices. I am practicing a conditional brand of self-love.

    But misery loves company!

    So here it is . . . DebCentral's own "30 & Nerdy" Self-Morification through Staring at Old Bad Pictures Contest! I even made a graphic.

    DebCentral's 30 & Nerdy Contest!

    Send me the nerdiest, dorkiest picture of yourself. Remember Blue Pants? Pretty bad. What about the wave? And we haven't even touched on the reflexive haircuting stage in college.

    I know I wasn't the only one. Give me your dyed, your shorn, your teased-up permed-out yearning to breathe free. I want your overalls, your hypercolors, your tight-rolled, your hammerpants. You before puberty saved you. You before the brow wax. The more mortifying the better. Top three entrants get prizes.

    Email me your pictures here

    I look forward to seeing us shine.

    Go Gators!
    Well. That was pretty swell.

    We began the evening watching the game with fellow Gators Susan, Brian, Karen, Rich (Gator-by-marriage) and Erika. Within the first 16 seconds, Ohio State had scored a touchdown. So we all began screaming to help push UF along.

    It paid off big time. We scream and screamed, and the Gators kept scoring. They looked just lovely on the field. We were all terribly proud.

    I took a nap towards the end of the third quarter. I woke up half way through the fourth quarter to watch us scoring again. Yea! Maybe this was proof that my screaming wasn't as helpful as I had thought.

    So the gators scored many touchdowns, and I scored a nifty new scarf that Karen had knitted but didn't like to wear. Awesome!

    In other big enormous news, friends Amy and Scott are now proud parents of a new little human raisin.

    Happy Birthday (two days ago) Eliana Hilit!
    Welcome to the World

    [pictures to follow]
    (Enjoy that baby thing while it lasts, Eliana, because life ain't all tits and coke)

    Lastly, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hollywood, Florida, But Were Afraid to Ask, courtesy of Heck's Kitchen.

    Tonight! University of Florida vs. Ohio State University.

    DebCentral vs. Heck's Kitchen

    When you grow up in Columbus, Ohio State is sort of like your second family. It's the company in a company town. Your early allegiance is easy and expected. You wear Ohio State onesies, then graduate to sweatshirts. As a teenager you might rebel and decide YOU want to go to INDIANA, an idea your dad shoots down because it is stupid. One day your girlfriend might decide she wants to move out West and go to Evergreen, and you may follow her because that sounds fun, and you were about to flunk out anyway, but the absence of the giant school only makes your heart grow fonder. You may eventually graduate from another couch-burning institution, like the University of Maryland. But, you will never really love a Terrapin, and red and black just seem wrong -- too simple, juvenile even.

    Scarlet and grey are your colors. The Buckeyes are your team. Buckeyes are also an interesting nut, frequently strung into necklaces, and worn by everyone from Brownies to Girl Scouts. They are also a delicious chocolate and peanut butter candy, homemade to resemble the inedible nut. To summarize, Ohio State is big and inescapable. When they do good, you feel vindicated in that silly way that makes fandom silly. And that's why me and a whole ton of people will be really happy tonight, when the Bucks win and cover the - 7.5 spread. $10 says so.

    To be perfectly honest, I was never really so into football. I was too busy dreaming of wearing black turtlenecks and being artsy. I think I was already into my sophomore year of high school and still asking, "Which college has the alligator and which has that craggily bird?"

    In college, football was omnipresent. It was woven into nearly every aspect of town and college life. On game day, I could be walking to the Denny's or to get a slice of pizza at Leonardo's, and I would still know when we had scored. Because the entire town would explode. The roar from the stadium was deafening. And smaller, more personal roars emanated from rooms of houses, out apartment windows, from inside bars. When we won, everyone drank beer and was extremely convivial. When we lost, everyone drank beer and was depressed.

    Still, the entire time I was at the University of Florida, I never went to a football game. Not one. But gator spirit was in me like antibodies for a disease I never knew I had.

    Maryland was very different from UF. Their mascot was a dopey turtle. Basketball was their sport. When they lost, everyone got drunk and shirtless and burned couches. When they won, everyone got drunk and shirtless and burned couches. It seemed ridiculous. I longed for the swamp. It was then that I knew no matter how many black turtlenecks I wore, I would always bleed orange and blue.

    Heck's Kitchen, you're on! I'll even throw in an MTA shower curtain (unused) to sweeten the deal.

    There are 7 stages of mourning.
    Why can't there be just as many stages for rejoicing? I was ecstatically happy for several days. But yesterday afternoon I started to become fearful that something would happen, and that this publication would never actually happen.

    Let us look again at the nice acceptance email. It looks real enough. Still, it's a cyber-acceptance. So it feels so much more flimsy.

    Now let's look at my previous rejections from the Kenyon Review. I've got two of them. Hard copies. They seem much more solid and formidable, no?

    All I want in life is for people to say nice things to me. But when they do, I think they're lying. I'm sure my sister Ali, with the doctorate in psychology, would have a word for this.

    Let me stop inspecting my bellybutton. Here is a vaguely humorous misdirected email that Brian received recently.

    From: Thomas
    Subject: Fwd: Happy New Year
    To: boris.geller, borisgeller, bgeller, b.geller

    Thomas wrote:
    Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 07:33:58 -0800 (PST)
    From: Thomas
    Subject: Happy New Year
    To: boris.geller@healthlinkinc.com

    Dear Boris,

    I hope this email gets to you and that you and your family are in good health.

    We all miss you here on Bryant Ave.

    Happy New Year!

    Best regards,

    I like that Tom appears to casually hope that this email gets to Boris. But when it doesn't, he forwards it to every permutation of a Boris Geller email address. Is the note really so special that it is worth sending to so many different non-Boris-Gellers in an attempt to find the real Boris Geller?

    Tom, you and all your no-good-nick friends on Bryant Avenue try to look all-casual-like, but in actuality you take yourselves too seriously.

    Oliver took the cat home last night.
    I kind of miss it. I keep looking around to make sure it hasn't pushed anything new into the toilet . . . but it isn't here anymore.


    I am still going out of my mind with excitement about my Kenyon Review acceptance. I keep looking in the mirror to see if I have undergone some metabolic change now that I have been accepted by the Kenyon Review.


    Nope. Maybe I need a new hair cut or an ascot or a rakish cap or a set of adult braces. It's still just me. Same old schleppy me.

    Only a little bit more famous. In Spring, 2008.

    I am seriously thinking about framing the contract when it comes so I can French kiss it every night. Mmmaaawwwwwmmmlllaaallllaaahhhmmm That is the sound of me making out with a framed Kenyon Review contact. Mmmaaawwwwwmmmlllaaallllaaahhhmmm

    Until then, you can check out my recently updated Writing Samples section. I found some wonderfully oldish stuff online and linked to it.

    I got this email this morning:
    From: David Lynn
    Date: Jan 2, 2007 10:47 AM
    Subject: The City and the Moon
    To: Deb Schwartz

    Dear Deborah Schwartz,

    I'm grateful to Larry Kaye and to Paul Healy who, between them, managed to send on to me your lovely, funny, moving story "The City and the Moon." I admit to some skepticism when I started reading--it's very, very rare that a piece that makes it way to me in such a manner is so wonderful. But this is quite lovely, and I'm delighted to accept it for publication in The Kenyon Review. I've tentatively scheduled your story for our Spring 2008 issue. If you'll forward your contact information to our assistant managing editor, we'll prepare a contract and mail it within a few weeks.

    My warm wishes for a happy and healthy new year, and my thanks for letting us consider your fine work.

    Sincerely yours,
    David Lynn
    Editor, the Kenyon Review
    Professor of English


    When I read the email, I burst into howling tears. My coworkers thought I was experiencing a stroke. I am still feeling kind of shaky. In the good way.

    From Deb, Brian, & Temporary Cat!

    Vote in DebCentral's

    The 30 & Nerdy Contest!
    Self-Morification through Staring at Old Bad Pictures Contest

    email me here:
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