Chillin’ with the Family on Family Day

The American’s have President’s day and for Canadians living in Ontario or Alberta – we’ve got Family Day.  A long weekend in February, quite possibly the most brilliant idea ever. I love a long weekend that doesn’t have an event involved in it.

The Boy and I had a pretty low-key Family Day weekend, but we did hang out with the family and we did have some productivity.

The Boy,  the Brother and I headed to Lowes on Saturday afternoon to embark on a family adventure that could end in disaster or the start of a new family business.  The business of ottoman making.

Getting all the pieces - I heart Lowes

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I shared this picture

are we handy enough?

And I thought DIYing would either result in a BEAUTIFUL custom made piece of furniture and a great sense of accomplishment, or shenanigans.

I’m happy to report that we are halfway there. We have a great sense of accomplishment – but it’s not quite beautiful yet.

some handy work of handymen

If you’re in need of a storage ottoman – I know two boys that can help you out.  But I can also tell you that from our first DIY experience – DIY doesn’t always mean cheaper.  We’re at about 25% of the cost of the one we were looking at at Urban Barn – but we haven’t bought batting or fabric yet.  I hear fabric can be expensive.

Plus – labour is expensive.

These boys aren’t cheap.

fabric me

The rest of the weekend included a family dinner, a family knitting bee, a family effort to clean our dirty house, and a family walk.  Different family members for each of these events, but in the cold and snow of February, I’d rather spend a long weekend with the family than the President!

Bell Let’s Talk – A Recap

Tuesday was Bell Let’s Talk Day. It was by all accounts very successful. Bell committed to donating 5 cents for every long distance call and text message sent with your Bell phone.  For those who don’t use Bell as their phone carrier – participation was still possible through Facebook shares and on Twitter using #BellLetsTalk.  The results are in, over 96M messages, calls, shares and tweets were made.  That translates to a commitment from Bell of $4.86M in donations to mental health programs in Canada. 

It gets better. That’s in addition to the $50M over 5 years that Bell originally committed to.  All this together means their new grand total is $62M in financial commitment.  That’s a huge number.

But the best part? 96M messages, calls, shares and tweets can go a long way to end stigma of mental health. But it doesn’t happen in a day and it’s important to keep talking, sharing, tweeting and messaging… and blogging – which is why I waited to Friday to talk about it again.

Now of course there is criticism.  Legitimate critique that Bell has struck gold with a brilliant marketing plan – the hashtag wasn’t just #letstalk, it was #bellletstalk.  As far as branding and brand recognition – Bell had a very successful day of marketing and nothing more.  But you know what – I don’t care.  $62M is a lot of money and can make significant difference.  And 96M messages particularly the Facebook shares and Tweets about mental health help.  They help fight stigma and they help those who are struggling realize they are not alone.  If all of those messages encouraged 1 person to reach out and get help – then go ahead and relish in your brand recognition Bell – you’ve earned it.

As for the documentary I wrote about earlier this week – well, now that I’ve seen it I can attest to its impact and the value of the message. I knew it would be great (it was), and I knew I would cry through the entire thing (I did), but I could only hope that it would impact people that didn’t know James the same way.  I’ve got to believe that of the 12500+ people who have watched the film on YouTube in the last 48 hours – they have been impacted, and hopefully those that need it have found some help and comfort in the message of hope.

So for the cableless or those that don’t get TSN or CTV here it is – Talk to Me: The Story of James Patrick Peek.

Thank you to everyone that contributed to Let’s Talk Day – and please continue to spread a message of hope for those affected by mental illness.

Let’s Talk

February 12th is Bell-Globe Media’s “Let’s Talk Day.” It’s an initiative to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness. To start a conversation so we can all realize that we’re not alone. On February 12, Bell donates 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada for every: Text message sent, Long distance call made, Tweet using #BellLetsTalk, Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image.

1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives.

Did you know that?

1 in 5.

That means 1 in 5 people are struggling or have struggled, and because there is this ridiculous stigma, it’s very likely that at some point they had or are having a hard time telling anyone. Or maybe, they might be okay with talking about it but because we don’t – they don’t have the words to describe what’s going on.

Not good. And not fair. To anyone.

1 in 5 is a lot of people, and it means that you know someone that is experiencing a mental illness. That’s a Ginger and Giant guarantee right there.

So, what can we do? A few things.

  1. When you recognize that someone you know is acting a bit off – maybe a change in mood, or diet, or temperament – take notice and check in with them.
  2. If you are experiencing a change in mood, or diet or temperament – not feeling like yourself, feeling down or disinterested in things or people you used to love – check in with someone. It doesn’t have to be someone you usually confide in if you’re not comfortable. It could be a doctor – a doctor would be a great, a teacher or of course a member of your family or a friend.
  3. If someone chooses you to talk to about what they’re struggling with – listen to them. I know, it seems obvious, but you might be having a bad day, or you might have a sick baby at home or you might be stressed about something at work – and you might not truly be listening, or you might think the person is exaggerating, or being “dramatic.” They’re not. Please, please, please take them seriously. It doesn’t mean you have to own their happiness, or their health, but please listen, and do what you can to connect the person with an appropriate support – like a doctor.
  4. And last but not least – you can support organizations that support those experiencing mental illness.

Tonight, there is a documentary being aired on TSN that tells the story of a family who lost their 17-year-old son to suicide. James was my friend, and the day I found out we lost him is one I will never forget. But I am not his sibling, and I am not his parent – and I cannot even pretend to know what that would feel like. Despite how hard it is, James’ family has found a way to celebrate James’ life each year on his birthday. They have made it their mission to not only celebrate him, but to fight the stigma of suicide and mental illness and they’ve done it through sport. Together with their friends and family they have raised close to $300,000 through 13 years of golf tournaments. They have created the James Peek Memorial Outpatient Services at our local hospital, and supported programs in high schools to encourage young people to talk about the challenges they might be facing.

So tonight, after you watch Ted recount some shenanigans that he and his friends got up to before he met his kids’ mother – turn your TV to TSN and check out this documentary – (that’s at 8:30 est for those that may not be How I Met Your Mother fans). I haven’t seen it – but I know the impact this family has had on their community and so I have no doubt that, Talk to Me: The Story of James Patrick Peek is going to be an important and valuable contribution to Let’s Talk Day, and to fighting the battle of stigma.

Then tomorrow, share your thoughts on the film and use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk and by doing so you’ll have taken a step toward ending the stigma of mental illness. And FAR more than 1 in 5 Canadians will be grateful that you did.

If you can’t catch it tonight – the documentary will be rerun on Tuesday February 12 at 4:30 on TSN and 9:30 on TSN2. It has also been picked up by CTV an will air at 1:00pm as part of their Let’s Talk programming and 8:00 on CTV2. Rumour has it, CTV doesn’t often pick programming up from TSN which is indicative of how powerful the film will be.

10 Things – Mostly about Gordon

  1. Gordon graduated puppy school.  We are so proud. Yes, Gordon’s certificate is hanging on the fridge.The Graduate
  2. Sista said they just give away the certificates, but we clearly saw our instructor tear up a certificate that had the wrong spelling on it – you know just in case another Lacey came in and stole the certificate without completing the classes. That would probably cause irreparable damages to the reputation of the school.
  3. I was sick.  It was just a cold but it did knock me out for a couple of days.  I only took 1 day off but when I went back on Tuesday I was asked repeatedly why I was at work.
  4. I was at work because it was a cold, I’m not a baby, and I have work to do.
  5. People are weird. Especially cubicle people.
  6. The Boy built a work bench last weekend. Now I’m coming up with projects for him. This is what I’m thinking.

    The Boy thinks it looks complicated.  I vote, how complicated can a wooden box with lid be.

  7. I foresee shenanigans and excellent blog fodder out of this plan
  8. Hockey is back.  The Boy is happy.  I am not.
  9. Gordon got her first hair cut last week
  10. .  This is her before:

    Really the grad picture better shows her complete inability to see

    Really the grad picture better shows her complete inability to see

  11. This is her after. Meticulous attention was paid to about 300 individual hairs on her face, paws and butt. $30 later she pretty much looks the same, but she has been warmed to the idea of grooming. Brother says – “she looks surprised”

    Can you even tell that she got a haircut?

    Can you even tell that she got a haircut?