Another Loss of Canada

Telus – The Challenge

Home » Arts » Music
Canadian singer Rita MacNeil dies at age 68

Last updated Wednesday, Apr. 17 2013, 9:46 AM EDT

Rita MacNeil is seen in a December 2004 file photo. (Blair Gable/St. Catharines Standard/The Canadian Press)

Rita MacNeil, the big-hearted, silver-throated singer from the coal mining area of Cape Breton died Tuesday night in hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia from complications following stomach surgery. She was 68.

Best known for Working Man, Flying on Your Own, Reason to Believe, I’ll Accept The Rose Tonight and Home I’ll Be, MacNeil recorded more than 24 albums, won three Juno Awards, several East Coast Music Awards and a Gemini for the CBC TV variety show, Rita & Friends , which she hosted from 1994 to 1997.

From the archives: How Cape Breton nurtured Rita MacNeil’s music – and turned her into a star
From the archives: MacNeil has a voice that’s going places
From the archives: Cape Breton singer delivers extra bit of magic in concert
Success didn’t come early or easily to MacNeil, but her passion for writing and singing songs about life’s challenges and her love of family and friends found her a huge and loyal audience. She had her breakout performance at Expo 86 in Vancouver and won her first Juno Award for Most Promising Female Vocalist the following year when she was 42.

Tributes poured in after news of her death was posted on MacNeil’s website. “I am deeply saddened by the loss of a dear sweet woman and a gifted singer-songwriter who represented women and her beloved Nova Scotia so eloquently in her songs,” said Anne Murray, a long time friend who also hails from Nova Scotia. Murray covered MacNeil’s Flying on Your Own in the late 1980s.

“The one vivid memory I have is when Rita was a guest on my show,” said singer Tommy Hunter. “Coming from a coal mining area she had a soft spot in her heart for those miners. When she sang Working Man there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

Hunter remembered the warmth and sincerity that MacNeil conveyed through her songs to people in the studio audience and to the viewers at home. “It was evident that she touched them all from the many letters and comments we received after that show,” he said. “I have lost a good friend”

Born in Big Pond, Cape Breton on May 28, 1944, MacNeil was one of eight children of Neil and Catherine MacNeil. Her early life was tough. She wrote about her shyness, the bullying she endured because of her cleft palate, and love affairs gone wrong in her book, On A Personal Note.

In 1986 she opened Rita’s Tea Room in her hometown of Big Pond. It quickly became a tourist attraction.

MacNeil is survived by her daughter Laura, son Wade and her extended family.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

From the archives: How Cape Breton nurtured Rita MacNeil’s music – and turned her into a starIn photos: Singer Rita MacNeil through the yearsIn testosterone-fuelled sport of F1, Williams keeps it in the family
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Pintesst and Writing

How to Use Pinterest for Writing Ideas and Inspiration

How to Use Pinterest for Writing Ideas and Inspiration
Posted: 17 Apr 2013 01:00 AM PDT
Using Pinterest for writing ideas.

Over the years, I’ve used various systems for organizing and storing my writing ideas.

Of course, I keep notebooks and journals, which are great for keeping track of my own ideas and not so great for storing ideas I collect out in the world–materials culled from blogs, magazines, websites, and other mediums.

I’ve created folders on my hard drive for storing images I find online. I’ve had manila envelopes for stashing articles and images cut out of magazines and newspapers. Folders, boxes, scrapbooks… it all gets pretty messy and disorganized.

I’ve always wanted a way to keep everything in one medium (preferably electronic) and in one location. Pinterest has made that possible.


Wikipedia describes Pinterest as “a pinboard-style photo-sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies. Users can browse other pinboards for images, ‘re-pin’ images to their own pinboards, or ‘like’ photos.”

There’s more to it though, because you can also keep track of links with Pinterest. If you find an image on a website, you can attach the link to the image and pin them both together. So not only can you save images, you can also maintain links back to the source. If you use the Pinterest plugin on your browser, which I highly recommend, you can simplify the pinning process and the link to the source website will automatically attach to the images you pin. This allows Pinterest to function like a visual bookmarking tool.

But you can also upload your own images and scour Pinterest to discover images that you can repin to your boards. I’ve used Pinterest to save everything imaginable, from articles and recipes to writing ideas and inspiration.

Tips for Using Pinterest to Collect, Organize, and Store Writing Ideas

Pinterest has many uses; for example, recipe boards are all the rage. The site is rampant with fashion, home improvement, and various other mainstream and pop culture interests. But writers and other creatives have found innovative ways to use Pinterest. Here are a few tips for using Pinterest to gather, organize, and store your writing ideas:

Start with writing-related boards: collect writing tips, resources, quotes on writing (for insight and inspiration), or articles on the business of writing. Make separate boards for different writing-related topics or stash them all in a single board.
Round up your favorite books and authors: if you’re a writer, then you’ve probably been influenced by your favorite books and authors. Be an advocate for other writers by supporting and promoting them on Pinterest.
Make an inspiration board: you can post images of people, places and things that inspire you.
Character, plot, and setting boards: I see a lot of these from writers who are developing a work in progress and from authors who are published. Images are a great way to build a story and helpful for when you need to write descriptions.
Create a prompts board: fill it with images that spark your creativity and make you want to write; this one is ideal for poets and fiction writers alike!
How Are You Using Pinterest?

Writing Forward has a Pinterest page, where you’ll find lots of creative writing ideas. I also recently wrote a post over at The Creative Penn about using Pinterest as a marketing tool for writers and bloggers. I hope you’ll check that out (and while you’re there, be sure to peruse the rest of Joanna’s site; it’s packed with excellent information about the business side of writing).

Do you have a Pinterest account? Do you use it for rounding up writing ideas? Share the link to your boards and if you have any ideas to add about how writers can use Pinterest for inspiration, please do share them in the comments.

The post How to Use Pinterest for Writing Ideas and Inspiration appeared first on Writing Forward.

Very Interesting News Story

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Nearly 25% of nurses wouldn’t recommend their hospital
Burnout plagues about 40% of respondents, CBC survey suggests
By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News Posted: Apr 8, 2013 5:10 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 8, 2013 7:32 AM ET
Constant short staffing caused by layoffs and cutbacks can lead nurses to burn out. ((Claude Vickery/CBC))

Related Stories
Inside a nurse’s world: where stress is status quo
The fifth estate
Nearly a quarter of nurses wouldn’t recommend the hospital where they work to their family or friends, a survey by CBC News has found.

A NURSE’S WORLD Where stress is status quo
The startling figure comes from an online poll that CBC’s flagship investigative show, the fifth estate, distributed to registered nurses across the country as part of Rate My Hospital, a sweeping series about health care.

Twenty-four per cent of respondents to the survey distributed through nursing associations and unions said they definitely would not or probably would not recommend their hospital to loved ones.

“I’m very disappointed that nurses can’t recommend their facilities, the places where they work, to their loved ones,” said Ontario Nurses’ Association vice-president Andy Summers. “When they look around them and they realize that they couldn’t recommend that facility, it tells me that they’re recognizing how dire their practice is.”

More than 4,500 registered nurses from at least 257 hospitals responded to the survey asking about how nurses felt on a range of topics from hospital resources to quality of care.

Registered nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario and British Columbia were the least likely to recommend the hospitals where they work, while those in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Alberta were the most likely to do so. Few nurses responded from Manitoba, Quebec and the northern territories.

Staffing levels ‘worrisome’
About 60 per cent of nurses responding to the CBC online survey said there was not enough staff for them to properly do their jobs.

Nurses told the CBC they worry about their patients and that they aren’t giving them the quality of care they deserve. ((Claude Vickery/CBC))
Judith Ritchie, associate director for nursing research at the McGill University Health Centre, said that high percentage is worrisome not only for nurses but also for patients.

“There is clear, clear evidence that short staffing has negative impact on patient outcomes, as well as nurses’ health,” warned Ritchie, whom CBC consulted with to develop the survey questions.

Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, said staffing levels are the No. 1 issue across the country for nurses.

“Just recently I met a new graduating class of nurses — 125 of them — and none of them had jobs,” said Silas. “I just had to shake my head because we know the system is short. We’re working on overtime. That’s what’s keeping our system alive.”

A report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information released earlier this year found that the number of nurses in Canada had risen by the end of 2011, but nursing organizations say distribution is patchy across the country and the ratio of registered nurses to population still lags in some areas.

Summers said that in Ontario, which has the second worst population-to-registered nurse ratios, about 300 nurses have been laid off in the past four months.

Belt-tightening in many parts of the country has not only led to layoffs, but also cost-cutting measures such as not bringing in replacement nurses for those who call in sick, nurses told the CBC.

‘There’s times I would just say, “It’s only by the luck of God we got through this day and nothing happened.”‘
—Unidentified nurse
“I work in cardiac surgery, and they tried to save budget so they’re not replacing for sick call,” said one Toronto-area nurse who asked that her identity be protected for fear of reprisal. “So, it just puts the patients at risk. The hospital, they’re in denial.”

Another nurse who works at a busy Ontario hospital says her unit successfully fought against staffing shortages caused by cutbacks, but the constant battles take a toll.

“It’s just hard to be passionate: how do you keep the passion when you feel like you’re fighting upstream?” said the nurse, who also asked not to be identified.

‘Everybody’s burned out all day’
Constant short-staffing can lead nurses to burn out — a state that nearly 40 per cent of respondents said they suffered from to a high degree.

RELATED: Multimedia: Inside a nurse’s world
A part-time registered nurse who has worked at a rural Newfoundland hospital for more than 25 years said that recently burnout is plaguing members of her unit on a daily basis.

“Everybody’s burned out all day. And you just pray that you can get through the day, every day and everyone will get through the day safely with you,” said the nurse, who also asked that her identity be protected.

“There’s times I would just say, ‘It’s only by the luck of God we got through this day and nothing happened.'”

Not only does nurse burnout cost the system in sick leave and lead to the loss of skilled workers, it can also harm patients, says Ritchie, because the nurse becomes disassociated from her job.

“If you’re not really looking at the patient, and you’re not really listening because you just can’t or you will lose it, then you’re going to miss important cues, and nurses are the patients’ safety nets,” said Ritchie. “They’re their first line of defence.”

Quality of care questioned
However, the majority of respondents — 88 per cent — said patient safety in their unit or work area of the hospital is acceptable or better, while 11.5 per cent gave their facility a poor or failing grade.

Nurses also expressed concerns about lack of equipment and how often hospitals dealt with medical errors. ((Claude Vickery/CBC))
Despite that, nearly 40 per cent said they didn’t feel as if they could do their job to a quality standard that they were pleased with.

Those findings echo a frustration that the rural Newfoundland and Labrador nurse says she’s often felt in recent years.

“I can’t do, truly do, for my patients what I want to do and they need,” said the nurse, who asked not to be identified.

For Kamloops, B.C., nurse Aki Minato, delivering quality care is a key reason she chose the job. She’s among the 46 per cent who feel satisfied with the quality they deliver.

“I’m just grateful that I have this job, that I do what I believe is valuable work, and the patients are so grateful, and I feel that every day I work,” says Minato, who works in a dialysis unit.

Among the other issues nurses expressed in the survey were the lack of necessary equipment to do the job and frustration that medical errors weren’t always addressed.

Equipment woes
Forty per cent of respondents worry that when errors happen in their hospital, action is taken only in half the cases or less.

‘Nursing is the No. 1 area to address.’
—CFNU president Linda Silas
“I think that lots of time, [the errors] might be ignored or [the hospital] waits for something big to happen [before taking action],” said one Toronto-area nurse who asked not to be identified.

Lacking the supplies, materials and equipment necessary to do their job was also an issue for 36 per cent of respondents.

Ritchie says that’s a common complaint, in part caused by a hospital funding structure dependent on donations.

“Often, the equipment is purchased based on donations, like a big MRI machine or something fancy. But it’s not very prestigious to say I donated 150 special pumps for intravenous or feedings,” said Ritchie.

Nearly six per cent of nurses who answered the survey reported that they sometimes don’t even have the basic hygiene necessities of hot water, soap, paper towels or alcohol rubs available when needed.

More than 360,000 regulated nurses work in Canada, making them one-third of the national health-care workforce.

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions president says it’s time to address the problems facing nurses across the country.

“Nursing is the No. 1 area to address,” said Silas. “After you fix nursing, you’ll fix the rest.”

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Knights Of Colombus Bizarre

Tonight, I helped out with Knights Of Colombus bizarre at St. Joseph church in Timmins,ontario!!

Sadly, it seems community support for this fantastic cause id dwindling as the number of public supporters has decreased!!

Every year in April Knights of Columbus hold this bizarre so if you know anyone in Timmins,Ontario Canada encourage them to come out!! Great prizes and great food!!

Article on Meditation


Meditation On Lovingkindness

May I be filled with lovingkindness

“I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.”
– Walt Whitman

This meditation uses words, images, and feelings to evoke a lovingkindness and friendliness toward oneself and others. With each recitation of the phrases, we are expressing an intention, planting the seeds of loving wishes over and over in our heart.

With a loving heart as the background, all that we attempt, all that we encounter will open and flow more easily. You can begin the practice of lovingkindness by meditating for fifteen or twenty minutes in a quiet place. Let yourself sit in a comfortable fashion. Let your body rest and be relaxed. Let your heart be soft. Let go of any plans or preoccupations.

Begin with yourself. Breathe gently, and recite inwardly the following traditional phrases directed toward our own well-being. You being with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.

May I be filled with lovingkindness.

May I be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May I be well in body and mind.

May I be at ease and happy.

As you repeat these phrases, picture yourself as you are now, and hold that image in a heart of lovingkindness. Or perhaps you will find it easier to picture yourself as a young and beloved child. Adjust the words and images in any way you wish. Create the exact phrases that best open your heart of kindness. Repeat these phrases over and over again, letting the feelings permeate your body and mind. Practice this meditation for a number of weeks, until the sense of lovingkindness for yourself grows.

Be aware that this meditation may at times feel mechanical or awkward. It can also bring up feelings contrary to lovingkindness, feelings of irritation and anger. If this happens, it is especially important to be patient and kind toward yourself, allowing whatever arises to be received in a spirit of friendliness and kind affection. When you feel you have established some stronger sense of lovingkindness for yourself, you can then expand your meditation to include others. After focusing on yourself for five or ten minutes, choose a benefactor, someone in your life who has loved and truly cared for you. Picture this person and carefully recite the same phrases:

May you be filled with lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May you be well in body and mind.

May you be at ease and happy.

Let the image and feelings you have for your benefactor support the meditation. Whether the image or feelings are clear or not does not matter. In meditation they will be subject to change. Simply continue to plant the seeds of loving wishes, repeating the phrases gently no matter what arises.

Expressing gratitude to our benefactors is a natural form of love. In fact, some people find lovingkindness for themselves so hard, they begin their practice with a benefactor. This too is fine. The rule in lovingkindness practice is to follow the way that most easily opens your heart.

When lovingkindness for your benefactor has developed, you can gradually begin to include other people in your meditation. Picturing each beloved person, recite inwardly the same phrases, evoking a sense of lovingkindness for each person in turn.

After this you can include others: Spend some time wishing well to a wider circle of friends. Then gradually extend your meditation to picture and include community members, neighbors, people everywhere, animals, all beings, the whole earth.

Finally, include the difficult people in your life, even your enemies, wishing that they too may be filled with lovingkindness and peace. This will take practice. But as your heart opens, first to loved ones and friends, you will find that in the end you won’t want to close it anymore.

Lovingkindness can be practiced anywhere. You can use this meditation in traffic jams, in buses, and on airplanes. As you silently practice this meditation among people, you will come to feel a wonderful connection with them – the power of lovingkindness. It will calm your mind and keep you connected to your heart.

An Article To Help with Writers Block

Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block
From Ginny Wiehardt, former Guide
Most writers will have trouble with writer’s block at some point in their lives. The possible reasons for writer’s block are myriad: fear, anxiety, a life change, the end of a project, the beginning of a project . . . almost anything, it seems, can cause that debilitating feeling of fear and frustration. Fortunately there are as many ways to deal with writer’s block as there are causes. The items below are only suggestions, but trying something new is the first step toward writing again.

1. Implement a Writing Schedule.

Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writer’s block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away. When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind — and your muse — will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Five hundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30 books.

2. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself.

In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’s called editing.

3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.

Stephen King, a famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing in On Writing, intentionally linking it to physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks and mortar.

4. Take Time Off If You’ve Just Finished a Project.

Writer’s block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.

5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.

Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree to hold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting results helps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writing routine.

6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block.

Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend, preferably one who writes. A number of books, such as The Artist’s Way, are designed to help creative people explore the root causes of their blocks. (Studying the lives of other writers can also provide insight into why you’re blocked.) If your writer’s block continues, you might seek counseling. Many therapists specialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.

7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.

Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear or boredom, or both, it seems to prevent writer’s block for many people.
8. Try Writing Exercises.

As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and get you to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you do enough of that, some of it is bound to be good.
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9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.

Are your desk and chair comfortable? Is your space well-lit? Would it help to try writing in a coffee shop for a change? Without being too precious about it — or turning it into another form of procrastination — think about how you can create or find a space you’ll look forward to being in.

10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.

Look at what you’re writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing? The writing that feels most like play will end up delighting you the most, and this is the writing your readers will instinctively connect with. At the end of the day, writing is too hard to do it for anything other than love. If you continue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block, but through whatever the future holds.

Readers Respond: How Do You Fight Writer’s Block?

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Post crossing


What is Postcrossing?
It’s a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world. Learn more.

How does it work?
Request an address and a Postcard ID
Mail the postcard to that address
Receive a postcard from another postcrosser!
Register the Postcard ID you have received
Go to number 1 to receive more postcards!