In the evening, we set off for SLC's Energy Solutions Arena for our live NBA match. Utah Jazz vs Atlanta Hawks. Initially wanted to buy LA Lakers vs Jazz but tickets were all sold out.
We were really excited about it. Some background here: I think I started liking basketball in Pri Sch. Used to buy those NBA cards too. I even played basketball till I fractured my forefinger on my right hand in Pr Sch before. The school teacher called my mom, who had to take me to the school clinic in Outram for an X-ray. Even though the finger hurt a lot, it felt nice to miss the rest of the day in school, I still recall vividly, haha.
In Sec School, I tried to joined Basketball, but due to the CCA selection system in place, I wasn't allowed to join the sport I liked, but instead was arrowed to Volleyball and Netball instead. I didn't dribble the ball as good as others, I think. My piano teacher cautioned that Volleyball will be injurious to the wrists, and so I joined Netball in the end. Fortunately, I enjoyed it a lot.(I later quit Netball because my 3rd lang classes at MOELC (then at Newton) clashed with Netball practices, and I wanted to do 3rd lang more. 3rd lang classes had guys too. haha.)
After that, I didn't play bb much. Mostly just during PE or interclass matches. Occasionally, I'll watch a match. I do remember that Shaquille O'Neal made an appearance at the new Ngee Ann City when I was in Sec 3? And me and friends went there to take a look. :-) We rode the escalator up and down just to see him play at the basement square just outside Takashimaya. Crowd too large to see him at ground level.
A few close church friends became very good at bb. Lawrence and Daisy for example. I watched both of them play and went to a match supporting Daisy's team. Brought some Taiwanese friends crazy about bb along as well. Daisy also was good enough to get into the national team.
Then when I became a teacher at hc, my good friend happened to be the coach of the bb (girls) team, and she asked me to try and get the teacher-in-charge post. I thought usually it belonged to the PE dept, but I did write it as my choice and got it. Those 2 years(?) were really exciting, because I got to see the girls training and competing so frequently. Daisy happened to be in the RJ team then, and they were our arch rivals. :-)
Anyway, so now we're here, I told Dh we have to go for a live match! It was kind of expensive if you buy a single ticket. If you go for the season tickets, they're more than half price per ticket, but of course you spend more in total. One would be good enough, since we don;t have much time left.
The match started at 7pm and we arrived at around 6.30pm. Parking lots were already 3/4 gone. We entered and realised they have pre-game entertainment, but nevermind. We were still early enough to get the souvenir giveaways. They were giving out Utah Jazz umbrellas this weekend. We could only get one per family though, but I saw families who came earlier having one each (i.e. even their little kids get one). After that, I noticed that the match between Jazz and Supersonics had a full-sized Jazz NBA basketball as giveaways and later on I checked online and all tickets were already sold out. Hmmm, do they snap up tickets because the giveaway is good, or do the organisers give away something of higher value if the match is sold out?
Just a couple after us, the umbrellas were gone already. So, we got there just in time.
We got to our seats and Dh went to buy dinner. The standard staple at games -- hotdogs, burritos, popcorn, soda.
Both teams were already warming up. There was loud and upbeat music, so both ds got very excited too. Arena was well-designed, so despite us sitting way up there, and in the corner, we still had a good view. Below's a pic of the arena, and the screen where we get to see close up shots.Above shows them stretching and warming up.
Above right: the start of the game. 1st quarter.
I had explained some parts of the game to ds1 before that, and he was really engrossed. I was glad ds2 enjoyed himself a lot too. Mainly cos he liked the music, the action, the cheering, and he had this mini pom pom (above) which he kept swaying. He also followed everyone. If they shouted "De-fence! D-fence!" then he'll shout too. If they cheered and clapped wildly, he did too. He also liked the Jazz mascot a lot, the bear. Whenever the bear came out, he'll exclaim excitedly.
The bear came out very often, every time-out, half-time, break... etc. Most times he'll give out freebies. They'll use a catapult to shoot all kinds of memorabilia up to the spectators. Sometimes tees, jerseys, or small balls. Ds1 wanted them so much, he shouted, stood up, raised his arms and cheered whenever the bear turned our way, just like some around us. haha. He didn't get any of course, he was much shorter. :-)
The game itself was very exciting, especially the 2nd and 3rd quarters. That's why I didn't take any videos or pics after the 1st quarter. 1st quarter Jazz was leading, but by 2nd qtr, both teams were even or within 2 points of each other. That continued till the 3rd qtr. Only in the 4th qtr did Jazz pull ahead, and then we knew they would win. Final score was something ard 104-96? Can't remember.
Boozer (guy's last name, ok?) was Jazz' highest scorer.
Dh and I cheered loudly too, we just got into the game naturally. Jazz supporters outnumbered Hawks' fans inevitably, this being a home game, but the family sitting just next to us are Hawks' supporters. We noticed that very early on, of course, because when we cheered, they were silent, and when we were quiet, they clapped. They didn't cheer loudly though. Possibly because they were subdued by the sheer numbers of Jazz people. Those behind us, especially, had a lot of swear words and other things to shout about, whenever the referee called a foul or penalty. They were too ardent supporters of Jazz. They booed really loudly too.
Shutting our ears to that, we had a really great time. So enjoyable that we started looking for other matches we could attend, but later decide we shouldn't commit, because we still don't know when exactly we will need to fly to China.
The clip below shows the Jazz team about to start the game and cheering among themselves. Also shows the cheerleaders doing their stuff.
Above right: When a Club Cranium card is drawn, all groups get to play. This was a Club Cranium acting card.
It was super fun. I enjoyed every part of it. Hilarious moments too. Especially when there was a Club Cranium and you see others acting, humming or drawing, and then you compare, say, the drawings. Like the doodles for "clothesline". Haha, someone's doodle of a tee shirt looked like a dog to his teammates, for eg. And Chris had to sculpt "grass" on the clay, and he did a great job, pinching grass out of the clay, but no one could guess it. Over here, someone would have guessed "Durian". :-)
What were the kids up to while we were having our adult games?
Then, ds1 wanted to play Blokus (another strategy game the Logan group brought) and they kindly lent him. Both ds ended up playing with that for a long time. Good thing! (below)
Tabitha's baby was crawling all over the place, and for sometime, she sat on my lap too, while we were playing the game. Ahhhh, so nice to carry a baby. When she got cranky, Tabitha fed her some chips.
That was how we parents get to play our games even with the kids around. I acknowledge that I had an easier time, since my kids are older. But I tried to help out with other babies whenever I can. I carried her while Tabitha got her food, for eg. Although, her baby is really good, so it wouldn't matter if I didn't help too. She'd get by just crawling around. I recall both ds weren't like that at all. Always clingy and I had to carry them most of the time when we are out. So thankful those days are over.
In fact, I was talking to dh after the games, and we think this is the first time I've been able to spend a couple of hours just enjoying myself over a full game. Since the kids were born, that is.
I have played a couple of Taboos and pictionaries with friends, either at my place after a BBQ or at theirs, or at church. But normally the games would be interrupted by a nursing session or when the kids would cry and I just have to carry them and walk around. Now, finally, they have grown up. Ahhhh...
After the Cranium game, they split up into several groups. Some played Scrabble, some played Blokus. Ds1 played with Dh, and 2 others from Logan. Dh said he could hold his own, although he was losing the 2nd round when the adults got the hang of thinking up more complicated strategies to win. I don't care who wins, I just like the idea of ds1 playing group games, learning to take turns, and to be a good sport, even if he loses. So I am happy. (below)
I decided to clean up, cos it was getting late, so I washed up the dishes and the area. I think I was the oldest female there, so I felt responsible for the cleanliness of the church building. hehe. Didn't think I would finally have this role huh?
This finally, is a video clip of a humdinger: humming a song to the rest of the group. This was the very first part of the game, so not everyone has warmed up yet. The rest of the game was much wilder and funnier. But I didn't take any clips after the start. Got too engrossed in my game. :-)
Below left: the paramedic putting on full fire protection gear, with mask, air tank and fire retardant suit. he also demonstrated the beeping alarm or detection signal that would go off should something go awry, either with the equipment or himself. (recall prev post on fire safety at the Discovery Center, the fire chief said the same thing)
Below right: Demonstrating the flashing lights and siren, then letting the kids sit up there in the driver's seat, experiencing how it is like to be a firefighter. I thought that was super fun, but ds1 was not interested in sitting up there. He was very interested and attentive whenever Brian was talking and demonstrating something, but he refused to join in any of the "experience it" segments that day. Don't know why. But of course, I just let him be.
Above left: maybe this is why younger siblings are not allowed sometimes. ds2 was happier running up and down the grill-covered drain in the garage. He then tripped over a slightly raised grill cover (uneven ground) and then proceeded to cry (just for a few secs). But that was distracting enough. Fortunately I was able to quickly stop his crying. And the kids happen to be trying out the fire engine then.
Above right: Another longer and larger engine, well stocked with all kinds of equipment and supplies. Brain showed them to the kids. And then they wanted to sit on this engine too, so they all took turns again. Except ds1 of course.
Above right: we were then given a tour of the fire station itself. Shown their meeting room, lounge, kitchen and then this, their sleeping quarters. Actually I wanted to take a pic of their beds, but thought maybe that was too much of an invasion of privacy, so I didn't. Anyway they were all very neat. Each bed and closet and area around them was enclosed and separated by the dividers, as you may see some in this pic. In each area, they sometimes personalise their space. I saw different kinds of chairs/ couches and swivel chairs. Various personal belongings. And I saw a whole stack of magazines on the bedside table in one cubicle. The top magazine was Men's Health with a super hunky half-naked guy with rippling muscles on the cover. :-)
After that, the station's fire truck returned, and Brian took us to the garage to see the truck. On the way down, he showed us how firefighters slide down the pole to save time (in an emergency). He also carried some kids as they wanted to try it out. That was real fun. I would have tried if I was not at this age and having the status of a mom. :-) See video clip below.
He explained the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine. A fire truck carries water, and can put out fires using the water, without the need for external sources of water.
A fire engine does not carry water, but has all the other equipment, like the long ladder. It needs to be hooked up to the fire hydrant to put out fires though. A fire truck does not carry the ladder and is much shorter in length.
After that, he brought us to the reception area and let us listen to the emergency warning and alarm that would be broadcast when a call came in and they had to be dispatched/ despatched (forgot which form is British and which am I supposed to used?). Refer to video clip below.
Then he was so nice to give out firemen hats to each kid, badges (stickers) and coloring books (haven't received ours yet, perhaps not enough to go around). ds1 loved the hat. ds2 had one too.
Above right: the badge that reads " Junior firefighter, SLC Fire Dept".
Sorry, haven't figured out how to turn my videos upright. Anyway, this video clip shows the sample emergency call to ready all the firefighters. First the lights came on, then there was this alarm and then the announcer later said "Welcoming the kids from Realms of Inquiry", quite funny, everyone laughed.
Had a really enjoyable time chatting with the ladies. Since St George is kind of in the middle of nowhere, many of the members in the congregation travel from Nevada and Arizona for worship. So the ladies there comprised of one from the nearest city of Nevada and the other from Mesquite, Arizona.
No wonder their Bible class starts at 10am, because so many people drive long distances to come out here.
The Ditoros are wonderful people. A pity we didn't get to meet Paul (Sandy's hubby, who is the minister). He was down with pneumonia, but they played his taped sermon during worship, and his lesson is very good.
Red Lobster was situated at the Zion Factory Outlet Stores actually. I was so tempted to do some shopping, since I saw many "President's Day Sale" signs hanging in all the shop windows. But we had a 6 hour journey ahead, so we loaded up with Starbucks and went on way home.
Along the way, ds1 took to singing his fav hymn these few days. "We're Marching to Zion". haha. Due to Zion NP's influence I guess. So I did explain to him that the Zion in the hymn refers to the paradise God prepared for us Christians. Or in Bible times, referred to Jerusalem.
On the I-15, headed north towards SLC, we'd pass by Zion NP again. This time, we made a short detour to the Kolob Canyon entrance of Zion NP. Stoppped for about 30min only, just to take a quick last look. Above shows ds1 viewing the different layers of rock in the sandstone cliffs, an exhibit in the Kolob Canyon Visitors Center.
After that, the kids and Dh took their afternoon nap while I took over the wheel. Afternoons always make people sleepy, especially after the insulin surge of a heavy meal. I just sipped my Starbucks Java Chip Frapp and took pics of the scenery. That kept me awake, plus listening to the CDs we have in the car.
Some pics I snapped while driving. Not that clear and sometimes slanted, but just for record. :-)
Below: a long freight/ cargo train chug chugging along the base of the mtns.
Passed the wheel back to Dh around then. We reached home at about 10pm, after a stop in SLC for dinner, where else? Little World. :-)
First we saw a whole herd of mule deer grazing and lazing around. Tried to take pics but they didn't come out too well in the dim lighting and we didn't use flash because they're animals, not rocks or plants. Not nice to startle and blind them. Below right shows the mule deer. Stopped the car to observe them for a while.
We also saw peregrine falcons, but there was simply no time to take pics. They were once endangered due to DDT use, but have now recovered their population size.
Then there were many wild turkeys around. In the morning when we woke up we saw a whole bunch too. (Below left)
There are supposed to be many bighorn sheep too, but it was too dark for us to spot them up on the rocks by then. Another Sporean friend, Ruoyi, spotted several when she went there over Xmas.
The biggest surprise was the gray fox. We were driving along when the headlights of the car caught an animal crossing the road. We thought it was a dog but then how could a dog be running free here? Then it turned to flee when it saw the car (by then we had slowed to almost a stop) and we saw a long tail and thought maybe it's a cat. However, when we got closer, the tail was so bushy, and we saw the face! Unmistakably, that's a fox! It ran away too quickly for us to take pics.
Later on we read in the handbook that gray foxes are quite commonly spotted in Zion. They can climb trees very well (the only species of fox to do so).
Above right: the tiny lights come from the lodge. The sun is setting behind the mountains. It is so romantic. Zion at dusk.
Zion was a name chosen by the Mormons. In Hebrew, it means "a place of refuge". Good choice of name, I feel, as I quietly surveyed the beauty around me.
Then as we ascended further, there were more and more patches like the ones seen above. As these were steeper, I found that I can't hold ds' hands because I needed both of my hands to prevent my own slipping and falling too. Dh was holding ds2 then but then he too needed to stabilise himself. I couldn't trust even ds1 to climb by himself, just in case they both fall off the cliff.
At best they'll knock their heads on the boulders below, at worst, they could fall right into the icy creek. Imagining the worst (but of course, as the mom), I told Dh to go on with ds1 while ds2 and I hung around. It was a one-way trail, so they would come down the same way.
They showed me the pics. The lower Emerald Pool was greenish, no pic here. The water sprays do make up a tiny waterfall. Most of the water flow is frozen though, as you can see from the 2 pics above. Above right shows a part that is frozen and the other part that is flowing.
After that we collected a sack lunch which we ordered in the morning and set off for another part of the Park, called the Temple of Sinawa. There is a Riverside Walk there which promised to lead us into the narrow canyons where we can walk in between the towering cliffs. Quoting from the Park newsletter, it says the towering sandcastles here crown the desert canyons.
Again, we saw many warning signs. In the canyons, flash floods can occur. I was curious and read more about it. According to the Park Guide, a storm can occur without warning and when lightning strikes the rocks, it will release the groundwater/ water stored within. The great force of the water gushing out with uproot plants and boulders, lifting them up and hurling everything in the water's way into the narrow canyons. Any hiker in the water's path would have nil chance of escape.
Just as we were deciding about this trail for ds2, he fell asleep and happily took his nap, so once again, I stayed with him in the car, and let the other 2 go.
An hour later, they came back. Soaking wet below their knees. Dh said the last part of the trail was closed because the snow melt had caused the last part to be a waterway, and you had to walk in the cold water to get to the end of the trail. These were some pics they took (below).
Ds2 woke up by then, and we had our "picnic" lunch. Then we drove to the Zion Visitor Center. Now it was my turn. I went on the Virgin River trail on my own (ds1 said he was tired, dh felt sleepy, and ds2 did not have enough sleep). Also explored the Visitor Center. I didn't walk the whole trail cos I knew Dh would probably doze off, and the 2 kids might be up to no good in the car. Here are some pics of the sandstone cliffs and red rock towers.
The sandstone can take on many different colors, so mesmerising.
It was almost 4pm then, and all of us were pretty tired. So we left Zion to head on to St George, where we would be staying the night. We were supposed to put up with friends of the Crills, who is the Minister of the St George COC and his family. But at the last moment, he came down with a bad cold (which later turned into pneumonia), so we booked a room at Holiday Inn. Because we reserved a room too late, we found that all the usual motels we stay in are fully booked. Again, due to the long weekend, I guess.
Holiday Inn is more expensive than those we usually stay in, but we felt the room wasn't much better. It was probably more of the facilities in the main area that cost us more.
Above: what we saw on the way to St George.
Above right: Just outside Zion, there is a small town that's rather vibrant. I think they cater especially to Zion's visitors. It can get very crowded in summer, which is why in summer, there are no cars allowed, and shuttle buses ferry visitors around the park. They said in the newsletters: "Imagine 5000 cars, RVs and buses entering the park each day in summer. How much damage and pollution to the wildlife and natural surroundings would be caused?"
Last pic above: part of the Colorado Plateau?