Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gnawing, and Princess Di

Don't you wonder what's in that wooden box they're loading into the car?

Whatever it is, I bet it bites.

Speaking of which, at around 4 a.m. this morning, I woke up to the sound of something chewing. It seemed rodent-like, and at first I thought it was in the house. But I got up and walked around and couldn't locate the source of the noise, which continued unabated despite my movement -- which made me think it probably wasn't inside after all.

After dawn, I realized I'd heard a squirrel trying to chew its way into the metal peanut feeder on the fence outside our bedroom window. I haven't closely inspected the feeder yet but a flap seems to be hanging off the bottom -- it may have been damaged. At least there wasn't a critter indoors!

Add that experience to a variety of weird dreams I've been having over the past few nights. The night before last I dreamed I was in a dark motel room, and among my luggage was a framed picture of Audrey Hepburn, which I planned to put on the bedside table while watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's." I don't know why I felt the need to go to a dark motel room to do this, unless I was also going to dress like her.

So today is the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news? I was at a journalism convention in Chicago -- I remember walking with a friend from our downtown hotel to the nearby Sun-Times building late that night to pick up a stack of papers fresh off the loading dock. We distributed them back at the convention, and the next day a lot of people vanished, called back to work. It was such surreal, unexpected news. I remember thinking there would be a backlash against the media, and (naively) that we'd have to rethink our relentless focus on celebrity coverage and reliance on paparazzi.

I liked Diana well enough, but I was never a huge fan, and I didn't entirely understand the outpouring of grief that followed her death -- or the vilification of the other members of the royal family and the Queen. But I never pass Kensington Palace now without envisioning that huge mountain of flowers piled outside the gate.

(Photo: Rainham, East London.)


  1. I actually changed my vets as they had reptiles in glass boxes right opposite to where I sat and I just could't stand it. Those poor creatures doomed to a life in a box. Same thing with the rabbits etc, it should never be allowed.
    I asked about the small cages sold for rabbits and was told that the law states that they must be able to do three hops, I'll leave it there.

  2. At the risk of inviting the wrath of God to burn me into a pile of cinders, I would just say that I don't know what all the fuss was and is about Lady Diana/Princess Diana or whatever you want to call her. She was a minor aristocrat, not blessed with much intelligence but quite nice-looking. Admittedly, she highlighted two worthy causes - landmines and the plight of AIDS victims. On the day of her funeral I was utterly perplexed by the widespread public reaction and all those flowers. It was the media that made her "special" and ironically it was the media that killed her.

  3. Never thought before about the impact of her death on journalists. And she did become larger in death than she ever would have been had she lived.
    Glad for you the chewing was on the outside. There's nothing more unnerving than waking to something chewing inside the wall inches from your head. Don't get me started on my colony of flying squirrels.

  4. I was with my friends Lon and Lis. Strangely, I was also with them when the twin towers fell and when it became apparent what was about to happen to New Orleans from Katrina.
    She was beloved simply because she was. You know? I believe that people looked upon her as an innocent victim of the ways of the Royal Family. And she was beautiful.
    Did you visit the Cold Blooded Reptile Center? I think you should and give us a report.

  5. Mysterious noises in the night can ruin a good sleep. Yes, I remember exactly where I was when Diana died.

  6. I'm glad you solved the night chewing sounds mystery. I actually don't remember exactly what I was doing on the day Princess/Lady Diana died, but I'm sure I must have been at the university advising students about something.

  7. Waking up to a noise like that would effectively end my sleep for the night. I'm glad you figured out what it was.
    As for Diana, I admired her grit for speaking out about how she was treated and for making her own way when the family sidelined her.

  8. That noise, I wonder if it had an effect on your strange dream.
    I remember that day, it was a gorgeous, sunny Sunday and my mother called me with the news. She wasn't into royalty or tabloid news but she was upset about a young mother being killed. For a very short while, we connected before we started to argue as usual. I'll always remember.

  9. I too remember where I was when I heard the news; I vividly remember Brian Williams telling us of her death. It saddened me greatly, perhaps b/c we were close in age, both young mothers. But mainly b/c she had found the strength to speak up, to live her own life, whether in romantic terms or being an advocate for those without a voice. And I for one would like to think, had she lived, that Diana would have achieved so much more.

  10. I was never a huge fan, either, but I remember, too - I spent the next couple of days watching the coverage, and cried desperately during the funeral. We had children the same age as hers, and I felt greatly for them. But I also felt so sorry for Diana. She thought she was getting into a loving marriage and it was just a sham. It must have been very hard to endure that and to escape it, with the eyes of much of the world on her every move. I wouldn't ever want to be a royal - they are under a microscope their whole lives and criticized no matter what they do. Diana had a strong philanthropic bent and a good heart, and did much of value in her short life, no matter what else is said about her.

    Hope the squirrel stays outdoors. They're trouble if they get in :)

  11. I hear animal feet sounds from my ceiling or walls. I'm sure something is in there. I loved Princess Di. The fairytale gone wrong, her sad marriage, her anorexia, her beauty inside and out, her kids. I don't know but I felt devastated when she died. I finally found a way to more regularly follow you. I signed up via email. I hope that will alert me to your blog posts.

  12. The gnawing would have had me thinking the worst!
    It's hard to believe that 20 years have passed. And the whole celebrity thing is worse than ever today.

  13. I was not a great fan of Diana. It always seemed a shame to me that she died at roughly the same time as Mother Theresa. Diana got the coverage; Theresa didn't. Diana claimed fame through marriage; Theresa through a lifetime of hard work.