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The Far Side of Town

For the most part, Bruce and I, while in Orlando, stay pretty close to home, generally venturing not much further than Winter Park. This weekend we made some exceptions, heading out to the Orlando Home Show at the Convention Center on International Drive. We'd seen an advertisement in the paper that Chip and Joanna Gaines, from the HGTV show, Fixer Upper, were going to make an appearance. Since it is one of the few shows on that channel that we both like, we decided, why not?

The convention center is huge! The home show was horrible, looking more like a trip to Flea World or something on that order. Yikes!
Although they were not scheduled to appear until 6PM, we arrived at 5 to walk the show and see what we could see. NOT! Junk, junk, junk! It shows you the popularity of the show that all of the seats were filled by 5. After seeing a few rows of nothing, I stood adjacent to the stage as B walked around. Naturally I started a conversation with a nearby lady, and we both agreed, that on the show the couple seems so genuine. Well, that they were in person, and then some! Apparently they'd taken their four children to Disney during the day which is where Chip got his Chip hat.
Count me a huge skeptic when it comes to the folks on HGTV, but this sweet couple has a different story to tell. Amazingly enough, a producer came across Joanna's blog (!!!) and called, wanting to meet her. After their meeting, which they described during their talk, the producer went to HGTV to pitch a series. They said NO! There was a lot of back and forth, however, eventually, the HGTV folks agreed to give them a third look. The producer spent a week filming everything they did. Chip, who hardly let Joanna get a word in edgewise, described how he could not get comfortable with a cameraman beside him. It was such a cute story, and there is loads more to it, but suffice it to say, the week ended with a relaxed Chip, and the rest is history. Not only did they talk longer than the allotted time, they answered questions from the audience, followed by asking the audience trivia questions with prizes they brought with them from Texas. Although we did not stay for it, they did a meet and greet as well. Bruce's estimate of the crowd? At least 300 people crowded around the stage. How many chairs were there? Maybe 50!

As we were driving there I was amazed to see the progress on the Orlando Eye.
Mostly because when last we went out that way, about three weeks ago, it looked like this:
I'm finding conflicting reports on when it is to open, maybe this Winter, maybe next Spring, but I bet when it is up and running, it will be super cool. Years ago we visited the London Eye, and it is an experience not soon forgotten.

So, that was Friday night on International Drive; Saturday night we drove to Black Hammock Restaurant on the far extreme other end of our metropolitan area. The occasion? A surprise party for Kathy, our market neighbor, hosted by her husband Jim.
Jim has been talking about this party for most of the year. To say he was excited is putting it mildly. Kathy recently retired, and the party was to honor that. Behind Jim is his 93 year old mother who looked, and acted, like she is maybe 73. Because we've been "market neighbors" for seven years now, we've met the whole family many times; she doesn't seem to age a bit! The smiling young man on the lower right is their youngest son Karl who went through about a two year health crisis. It is so good to see him healthy once again!

This was our first visit to Black Hammock,
located on the shores of Lake Jessup, a huge lake, known for being the most alligator infested lake in Florida. Jim and Kathy have lived in the area for 30+ years on their five acres.

Jim taught high school Biology for 30+ years, and he still enjoys getting in front of a group. In the early going he outlined Kathy's work life, along with what it has meant to their bank account. Later on, much to all of our surprise, he brought Jeremy, their oldest son up to the stage with his guitar, while Karl used a maraca, and Jim SANG to Kathy.
Is Jim a singer? Let's just say we all gave him an A for sincerity. And just what did he sing?
And oldie but a goodie....Sea of Love. It took a lot of guts to follow Joseph Martens, pictured above with the tambourine under his foot--he is one of Orlando's finest singers. We know him well as he's been at the market now for probably five years. Apparently Jim hired him back in January! Neither Bruce, nor I, enjoy driving much at night, however, using two expressways, he drove us safely the 23 miles home.

Sunday, oh was it ever beautiful!! Thus, huge crowds, and great sales for your favorite blogger! As well, there was a costume contest for the vendors with the top prize being three months of free rent. At $30 a week, that is a pretty darn good prize don't you think? Not being the costume type, I enjoyed some of the other vendor's creativity.  She sells olive salad.
While the Jolly Green Giant sells amazing pottery.
The first place winner was Medusa!
I admire folks who can come up with costumes like these, don't you?

My word, where has the morning gone? Lunch time with my honey....
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