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December 08, 2001: Tannenbaum

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Every year, when my family would drive up to get our Christmas tree, we'd eye all the different varieties and do the traditional 'what kind of tree did we get last year that we said we liked best?' It was one of those little factoids that we all swore we'd remember *this* time, and then of course promptly forget shortly after the holidays were over and the tree taken down, until next December when we were faced with a list of ten different versions of evergreen.

I'm pleased to report that Richard and I did our own little version of this as we wandered the tree farm today, he with the requisite tree saw slung over one shoulder, and me peering at the map, trying to figure out the orientation so we could find the right kind of tree.

So this year I'm writing it down - in here, of course, where I will promptly forget that I ever recorded it. But hey, at least I'm trying. This year we cut down a perfect scotch pine, with a top sturdy enough to hold the pretty gold wire star we purchased over Thanksgiving.

The tree farm smells marvelously of pine. As you walk the muddy trails between the trees you cannot help but take deep gulping breaths, trying to inhale the cleanness off the air, and that hint of Christmas coming. We wandered through incense cedars and Monterey pines and rows of redwoods, eying several and considering some until we found Our Tree. Then we sipped hot apple cider while Richard went off to pay for the tree (luckily the kind we like best is also the cheapest. Woo!) and I followed my tree from handler to handler, directing which branches to trim on the bottom, and protecting it from those who wanted to put that nasty flocking on it.

We wrestled our tree into the car, ending up with the top part handing out the window, netting flapping in the breeze as we drove quickly home. Then we got to wrestle it *out* of the car, and that's where the fun really began.

Unfortunately, while we had them trim off the bottom branches, we didn't think to have them trim the knots too. We got the tree inside, but trying to get it into the tree stand didn't exactly work. The trunk was too thick.

No worries. I simply called my dad and convinced him to let us borrow a few saws in exchange for letting them borrow something of ours. The exchange made, saws in hand, we attacked the bottom of our tree. And attacked it. And attacked it. At one point Richard muttered something about maybe looking for a larger tree stand but I wasn't to be deterred.

We finally got enough of the knots cut off so we could mash the tree stand on. I'm not sure if we'll ever get it *off* again, but at this point we don't really care. The important things is that the tree is standing now in our living room, in the bay window, covered in lights and all of our ornaments, and topped with the gold wire star. The house smells of pine and freshly baked gingerbread men (guess what I did *after* we put up the tree?), and there are tiny boughs tucked amid the gargoyles and swords on the fireplace mantel. The cats - after the initial inspection of Something New in the House - are currently ignoring it, but I know only too well that tomorrow morning I am sure to come downstairs and find a few stray ornaments that've somehow managed to leap to their doom, entirely unassisted by feline paws (yeah right).

We've lots more to do - lights to put outside, more cookies to bake, Christmas cards to write. But for now, this is a pretty good start.

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