Thank you all for the sympathy and suggestions about my sinus pain/pressure. I was dreading having to go back to work today with that kind of pain, but happily, I woke up feeling a LOT better. And it may have been all the time spent outdoors Saturday evening that triggered it, although I'd had a headache off and on for a couple days. Whatever it is I'm allergic to, though, seems to have let up. And spending Saturday evening outdoors was worth it anyway.
So back to my firm's annual "mystery event" on Saturday evening. As I guessed, the event took place at the Sacramento Zoo, and because it was held after hours, we had the place to ourselves. Oddly enough, though, we didn't get a tour of the zoo or get to visit any of the animals while we were there, although the kids who attended were led off on their own up-close-and-personal reptile adventure. Fine with me--I didn't mind missing THAT one!
Most of our time was spent in one area--you'll see a bit of it in the photos below.
It seemed like there was so much going on all evening that I didn't get to take many photos, and what I did take were mostly taken at about the same time. When we first arrived, though, we all lined up at the bar--of course! You can kind of see the bar set up at the back part of this photo where those African masks or shields are hanging. See the big green frog blow up? Yep, over there.
While we enjoyed our cocktails, wait staff came around to serve us from trays of yummy finger foods. And once we were adequately lubricated and no longer starving to death, we divided up into "tribes" for a Survivor-style challenge which was held in an open area just to the right of this photo below. (See those orange markers at the back of the white building? There.)
The challenge consisted of four parts: (1) Having three tribe members each get three beanie monkeys in a Nerf-ball hoop; (2) Having two tribe members maneuver a large rubber ball down a course using only a billiard ball inside the toe of a pair of pantyhose tied around the waist (no hands but a lot of hip action); (3) Having two tribe members blindfolded and tied together with a rope 3 feet apart and guided down a course by the third tribe member using only voice commands; then finding and untying a dangling bag of puzzle pieces at the end of the course; and (4) putting a large puzzle together (bags of puzzle pieces were also awarded for completing each of the first two challenges). Neither Hubby's team nor my team won. Bummer! Especially since each of the winning tribe members received a $50 gift card.
After the game, it was time for dinner and more drinks. That photo above? See the guy standing behind the tables draped in black cloths? There were three of those stations set up around the perimeter, each serving small portions of a complete meal. For instance, that guy you see served coconut fried prawns, stir-fried veggies, and poppyseed rice but only enough to fill a salad plate, and that meant we were able to sample several different dishes from each of the three stations. And just about all of them were really good--especially the prawns--and the cook/server was really enthusiastic about what he was serving, so that made it fun! (Dessert was a chocolate fountain and "dipables" in the white tent in the first photo.)
When my firm began around 20 years ago, the attorneys made a commitment to put money each year into trust funds for the education of the staff's and attorneys' minor children; both of my kids were able to begin college with money set aside for them, and that helped quite a lot. Each year at the "mystery event" certificates are given to the parents of the qualifying children, and that's one of the topics addressed by one of our senior partners when he spoke to us in the photo below--he's the guy with the white/gray hair and beard standing up to the right of the tree.
And, after dinner, the Q-Balls entertained us with great old tunes from the 60s--their specialty.
I mentioned the other evening that we had two guests who performed with the Q-Balls. Our office contracts with Pitney-Bowes to provide copy and mail services, and the manager at our site, Chris Fields, is also a gospel/Christian vocalist with at least one album to his credit so far. Anyway, Chris performed "My Girl" (by the Temptations) with the Q-Balls and it was excellent!
The real star of the evening, though, was "AJ," the four-year-old son of one of the secretaries, who asked the band if he could sing too. AJ's rendition of Big Green Tractor had everyone rolling! And the funniest thing was this kid was so shy at the beginning of the evening that he wouldn't let go of his mom and kept his face buried in her neck for the first half hour! Who knew?
At the end of the evening, prizes were awarded to the winning tribe members and additional prizes were raffled off. In fact, Hubby ended up winning one of those gift cards after all. (And, of course, I promptly told him I thought I needed to get some new fabric with it!) No one left empty handed though. We each received a memento of the evening--a blown glass animal. I traded the purple elephant I found in my bag with someone who collects elephants, and I ended up with this wooly mammoth, which I thought was pretty neat!
Now I have a whole year to wait for the next mystery event. Darn!