Thursday, 28 February 2013

Go Away Winter!

Holy sea-cow it's been way too long since my last post. So much has happened I haven't found any time to update you all! Thanks as always for your unending support. Let's see where to start!

Well, in mid January I accepted a position as an Early Childhood Educator. I made the decision after a lot of thought about my current situation with the unlikely chances of being able to teach in the public school system. I am very thankful to be working with an amazing Director and fellow teacher and 12 amazing kids! It took a bit of a curb to get going, it's been a while since I've been that physically active on a day to day basis. But it's been worth it. Unfortunately just after I took the job my health did a huge nose dive. It was a little scary for a while but thankfully things seem to be getting back into order! Oh yes, and there's been LOADS of snow here...

that would be my door...

I was very honoured to be invited to speak to the Child and Youth Program at Mount Saint Vincent University this past January. I spoke about the role of play and the effect it has on the healthy and educational development of a child, and teaching outside the box. When I had been emailing back and forth with my contact person they made it quite clear the class wanted me to give the presentation in costume. I always get the biggest kick out of talking to adults while I flip my tail, especially in an academic setting! Naturally, we had to get a silly photo....

I also collaborated with a youtube artist to create a relaxing video, that can hopefully be used as an ocean meditation to help people feel connected to the water and the creatures in it. I used all my own footage that I've taken from past visits to aquariums. I really wish we had an aquarium here in Halifax. I am starting to think that in the next 10 years I should seek out some grants and build one. I think it would address a lot of issues from our city, and generate good stuff for the economy. Plus, we're an ocean city! We need ocean education. Maybe it'll inspire people to treat out harbour better. Who knows? Pipe dream... hehe

I'm getting back into music and this is very exciting and also terrifying for me. When I was younger I was a fairly skilled guitarist and a pretty average vocalist. I jammed all the time, did shows, even got to open for some well known acts. But all that changed when I got sick and music got left on the back burner. Thankfully, I'm teaming up with my friend who just moved here from the UK and we're forming a group! He's from a pretty successful UK boyband if you can believe that. I'm a little intimidated because he's AMAZING. I mean, don't take my word for it, here... go listen! (If the link doesn't work search Gavin Thomas, he's got the black and white profile pic with the big smile). So far I'm just planning on playing guitar for his songs and doing harmonies. He'd like me to sing some stuff, do duets, etc. But I got a lot of work ahead of me if I want to live up to his kind of talent! Before he got here, I was itching to practice... so I dug out my recording stuff and made this very, terrible, embarrassing, not very good, but I'm still going to show you because I had fun... video...

Can I just say I did it ALL myself even the filming? Timer + tripod+ tail= realllllllly funny. I have no idea how to mix music. LOL. But yeah, like I said. I had fun. :p Maybe with Gavin's skills I can throw together something a little more polished ;)

A quick note before I forget, my friends at Glass Dharma are giving away free glass straws for earth day. You can sign up here.

I've been slowly adding more and more teaching tools to my arsenal. I finally decided to make a new nature box. I bring this out when I'm teaching kids, it sure is fun. I also got a larger than life hermit crab to help teach the kids too... I named him Hermies because I love Futurama and I'm soooo original.

The new gear held up really well at an awesome dry birthday party I did. I'm always amazed with how engaged kids can be so long as you've got the right material. It didn't hurt that this party had the neatest cake ever too..

Mount Saint Vincent University decided to feature me on their main website. I spent 7 years of my life there, I love that they brag about having a mermaid. It's so cool. You can read the article, which is party of their "Be Something Big" campaign, right here. I had a pretty great experience at that school. I mean, how many academic institutions can you think of that encourage people to become mermaids? I had loads of support! Here's a fun pic we took when I graduated last May with my second degree!

If you didn't see already on my FB page I finally gave a formal announcement about the book I've been working on. It's targetted to a niche market, people who are in, want to be in, or are interested in, the mermaid community! In the book I really lay out the nuts and bolts of turning a mermaid passion into a business. I get right down to the nitty gritty, provide you with information you can't find anywhere else, and share some of personal mermaid biography along the way. I've got a panel of well known mers giving me input every step of the way, a crack team of editors, and the lovely Carolyn Turgeon will be writing a forward for it! I'm not expecting to make money or anything, this is just something I really wanted to do, to get out of my system! I'll be self publishing, though I've been approached by several publishers I feel it best to do it the way I have planned. It'll be easier, cheaper, and better on the environment too! I'm hoping to have it published by late spring/early summer.

If you didn't know already, I am hosting a contest on my Facebook Page that will end on March 15th! Win a custom mermaid Raina ceramic mug! You can CHOOSE the print you'd like on the mug! I will pay to have it shipped to you for free!! Here's how to enter:

1. Like my FB page (if you haven't already)
2. Share my page and ask any friends who like my page to tell me that YOU sent them. They must post on my wall "My friend ______ sent me!"
3. You and your friend are BOTH entered into the contest, you get ADDITIONAL ENTRIES for every friend that you refer.
4. Winners will be drawn on video on March 22nd. 2 Winners will be chosen and get to pick any of these prints to have on their mug:
5. We'll do it again later with a different item! ♥

In adorable boyfriend news, the boyfriend and I tackled making a sea-shell top for Mermaid Ama. It was a really challenge for us. It took a lot of research and testing things out, trial and error. He's pretty much the greatest guy ever and you can see a behind the scenes clip of him sewing the thing here Here's a look at the finished product, I never want to do it again. LOL

Mermaid Ama and I have been insanely busy in the weekends with gigs. We're very thankful for the jobs, but we were getting pretty tired for a while there because thanks to bad weather some gigs had to be shifted around and we ended up doing back to back gigs! We recently did one for our friend Brandy Hoyt of Brandy Hoyt Studios. She's a great photographer. You might remember that she's done some noticeable works of me like this one...

geesh my hair sure has grown out since then! Wow. Anyway, we did a swap with Brandy! She is going to be doing another great photo shoot for Ama and I together in exchange for the party. Swaps are a great way to help your business, and I talk about them in detail in my book. Here's a few clips from her fun party:

Shortly after that, and I mean, shortly... Ama and I teamed up with Mimi to do a private thank-you swim for some of our supporters. It was loads of fun. Of course, we took the opportunity to get some video and photos with Mimi too! We just love Mimi and the wave pool. Mimi got engaged the day before!

The next big thing to happen is that I got to be on This Hour has 22 Minutes for a viral video. If you don't know 22 Minutes, they are a long running Canadian political satire show. I was thrilled. It all came about thanks to a lovely PR lady named Terri who I ran into years ago through her work with the Bay of Fundy. We did our own version of The Harlem Shake! You can watch the video by clicking here Check out some of my behind the scenes photos!

Mertender Sean and I sit on the set

I sit on the set

I ran into the president of MSVU
we also got t-shirts and swag!
screenshot from the video. Protip: dancing in a tail is hard.
my lovely ladies! <3
It was really a surreal experience. They film in front of a studio audience and it was hilarious to have me carried out flapping my tail and see their expressions. I even had a friend in the audience and we laughed and waved. The cast were so nice and got their own photos of me and posed for some too. I'll post those photos when I get them. It was such a nice experience. I printed the photo of Sean and I on the set and framed it for the wall. Too cool.

I want to share something I shared on my FB page with you all. We all have limits. Even in the thing we do best, or love more than anything else. There will always be someone who can do it better. Once we accept that, we start turning our limit into a strength, and before you know it... it's not a limit any more. Did you know I never learned to swim until I was 17? And even then, all I did was doggy paddle, and use a floaty or have one nearby. It wasn't til I decided I wanted to be a mermaid that I even ventured into putting my head under the water :) Now I'm a regular water baby! ♥

As of right now I am only taking bookings til the end of April. In May my prices are going up, for a few reasons. 1 is that I find I'm spending more money on gas and materials than I make for some gigs. Another is that I realized when comparing myself to other performers that do similar work in my area I am undercutting, though it was ignorantly so. Finally, I kept my prices low for the winter to help accommodate the expensive price of renting an indoor pool during the winter. I know families have a lot to deal with. But yep, prices are going up May 1st and I'm not taking bookings past then yet because I'm in the middle of working out contracts for some HUGE summer things! Once I have most of those dates nailed down I can take them. I do have a waiting list so far, that dates back to October if you can believe that! So if you're nervous about having a spot this summer please email me to get your name on the list!

Before I forget I wanted to remind you all that the awesome documentary, Revolution, that I got to pre-screen is coming out soon. I've done up an article for it on Tail Flip that you'll be able to read soon. For now, check out the trailer!!!


IN my personal life, I've just been very very busy! I work 40 hours a week, and in the evenings I'm working on my book, on the next issue of Tail Flip (it's going to be huge!), I've been hitting the gym again now that I can afford it once more, going to Chiro and massage to help my illness, and lesson planning for my kids. Weekends are spent mostly doing mermaid stuff along with the occasional evening. It's really nice to have myself in a place with mermaiding where it's now a reliable income on a mostly regular schedule. Except for when those pesky snow days kick in. I'm enjoying spending all the extra time with Mermaid Ama, and enjoying lots of TV and books. (Game of Thrones, anyone?) I do have a break come Easter, and I'll be happy to put my fins up and enjoy some good food, time with family, and maybe even karaoke if I'm lucky with friends. All in all, life is really shaping up! I'm sure there are loads of things I've missed but I'm running on empty here, love you all!