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Monday, May 26, 2008

Advertising Is A B***-AH!

I have been trying to get my Musical Theater Camps going again this summer, and if you haven't read about my fiasco from last year, its worth a look see. The annoying part of any business
is the advertising, I guess everyone knows, and this year is no different.

I usually try to do inserts in the local papers, but this year I decided to try the local "ad" paper, because it goes to every household, instead of just those that subscribe to the paper. Now, you would think that I would get more interest with a paper that goes to every household.

Well, last year, after getting my insert out, I received about 25 phone calls the first two weeks, and about 15 e-mails. So, this year, a day after the insert came out, I awaited the rush of phone calls, and e-mails.

Yes, you guessed it. Nothing the first day. Then, I got two e-mails the next day. I answered them immediately, thinking that the rush was going to come---right around the corner...
There was nothing for about two more days, then several more e-mails, one phone call, and then....nothing.

It has been about a week now since I have received any inquiries. I have received 5 registrations, but that's about it.

Meanwhile, I am having a fit, because I just rented a huge, really amazing space because I didn't want to loose it, (someone else wanted to rent it and I had first right of of course, duh....I jumped right in!) and I am freaking out because it doesn't look like I will be able to afford it, let alone make any profit.

My new space----beautiful, huh?

And this is looking back towards the lobby area---cool loft area!

So, that's when you have to figure out how to advertise again. Where? Do I go to the same papers as last year? I checked on them and they have, of course, raised their prices. But, what can a girl do?

Well, what about a sandwich board in the center of town? Great idea, huh? Right, but then we found out that we have to be non profit to advertise in the center of town. (We are planning on applying for this, but haven't had the time or brain to do the paperwork---sigh.) But. we did find out from the landlord that we can put one on the street in front of the building. So, I quickly get online to my favorite online sign store, I whip up a signboard, and it is shipped asap to me. I got it Saturday!

I love that place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I realize that I can't wait to see if the sign board will work, I am going to have to put inserts in the paper that I used last year. Ahhh, heck!
There goes more money out the door, and then I realize that I have to buy chairs, and the backdrop for the stage area.

I give up. I understand now what they say about when you start a business and it takes at many years to get it to make money? I'm afraid to hear... By the way, I know that I have several "business owners" that read this, so what are your suggestions? Do you have as many problems that I have?

Now, I will just pray that there isn't a chemical leak in the building.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Where's A Bin?

Our Bed and Breakfast in West Drayton...great place!

We were jet-lagged, but we hit the train to London anyway!

First stop, Windsor.

Windsor Castle, thousands of years old.

Bret and Aydan in front of the castle...

...and the flag was flying, since the Queen was there for her birthday.

A walk along the Thames, under Windsor bridge.

Shawn and Aydan pretended to feed the swans...they kept raising their heads each time they put their hands up!

"Here we come, walkin down the street....hey, hey we're the Monkees"

Phone box.

New day, good sleep and we're waiting for the train again!

Yay! We spied Cannon Street on the tube.

Victoria and Albert Museum---beautiful!

Three little lambs...

...and a Beast to boot! Great exhibits in the London stage section.

Then, we sat outside in the sun for a bit.

The statue in front of Buckingham Palace...

....and the view from the other side.

The changing of the guard....

....and the guard in front of the Queen's equestrian stables.

Gold, gold, everywhere you look around the center of London.

Westminister Abbey

Bret and Aydan in front of Westminister Abbey.

Big Ben.

The church next to the Abbey,---there are three of them...

London Bridge

...and note the sailboat coming under it.

Tower of London...

and the prison

A night at the theatre!...Lord of the Rings!

Perfect ending of a wonderful day in London!

London, London...amazing London.

I finally got there and a word....I loved London! Maybe that was more than one word, but it was indeed an amazing place. We were only able to spend about two 1/2 days there, but we made the best of it and I absorbed the place as quickly as I could.

My impressions of London:

1. Amazing people! Everywhere I looked there were attractive, chic, cool and funky people. I have to say that I have never seen so many well dressed, put together people in my life! And of course, I was loving the fact that I finally fit right in. I saw so many women and girls that were dressed just like.....well....dare I say! And the men! I could not believe how well-dressed the men were! Everywhere I looked, there were men of all ages wearing sharp, perfectly fit European cut suits with Italian made shoes, and great ties. Then, if they were casually dressed, they were funky and fun, mixing their clothes like something right out of GQ.
I'm sure that my mouth was hanging open on several occasions, as I craned my neck to see the various outfits that were surfacing everywhere we walked. I actually saw only one sweatsuit outfit and yes, you guessed it....they were American tourists....

2. Delightful history! I loved seeing the various sights that were so linked with British history and the intriguing ties that the British have with their royalty. We were at Windsor castle on the Queens birthday, so her flag was flying that told the world that she was there at the castle. They also rang the bells off and on while we were there to remind us, I guess, that it was the Queens birthday.

3. Great architecture and museums! Since I took Art History and architecture for my major in college, I have always loved knowing the different types of architecture and it was neat being able to see the different styles that I had learned about. The churches were so wonderful with their "flying buttresses", and high arches. It was great to see them finally----to be right there absorbing the beauty. There is so much grandeur there and it was exciting to be a part of it. Then there are the museums! We weren't able to visit very many, because of our time restraints, but we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, at a recommendation from a friend, and we were blown away! We loved the section on photography, on fashion design, and most of all, on the London theatre sets and costumes. It was inventive and fun and we could have spent all day there, but since we had a lot to see, we moved on.

4. Phenomenal theatre! Of course, one of my dreams would be to go to London for about two weeks and go to the theatre every night. There is something so wonderful about going to live theatre, seeing someone else's vision on the stage. I would have loved to see more of it, but we were only able to go to "The Lord of the Rings Musical" Not my first choice, obviously, but we were traveling with our young son, Aydan and had to pick something that he would enjoy also. It turned out to be really fun, with an amazing set and lots of visual candy, as well as some phenomenal singing talent. The acting wasn't that great, I must admit---the lead guy---you know, the Viggio Mortensen role----was a bit over the top. I had trouble getting over his gruff voice. And it was a bit rough trying to fit all those books and movies into one three hour musical----definitely hard to understand for anyone who hasn't read the books or seen the movies-----which would be my husband. But he enjoyed the ride, and we both agreed that it was a great experience for all of us! The highlight of the night was when the creatures from the play decided to come into the audience and harass everyone....and since we were on the 10th row, we got quite a bit of it! I was worried that my son would freak out, (he has an aversion to anyone "dressed up", such as clowns, Chucky Cheese, Santa Claus---well, you get the picture) but he was awesome about it and even laughed about the fact that one of the creatures had his scary face, literally, right behind Aydan's head when he was turned around looking at another creature. So, when Aydan turned back forward----whoa!---there the creature was----right in his face!

5. Love those accents! I have always considered myself a "BBC American" and have the fantasy of living in the English countryside, running a theatre and going to London on the weekends to shop and go to the theatre. I have been a disciple of the BBC channel and have Direct TV because I demand that I have that particular channel in my cable lineup. And, I have always relished the different accents that are portrayed in some of my favorite shows. So, it was great to hear the accents in real life----it made me smile.

6. Mind the gap! The subway and train system in London was really efficient and quite easy to get around on. I liked the way you could go anywhere with just a day pass, and I know that if I went there for some time, I would get a Eurail (sp?) pass and be able to tool all around the UK. And Aydans favorite part was when we would step off the train and we would hear "Mind the gap!" It was the gap that is located between the train and the platform, that is quite large sometimes and can be dangerous, as I can tell you first hand, since I almost fell in one, as I was looking around and not watching my step. Whew...close one---thats all I needed in London----another face plant to add to my former face injuries. (Be sure and check back for the long awaited blog of that story coming soon!)

7. Where are all the bins? Or garbage cans, as we like to call them. There was a lot of trash in London, thats for sure, and it's sad that there is so much trash. No one seems to notice it, and I guess they really aren't concerned with it, but it annoyed me...a lot! I know that I was constantly looking for a trash can, as I once carried my trash in my pocket for about an hour, coming from a train station to the city, and walking for blocks and blocks, finally finding one. Whats with that? Why are there no bins? My friend from Ireland thought that maybe it was because they took most of them out because the IRA liked to use them for bombs... Thats her theory. I don't really know, but that is something that needs to be reckoned with, in my opinion.

8. Great Bed and Breakfasts! We stayed in a lovely Bed and Breakfast. close to Heathrow, in West Drayton, a close walk to the train and a little village. It wasn't a full English breakfast, but we were provided with two full baskets of fresh rolls or croissants, cold cereal, fresh fruit, orange juice, English tea, fruit and peanut snacks, "crisps" and many other fun snacky items. Our hosts were gracious, and pleasant, helping us get to where we wanted to go and sharing some enlightenment on going to Ireland, as they were both Irish. I am so glad that there are Bed and Breakfasts in the world. They make it feel like home.

There you have it, I know its a lot to take in----and we were there such a short time, but I really felt the need to get my perspective out there, in writing, so I don't forget my first impressions.
I plan on going back some day. It's taken me more than twenty years to get there---well, a lot more than twenty years---but who's counting?

Monday, May 05, 2008

All I Want....Is My Two Front Teeth

Yes, we are back in one piece from our amazing trip to Europe. I have been working on the blog entry about London, but haven't finished it yet. I was just going to wait until I finished it to post something, then a small amazing thing happened this weekend.

I know its a natural thing and seems to be the event that changes a little child into a youth, but it always makes me a bit sad, because that child never can go back to the way he looked before...

I'm talking about losing your top two baby teeth.

I had one day of down time before I went to Oklahoma again, this last weekend. While I was gone, Aydan lost his two front teeth. They had been loose, and he pushed them back and forth with his tongue once in a while to make them even more loose. Well, at school on Friday, they came out...

Now, some kids look really weird after they lose their teeth. They look like an old man or lady or like they have tripped and knocked them right out! I remember that my teeth were huge when they started to come in and I looked like a bunny. "Aw, whats up, doc?"

But Aydan actually looks amazingly cute with his front teeth missing. They were so tiny anyway. (yes, he has his Dad's teeth, not mine, luckily!) So, for just a short while anyway, I can pretend that he is still younger. Its not that I don't want him to grow up, but, yes, he's my baby and my last one and its hard to let go.

So, until those rabbit teeth come in, I will enjoy looking at him and hear his slightly altered speech because he has trouble saying his "s's".

And I will just smile.

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