“The Nutcracker” at The Merc Playhouse was a sweet performance by our local actors. Driving home after the play on a dark and snowy night without another car in sight, I was reminded again that Mazama truly is the “very end of the road” in the winter. Most Mazamans are tucked in when darkness falls, not out braving the elements (not to mention those pesky deer). Those actors who call the upper valley home certainly made a commitment to make the trek to Twisp to rehearse and perform over many months.
The Mazama Store will once again host Christmas at the Very End of the Road on Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Gathering around the fire in the courtyard, shopping in store and holiday pop-up market, wine tasting (starting at 1 p.m.) and mingling with friends and neighbors is a holiday treat and has become a Mazama tradition. Farther down the road at the Freestone Inn, bring the kids and have breakfast with Santa on Saturday (Dec. 17). Call for reservations for the breakfast buffet.
Another holiday tradition is the ubiquitous White Elephant gift exchange. I had to wonder why the game is named after a white elephant. The story goes that the King of Siam (I think Yul Brynner in “The King and I”) gave rare albino elephants to courtiers of his royal court who had displeased him. The white elephants required substantial cost of upkeep, thereby causing ruin to the courtier. That’s not very nice, King.
I attended a couple holiday parties that included a White Elephant exchange. I was reminded how good-natured cacophony can occur when rules aren’t established at the beginning of the game. Most gifts tend to be more amusing than practical, but there are always one or two items that become coveted. Not surprisingly, there is a whiteelephantrules.com website with printable rules (and variations) and gift ideas such as a hot dog toaster (really!).
White Elephants are a great way to be creative, to re-gift an item, or actually bring a genuinely nice gift that has potential to fuel a lot of competition during the game. Just be sure to establish the amount of times a steal is allowed before beginning!
This year we have no need to question whether there will be a White Christmas. The trees are still trying to shed their leaves since they didn’t have a chance to get naked before the first snow came. The leaves continue to drop on each fresh snowfall, looking like a Bev Doolittle painting.
One more mention of “white” since this is becoming a column with that theme. If you suffer from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), white noise can help one sleep better. There are machines that produce noise that is broadly spread across the sound spectrum. The sound has been compared to a waterfall with water falling at different speeds and hitting different surfaces.
I had not heard of pink and brown noise until an NPR program was addressing sleep issues and the use of sound therapy to provide a better night’s sleep. Pink noise is still white noise, but with reduced higher frequencies. Its sound is like a steady rainfall or wind and is considered to be more soothing than pure white noise. Studies on pink noise have shown that sleeping with it can improve memory the following day and maybe even long-term. Brown noise is “rougher” than pink noise and resembles the roar of a river, a strong wind, or surf that comes with a storm.
And to all, a good night’s sleep!