Try the dip, and I may have inhaled

By Mir
January 9, 2007

Would you like to come to my cocktail party? It is only virtual, which is why you should totally come. An ACTUAL party at my actual HOUSE would involve me being so stressed out that I would need to be serving ativan canapes in order to enjoy myself at all, and I hear that drugging yourself discreetly is okay but that drugging your guests is somewhat uncouth. So.

See, Liz tagged me for this party meme thing, and I’ve been cooped up all day with TWO sick children (now with twice the mind-numbing boredom!), so it seemed like a good time to acquiesce. The alternative is an entire entry along the lines of “Monkey had nothing but two ounces of juice all day long so I should probably be worried, but mostly I want to pluck out his liver and eat it, do you think that makes me a bad mother?”

The problem with a meme that challenges me to tell you five things about me that you don’t know is that—with nearly three years of soul-baring blogging under my belt—there isn’t much I haven’t told you, seems like. Or, maybe I haven’t told you because it’s so boring or stupid that even I don’t care.

Hey! Maybe I never told you that, um, I like chocolate! Oh, wait….

Okay, okay. Go freshen up your drink and grab a handful of mixed nuts. Here’s five things about me you probably didn’t know.

1) Doh! When I was little, there was a box of sugar cubes on a high shelf in the pantry, and my brother and I used to sneak them sometimes. Ours was a house that usually had some kind of candy or cookies around, so it’s not like that was our only option for something sugary. I think it was the novelty of them (to this day I wonder why we had sugar CUBES) and the thrill of having something forbidden.

My brother regularly caught me doing things I shouldn’t and told on me. As the beleaguered younger sister, this was one of the great tragedies of my life. So you can imagine my glee when I walked into the kitchen one day and found him standing on a chair at the pantry door, sneaking a sugar cube. I couldn’t wait to tell on him and get my revenge. And I told him just that.

He, being the far brighter of the two of us, suggested that I have a sugar cube as well, and it’d be our secret. Camaraderie! That would be even better than revenge! I accepted. He handed me a sugar cube and I popped it into my mouth. He then put his back and went and told on me. Jerk. (Note: My brother is now a perfectly nice guy, and I only required a few extra years of therapy because of this incident.)

2) Freaks and Geeks. I spent my first semester of college at Simon’s Rock College. The average age of incoming students there is around 15.5 or so. I turned 17 days before classes started and was one of the oldest freshmen there. While I have tremendous respect for the school and its vision (an outlet for gifted/creative young people who are ready to start college early), the place is a magnet for troubled kids. “Ready for college” is another way of saying “high school misfit.” (Lest you think I’m being unfair, that applied to me as much as to my classmates.)

I spent one semester there. A few years later—when I was in my senior year at a different college—the school made national news when a student went on a campus shooting spree. Two people I knew were killed. My problems with teenage angst when I’d been a student there suddenly seemed pretty trivial.

(Bonus intertwined lives factoid: Otto did some coverage of the shooter’s trial for the AP. By that time I was living in California, but I remember emailing about it with him.)

3) The lie that bit me on the ass, or at least made it very sore. I spent a semester abroad in England while I was in college. A friend and I planned a long weekend in Scotland together and set off feeling very adventuresome and grown-up. We hitchhiked around the countryside (perfectly safe, though the very thought makes me shudder, now) and did touristy things and had a grand time.

We decided that we wanted to ride horseback around Loch Ness, which is a fairly standard tourist offering. (I guess just standing around and looking for the monster gets boring. Why not ride a horse while you’re waiting?) My friend called to make reservations at the stable and was asked if we’d ridden before. She was an accomplished equestrian, but I had not been on a horse since I was 5 and someone at YMCA camp had led it around in a circle in a barn. In fact, that particular horse may have been dead. I’m not sure. But it was either stated or implied that we had to have experience, and so my friend assured the questioner than I was “a little rusty” but I had plenty of riding experience.

My horse hated me. I was terrified, and he knew it. It was one of the most miserable afternoons of my life, and I went to bed sobbing that night because my butt and thighs were so sore and I hadn’t even had any fun (I had spent the entire outing trying to convince that horse not to run away).

4) There but by the grace of God…. I have a soft spot in my heart that reacts to those horrible stories of post-partum psychosis on a level I’m not sure I want to fully understand. I have never made a secret of the fact that I suffered post-partum depression with both of my children.

It was bad, after Monkey. So bad that by my 6-week check-up I was 10 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight and very much aware that I was in trouble.

What I don’t often tell people is that it was just as bad, but much more insidious, after I had Chickadee. By the time I had Monkey, I knew what it looked like, and I knew how to get help, and I knew it would get better. With Chickadee, I was so ecstatic to finally be a mom that I pretty much just assumed that would be enough and I was fine. I thought I was fine.

In fact, I thought I was fine one Saturday when she was about 9 months old and my ex and I got into a stupid argument over something (I cannot remember what) and I… just… broke. I threw on a pair of shoes and my coat and slammed out of the house. It was about 10 degrees outside. My hair was wet (and long, back then) and I was freezing and I walked and walked and eventually realized I was seriously contemplating never going back. That’s as close to crazy as I’ve been in my adult life, and it was closer than I ever wanted to be. (I went back. I got help. I didn’t drown any of my children in the bathtub, and I have very rarely regretted that.)

5) The dry years. I was 20 years old when I graduated from college, which meant that I was never old enough to drink legally when I was an undergraduate. That was fine, though, because I was a holier-than-thou non-drinker throughout my college years. I drank before college and I eventually returned to it years afterwards, but during that time, I was Little Miss Designated Driver.

I was also Little Miss You All Turn Into Assholes When You’re Drunk, and Little Miss I Don’t Need To Drink To Have Fun The Way You Who Are Morally Lacking Do. I was SO MUCH FUN at parties!

It was a long time after college that I discovered that I could 1) drink moderately and responsibly and 2) I didn’t have to be such an insufferable bitch to everyone who figured that out before I did. (I still reserve the right to be an insufferable bitch to obnoxious drunks, though. Let’s not get crazy.)

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little cocktail party. I’m supposed to tag 5 other people but I’m lazy and also, I suspect, the last person in existence to get to this particular meme. If you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged and blog away. Go!


  1. Muirnait

    I never have anything to say in the “things you didn’t know” sort of vein – I am far too open, and I’ve had far too boring of a life so far. :-)

  2. Amanda

    Simon’s Rock, huh? I was accepted there at age 15 and was all packed up, Dad ready to drive me up from Maryland, car loaded, when my mom had a last minute “But what about PROM? Normal kids need PROM!” freakout and refused to let me go.

  3. Leslie

    De-lurking (since it’s delurking week) to say that I totally love your site, Mir! AND my sister and I totally did the sugar cube thing too! (WHY we had sugar cubes, I also don’t know!)

    But anyways, I have been reading your site with regularity for some time now, and I think you are an amazing woman and mom. And I hope that the kids feel better (and go back to school!) soon!

  4. Lady M

    The more I hear about friends who battled PPD, the more I feel so lucky to have escaped it with Q. Brave lady you!

  5. Brigitte

    PPD stories always hit a chord in me, too. But since I was depressive long before I ever got married OR pregnant, I figure I can’t blame anything on little girl!

    Mmmm, sugar cubes do have a special allure, like maybe only classy folk have them, and they’re something poor slobs like me could only aspire to. Ha!

  6. Kris

    You would have really hated me in college. :)

    Happy delurking week. Hope the kids feel better real soon.

  7. Jen

    Well now, I never was actually diagnosed with PPD, but I do remember leaving my (new) therapist’s office and thinking, on seeing a truck thundering towards me, “if I just stepped out in front of it I’d be injured and someone else would have to take care of me and everything else…”. Luckily I realised that said truck would probably kill me, which is not what I wanted, so I stayed on the pavement (ok, sidewalk for you Yanks). I too, went home, got help and now have a well-adjusted 16 yr old daughter and an ex-husband. But your post did make me wonder how many of us go through that and don’t ever seek help? Loving your 5 things though – see? even an open book has hidden depths ;D

  8. Susan

    Silly, you have sugar cubes so you can build a replica of the coliseum in 6th grade. I thought everyone knew that.

  9. karen

    WTF about the sugar cubes? We had those too. They must have been like 15 years old. No one ever used them for anything, so I figured it was safe to sneak one once in awhile. Why not just a spoonful of sugar? What was it about the cube that was so appealing?

  10. chris

    You would have really hated me and my fake id in college.

    I had fun though, at least I think I did. I can’t really remember ;-)

  11. Nancy

    Aren’t the sugar cubes so you can ask, “One lump, or two?” and then thunk your guest on the head with a club??

  12. Stephanie

    The sugar cubes were for dissolving into absinthe. Did you have any flat, slotted spoons around?

  13. shannon

    We didn’t have sugar cubes at home, but at the barn (for tea and such) we did…not only did we sneak some for ourselves (hoped up on a sugar high at the barn!) but we snuck some for our favorite horses.

  14. The Other Leanne

    My theme song should have been “Just a spoonful of sugar helps everything go down…!!! We didn’t have sugar cubes, those were only available for polio vaccines, so on occasion it was actually a spoonful out of the sugar bowl. I don’t know why, can’t imagine why, because it sounds totally gross now. Maybe it helped with the pre-partum depression, helped me so much I forgot to have kids. Oh look, it’s snowing again!

  15. Jenn2

    You lived in California? I never knew that.

    And my brother and I used to sneak sugar cubes at my dad’s office. I think the allure was equal parts crunchy sugar and forbidden (and exotic) fruit.

    And no, you weren’t the last to get tagged. I haven’t been yet, but I’m sure as soon as Jenny on the Spot gets tagged, I’m up. Friends are fun like that.

  16. Cele

    I think that Sugar Cube Anonymous has a large (closet) membership stemming back to the earliest reaches of the 20th century. But the sixties and seventies it hit a peak. I mean think about it, we were all getting bombarded by Sonny Bono’s Reefer Madness in school and Timothy Leary prodings on the nightly news that we were torn in two, by what to do with those sugar cubes.

    Now really, what did your parents have that endless supply of sugar cubes for?

    And mine made a replica of the Mission San Juan Capistrano in the fifth grade. Maybe it was fourth. I’m so confused.

  17. Woman with Kids

    I used to make my own candy, which consisted of melted butter and sugar. Blend, cool and devour.

    …wonder if we have any butter in the refrigerator at work?

  18. bec 36

    My sisters and I also sneaked sugar cubes, but not from the box, because my mother had put them into a glass cannister with a cork top. Much easier to get to, that way.

    And I had a very similar incident with a horse. In 1991 I went on a trip to L.A. with my then-boyfriend. We ventured out to the Hollywood Hills to ride horses, but it turned out they weren’t giving any riding lessons on that day. So we went off on our horses and mine just did whatever he wanted because he knew I had no clue. The thing he liked most to do was to stand around and eat flowers at the edge of the path, just inches from the both of us falling into oblivion. Eventually one of the stable people appeared to lead us around a little bit. I felt quite stupid, but it was neither the first time nor the last.

    bec :D

  19. Judy

    I’m like Leanne… I remember sugar cubes mostly from polio vaccines. BUT.. my grandmother used to hide marshmallow cream… it was in the top left corner of the cabinet just to the right of the sink ;-) AND, when she would go to get it down to make fudge, I usually got in trouble because half the jar would be gone.

  20. Mom2One

    mostly I want to pluck out his liver and eat it, do you think that makes me a bad mother

    Only if you want it with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

    Sugar cubes — I have a slight aversion to them because my grandfather used them with his coffee. Notice I said with, not in. He would put one in his mouth and drink his coffee, all the while sucking loudly on the sugar cube that was in his mouth. YUCKEWWWWGROSS!! Too bad I don’t have the sound effects for that one; it would cure anyone of a sugar cube addiction!!

  21. newmommie

    Happy De-Lurking Week! I love your site!

  22. Liise

    Back in the day our mother’s had sugar cubes because ALL GOOD HOSTESSES had sugar cube to serve their guests with coffee or tea.

    Not that I ever saw those things come out of the cabinet (unless I was sneaking them)

  23. Liise

    aaaaaand now that I have read the other comments…

    WTF? Polio Vaccines?

  24. meno

    I used to sneak the instant mashed potato flakes. I think sugar cubes would have been better.

  25. Michelle

    You sure handled it better than I did, I’m fresh out of meme material.

  26. Jan in Norman OK

    Note to Liise — Yep, back in the early 60’s polio vaccine was given orally, dribbled onto sugar cubes. I remember standing in line at Monterrey Elementary School in Roswell, NM for mine. (Whoosh — that was the sound of many years flying by, making me feel really old…)

  27. Sarah

    De-lurking here.
    I feel obligated to confess that I used to regularly steal and munch sugar cubes while babysitting… Yep, a regular criminal.
    I love reading your blog and I wanna grow up to be just as beautiful as you someday (well, sadly, that growing up opportunity may already be past for me…). Thanks for writing so that the rest of us can laugh so hard we pee our pants!

  28. Margaret

    De-Lurking here…. not even sure how I ended up on your blog. I must have read someone who referenced someone who referenced someone who referenced you. :) Love your family stories!!!

  29. rachel

    wow, those are some things I didn’t know.

    Simon’s Rock had seemed like a good (reasonably close to home) fit for bright, homeschooled kids who are ready for college early. Mebbe not so much, though…

    I’m feeling so lucky to have escaped PPD with all 3 of mine. I’m so impressed with the courage of moms who got through it.

  30. kathy

    I’m pretty sure that the sugar cubes were used for acid. Well, that’s what I HEARD. Not that I actually used sugar cubes for that. We used paper. :)

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