December 28, 2000
Mr. Magoo Moments [and some other stuff]

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, and for a couple of minutes I had absolutely no idea where I was.

I sat up in bed and looked around the room, blinking in darkness. Nothing seemed familiar. There was a man snoring beneath the blankets next to me, but I had no clue who he was. I sensed that he was probably someone I was fond of ... someone I probably shared a bed and a life and a toothbrush holder with ... but I couldn't recall his name or his face. 

He was just a formless, faceless lump on the other side of the Posturepedic.

I slid out of bed and wandered out to the kitchen -- or at least to where I figured the kitchen would be, in this dinky unfamiliar little apartment -- hoping to shake off some of this creepy nocturnal amnesia. But the sensation persisted. I stood in front of the open refrigerator for a minute ... looking at half-empty bottles of cranberry juice, soggy tomatoes, cartons of eggs. Who bought this stuff? Who did it belong to? Whut the fudk is hoisin sauce, anyway? I poured a glass of milk and sat down in front of the computer for a minute, thinking maybe I should check my e-mail ... but feeling too discombobulated to try and remember how.

Eventually I gave up and crawled back into bed -- next to the stranger on the other side of the mattress -- and willed myself back to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later, the sun was streaming through our bedroom window, and David was laying next to me, and everything was back to normal. 

Kyle & Mom ~ Christmas 2000

Here's what's weird, though: a similar thing happened to me a couple of times in TicTac, this past week. Two nights out of the four I spent under my ex-husband's roof, visiting the Tots for Christmas, I woke up in a similar fugue state ... sitting bolt upright in my son's narrow little bed, blinking at the darkness, wondering where the heck I was. I know that house better than anywhere I've ever lived in my whole life -- I know where all of the bodies are buried (and who buried them) -- and yet, for a couple of minutes at least, it became a dark and eerily unfamiliar place. At 2 a.m. I found myself standing in the living room, looking down at my son sleeping peacefully on the sofa in front of me, thinking I know who this is, but I can't remember his name.

No, I'm not going crazy. And no, it isn't early onset Alzheimer's. Sleep disturbances, especially during periods of significant stress, have plagued me all my life. (Remind me to tell you the *Look! Mommy's Asleep & Naked Under the Christmas Tree! Story* sometime.) The way I see it, I'm either going to have to start sewing name-tags into everybody's pajamas so I can identify them during my Mr. Magoo Moments, or else I'm going to have to increase my ginko biloba doseage.

At least during the holidays.

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Christmas 2000 was the usual mixed bag of good: hanging out with the Tots ... soft tacos and Mexi-Fries at Taco Time ... "Scrooged," "A Christmas Story" and "A South Park Christmas" ... lots of quiet time to read (I finished an entire book during my visit) ...

... and the bad: Southcenter Mall two days before Christmas ... cigarette smoke ... traffic ... rain ... cats ... dogs ... paper cuts ... the woodstove burning 24/7.

It was an equal mixture of wonderful: unlimited digital cable ... limitless Folgers ... those little powdered-sugar cookies that Betty-Next-Door bakes every year ... my ex-husband's homemade beef jerky ... a real live Christmas tree covered with all of the familiar family ornaments ... seeing my parents, hugging my sister, talking to my brother, chasing my nephew around with a camera ...

... and not-so-wonderful: thunderous rap music in the car ... no clean towels in the entire fudking house ... phones ringing ... getting up at 4 a.m. to catch a plane.

We experienced both the profound (Joel proposing to Jaymi on Christmas morning) and the profane (I accidentally heard Celine Dion singing John Lennon's "Happy Christmas," and will almost certainly bear the psychological scars for the rest of my life) ... as well as the downright weird (opening an engagement present from my sister, as my ex-husband stood next to me, smiling).

In other words: it was your typical SecraTerri Family Christmas.

My fifth-favorite-moment of Christmas 2000? Getting off the airplane at TicTac International on Friday afternoon, and finding Jaymi, Kyle and Joel standing there waiting for me. I'd never really met Joel face-to-face before. (Last summer DOESN'T COUNT, OK? You were still referring to him as "Eyebrow Dude" at the time, forcryingoutloud.) He is every bit as funny and personable and cute and charming, in person, as he is online and on the phone. It made me glad I'd gone ahead and sprung for the expensive socks.

My fourth-favorite-moment of Christmas 2000? Leafing through a notebook full of my dad's hand-drawn cartoons.

My third-favorite-moment of Christmas 2000? Walking into the restaurant and surprising Kacie during her dinner break from work. She'd been told that my plane was "delayed" and that I wouldn't be getting in until the following day. The expression on her face when she saw me walk through the door was priceless.

Kacie ~ Christmas Eve 2000

My second-favorite-moment of Christmas 2000? My son reaching forward from the back seat and giving me a quick wordless neck rub, during a particularly tense moment in the car.

And my most-favorite-moment of Christmas 2000? Waking up before everybody else on Christmas morning and quietly sitting in front of the tree with my coffee, listening to music ... thinking about how much I love my children, and how glad I was to be there with them ... and how blessed I feel for their presence in my life.

It was just like the old days for a little while.

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If you pull your magnifying glass out of the desk drawer and hold it up to the computer monitor, you might be able to see the brand-new diamond on Jaymi's left ring finger. And no, not because it's small -- it's actually a pretty respectable rock -- but because, as usual, my *scanning technique* leaves something to be desired. (But hey, while you've got the magnifying glass in your hand, check out the thirty-seven year old marshmallow Santas on the Christmas tree! Those are *my* teethmarks!)

I've known all along that Joel was going to propose to Jaymi on Christmas morning. He approached both the ex-husband and I a few weeks ago, asking for our blessing (and our advice: birthday or Christmas?) But of course we were sworn to secrecy. I most especially was not allowed to write about it here on the website. I mentioned something about it to my notify list people ... and I told my mom, I think, and my sister, and a few people at work ... and I sent e-mail to a handful of online friends, and I posted the news on the message boards, and I took out a full-page ad in Rolling Stone ... but other than that, I stayed zipped up tighter than my Tolo dress.

On Friday afternoon, after the kids picked me up from the airport and we dropped Jaymi off at her apartment, Joel, Kyle and I went to the mall and picked up the engagement ring he had chosen for her. So I got to see her ring before *she* did. Joel and I agreed that I would hang onto it until Christmas Eve, just in case Jaymi decided to go snooping before he had a chance to spring it on her. Yes, I tried it on: I squeezed it onto my ring finger, just above my own brand-new diamond. Yes, I got all weepy and sentimental and burst into a spontaneous gender-nonspecific chorus of "Sunrise, Sunset," right there in the middle of Ben Bridge Jewelers.

Christmas morning, of course, we had to wait a while to find out whether or not he'd popped the question ... AND what her response had been. I didn't want to call their apartment: I was terrified I might *interrupt* something important. So we just sat around the house drinking coffee and waiting for Jaymi & Joel to show up to open presents with us. (The question really wasn't Will she accept? as much as Does he know what he's getting into? But that's another story for another day.) When they finally came sauntering in, somewhere around 10 a.m., Jaymi was wearing her ring ... and Joel was wearing a smile.

They're engaged! It's official. Yippee!

Now we can begin planning our matching Mother-and-Daughter Wedding Gowns!

(Stay tuned.)

Jaymi & Joel ~ Christmas 2000

one year ago: on the twelfth day of christmas

throw a rock