2. Rio hosted a professional beach volleyball tournament, which I attended for several days. There is something very cool about seeing these talented people play in what surely must be the cathedral of beach volleyball of Copacabana Beach. Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won the whole thing, which was super exciting to see. Remember I watched them play back in September before Kerri had her shoulder surgery. She was all taped up, serving underhand, blocking at a bare minimum, and not spiking at all. She had surgery right after that tournament, has done rehab for months, and came out in beast mode. No tape until the end of the tournament, overhand serves, incredible blocking and spiking.... She is so inspiring to me - in her late-30s, 3 kids, and still dominating. Uh-mazing!
At the tournament, I met the parents and husband of another American player. The dedication of these athletes is well-documented, but let me tell you a little story about the dedication of the families behind these athletes. The US will not announce its beach volleyball qualifiers for the Olympics until June 13. Until then these players are playing in every tournament they can get to. If I understood correctly, in non-Olympic years, the players play tournaments more selectively because they get points for winning and lose points for losing. In Olympic years, however, they don't lose points for losing so they play as many tournaments as they can because they have nothing to lose but they have everything to gain if they win. In June, the top two female teams and top two male teams (top meaning whichever teams have the most points from these qualifying tournaments) will know they're going to the Olympics, which start in early August.
Now, the families of these teams certainly can't wait until June 13 to try and secure lodging, airline tickets and tickets to the events themselves. So this particular athlete's family, without knowing whether their daughter/wife/sister will even make the Olympics, has had to spend money as if she will make the team (and she does stand a good chance of doing so). And when I say they've spent money, I'm not talking about a couple thousand dollars here and there. They have rented an apartment for the entire Olympic period because they couldn't just rent for the time period during which beach volleyball will take place. That little apartment, which is neither fancy nor super convenient to where the beach volleyball will take place, set them back $27,000. Then they had to buy beach volleyball tickets. Now the problem with buying any tickets this far out is that you have no idea who's playing when or on what court. So they just bought up as many beach volleyball tickets (plus Opening Ceremony tickets so they can see their daughter march in and watch me dance!). It's all a gamble as to whether they even have tickets that will be at the right time or court to watch their daughter play. Those tickets were a whopping $33,000. So before airline tickets, before food and incidental expenses while in Rio for a couple weeks, before taking leave from work, they are out of pocket $60,000. And they don't even know for sure if their daughter will be in the Olympics. Talk about love and devotion and commitment to your nearly 30 year-old kid.
3. I attended the "inspiring women" International Women's Day reception at the UK Consulate. Here's me with two other "inspiring women":
|Excuse the weird smile. I'd just been gobbling down this delicious cake covered with fresh fruit and was convinced I had seeds stuck in my teeth. Happy to report I could have smiled normally.|
|Our sweet ride for the week. Why? Because #yolo and #gigiturns70 only once|
|a little hibiscus aloha love from me to you|
|On the road to Hana|
|On the road to Hana|
|On the road to Hana|
|Some other Hula Girls|
|On the road back from Hana|
|A few hours spent at Ka'anapali Beach are a few hours well spent|
|Our daily afternoon rainbow out the back side of the condo|
|a beach in the Wailea area (I think)|
|Mom and me overlooking Honolua Bay|
|Sunset direct from our condo's lanai|
6. I've started a new workout routine. And it very likely could kill me. Have you heard of this Instagram sensation young woman, Kayla Itsines? She has something like 27 quadrillion followers because she posts all these "before and after" photos of people who have incredible bodies in bikinis after doing her workout. So I have paid $54.99 (I think) for a month of the workout. I am on day 4. Did I mention that it could kill me? I did legs on Sunday and still can barely walk on Wednesday. It takes me minutes to descend our stairs. Arms were Monday, and that workout made my abs hurt. Cardio was yesterday and I only got to abs today, which means that if my abs were hurting from the arms workout, imagine how they're going to feel after the real abs workout. I am going to stick with this for a month and see what my before and after photos look like. Assuming, of course, the routine doesn't kill me first.
That is all my news at the moment. If you don't hear from me within a month less 4 days, send someone to look for me. I'll be on the back patio, encrusted in the salt left by my sweat, curled up in the fetal position on my yoga mat, likely with my tongue hanging out. Cheers!