This post was supposed to be posted two weeks ago. But I wanted it to have a happy ending and it’s taken this long to get one. You know I love family traditions. My poor kids are dragged 20121217-213628.jpgthrough each holiday, each one with their specific tradition that HAS TO BE DONE. “Yes, you are making Nevada Day cookies. I don’t care if you hate cookies,” was my last attempt at a cheerful holiday tradition. No, I don’t do these things for the kids… although I do believe one day, probably once I’m dead, my kids will appreciate them. But for now, these holiday traditions are for me. Tough. Deal with them kids! So on the day after Thanksgiving, like every other year, we headed out to cut down our family Christmas tree. We always go with friends, but the location we cut is always different. This year, we headed into Dog Valley which is on the easter slope of the Sierra outside Reno. What’s funny (to me!) is I always do a 178 mile relay race during the summer and the hardest leg is Dog Valley. We always make my Little Friend Lynn run it, but never give her credit for doing anything impressive. Well… that might have been a little unsupportive. My CAR had a hard time getting up Dog Valley. I can’t imagine getting up that hill on my legs! Anyway, back to the tree hunt. We bounced along for about an hour on old logging roads and finally came to a stop thick within the forest. As we always do when out in the wild, we went over forest safety with the kids. We told them if they get lost, to hug a tree and yell so we can find you. Our son, Dominic, says, “Oh, should I scream ‘Caw Caw, Caw Caw?’” Um… yes, Dominic, sound like a natural bird in the forest, so while I’m frantically running up and down mountains looking for you, I go the OTHER WAY because I think you’re A DAMN BIRD! Must be Darrin’s side of the family! So after adding a kid leash to Domi (not really, but I wanted to) we headed out and found the perfect tree.


It only took about 20 minutes which is REALLY good for us. However, since it’s been such a wet fall, the tree weighed 10-thousand pounds. I’m not exagerating. I could barely lift the top end. Fortunately, we had a young buck with us and I made him do it!


Him being our friend Ryan who had nothing better to do than drag all of our trees up the mountainside and back to the cars. Hey, when you’re the single dude who doesn’t have kids bitching at you every holiday because they hate your annual traditions, that’s what you get.








After tying down the trees, we had a forest picnic of homemade chili that I opened from cans (hey! It was made in someone’s home… or factory), corn bread and homemade chocolate caramel pecan pie (I really made that one! It was left over from yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner… And no one ate it… That’s why I open cans when I can, people!!).


With everyone fully fed, we piled back into our cars, strapped EVERYONE in, and headed back to Reno.










After keeping the tree outside for about 10 days, we finally brought all 12 feet of her inside to our entry way. I like to call it the Christmas Tree Room… because that’s all it’s good for. And then THE task began. Yes, the task of hanging the lights. I HATE putting on Christmas tree lights. Literally, I would rather free fall from outer space back down to Earth than hang Christmas tree lights. But after a few glasses of wine, and some peppy Christmas music on the radio, I’m done and the kids and I begin hanging the ornaments we’ve collected from all over the world during our travels.



We all went to bed that night feeling like Christmas was offically here. And then it happened.  Without us hearing a thing.  We awoke the next morning to this.


Now, I’m not one to point fingers, but I’m pretty sure this little bastard is to blame.  It was as if he’s saying, 20121217-220154.jpg“Hey man,  I tried everything to make you stop snoring and nothing worked.  So I turned it up a notch and brought down your 12 feet of Christmas joy.  Suck it.” 









We lost a few ornaments that apparently could survive a journey from South America, but couldn’t survive our cat Max.  And yes, I re-hung those damn lights.  But by the end of the day, my San Francisco self was pretty pleased with the fix. 


And my rancher husband was rather pleased with his fix as well.


 (please note, I’m writing this post with a heavy heart still from the tragedy in Connecticut.  But I truly believe we have to return to normal and I’m hoping this post will add a smile to your faces, even if tears of saddness are still staining your cheeks.)

About Wendy D

I was born in San Francisco and ended up marrying a rancher in Reno, Nevada. I have a big city job anchoring the 5 o’clock news but come home to the country where my husband’s family has ranched for 5 generations.


  1. Lori Enzenberger says:

    Love it…as always! Have a fun day. Xoxo

  2. Cathy says:

    My cats would be the very reason I would find a Christmas tree laying on its side. I have heard that the one tree cats will not approach is a Colorado Blue Spruce because the tips are so sharp that one touch with their paw and they think differently about touching it again. All that aside, you have a very nice looking tree.

  3. Jennifer Hall says:

    Great post Wendy; I love your writing so much! I almost feel like I was there eating the chili and ignoring the pie! I truly laughed today for the first time in a couple of days. Love yoU!

Speak Your Mind