One word describes my Orlando visits 100-percent of the time: Whirlwind. It’s almost always Growing Bolder that draws me back to Otown like a boomerang every few months. I fly in, help the coolest gang in media with a few episodes of the show, visit, visit, visit, eat, eat, drink, drink, drink, talk, talk, talk, and boom, I’m out again. This trip was slightly different than usual, because we threw in taping episodes of “Surviving and Thriving” with the folks at Channel 6. And there was the Growing Bolder magazine one-year anniversary party of the century, too.
“Growing Bolder” the tv show has gone daily. That means taping “as live” at the studios at Full Sail University. My, how YOU have changed. I remember Full Sail as an entertainment media school where my poor cousin went years ago. He came from Honolulu, thinking he really didn’t need transportation… then had to ride his bike several miles to the campus. Every day. Even in the summer. He hightailed it back to Hawaii, dehydrated, but with a better tan than he got on Waikiki. Anyway, Full Sail is all grown-up into a huge campus with a terrific studio and crew. It’s been a long, long time since I actually had to hit break times and an end time with a show, as I sat in for Marc Middleton, with Bill Shafer. It was fun! Like taping a newscast, but without the car accidents and home invasions. Good stuff.
The Growing Bolder spin-off of “Surviving and Thriving” airs on Channel 6, the CBS affiliate in Orlando where I didn’t work for 20 years. It’s still a little odd to work out of the studio “across the street,” but I have to say, everyone there is welcoming and excited to be partners in this project. I know that’s the biggest reason we are working together. It’s a big deal to air “S and T” in prime time, but that’s what 6 is doing, plus promoting our show really heavily as well. They believe in the message, Hope, Inspiration, Possibility (I’ve said THAT a few dozen times in the last 72 hours or so).
The Big Event (besides our studio work) for the Growing Bolder team this week was the one-year anniversary of the magazine. Local 6 hosted the party for 150 of our closest friends in Studio B. Just about anybody who’s helped with GB was invited and the lion’s share of those folks came to celebrate. It was a roomful of interesting, smart, funny, and highly attractive people. The room was beautifully set-up with great food, but I do have one comment to make about the design. There was a gigantic blown-up magazine cover of me from my swimsuit shoot for a cancer calendar RIGHT OVER THE FOOD TABLE. Holy Way to Keep Me Away From the Snacks. I say next time, put Rowdy Gaines’ cover over the food table.
Speaking of Rowdy, look who dropped in to the party. The 3-time Olympic gold medalist is part of our Growing Bolder team and had just flown in from announcing at the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona for NBC. He does a terrific job in the announcer’s booth. He was by far the best announcer during the last Olympics. Granted, I am a little biased, but it’s still true. And that’s Lucky Meisenheimer of Lucky’s Lake Swim to my left. Mr. Open Water Swimmer. So, that photo could be captioned: SWIMMER, swimmer (if I could make the font even smaller, I would), SWIMMER.
In between Growing Bolder and Surviving and Thriving, I got to catch up with some great friends. There’s never enough time to go see everyone, but at least the party meant some of my favorites came to me. Love that. And since I stayed in Winter Park this time, I drove by my old house on Lincoln Circle, which I loved. It’s been sold again, and the new owners are making renovations, closing in the front deck, which I loved. Sigh. It doesn’t look like my sweet house any more, but then, I suppose it’s not. And as I drove away, I saw an armadillo walking down the street. I kid you not. It’s as random in writing as it was in witnessing.
I got to stop at my favorite post office, too, the one on New York Avenue in Winter Park. Since I was going directly from Orlando to London, I was being efficient and shipping my grown-up (television) clothes home. I packed it all up in a box that my pal, Mike, conveniently had, and taped the box tight, with tape he also had, so I didn’t have to buy any at the post office. Then, as I’m going to pay for postage, I realize that I left my only credit card in the pocket of a skirt I’d thrown in the box before I hermetically sealed it. Therefore, I had to cut the box open, take out the credit card, and tape the box back up with tape that I had to buy. Now, I have a roll of mailing tape with me, here in Kensington, London, UK. I suppose that’s better than not having a credit card with me here. But then again…..
The trick in leaving Orlando was to fly out during thunderstorm time, get to Dulles during thunderstorm time, get my bag, recheck my bag and myself, meet the Admiral and Pally, and get on another plane to London. As you may remember, this has been a bad spell for me in airports. It took my bag four days to find me in Barcelona. And I was more than two hours delayed on my direct flight to Orlando. So, I didn’t hold out much hope for this crazy connection. Which is EXACTLY why it went without a hitch.
I’m here for four days, visiting my nephew, Matt, the Gator (really???), who’s studying and “working” here for the summer. Somehow, the Admiral got us tickets for “Book of Mormon.” I’m still not sure how he did that, but I’m so glad, because odds are, that’s a show that will never, never, ever come to Utah. Never. Ever.
I’ll leave you with photos of two of the first thoughts I had upon arrival: