Once again, for December, we cut down our own Christmas tree from a nearby tree farm. This we got a little later than usual because Thanksgiving was so frightfully late --- I think Thanksgiving came in somewhere around December 18th --- and waiting for the weekend after Thanksgiving meant we'd barely had the chance to appreciate the tree. But bunny_hugger's parents and we went to a nearby tree farm, so that we could select our trees.
We didn't see her parents right when we arrived and worried that they were delayed by something or other. We poked around in the tree's garage and then into the gift shop, which was almost empty. The Santa there laughed for us, and watched the woman at the snack counter unplugging one coffee machine and plugging in the hot chocolate. She explained their power system wouldn't let them plug everything in. Santa said that if he got some time he could look at it since ``Santa knows his way around electrical work''. We were impressed that their Santa didn't just want to fix up the system but was going to do it in-character or not at all.
Her parents, it turned out, had got there first (of course) and picked a pre-cut tree and probably missed our coming in because they were tying it to their car. But they rode the truck with us back into the trees, despite bitter cold, a recurring theme of this past month, and helped us go looking. Although we hurried the search we also found a beautiful tree, just large enough to fit in our corner well and quite well-shaped. I took responsibility for cutting the tree down again, sawing it down in what everyone else thought was record time. Apparently the ex didn't know how to cut trees. (I'm not sure where I learned how to cut them down.)
We got the tree balanced, drilled, and wrapped up, and got some hot chocolate to warm ourselves by the tree farm's fire, and went back home. We set a fire going before her parents could protest (they always say not to bother starting a fire for them) and got some pizza and watched in wonder as the tree, set up on the stand, just unfolded as if by magic once we snipped the binding wires.
Trivia: On the first day the Holland Tunnel was open to automobile traffic some 51,694 cars used the tunnel. The average trip time was eight minutes. Source: It Happend In New Jersey, Fran Capo.
Currently Reading: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January/February 2014, Editor Gordon van Gelder. Yes, it has an alternate-history World War II, so, relax. (I wonder if I should tally how often alternate World Wars II turn up in the magazines.)
PS: CarnotCycle on the Gibbs-Helmholtz Equation, a reference to an essay I thought worth reading.