MDBT - 2011

ASTD 2011
in Orlando
Long-time readers know that MDBT = Mother-Daughter Bonding Trip. And that I haven't had the luxury of going on one with my sweet daughter for a couple of years now.  So, this past week was just ab-fab perfect in my book.

Missy M was scheduled to attend the annual American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) International Conference in Orlando. When she offered to buy my plane ticket (!) and let me share her room at the Peabody/Orlando (!!), I couldn't say YES fast enough.  Of course, between the time she made this offer and the time I actually stepped onto my Southwest flight out of Raleigh, an awful lot happened here at home.  Mom's health took a steep nose-dive (as you know by now), so we weren't sure this year's MDBT would even happen.

Way to go Mr. T!  He stepped up to the plate and hit a huge home-run when he said "you need to go...and I can stay with your Mom."  And, then Mom had a fairly good week after several really bad days.  So, it appeared the sun, the moon, and the stars were actually in alignment for me to go.

And go to Orlando I did!

I loved staying at the Peabody, especially because I'm from the city of the original.  When the bellman said "our ducks are better," I begged to differ.  Still, I couldn't get enough photos of the five of them and their fountain (photos, below).  Heck, I even killed the batteries in my camera by videoing the little waddlers, headed down to the lobby from their third floor palace.  I had to make a swift switch just to capture a video of them making their dash from the elevator, down the red carpet, to the fountain (above, left), all to the tune of Sousa's King Cotton March.  Loved it!  [Travel Tip:  Best place to view the ducks' march?  Head up to the third floor, called the Recreational Level.  You'll get to see the ducks before anyone else, since their "home" is on this floor, and they begin/end their daily journeys here.  And, you can get a great view from the balcony of the proceedings in Mallard Lobby below.]

Ducks in the fountain -
Lobby of the Peabody/Orlando

Don (real name!) the Duck Master -

Trisha's Toes in the
Peabody Pool
Then, I spent several sunny hours out by the pool (photo, left).  I had downloaded The Red Queen (all 19 or so hours...:), so the time flew by as I listened to one of my fav authors (Phillippa Gregory) being read to me.  I dearly love how she writes in a narrative makes you feel as if you are reading a present-day account or diary of 15th century England!

After M. finished her conference activities on Day One, we had an evening to enjoy margaritas at Don Pablos followed by a movie:  Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides...or, Pirates 4, as it has been dubbed.  Arrrghhh, Pirates!   I just love these movies!!  Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush are as wonderful in their roles as ever. 

M. had connnected me with a vendor who provided a free pass to the ASTD expo (where the bazillion vendors were), and when I checked in on Monday, I was given a "Full Conference" I got to attend the morning general sessions and several break-out workshops.  I took advantage of my good fortune and learned a lot.  It was wonderful!  Just like "old times" when I was a trainer.  And, I noticed something special while I was there, too.  I sensed a more welcoming acceptance of consultants (as a whole) and coaches (in the specific).  So, when I introduced myself as a leadership development coach, I felt included in the group...and it felt goooood.

"Please Respect the Spell Limits" -
Hogsmeade Village
Universal Studios, Orlando
Of course, if one is in Orlando...and one is a BIG FAN of the Harry Potter books and movies, one needs to go to Universal Studios "Islands of Adventure" park to see how they have transformed a palm-studded backlot off International Drive into Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts School.  OMG!  The snow on the roof-tops even looks matter that it was 95 degrees that Sunday.

The "ride" that is inside the Hogwarts Castle is just fantastic.  As you walk through the Castle and approach the actual ride, you are treated to videos of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Professor Dumbledore...and others from the you a little hint of things to come.  Then, you are IN an IMAX theatre-like production, while being secured to your padded seat, and it really feels like you are flying.  We played in a game of Quidditch, for goodness' sakes! 

Dr. Seuss Land -
A favorite at Universal Studios

To be truthful, it was challenging for me because the gondola that your seats are attached to turns way over, making it feel like you are standing on your head...and that is never good for someone with positional vertigo.  No matter, I settled soon enough, and we were off to ride the Jurassic Park Jungle River ride (you will get wet...:).

It was a perfect professional development opportunity...a perfect bonding trip...and a perfect break in my routine that came at just the right time. Thank you, my sweet husband and our thoughtful daughter.  {Hugs!}

P.S. Guess what today is?  It's the second anniversary of our signing the papers to buy this house in HPNC!  Yep, we've been back in NC for two years now.  Amazing!  Of course, we have another anniversary coming up this weekend, but I'll write more about that in my next post.

P.P.S.  Most of you know how I feel about Basset Hounds ["heck, Gibbs, equatorial pygmies know how you feel about..."; love that quote from Abby on NCIS...:)].  Anyway, my friend Lucille sent me this link to a story of a recent rescue of Bonnie and Clyde Basset and their babies.  You'll love it as much as I:


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