O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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We were making these giant wreaths.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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

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What Have We Done to Each Other?: Gone Girl (2014)

2014 Gone Girl

What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?

So I am just stating here and now that I will not reveal the end of this movie. It is a great piece of work, with an amazing twist that you must see or read (the book) for yourself. Since it is still out in theaters I do not want to ruin anything for the potential viewer. That being said:

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So the book this film is based on came out in 2012 and I was really intrigued by it. I added it to my to-read list and planned on getting around to it. But you readers know how that is.

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So yeah, I hadn’t gotten around to it. However, that all changed this summer. I told you in a previous post that I journeyed out to Wyoming for an internship. There wasn’t a lot to do in the town, and the other interns and I mostly hung out on the weekends. We talked about what there was to do, which was mostly reading or netflixing. (I don’t have netflix so I Amazon Instant Watch or putlocker things). Anyways, one of the interns, Gwen, hadn’t brought anything with her and was asking about where to purchase books. I had brought my kindle and was fine (until it broke). I told her the library was out as I had found out to get a card I would have to pay $20.

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Then I remembered! There was a bookstore in town called “The Newstand“. But shortly after we arrived it went out of business.

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Yep. I think the only place left in town you could to get books were the Walgreens or the Walmart. They had two thrift stores in town, one was only clothes, the other furniture. It was very different from anyplace I’d lived before.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Anyways, so one week Gwen starts talking about this book she just bought (I don’t know where. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever asked her.) She told us it was Gone Girl. Immediately I was intrigued as I had really wanted to borrow it. I asked for the book and finished it in one day. It was that good.

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The book is a mystery/suspense/horror. The way it is told is really interesting as it goes back and forth between the present and the past. In the present Nick Dunne’s is trying to figure out and cope with his wife Amy’s disappearance. The past is revealed to us through Amy’s journal, as she details the everything prior to her disappearance. It was an interesting book as it has the same unsettling qualities as Catcher in the Rye or Alias Grace. In Catcher in the Rye, the main character, Holden Caulfield, admits to the reader that he is a liar, leaving one unsure of what in the book is real, and what is a child’s fantasy. Margaret Atwood, author of Alias Grace, does a similar thing in her novel. There are no quotations marks put around the dialogue, leaving the reader very uncertain as to what was said and what was only in the character’s minds. Just like Holden,  Grace Marks leaves us wondering if she is really telling the truth?

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Gone Girl isn’t exactly written that way, but it does have some similarities. With Nick, he is described as being somewhat of an a***hole (his word not mine) and having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. He is too good looking and charming that you don’t want to trust him (the characters joke that his chin causes you to not trust him.) As you read his accounts you start wondering if there is more than he is telling the reader. You feel as if he is hiding something from you, even though it is told in first person. It makes you wonder what is he hiding? What are his secrets?

Suspense have to know

And then you have Amy. Everything we hear is from what she wrote in a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. Sometimes you exaggerate or write things down that you would never do, just because it helps destress you. As I mentioned before it is a release. Besides that you don’t write everything down in a journal. After all, that is a lot of work. Most of the time you write down the things that made you upset or happy; never giving the whole picture but a moment. Just a moment. It’s selective in memory. So that begs the question: how much of it can we take as fact? How much is fiction?

Carnival of Souls Don;y know real

So one day I was at the movie theater watching Expendables III. The film finished and I contemplated sneaking in to see another film, but unfortunately the theater I was at was very small (four screens) and the ticket seller and I had had an actual conversation, so he would remember me. Along with that, my “California-ness” showed very strongly as everyone told that I looked very “different” from Wyoming girls.

Yeah I don't understand it either

Yeah I don’t understand it either

So instead I called a cab for a ride home and waited around until it came. As I was waiting, I started watching the screen that showed trailers for upcoming films. I saw one for The Equalizer, but it didn’t really strike me as a “must-see”. After that the trailer for Gone Girl came up.

OMG

I didn’t even know that they were turning the book into a film!!! Fantastic!!! Then I saw the cast list. As you know from an earlier post, I love Ben Affleck. I knew he would be a perfect Nick. Rosamund Pike was great as Jane in Pride and Prejudice (2005) and I was interested to see how she would do this role. I thought Neil Patrick Harris was a great choice as Amy’s ex, as everything I have ever seen him in he has conquered. The only thing I was unsure about was Tyler Perry. But to be honest, any time I see him not playing Madea, it’s a little strange. Anyways, I became excited for the film and couldn’t wait to see it.

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And as I mentioned before it was pretty incredible.

Take note Hollywood

Take note Hollywood

What was great about the film was that they followed the book pretty consistently. There are a few changes, but not enough to make you want to string up the director by his thumbs. On a whole the changes didn’t really hurt the film at all. I thought it was amazing how they handled the flashbacks, narrations, and journal entries. I would definitely read the book along with the movie as it has more detail and little things that can’t transfer over to film. I do give one warning though. If you want to be surprised DO NOT READ THE BOOK. The book has this amazing twist, about halfway through, and a killer end. It was a great shock when you read it, but not so much the second time encountering it on the screen. I mean you already know it, so while the rest of the audience is oohing and ahhing over it, you’re just chilling there thinking, knew it.

dean whinchester shrug smile oh well

So if you truly, truly want to be surprised. I would wait to read the book until after seeing the film.

So I’m just going to do a partial review, as I really, really don’t want to spoil too much for anybody.

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Nick Dunne

Nick Dunne Gone Girl Lost Confused

It is the day of the Dunne’s five-year anniversary. And Nick is not very happy.

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You see life hasn’t been a bed of roses for the Dunnes. Nick is from a little town; North Carthage, Missouri. He went to college and moved to New York, and began writing for a magazine. He met Amy at a party and the two later married…but bliss did not last long. He lost his job due to downsizing as the economy tanked. His father is crazy and in a home where he constantly escapes from. And his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately, hearing the news of his mother, he and Amy move back to his hometown much to her displeasure.

Now the relationship was already strained, but after moving to Missouri it becomes much worse. Amy is a New Yorker born and bred and doesn’t do well with places that are not New York.

That particular morning, Nick heads over to the bar that he bought with his twin sister Margot, and the two contemplate what would be a good anniversary present. 5 years is wood, “and there’s nothing good from that.” When Nick heads home, he receives the biggest shock of his life.

What!

His house is a mess and his wife is missing.

OMG

He can’t find her and doesn’t know where she might be. He calls the police and later, her parents. They team up and begin commercials, signs, news reports, trying to find Amy. Ben Affleck did an amazing job at this role.

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But some people don’t think that he’s quite so innocent. Some suspect he might have killed her. Things become espechially sticky when they discover the broken in area was staged, and a lot of blood was spilled and then cleaned up afterwards. Did he have something to do with his wife’s disappearance? Did he kill her? Is he innocent? If he is innocent, than what happened to her? Where can she be?

Suspense have to know

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Amy Dunne

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We are first introduced to Amy through her journal. Amy is the daughter of authors. Her parents wrote the best-selling series called Amazing Amy. Their main character is perfect and excels at every hobby. Especially things that Amy has failed at. Amy resents the books, but they have made her famous and a major spot in the limelight.

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Amy is beautiful, charming, witty, etc. The “perfect” woman.

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She writes personality quizzes for magazines for a living. I know some of you out there might think that’s a bit strange, but let’s face it…she has a major trust fund. She meets Nick at a “writer” party one night, and after that the two are hooked. They get married and have a few great years, but things start going downhill once Nick loses his job. He becomes someone that she doesn’t know.

Carnival of Souls Don;y know real

She hates Missouri. Nick thrives, but it makes her feel like she is choking. Then things in the marriage start to get even worse…Or does it? Is Nick really as cruel as Amy paints him? Or are the writings in the journal just the exaggerations of an unhappy, displaced person?

What!

Did Amy leave by her own choice? Or was she taken by force? But most importantly, where is Amy?

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The supporting characters are just as great as Affleck and Pike. Carrie Coon is perfect as Margot as she is really able to capture twin sister needling brother, and being supremely protective of him. Kim Dickens is an amazing Detective Rhonda Boney, the homicide officer assigned to the case. She seems all midwestern, laid-back, easygoing, charm; but she has a real brain in her head and is highly observant. Neil Patrick Harris steals scenes, as he plays Desi Collings, Amy’s ex and possible kidnapper. And then we have Tyler Perry, rounding out the cast as Tanner Bolt. I never would have picked him for the part as he is radically different, but he does a great job as being one of those shark lawyers after the big-name cases.

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And is has an awesome twist that I will not reveal as you all should definitely watch/read for yourself.

Where is Amy? What Happened to Her? Visit Your Local Theater to Find Out.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to There’s Nothing Out There. Nothing in the Mist

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For more on Ben Affleck, go to What is This Thing?

For more on films based on books, go to You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

For more twist endings, go to Don’t F*** With the Original

For more book-filled posts, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die