Thursday, September 30, 2010


Trump, 2010

al·ter verb \ˈol-tər\

al·tered | al·ter·ing

Definition of ALTER

transitive verb
1 : to make different without changing into something else


You know how having a cold can alter your existence? Suddenly the clear headed you is viewing your days through a fog or murkiness of some sort. Basically, everything looks a little blurry. This is not always a bad thing. It's a new perspective, like squinting while looking at a painting or photograph to see the composition without the details. I've been squinting these last few days. I've also been away from home.

I had the surreal experience of reading Annie Dillard's Aces and Eights with a view of the manufactured landscape above, my hotel chair positioned in front of this odd frame. Bizarre. By the way, Aces and Eights is excellent. Thanks, Shari. But I really didn't like staying in the room.

I probably should have been in bed, beneath the covers, but something about this particular room, most hotel rooms really, made me antsy. I need functional windows. I need fresh air, sort of desperately.

So I'd wake up early while the rest of the city was sleeping off the night before and I'd sit at the pool, fully dressed, in the shade. The weather was perfect. I could sit for hours and I'd only see two or three other people, at the most. It was just a sea of empty chairs and quiet.

I cultivated a routine: flip through magazine, watch window washers scale giant hotel before me, look at sky, and then back to magazine. Lots of sniffles in between. The window washers and the sky were most interesting.

Out of my entire thick glossy magazine I only tore a photo of a woman with bangs I liked, someone's dream holiday that appealed to me, and a little blurb about custom fit Levi's. I haven't worn Levi's in a long time. They bring back good memories. That's it.

It's been a strange few days, but I'm confident that there is something of substance percolating in my subconscious. I have three library books on crochet and am contemplating teaching myself some basics if I can slow down my incessant need for a tissue. It's really getting old.

Remember this scene from When Harry Met Sally? No, no, not that fake orgasm in the deli scene. This one was much better, I think.
(Casablanca ends with "I think this is the beginning of a
beautiful friendship.")
Harry: Mmm, best last line of a movie ever.
Sally: Hmm....
Harry: I'm definitely coming down with something.
Probably a twenty four hour tumor. They're going around.
Sally: You don't have a tumor.
Harry: How do you know?
Sally: If you're so worried go see a doctor.
Harry: No, he'll just tell me it's nothing.
Sally: Will you be able to sleep?
Harry: If not I'll be OK.
Sally: What will you do?
Harry: I'll stay up and moan. May be I should practice
Sally: Goodnight Harry.
Harry: Goodnight.
(Both hang up the phone)
(Sally's light is out)
(Harry keeps moaning...and eventually lights out)
I kind of feel like Harry. Maybe I should forget crochet and just crawl into bed and watch Enchanted April. This is always helpful. Lottie makes me happy.
(Denise moans, sniffles, continues moaning...and
eventually you move on to read another blog)
Results, 2010


  1. I'm suffering from a wee cold myself, so I'm right there with ya. I've been moaning like Harry all week!

    P.S. One of the best movies EVER.

  2. I love that scene. And this post. Surreal experiences and altered braincells and meandering thoughts are some of the times I'm most creative.

    Plus, I'm wearing an old pair of 501's right now with rips in the knees and butt. I don't wear them out of the house, but they make me feel young and head-tossy while I'm painting our gate.

    (hope you feel better)

  3. You sure do know how to make a girl well up with happiness :)

  4. I agree with you that the scene from Harry and Sally is much better than the orgasm one and now I'm keen to see the whole thing again. You know I've never got around to watching Enchanted April. Hotels do strange things to me as well ; the air is dry and the bed feels unfamiliar so I walk up early and thirsty and wander through empty corridors. I can only imagine how strange it must seem if you're ill, although being ill away from home totally sucks. You describe everything so beautifully though. Get well soon!

  5. love that movie - the entire thing. my favorite she is when she says she will be 30 .... someday. the things we worry about right?

    there is something about sitting alone and enjoying the solitude. i do it a lot.

  6. I hope you feel better soon--it's no fun to be sick.

    I don't wear Levi's anymore either... are they just for young people? I just moved on to things that fit me better.

  7. There is nothing like a favoured film to help when feeling under the weather. Beautiful words.

  8. I know the feeling you're describing. I carpooled to a wedding one summer and was forced to stop in Reno on the way back. Which is a terrible place to be regardless, but with a brutal cold, it was surreal. Moannn. Hope Annie keeps you good company!

  9. I will be moving on to another blog but with a smile on my face.

    Feel better soon> God I could murder a pair of custom made jeans.....

  10. That scene from When Harry Met Sally is priceless! I hope you feel better real soon.

  11. Ha! I have been caught in those almost surreal limbo-like places before--away from home, too sick to do anything but not sick enough to just plunge under the covers---indeed a very altered state.

    but, a good time for the creative powers to percolate.

    hope you are feeling better!

  12. I hope you are feeling better soon.

    Do crochet.

  13. It sounds like I feel when I've lost one contact lens. Apart from the world, and somehow protected from it. Like taking some time out. I think sniffles and moans would only enhance it.

  14. feel better soon. so glad you liked aces and eights.

  15. An altered state could be a good place in which to be a

  16. I love this post and the bangs and "When Harry Met Sally" and that scene.
    Hope you feeling better!

  17. hope you are feeling better. no cold here, but allergies - which sometimes i find more aggravating. all the need for tissues, but none of the sickness sympathy :)

    might have to read that book!

  18. very chilly here...beautiful post~

  19. Love, love, love that movie and that scene! Hope you feel better soon. I'll check out Aces and Eights!

  20. the picture of you sick in a hotel room somehow reminded me of "lost in translation". it sounded just like scarlett, fallen a bit out of time and space... being in a little universe of oneself.
    again- so beautiful writen....

  21. beautifully written. and I LOVE that movie. Hope you get to feeling better!

  22. Joanna, I hope you are feeling better.

    mosey, 501's! Oh, I miss mine. The terrible altering I used to do in high school to make them look just the way I wanted. They must still make them, right? I want to feel young and head-tossy!

    Tracy, :)

    Vanessa, There's just something about Enchanted April that I find so comforting. It may not be for everyone, but it is definitely for me.

    Char, I know just the scene. Poor Sally. Even worse, I know I've done such ridiculous things myself. I suppose we all have our moments.

    Annje, I don't know what happened with Levi's. They just fell off my radar. Maybe I should visit the Levi's store and see what's up these days.

    alexandria, I so agree. Sometimes, when reading even seems a chore, a film is just the thing.

    Lauren, I've never been to Reno, but I'm guessing it's a little Vegas, right? Vegas just isn't my thing...

    flwrjane, You are cracking me up lately. I'm just waiting for what's next.

    annette, Yes, that scene and so many more. I also love the beautiful autumn and winter scenes in New York. Thanks.

    nancy, So you know... Not fun. I'm working on feeling better. I'm quite tired of percolating.

    RW, You are correct. I need to pick up the crochet.

    mise, I love your perspective. Do you think we could be pen pals? I want to lounge w/ a hot cup of tea and read your long wonderful handwritten letters.

    shari, I loved it!

    Michele, Yes, a while, but I'd like it to go now.

    Magda, Thanks :)

    lisa, You've just brought to my attention that I need some more sympathy :) I'll admit to skimming the majority of Teaching A Stone to Talk. I flipped right to Shari's suggested Aces and Eights and adored it.

    t does wool, Chilly? Time for wool. Perfect.

    A Day That is Dessert, Aces and Eights is very good. Enjoy.

    WSAKE, Ah, yes, I totally see what you mean. Now I'm in another hotel room, still not feeling 100%. I think I'll lie around and imagine I'm Scarlett.

    Lydia, Thank you.

  23. I"m so sorry that you are sick. Think of it this way.... your body is trying to clean out the toxins and make yourself new again. Think about all the energy and vitalness you'll have after all those dreadful sniffles are over.

    Also, being sick is absolutely the best time to feel sorry for yourself... and others will commiserate.

    Get well soon.

  24. first off.. ugg. a cold? yuk. you and i are sick at the same time. i couldn't help myself and went swimming in october. in montana.
    2nd.. CUTE bangs! will you cut your hair?
    i love levis too. i have always told myself that when i was 90 years old i would still be wearing them.
    sending love..
    o! by the way.. i love enchanted april too!


  25. I have a very altered state at the moment, funny flu like stuff and worse I've lost my voice - a nightmare for a teacher of small children and actors. I sound like a 14 year od boy whose voice has broken.

    I Like that scene very much.

  26. When Harry Met Sally and Enchanted April, along with a good book and solitude by the pool seem like perfect ways to deal with a crappy cold. The hotel and the city? Not so much! Hope you are feeling better soon!

  27. oh poor you - hopefully the sniffles have subsided by now. That disconnected fogginess can be quite the surreal experience, and bland hotels will certainly amplify the weirdness. I like the idea of 'observing' the window-washers - one of those everyday things that you can easily pass by without really noticing, but like so many things upon closer inspection they develop a unique 'dance' of their own...
    Sending you healing vibes and get better soon thoughts... Annie

  28. Love that movie; love that scene. Meg Ryan is exactly two day older than me!! I love being in a hotel room. It's the only part I love about my job - the travel, staying in nice hotels and having the time to dream in the silence.

  29. I adore Enchanted April and cute bangs too! I hope you are feeling better! xo

  30. Lottie makes me happy too. :-) Hope you are all better now.

  31. It's true, a cold does alter you. When I suffer from one it always reminds me how lucky I am to be breathing normally and healthily in general - something we take for granted.

    I second Joanna - Harry & Sally ROCKS.

  32. The good part about being so late to read this lovely post is that there's a good chance you're feeling better by now.

    In the instant before I arrive at your blog, I am never thinking as deeply or clearly as I am when I leave. I sometimes feel ambivalent about blogs and blogging, but when I come here I understand how they are useful.

    I like the idea of settling, place after place, for a couple of months each. Long enough to know a little bit. Me, I'm wanting some short solo road trips. I just wanna drive around and look at stuff. You know?

  33. thanks for the comment on my blog! looking forward to your next post...!

  34. That is certainly a different take on getting a cold and a fuzzy head - must remember that next time!
    I love sitting by pools, especially when there are not many people around.