A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Tis the Season...for Beef!

Today we headed out for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt. I'm not talking about a hunt through the basement for the tree-in-a-box...or through the local Boy Scout troop's roadside pre-cut tree stand. We prefer real Christmas trees...and we prefer to cut our own.

Cutting our own tree has been a family tradition for several years. A Sunday afternoon trip to the Christmas Tree farm outside Olathe, KS. Until we moved to Colorado last year and moved into our new home in the middle of the Great Blizzard of '06! We were lucky to have a small evergreen plant to decorate last year.

But we resumed the tradition this year. Living in Colorado you'd think there'd be plenty of cut-your-own Christmas Tree farms around. So we Googled "Colorado Christmas Tree Farms" and found one listed in Douglas County called "U-Cut Tree Farm." So we headed out with great anticipation on a beautiful bright sunny but cold December day to find the perfect tree.

Now, I'm no Clark Griswold, but I had hoped for something a little more picturesque than the U-Cut Xmas Tree Farm in Franktown. Other than the incredible views of Pikes Peak in the distance (just to the left of Shelby's right elbow in the picture above), the "tree farm" consisted of 10 acres of scraggly pines that make Charlie Brown's tree look good. Seriously. But we made the best of it and found one that looked like it needed a good home and cut 'er down, straped 'er on and drove 'er home.

We got home just in time to watch the KU men's basketball team beat the USC Trojans in Los Angeles. In between watching the game we had fun trying to find my brother Jon, his wife Betty and their children Alex, Brandon, and Kristina among the crowd. It wasn't too hard because they were sitting with my cousin Wiley and his kids, Preston and Becca four rows behind the KU bench!

[Above, from left: Kristina, Wiley, Jon (black shirt) congratulate KU coach Bill Self after an impressive road win over the USC Trojans]

Anyway, we spent the rest of the afternoon putting up the tree, outdoor Christmas lights and the cresche my grandmother Angell hand-painted (she made one for each of her four children and 12 grandchildren). Each year we take turns placing the figurines the way we think they should be arranged (who gets a better seat at Jesus' birth, the three kings, sheperds or animals?).

This year I made sure the animals got a front seat. And of course the bovine earned a special place next to the manger with Mary and Joseph!

This prompted my daughter to start crafting a new version of the Christmas story entitled, "Jesus' First Steak." I kid you not.

After all, the beef industry has been very very good to us this past year. So to top the day off we sat down to two tasty Omaha Steaks top sirloin steaks for dinner...compliments of my brother Jon. Thanks, bro!


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