Winter Wonderland

So do you all remember my post last year on chopping down our Christmas tree? I talked about how hard and heavy it was and the way the tree kind of beat me up.

WizardofOzAppleTreesDorothySmacked

Well this year wasn’t as painful, but it was just as interesting.

So every year after Thanksgiving my family drives up to the mountains to chop down our Christmas Tree.

OChristmasTreeOChristmasTreeGrimm

So some of you think that it seems like a ton of trouble but cutting down your tree is way better than buying it off the lot.

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 13 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are given a home. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

-Jim-Carrey-beautiful-gif-UYfb

So this year we were gearing up to go, when we were called up by some friends of the family, the Nelsons. They’ve seen our trees and wanted one for themselves, so they asked to join us.

Double double yay

30 mins later, another family called, the Salamancas. They also wanted to join us, the more the merrier.

AWESOME!!!

And not too long after that, the Hawkins called and wanted to come too.

morethemerrier

So the next day, the day after Thanksgiving, we headed up the mountain caravan style. When we got there we got one big surprise. Snow!

Now you may recall me stating again and again how California has been in a drought the past few years. I mean, yes, we have had a few rainstorms but no one was expecting this. Of course when we saw it, we were all kinds of excited!

snow

Now we may only be like an hour or so away from the snow, but where I live it never snows. It may get under 30 degrees, but if it does it will never rain.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

 We never get a white Christmas, the closest we ever come to it is a wet one.

rainbreakfastattiffaneyscat

And after like three years of going to the mountains and getting nothing, we finally had snow once again!

snowsnow

Of course I always dress for the snow, even when there isn’t anything, just because it is cold up there. But my family is the only one who was prepared that way. Everybody else had the wrong shoes, jackets, etc. Oops!

SherlockPoppedcollarcoolandmysterious

In fact there was so much snow that we weren’t even able to go to our usual tree cutting spot. The road was just covered in snow and black ice, in fact we almost got stuck at one point.

OMG gasp

So we went back down the mountain, found a spot, and began the search for the perfect tree.

It was hard going, even harder than last time as the snow blinded us and made every tree look amazing. But upon closer examination, they were not quite what we wanted.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

At one point it felt like we were never going to find it.

Reality Sucks

But then we found it. A beautiful 13-footer.

-Jim-Carrey-beautiful-gif-UYfb

But then came the problem of cutting it down.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

You see we had forgotten to bring the chain saw, and instead only had a regular saw. A saw which is very hard to cut down the tree with.

We all tried, but it was hard with that sap. However, thanks to our extra help we were able to get it down and to the road.

One-does-nottimber

When we reached the road, we discovered we had walked really far away from our cars. So my dad went to get our truck while we waited.

Now by this time it wasn’t really snowing, but it had gotten colder and icy. The roads were completely covered in ice.

snowsnow

My dad drove down the hill, but when he tried to get back up to us, he almost got stuck in the side of the road as he started swirling off the road on the ice.

OMG gasp

Luckily my dad was able to drive in reverse and get out of the ice so we could put the tree in the back of our truck.

When we got home it started raining, and we had to get our tree into the house in the wind, rain, and the dark. But it was all worth it. It looked absolutely beautiful when we put it up in our house and decorated it.

victorian_christmas room decorated for christmas

A absolutely beautiful tree.

OChristmasTreeOChristmasTreeGrimm

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For more on cutting down the Christmas tree, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on White Christmas, go to Sisterly Roles

For more stories from my everyday life, go to A Baker’s Four Dozen

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So today’s Christmas Carol is not Winter Wonderland as let’s be honest, it’s not even really about Christmas. Instead today’s song is I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. The song was written by Irving Berlin and was sung by Bing Crosby, originaly in Holiday Inn, although at the time it was overshadoed by Be Careful It’s My Heart.

For me this wasn’t the first place I heard the song. The first time I was  introduced to the song was in the Christmas special claymation, The First White Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. In it one of the nuns, Sister Theresa, sings about how she misses the white Christmases from her hometown.

FirstWhiteChristmas

However my favorite version comes from the film Holiday Inn, the first film to showcase the song.

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I think the way that Bing sings it in this film is much better than the way the group does it in White Christmas. In Holiday Inn it just sounds so much more personal and meaningful.

Plus I like that movie better.

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For more on The First White Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more on Holiday Inn, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more Christmas carols, go to Fah Who Foraze, Dah Who Doraze, Welcome Christmas

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It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

So I like the rain.

rainyday

It is cozy, it is pretty, it’s fun. And living in California while in the midst of a drought, we have all been wishing for rain.

rain

And when it comes we are all ecstatic! Rejoicing in the streets!

Now the other day I was out running errands. The skies were kinda gray and it had been raining every few days, so I brought my umbrella along. I had just left a store when it happened.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

It was like all of a sudden the Kraken was released or something. Water was pouring, galloping, annihilating.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It seriously hurt when it pelted you. I got in my car to drive home, but it was like I was in Psycho or something. I couldn’t see anything.

StoryOfMyLifeSomeLikeItHotMarilynMonroe

Good thing it was daytime or else I would have been out of luck. Of course when I got home, the rain become enjoyable again.

gloomyrainydays

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For more on rain, go to Rainy Days & Rainy Nights

For more on my everyday life, go to Walking on Pins and Needles

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In other news, I have to get my wisdom teeth out. Yep, all four.

ouch Hermione

I know. So I may or my not be taking a break from posting. We’ll just have to wait and see how I am. I may be in killer pain, loopy from the drugs, or just fine.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

OChristmasTreeOChristmasTreeGrimm

So I don’t know about you all but my family actually cuts down our Christmas Tree. We always go the day after Thanksgiving to the black friday sales, and then a few hours to the forest to cut down our tree.

One-does-not-idy8we

Now some of you may wonder why we would go through so much trouble? Why not buy a fake one? Well I’ll tell you why:

1) The permit to cut down a tree only costs $10. That means you can get as big a tree you want for only ten bucks! For instance we got a 12 foot tree for 5% of the cost of  buying one from a lot.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

2) Cutting down your Christmas tree is very good for the environment.

Say What

 I know many of you have just read that and are probably saying to yourselves this girl is stupid, but just hear me out. You see trees grow in clumps and while that is a great thing as they share resources, protect each other, pollinate each other, etc. However, at times this can be bad. Sometimes trees grow too close together that they are unable to get their share. Often times one, or all, the trees will die as there isn’t enough to go around. Cutting down your own Christmas tree from one of the clumps means that one side might be a little thinner (you just aim that side in the corner) and it helps the other trees grow big and strong. Also periodically clearing out sections of trees protects them in the summer when there are threats of forest fires. And of course, this cutting isn’t a free for all. You can only cut from certain sections, therefore protecting a wider majority of trees. You also have restrictions on the tree size. Your trunk can only have a diameter of 6 inches and there is a restriction of high the stump can be. These regulations keep older trees protected, along with making sure people are not cutting off the tops and leaving the rest of the tree.

That's a lot!

That’s a lot!

3) Cutting your own tree means that it will last longer. You see one of the biggest problems with tree lots is that these trees are cut at the end of November, shipped over to the city they will be sold, and hanging around on pavement until they are sold. They are not getting the same TLC or water and a lot of them die really early, shedding tons of pine needles along the way. Now when you cut your own tree, it is nice and fresh and lasts much, much longer. As I said we always get our tree at the end of November and take it down at the end of January. We could keep it up longer, but usually by February we are packing up our Christmas stuff. Besides longevity, it also smells absolutely wonderful.

-Jim-Carrey-beautiful-gif-UYfb

And with cutting down your tree there are always adventures. Three years ago I went with my parents and we brought my two nieces, my nephew, and our dog. We hiked all over the area in the snow looking for the perfect tree.

We finally found it and my dad cut it down using a manpowered saw rather than a chainsaw. I tried to help him but it was hard work and both of us were pooped. He was really tired so I had him rest and had to carry that tree on my own. Let me say, I’m never doing that again. It was sooo heavy! I don’t know how I was able to carry it even for a minute.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

After my dad’s rest we finished moving the tree to the truck. After that I had to carry the three kids as the snow embankments had grown larger, and they wouldn’t be able to make it out. Yep, every time I feel like something is too hard, difficult, or heavy, I just remind myself that I carried a tree down a mountainside. I rule!

notimpossiblebutpossibleAudreyHepburn

And this year wasn’t any duller. There was no snow as we’ve been suffering some strong dry spells, but we still had a lot of fun hiking up and down the mountainside for that perfect tree. When we found it we cut it down (using a chainsaw this time) and started to head down the mountainside. Now, we’ve been doing this since I was like 13, but this year something happened that had never happened before.

As we started down the hill trying to bring the tree to the truck, my dad yelled at us to turn the tree as he wanted the weaker side pointed to the ground as that side was to lay in the flatbed. As we turned the tree, BAM! SMACK!

batmanBamSmackKaboom

The tree branches kept smacking me in the face. And when I mean kept, I meant it didn’t stop. I guess it was the section of the tree I was in, but I couldn’t see a thing, just branches and branches smacking me in the face.

I felt as if it was like in The Wizard of Oz when the trees come to life and start smacking Dorothy.

WizardofOzAppleTreesDorothySmacked

It was almost like it was mad at me for me cutting it down.

When we got home we got it out of the truck and was taking it into the house and had to turn the tree again. Now this time I had stood on the opposite side of the tree, hoping that would keep it from hitting me, but now once again tree slap.

WizardofOzAppleTreesDorothySmacked

Hair everywhere, I can’t see a thing, I’m afraid my glasses might get knocked off and go flying, and I am praying so hard that I do not fall in our pool.

pretty please beg

Luckily we get it in the stand and straighten it out. And boy does it look lovely. It kind of makes up for the abuse it gave me.

Now my abuse from the tree branches doesn’t end there. Oh, no! You see after I graduated and interned this summer; I moved back home. I’ve been trying to find a job, but this is pretty much what it is like.

PearlsBeforeSwineWorkExperienceJobSearching

So to fill the time until I am hopefully hired, I am volunteering at quite a few places. One of which is my local museum. So last week I headed down there as it was my turn to work the desk. I brought with me some pine clippings from our tree as the museum was decorating for Christmas. Well it turned out that they didn’t have as many volunteers as they hoped, so they asked me to help with the decorating. I thought okay, it will be fun.

big mistake

So I thought decorating meant we were going to hang ornaments on the tree.

Bishop's wife christmas tree

howtheGrinchstoleChristmasWrongo

We were making these giant wreaths.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

So I was paired with one of the volunteers and let me just stop and share something with you. Most of the volunteers at the museum are older, like 60+. So the woman I had wasn’t the most helpful. You see you take branches of the tree and put them on a plastic doughnut, tying them down with string or wire as you go along. Adding more and more branches until it is filled. However, that’s not what happened here. My helper laid tons of branches down and then sat down as she couldn’t tie them on. I tried to tie the branches down, but the wreath slipped and they all went crashing to the floor.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Yep, I had to do everything over, but this time I did it right. As I continued, more people came and helped out which was nice. It was a really hard process though as it had rained for the past three days, and all their tree clippings were soaked, making the already hard job of trying to tie them down even harder!

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Replace Rothbart with wreath

Finally we had completed it and I was tired. It’s a lot of bending over and being pricked/stabbed by the wire and tree branches. I sat down for a bit but then had to move on to making garland.

Stupid, stupid

OMG it was so hard. You have a piece of rope and have to twist tie the branch to the rope. Yep, those flimsy little twisty ties. IT TAKES FOREVER! You keep placing branches over and over each other to make it fuller and until you cover the rope. This is extremely hard. At times I was trying to use one of those flimsy things to tie three branches together! And because a lot of people had to leave, I had to do it all on my own. By one fourth of the way I wanted to burn the thing.

HateEverythingthewomen

We had a time limit to this as at noon the county was sending over free labor and the right machine to hang this things high up on the walls. So when every team completed theirs and saw I wasn’t even at the halfway point they all descended on me to help out.

Now you think this would have been nice, and it would have if it was one or two, but there were like five trying to take over the tying or telling me what to do. It made me feel kind of surly:

Game of thrones jon Snow kit harrington I know how

But I just kept to myself, trying to be professional.

After that my shift was over and I headed home, bearing more battle wounds that those brought on by the slapping tree. My hands were covered in cuts and they hurt sooo bad, my back was aching from bending over, my feet were sore from standing, etc. But hey beauty is pain, and the place sure did look amazing!

victorian_christmas room decorated for christmas

Merry Christmas!

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For more on Christmas trees, go to On the  7th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Christmas, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more moments of my every day life, go to How Can This Be?

For more on the Wizard of Oz, go to My Favorite Movie Lines

For more of my favorite songs, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more of my favorite quotes, go to When in Doubt