CacheCrazy.Com: 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

What do Spartans do on their day off?

How about 100 burpees for starters!

By: Bloodhounded, Following Team Limitless Through The Quest 2012
Last October 1st, 2011 I wrote, "ARE YOU SPARTAN TOUGH"  introducing Brian Tumelty and his team of Spartan Racers who took the challenge that the Spartan Sprint Race in Palmerton, PA had to offer. Since that time Brian and I have kept in touch. I've made the commitment to follow these Spartans through the 2012 race season. Partly because this sport intrigues me, these guys motivate me and because our readers are so diverse with everyone having some sort of fitness goal, we can all relate. I have learned a lot about Spartan commitment, social community and the unbelievable support that they share with each other to get into shape and stay in top physical condition. A lifestyle of training, not just training for a race. This is no joke guys, these Spartan guys and gals mean business. Ever try to do a burpee? Sounds funny right? Do 40 and let me know what you think then. Brian recently challenged the Spartan community on his Facebook page to do 100 brupees in
THE 100 BURPEE CHALLENGE 

Day 1 =1 brupee
Day 2 = 2 burpees
Day 100 = 100 burpees (you get the picture)

Then you could post a picture or video of you doing them in unique places. Fun, right?
Here is Brian doing some "Ghetto Burpees"

And how about Kim's "Farm Burpees"

You would think no one accepted the challenge or maybe just a few wild ones, right?
WRONG! At the time of this writing, 1053 Spartans in training and fitness enthusiasts have accepted the burpee challenge! That's just CRAZY!


Since the interview with Brian, the group of 9 have formed TEAM LIMITLESS that now has over 30 members and 30 of them are registered for the upcoming race 2012 so you know they are not fooling around. The team is made up of athletes determined to go all the way! One particular member that I would like to highlight in this post is Kirk Waidell. Brian describes him as the man who started it all for him.



Kirk recently created and facilitated the Spartan Boot Camp Workout and several of the members came to the battlefield to get crushed by Kirks' idea of building a workout that will condition you for the punishments of the race itself. It blends cardio with bursts of strength and endurance building torture, similar to what the race will ask of your body.













Kirk Waidell, "Experiments In Limitless Living" is the name of his blog which is so inspirational to the fitness community. Brian provided me with a bio from Kirk and with great respect, I post it here.

I bring you Kirk in his own words:
I firmly believe there are many moments in life where you realize your direction  must change. A few years ago I was a bloated, depressed junk food eating couch potato.  My appearance was disgusting. Driving down the road one day chomping on doughnuts, I caught a glimpse of my pudgy cheeks and mouth covered in sugary goodness. It made me sick to see myself like that, covered in crumbs, my stomach oozing over my seat belt.  A change had to happen.  Thus my journey into the world of fitness began.

After trying and failing at some different gym programs and a horrible experience with a personal trainer, I whipped myself into shape with the P90X program.  In 90 days I dropped 60lbs. I was hooked.  I went on to complete the program several more times.  I so enjoyed keeping myself fit, and helping others achieve great results, I decided to go to school and completed the AFPA program to become a Certified Personal Trainer. 

Fate has smiled upon me; I was quickly able to start part time as a group fitness instructor at Amerikick Karate in Lansdale, PA.   I took on the Boot Camp class and quickly had to learn the art of workout design. Thankfully, my class was forgiving, encouraging and had a great attitude as I perfected my craft on them. 
Even working as a trainer, I’m only human, and begin to slack in my workouts. I’ll admit, sustaining motivation isn’t easy.  Another blessing that has helped me become a better trainer was the discovery of the Spartan Races.  I ran a several mud runs previously, but none appealed to me on the level Spartan does.  Not only does Spartan boast a huge community of people helping people, but its a great tool in keeping yourself motivated for working out.  The following is a Blog post from my website, www.kirkwaidell.com highlighting the importance of what I call “fitness on purpose

 Fitness on purpose, sounds pretty simple right? Have a reason or purpose for your fitness program. Working out to drop weight or get in shape really doesn't motivate me to spend an hour a day doing burpees, push-ups and pull ups or worse yet running on a tread mill. Once you have a goal of weight loss what do you do next?
In my opinion, weight loss isn’t specific enough of a goal. I became involved in the adventure mud runs, specifically Spartan Race, to push myself and challenge my body. When you are training to participate in an event, or for a specified physical challenge, the way you want to train your body changes. When training for a summer of mud runs I will condition my body differently than if I am in the winter, and training strictly for strength. So what’s my point? See yourself as an athlete, do something with your fitness, have a purpose for training other than “to get in shape”. To me that’s not specific enough. Commit to a Spartan Race or something else that will challenge you to pursue fitness on purpose.

My passion, my desire is too see other people reach their fitness potential.  Seeing someone accomplish a work out, week in and week out, increasing strength, endurance, shedding pounds, that is so thrilling.  My goal is to help everyone that walks into my gym reach their full potential, to encourage them to go beyond limits and create a stunning body. 

Creating the Spartan workout was an awesome experience, and I was thrilled to do it.  Team Limitless has an awesome group of people and several of them came out Saturday Dec 3, to put themselves to the test.  In my opinion, optimum training for Spartan is intense endurance followed by a burst of strength.  This simulates the actual need as a Spartan runner.  Running a distance to an obstacle that needs a burst of strength, immediately followed by intense endurance.  This is the philosophy for training that I follow, and have found it to be adequate for my participation level. (I’m not in it for time, however I find myself to be in great condition).  Obviously if you are participating for time, you can increase your training and I would absolutely add long distance running.

The beauty of fitness is that it’s a discipline that spills over into all aspects of life.  Organization, time management, goal setting just to name a few.  I love what adopting a healthier lifestyle has done for me, and it makes my job of helping others reach their potential so rewarding.  





Stay tuned and see how the team makes out with their goals. We'll be check in on these Spartans from time to time and featuring some members of Team Limitless as the race year progresses. My hope is that they will motivate you as they have me to meet your own fitness goals whatever they may be in 2012.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011- My Geocaching Year in Pictures

Lackawanna Anthracite History 101, 3/17



NY-NJ-PA Boundary Monument, Tri-State Cache,  4/27




Powerline trail at the barrens, Up Down & All Around (sticks and stones), 5/6 




Bloodhounded & Dodger, A Walk Into Darkness, 8/14




Abstract artwork, The Art of the Cache, 8/30




Susquehanna River flooding, Remembering Agnes: The Min Matheson Cache, 9/8




Stumbling across a bear in the woods, A Bear Cache, 10/4




Didn't find the cache, but found a piece of paradise, Deerfield at the Beach #1, 10/24




An FTF, Morgan's Happy Hunting Cache, 12/1




A beautiful fall morning, Silver Bullet, 12/8



I hope everyone has a safe and prosperous New Year!  Cache on, my friends!










Thursday, December 29, 2011

Geocaching Yanksgiving: Unusual Suspects

The events of this post happened between 12:00AM and 11:59PM on November 27, 2011.


By: Dave - Only Googlebot Reads This Blog
This is the last day on our family American Thanksgiving (aka Yanksgiving) weekend road trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, exploring Eastern North Carolina in the process.   Today we drove from Greensboro NC to Charlotte NC.  Each day has had its own flavour as we explore different regions of Eastern North Carolina.  Today can best be summarized by the term "bizarre".

Many of the caches I found today ended up being unusual or odd in some way or another. What makes this more striking is that when I planned out these caches I picked them for their proximity to our route, and page location on the Delorme atlas (our trip is also doubling as a mission to gather pages for the North Carolina Delorme Challenge).  Often this leads to a series of LPC and guard rail caches, with the occasional 

ammo can tossed in, but today was different.


We found 13 caches today on 5 Delorme pages.  Of those 7 were things I have not seen before. Without giving away too much details, I'll list some of these unusual caches:

* We saw an amazing display of wind powered art  by a nationally renowned artist Vollis Simpson.


* A cache that was a gallon milk jug full of cement, with just enough space at the top for a log sheet.


* A metal pot hanging from a tree. The hanging part isn't unusual, but the pot was. I have never seen that type of container anywhere, let alone in a state of arboreal suspense.



* A cache hidden as a power meter.  It was right out in the open.  It was magnetically attached to a utility box. Amazing camo job.


* A home owner had constructed a real train crossing as a gate for his driveway.


* The most unusual is a cache that was buried by ants.  The container was a film canister that was stuck in the ground at the base of a sign post. Over time a colony of ants moved in, and as they pushed sand from their tunnels, their ant hill buried the cache.  This one took a long time to find :)


And thus ends our caching adventure. This has been a productive trip.  We found 59 geocaches, and claimed all the Delorme pages on the eastern side of North Carolina.  We saw parts of the state that we now call home that we have never seen before. We also saw Zeke take some steps towards becoming an adventurer in his own right.

Thus this adventure ends.  So now I will sign off this series, and await the start of the next adventure.  I suspect I won't be waiting that long.




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Not Wednesday - Geocache America with Geo_Trucker - Wade, NC

Geo_trucker - Wade, NC
I am in North Carolina, delivering a few miles down the highway. I should really pay better attention to my appointment date and times though, as I thought I was delivering today at 12:30pm. In reality I don't deliver until tomorrow at 12:30 so I went to the local truck stop and parked it, went onto www.geocaching.com and set out on my geotrucking adventure!


Like A Fish Out Of Water
While I was walking to my first geocache, GC2QGRV, I found this little stream just off the road side with some beaver dams. I heard some creatures moving around in the woods but could not really see past the brush.
There's something down there...
I moved on to the geocache and moved into the woods. While searching, my back to the road, I heard something walking around and so I turned around to see...
travel_lizzy & Dante
travel_lizzy! And her geodog Dante. She said that she passed me on her way to another geocache and saw me look down at my GPS (And I thought I was being sneaky about it). She caught up to me and together we found the nifty little micro. After signing the log book, we decided to team up and find some more geocaches around the area. Next on the list was GC2M8PM "Are You Stumped?", and we found that with ease... well travel_lizzy found that with ease. As a matter of fact....I think I only found one of the geocaches we set out to find together...Well I helped!

Quiet Neighbors
After "Are You Stumped?" we moved onto GC2N3ZY, also known as "Quite Neighbors". This has become one of my new favorites. The area was sooooo cool and yes, we did find "The Outcasts". Apart from the main graveyard, which is several hunderad yards from the road by its self, set off into the woods were some more gravestones. The oldest one I found was from 1889. Dante the geodog helped us out with this one...well he more just ran around everywhere but he helped; just ask him... He'll tell ya!
Cool Spot! This old grave yard is set several hundred yards off the road, behind a farmer's field

Set back in the woods we found even older graves, away from the main yard.


Quiet Neighbors was followed by two quick park and grabs, GC11D0E "Eastover Central" and GC393C4 "Tools for Tots". Tools for Tots was probably one of the most painful geocaches I ever found! There were thorns everywhere.

Airborne TB Hotel

The last one on the list for the day was GCP1MV, "Airborne TB Hotel". It was here I dropped off the travel bug I picked up at a TB Hotel back in New York. This one wasn't hard to find at all, and it was the only one I actually got to yell out "Found it!" on.
It wasn't hidden very well...that's why I found it! ;-)
All in all it was a great day! I sure ran like the wind all day yesterday to get to my appointment on time, little did I know I was going to be 25 hours early. But it would appear that it happened for a reason...today was my most productive geocaching day ever. Thanks again to travel_lizzy and Dante for a great day in North Carolina!

Tomorrow I am off to Illinois...what adventures await me there I wonder? I'll ponder it over a couple of waffles at the Waffel House across the street...mmm....waffles.......


Stay safe out there!

P.S. I am no longer WMDan on www.geocaching.com. I am now geo_trucker.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Believe In Santa Claus!

Call me childish but, I believe in Santa Claus! That's right, you heard me, I believe in Santa!
Not a Santa in the physical sense but more in a magical way. A mysterious way that has no explanation. Kind of like my beliefs in Jesus and God. I've never laid my hands on them, or have seen them with my own eyes but, I just know they're there.
I just know it!

Christmas magic has many forms and has reviled itself to people all over the world in many different ways. Some in receiving the gift of their health, while others found the unexplained unravel right before their eyes. A paranormal phenomena or Christmas magic? You don't believe me?  Well, don't take my word for it, just listen to these people just like you and me tell their stories.
*The authors choose to remain anonymous to protect the innocent


THE CHRISTMAS VISIT

"It was around Christmas time, maybe 1995 or '96, at my aunt's house on a reservation in North Dakota," says V. Page. "Some of my family was in the living room watching television, the kids were playing in the rooms or sleeping, and my uncle, aunt and I were sitting at the table putting a puzzle together. My cousin who worked at a casino would come home around midnight or 1 a.m. This night, as she pulled up and was walking toward the house, she looked in the window and saw me sitting at the table, my uncle sitting across from me - and someone standing to the left of me and someone standing in the corner. She continued to walk in the house, thinking nothing of it.

"When she got in she said her hellos, put her stuff away and came and joined us at the table. As we were sitting there talking, she looked at me and asked who was standing next to me a few minutes ago and who was in the corner. I told her no one, but she insisted there was someone standing next me. 'It looked like your mom, and she was playing with your hair,' she told me. She said this person was running her hand on my hair, like a mother does to a child.

"It kinda freaked me out, being I was probably only 12 or 13 at the time. She swears that someone was standing over me, rubbing my head and watching me put the puzzle together with my aunt and uncle, and that there was another person standing behind this person. All of my family was accounted for. We got around to thinking it was probably her mom she saw. She passed away on her birthday a week before Christmas back in 1992. However, we didn't figured out who the person standing in the corner could have been. Now, around Christmas time, something strange always happens, and we just think it's her visiting us."

TOY PHONE CALL

"In 1960, I was five years old," Sandy says. "I lived in the beautiful Berkshire Hills in Massachusetts. Our telephone was hung fairly high on the wall - too high for me to reach without help. It was late in the morning on Christmas day. My dad and my brother had gone out to shovel snow, my mother was in the shower and I was playing with my new Chatty Cathy doll.

"I wanted to call my grandmother to tell her about all my wonderful Christmas presents, but I knew that I would have to wait for my mother to get out of the shower because I could not reach the telephone. I was becoming increasingly impatient. I decided to pretend to call my grandmother on the toy telephone that I had gotten for Christmas. Back then, where I lived, there were no dial phones; all calls were operator assisted, and when I picked up the receiver on my toy telephone, I distinctly heard an operator say, 'What number please?'

"I was shocked, but I told her my grandmother's number, which I still remember to this day. I heard the phone begin to ring, and soon my grandmother, with her heavy Italian accent, was saying hello. I immediately began telling her all about my Chatty Cathy doll, but she wanted to know where my mother was. I explained that my mother was in the shower, and my dad and brother were outside. She knew that I could not use the telephone by myself, and asked me how I climbed up to use the phone high up on the wall. I explained that I had called her on my toy telephone. She laughed heartily before telling me to have my mother call when she got out of the shower.

"When my mother got out of the shower, I tried to tell her that I had really talked to Grandma on my toy phone, and that she wanted my mother to call her. My mother laughed like my grandmother did, but since I kept insisting that she call Grandma, she finally did. When she discovered that I really had talked to my grandmother, I got in big trouble. My mother insisted that I had somehow dangerously climbed the wall to use the phone. I insisted that I had called Grandma on my toy phone, and I got in bigger trouble for lying.

"I spent the rest of Christmas morning in my room, supposedly thinking about my dangerous antics, and lying to my grandmother and mother. I was frustrated about that, but I couldn't help but smile over the fact that I had somehow called my grandmother on my toy telephone that Christmas morning. It had to be magic."

MEDITATION VISITATION

"This incident happened on New Years Day, 2008 in Vancouver, B.C, Canada," says Angela. "My grandmother passed away suddenly from natural causes on Christmas Eve, which shocked and crushed us. My family is Buddhist, so for the past few days, we've visited a temple and meditated in her honour. My mom purchased this small, radio-like box that repeatedly plays a meditation, and she has left that on in my grandmother's room throughout the day for the last little bit.

"Monday, December 31, was the one week anniversary of my grandmother's death, and according to Chinese traditions, the deceased return home to visit their loved ones. As usual, my parents had the box playing throughout the day and turned it off before they went to bed. Here's where it gets weird.

"The next morning, on New Years Day, my mom woke up around 9 a.m. to use the bathroom, and she distinctly heard a soft song of meditation, just like the one heard from the box. She asked my dad if he had left it on the night before, and he said no. Thinking she had imagined it, she went back to sleep.

"Around 10 a.m., my dad woke up and heard the same soft sounds of meditation. He started wondering if he had indeed forgotten to turn off the box and went into my grandmother's room to check, only to find it off! How can you explain both of my parents hearing the meditation? We've eliminated the possibilities of it coming from our neighbour's house or TV. My boyfriend believes that it was my grandmother's way of letting us know that she is still around and that she is alright. It is a little spooky, but I find comfort in my grandmother letting us know she's around through meditation."


MIRACLE ON THE ROOF

"This experience took place on Christmas Eve, 1976, in Gresham, Oregon," says Jason Q. "Although this story may seem 'beyond belief', I assure you, it is very true. It is proof (to me, anyway) that miracles do still occur. When I was five years old, I witnessed what I believe to be a miracle one Christmas Eve. My dad had just taken a job in Grants Pass, Oregon, which left my mom and me alone for the first time on Christmas. It was difficult not having my dad there that Christmas, as we had always been together for the previous Christmases.

"I was sleeping in my mom's room that Christmas Eve when we heard something out on the roof. Of course, being a young boy at that time, I thought it was Santa, but my mom thought it may be a burglar. She told me to stay in bed as she got up and cautiously went to the window. I was both excited and a little afraid, since she was so afraid. Although I thought it could be Santa, I also knew that it may be an intruder. My mom just stood there and stared, not saying anything. I asked her what was out there, and she just stared out the window. As she came back to the bed with a mesmerized look on her face, I jumped out of bed and ran to the window. What I saw was Santa, his sleigh and reindeer flying off our roof into the sky - just like you'd see on a Christmas card.















"My mom and I didn't talk about that night or what either of us saw. I thought it was normal, and she thought she was 'losing it'. She called her dad that night and told him what we had seen, and he told her that my dad leaving must have caused her to be hitting the bottle. He really thought she was losing it. He was really concerned for her sanity.

"Years later, when I was in high school, we had to tell a Christmas story in our German class. I told the one that I just shared with you. My friends laughed at me, not believing my story. I never heard the end of it after I told them I was serious. They really didn't know what to think of me after that.

"It gets even stranger. When I was leaving the classroom that day, a kid (who I didn't know) came up to me and said, 'You know, that was a great Christmas story. If one trulybelieves, he may at one time in his life experience what you experienced.' That kid then left, and I never saw him again. Who was he? An angel? A messenger? I don't know. Anyway, when I got home that day, I had to ask my mom what she had seen that Christmas Eve. Again, we had never talked about it, so I didn't really know what she saw that night. I knew what I saw, but I didn't know what she saw. All I could remember was how quiet she was that night, and how mesmerized she was. I wanted to know what she saw, to in fact see if I had imagined everything, as so many young kids do.

"My mom went on to tell me that it was a very difficult Christmas not having my dad around, but a miraculous one with what had occurred. When I asked my mom what she had seen that evening, she just kind of looked down almost in embarrassment. She then looked at me and said, 'I hope you don't think I'm nuts, but I saw Santa's sleigh and reindeer leaving our roof, taking off up into the sky. The snow-covered roof had animal prints and disturbed snow, where the sleigh had been sitting.' She smiled, and asked what I saw that evening, with tears in her eyes. I told her that I saw the sleigh and reindeer up in the sky. The timing of what we saw fits perfectly. I got up from the bed just as she was leaving the window. She saw the sleigh and reindeer taking off up into the sky, just before I saw what I saw. I even heard bells in the sky that night, and my mom told me that she did as well. We heard and saw the exact same thing, which was truly a Christmas miracle that year, when we really needed one!

"So, was it really Santa that night that my mom and I saw? Or was it a miracle that God had sent us, for us to see, especially due to how difficult that Christmas was?"

I believe it was both - a miracle and Santa. I truly believe that the God who created the universe and its billions of planets has absolutely no limitations, and therefore would have no problem giving to us that miracle that evening. He also hears our prayers. Like that kid in my German class told me, 'If you believe, you may experience this very miracle.' Or you may experience a miracle that is very personal to only you, which only God and you know. Keep on believing! Miracles do happen if one believes in them.

Makes you think doesn't it? Christmas magic can find it's way into even the coldest heart. It has turned Grinch's into carolers and the greedy to the giving. Why, just Dawn and I being able to pull this Christmas off is kind of amazing! I look around me and see all of the "gifts" that I have been given in the world and I'll tell you, at 51 years to the day, I believe in Santa Claus!

Remember my little rhyme, "If you don't believe, you won't receive" 

Receive the Christmas magic in your heart and have a wonderful Christmas! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
Merry Christmas from all of us at CacheCrazy.Com



Friday, December 23, 2011

Geocaching Watchlist

As part of my caching experience, I utilize the Watchlist feature on geocaching.com.  For those who are unfamiliar, the Watchlist allows you to receive notifications on a particular cache, be it found, not found, maintenance, or anything else related to the cache.  Any member may send caches to the Watchlist, whereas the Favorites and Bookmarks lists are only available to Premium members.

Several things will prompt me to add a cache to my Watchlist.  Wanting to shoot for an FTF on a cache will cause me to watch a cache.  Perhaps I've found the cache, and want to see what others have to say about the cache.  I'll add it to my Watchlist, and compare and contrast experiences.  Puzzle caches which I've yet to solve go on as well.  Last but not least, if a cache I intend on finding in the near future goes disabled, I'll put it on the Watchlist, and wait for an email notification saying the cache is enabled, before I attempt the find.

I'd like to share with you a cross-section of my Geocaching Watchlist.  Perhaps you have one or more of these caches on your Watchlist, as well.




Located in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, this puzzle cache is only a 3/2 on the ratings scale, but I've been unable to solve the puzzle since the cache was published back in January.  Seeing as it's close to where I travel for work, I'm keeping an eye out to see who solves it, and having it on my Watchlist reminds me I need to solve this buggah.



I first learned of this challenge cache at an event last summer.  The cache owner, TheJump, was discussing the requirements needed to log the find.  Basically, you need to find a cache listed in locale listed on the cache description page.  Once the CO is satisfied you've met the requirements, you receive the coordinates for the final stage.  It's a very complicated challenge cache, and only one find has been logged to date.




Words cannot do this cache justice.  It's one of those caches you have to get out there and find.  The CacheCrazy.com crew found this cache over the summer.  You can read about our adventure here.  It's been found a few times in the months proceeding our experience, and each log echoes the excitement and enthusiasm we felt while hunting this cache down.

A Walk Into Darkness





This puzzle cache is located in Arizona, and has one of the more difficult puzzles I've seen for a cache. I've yet to solve it, and don't know if I ever will.  Finders state you'll never solve the puzzle without help.  It would be nice to solve this one day, as I make it out to Arizona for business from time to time.  If you solve this puzzle, throw me a bone, wouldja?

Good luck with this puzzle.




A newcomer to my list, this puzzle cache in Southeastern PA has piqued my interest.  It's been out there for a few days now, and no one has yet to even solve the puzzle, let alone make a find.  It may be a little out of the way to go for a cache, even by my standards, but it IS for an FTF, after all!


Are there any caches you regularly keep an eye on?















Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree!

My family had many holiday traditions while I was growing up.  Like clockwork, every Christmas Eve started with dinner at home.  My mother wouldn't go all Julia Child on Christmas Eve, usually nothing fancier than Sunday dinner.  Meat and potatoes, or perhaps a ham.  After dinner, we would visit my grandmother, and walk over to see Aunt Millie and the cousins.  Of course, as kids we were always excited at the thought of getting presents, and mildly disappointed at the sight of clothes boxes from The Globe or Hess.  As teenagers, we would come to appreciate the clothes, along with the food and cookie spread, which could be found on my Aunt's table.  To this day, my parents still receive coconut-covered dates from my cousin.

After visiting, it was back home for a nap.  We attended Midnight Mass every year, and while an hour and a half long mass was a bit much, we always looked forward to it, as there was something special to it.  After mass it was home, and right to sleep, as Santa was on his way!

One tradition we started a little later on, in my teenage years, was having a real tree in the home at Christmastime.  We never actually went into the woods to get one, as my dad never was the sporty type, but we'd go to the local roadside stand and pick one up.  There was something special about having a real tree.  Sure, the artificial spruce was nice, but nothing beats the smell of the real thing.  Sure, you're vacuuming needles up off the floor until June, but it's worth it.

You sure this thing will fit in the living room?

Sadly, as the years pass on, so do many traditions.  Going to bed so Santa could come would be replaced by exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve.  A nice tradition in its own rite, but its now a quick exchange during the Christmas afternoon visit.  As we lost many family members over the years, the Christmas Eve callings aren't the same.  The Midnight Mass tradition is no longer.  Last, but not least, the plastic tree found its way back into the living room.

This Christmas, my fiance and I decided we were going to re-kindle a tradition each of us had in other places long ago.  We were going to get a real tree for the house.  She recommended the place her family would go when she was a child, and her dad would chop the tree down himself.

Wait!  Chop it down himself?  Where do I sign up?  I'd purchased the real deal before, but never actually done the deed myself.  I was liking the sound of this.

The kids having fun at the tree farm.


Off we went on a cold Saturday afternoon, to Helen & Ed's Tree Farm, in Wapwallopen, PA.  It quite the festive time!  The Christmas songs were blaring in the Tahoe.  We were singing along, some of us poorly, to such favorites as Santa Claus Is Coming To Down, Jingle Bells, and, oh yes, Dominick the Donkey!  We arrived at the farm, and saw in hand, we were scouting out our potential tree in no time.  I had specific orders from the boss.  She wanted a short, fat Douglas Fir.  No problem!  After quite a bit of searching, we found it! (Obligatory Geocaching tie-in)  I got to work with saw, and with the help of a friendly young man from the farm, we had the tree tied to the roof of the Tahoe, and we were on our way back to Wilkes-Barre.

The finished product.  Got a level, anyone?

We get seven foot Douglas Fir in the house, and in the stand, only to realize IT LEANS!  Oh no!  I thought, perhaps, it was sitting in the stand at an angle, or the base was cut at an angle.  Nope, it's all good.  After much inspection and analyzation, I see the problem- the tree is bent towards the top!  I'm sure I missed this in the field, as it was on an incline.  This was but a minor setback, as I cut the top off in a manner when, with the star on top, it doesn't look as bad.  I had the task of rigging up the lights, and everyone joined in with trimming the tree afterwards.  It may not be the perfect Christmas tree, but it's our Christmas tree, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  We've started our own holiday tradition, surely to be one of many!

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