Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Thursday, March 30, 2017

hospital spaces/ "It's a roof over your head- it helps people out"

Feb. 25, 2017 "A more holistic approach to design for hospital spaces": Today I found this article by Kim Cook in the Edmonton Journal:

Health-care facilities can be stressful places for patients and visitors, with depressing waiting rooms, rows of uncomfortable seating, a blaring television. Designers of some medical spaces, however, are remedying the situation. A more holistic approach includes mood-elevating colours and artwork. Chairs are angled to look out the window. Screens offer calming nature scenes instead of newsfeeds.

There's softer overhead lighting and skylights. Sometimes, diffusers even waft a gentle breeze of lavender or citrus to mask the harsh scents of disinfectants and medicines.

Sheila Semrou, a Milwaukee-based design consultant who has worked on numerous health-care facilities, says she takes inspiration from local scenery and geography. Think big windows, natural light and a palette that reflects outside vistas.  "The results can be supportive spaces that nurture occupants and provide comfort," she says.

New research is showing that a lot of clinical design norms are hard on patients, she says. Bright, polished floors can be slippery, and create glare. Bland colour schemes aren't so much soothing as uninspiring.  "Studies suggest that some of the best environments for health and healing incorporate a variety of hues, use both warm and cool tones, and vary colour saturation," Semrou says.At the Diane L. Max Health Center in New York City, a project by Stephen Yablon Architecture, upbeat primary and neon colours were used on midcentury-style seating, facades and to define different areas of the building.

On the other hand, in the reception area of Memorial Sloan Kettering in West Harrison, New York, blonde terrazzo floors, rift white oak and chic, light blue chairs clad in walnut veneer create a serene space, designed by EwingCole.  In colder climes, a fireplace can add a welcoming feel at little cost, says Carolyn BaRoss, who leads a health-care interior design division at the New York firm Perkins and Will.

"A number of our projects in Canada and the northwestern U.S. have included fireplaces as part of the waiting areas and other lounges," she says. "We try to specify ones that look the most realistic and surround them with interesting materials. We've used both electric and gas fireplaces. They provide a source of warmth, but are fitted with a protective enclosure for safety."

BaRoss says an Orlando, Florida, project, Nemours Children's Hospital, has a "hospital in a garden" theme, with nature elements, daylight and views woven into the design. There are small "picnic blanket" designs in the flooring pattern, and child-size play areas, as well as "ceiling elements like the large flower in the dining area.

"Treatment areas are also benefiting from this kind of patient-focused design. The Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando and the Women and Children's Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, are among facilities offering the "Philips' Ambient Experience" in MRI suites.

Patients select a lighting colour, as well as audiovisual projections like nature scenes, to help ease anxiety during the procedures.At Mercy St. John's Hospital in St. Louis, an enormous vibrant butterfly greets visitors in the lobby, while patient floors are decorated with laser-cut images of animals.

BaRoss says new LED technology allows for more dimmable, flattering lighting, which can also be used to help patients find their way in a new facility.  At the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in New York City, designed by Perkins and Will, chairs face out onto the cityscape. Look out the window, and you'll also see Robert Indiana's large "Hope" sculpture on the street below. "The waiting room is typically where a patient will spend the most time. With that in mind, we took care to design an environment that's low-stress and soothing," says Dr. Brian Levine, the practice's director.

"We took advantage of the views by placing our waiting room in the brightest and most visually stimulating aspect of our floor plan. We chose light-colored wall coverings, flooring, and furniture to help reflect and carry the light throughout the room, so no patient would ever feel like they're in a 'dark corner,'" he says.Melissa Thompson, a health-care industry strategist from Westport, Connecticut, developed breast cancer shortly after giving birth to her daughter in 2015, and began a long treatment journey.

The experience got her thinking about how important physical environment was to her comfort and, she believes, even her recovery.  She didn't stay long at the first hospital she went to: "It smelled bad – like an old cafeteria full of chemicals."  But Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City were a different story. Rooms were oases of natural woods and light. Both hospitals had lounge areas where patients could relax outside of their rooms in a warm, comfortable atmosphere."I was noticeably happier, and discharged sooner," she says. 

See more at:


    Fred Piche is a resident of Ambrose Place, which reduced emergency calls by 31 per cent among its residents.

    Mar. 3, 2017 "It's a roof over your head- it helps people out": Today I found this article by Elise Stolte in the Edmonton Journal.  It was very inspirational to see the Ambrose Place help homeless people.  They profile 1 guy, but they also mention these stats:

    Up to 17 seizures in public a day. That's what Fred (Cujo) Piche was having when he lived on the street and tried to drink himself into a stupor.

    Now he has about five a week, say staff at Ambrose Place, a type of long-term care centre for the chronically homeless. They opened their doors for a tour Thursday as Mayor Don Iveson made one last pitch before the provincial spring budget to build more facilities of this kind.

    While living on the street, every time Piche had a seizure, someone would call an ambulance. Paramedics would check him out and, when he came to, he'd usually refuse help, stumbling off to have another seizure a short time later.

    Now, he's cut back on his drinking. He has seizures indoors, where nursing staff make sure he doesn't hurt himself. They've only had to call an ambulance once in 2-1/2 years.

    When he came to Ambrose Place, support worker Angela DeCoteau helped him clear dozens of criminal charges for public drinking and other nuisance offences, she said. For a while, they were in court every week.

    Since he moved in, he's only had four charges, all for drinking in public when he leaves for the day to hang out with old friends.

    "This place is a good place," Piche said. "It's a roof over your head — it helps people out. It's a home."

    Located on 106 Avenue near 97 Street, Ambrose Place has 42 units, a fraction of the 1,000 units Edmonton said it needed to build in the last 10-year plan to end homelessness. Iveson said the city will need $21 million a year for 10 years to get the job done.

    Ambrose Place is trying to help by working with elders, Alberta Health Services, Athabasca University and MacEwan University to track exactly what impact this type of housing has.

    They have 24-hour nursing staff, a kitchen, a First Nations elder and many support workers.
    For residents, they've been able to achieve a 31 per cent decrease in emergency calls, an 81 per cent decrease in days spent in a hospital ward, and a 58 per cent decrease in hospital admissions.

    Those are numbers calculated by comparing health records from the year just before Ambrose Place opened to residents' records during the first two years of operating.

    Executive director Carola Cunningham said staff are working to get police statistics as well, and translate the numbers into financial savings. The facility cost $12 million to build and $2.6 million a year to operate.

    "We're able to stop stuff before it happens," said Yvonne Kootenay-Amor, a licensed practical nurse. "We're able to listen to their lungs to see if there's bacteria before they get full-blown pneumonia."

    About a dozen residents have mental health illnesses that require anti-psychotic medication, she said. Now someone will notice if they're not taking them. The residents are no longer walking down a sidewalk in crisis.

    "It's a great concept," said Kootenay-Amor, who joined the staff three months ago to give back to her indigenous community. "It's an amazing facility and it's long overdue."

    Mar. 6, 2017 "Stitching together a future": Today I found this article by Youssef Ait Akdim in the Edmonton Journal:

    SALE, MOROCCO It is a school of last chances, both for its students and for the fading art they are learning, stitch by stitch.

    Each of the 13 young Moroccans now studying under fashion designer Fadila El Gadi had dropped out of school, whether through boredom or academic troubles. But now they spend nine hours a day in this free program, learning the traditional art of Moroccan embroidery — and the academic subjects they once left behind.

    Six girls and seven boys, ranging in age from 13 to 18, start the day at 7 a.m., taking turns making breakfast for the group. The day ends at 4 p.m. The training is expected to last two years, at the end of which, the hope is full-time work.

    Bent over an embroidery frame, 18-year-old Nadia is among El Gadi’s most gifted students and is already making a little money outside class.

    “I’m comfortable in this field. I would love to be able to do it professionally like Fadila,” she said.

    El Gadi launched the school in her home of Sale, a city near the capital, Rabat, because “I haven’t forgotten where I came from.”

    Embroidery made El Gadi’s career and she hopes the same will happen with the children at her school. Sandra Charteau, a professional embroiderer, comes twice a week to teach — although Charteau cannot speak Moroccan Arabic, the children are learning French and eventually English as part of their lesson plan.

    El Gadi hopes they will be able to establish themselves, either as artisans or in haute couture.

    “Demand is high for craftsmen. I myself am always looking for trained staff for my own studio.”

    My week:

    Mar. 15, 2017 "Employee jumps through drive-thru window to help ill officer":

    MIAMI -- A McDonald’s employee jumped right through a drive-thru window in order to help save a Miami-Dade police officer, reports CBS Miami.
    McDonald’s employee Pedro Viloria helped a driver who fell ill at the drive-thru window in Miami.
    “I thought, ‘If those kids lose their mother today, that’s going to be tragic,’” said Pedro Viloria.
    Viloria was working the window at the McDonald’s early Tuesday morning.
    He was serving breakfast to a lady in an SUV along with her children, a boy and a girl.
    Viloria noticed something wrong with the mother; so did the kids.
    “Her kids were screaming, ‘Mother, mother, stop it, mother what are you doing?’” Viloria recalled.

    On surveillance video you can see the SUV start to move. Apparently the woman’s foot was off the brake.
    Viloria knew he had to make a move, so he hopped out the service window in pursuit of the SUV and the stricken driver. He did it just as the SUV came to a stop up against the driveway curb.
    Viloria said he told the kids to call 911 right away.
    The kids did just that as a firefighter walked into the McDonald’s.
    The firefighter was unaware of what was happening, but soon enough he headed out knowing something was happening. He and his partner rushed to help; so did an off-duty paramedic.

    Within what seemed like seconds, fire rescue was on the scene.
    “I was with the kids telling them it was going to be alright,” Viloria said.
    McDonald’s released a statement applauding Viloria’s actions.
    “First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the officer and her family during this difficult time. I think I speak for our McDonald’s family when I say how proud we are of Pedro. He is an excellent employee, so it didn’t surprise me that he took immediate action and jumped through a window to help save this woman. And he was not the only member of the team that played a pivotal role in ensuring she received the medical attention she needed. A second employee, who asked to remain unnamed, assisted with CPR. Their quick thinking and action were everything in that moment.”
    Mar. 22, 2017: I'm supposed to get a call back from this Asian restaurant last Fri. but they didn't call me.  It was one of the ones that will be opening soon.  That's fine.

    Job interview #1: I did a job interview last Fri.  It was for an Asian restaurant that will open soon.


    1. I can work the hours because it's daytime.

    2. It's a sit-down restaurant and I can get tips.

    3. It's 2 buses to get there, and they come frequently.


    1. It was a new restaurant and the job security is not that good.  80% of all restaurants close down within the first 2 yrs.

    2. It's 2 buses to get there, but I feel like it's a little more effort to get to a regular job.  If it's 2 busses to get an office job, then I would make the effort.

    I have mentioned this before.  I would rather ride a bus for 1 hr instead of drive for 30min.  It's one of those situations with a pro and con.

    My opinion: I would work there if I get hired.

    Job interview #2 : Today I did a job interview.  My dad drove me there.  The location hasn't opened for this new Asian restaurant.  It will be a couple of months before I work there.  A couple of weeks to see I'm hired or not.


    1. It was a restaurant and it served food I liked.

    2. It was downtown and easy to get to.

    3. I can do the job.


    1. It was a new restaurant and the job security is not that good.  80% of all restaurants close down within the first 2 yrs.

    2. This is a mild con.  It was fast food and not a sit-down restaurant where you get tips.  When I went to the website, it didn't tell you if it was a sit-down restaurant.

    My opinion: I would work there if I get hired.

    Mar. 23, 2017 Job interview #3:  This was for a medical office.


    1. There are 2 buses to get there.  They come frequently.  I am willing to make effort to go there.

    2. The pay was very good.  It had benefits after 3 months.

    3. It was a medical office so it was with my meaningful career goal.


    1. It seems kind of hard and challenging.  It seems very busy.  I don't know if I can succeed.  There may be more people who are more qualified than I am.

    My opinion: If I get hired, I would work there.

    Asian restaurant called: I got a text message from another Asian restaurant.  I then looked it up on the internet and they were only open at night.  I called the manager back.  It closes at 9:30pm and if it's busy I would have to stay later. 

    I wanted a daytime job and it wouldn't matter if I had to stay later because it's the day.

    I would keep 70% of my tips if I worked at this place.

    I told him I wouldn't be going to the interview.

    Job interview #4: An Italian restaurant emailed me for an interview.  I passed my resume to them in person a couple of weeks ago.  There was an on the internet so I applied.  I went to the interview today.


    1. It was in downtown and easy to get to.

    2. The restaurant paid tips.


    1. It seemed like they wanted someone with hostess experience already.  When I passed my resume to them a couple of weeks ago as a server, they didn't call me at all.  They are still hiring a server, but they wanted someone with experience.

    2. The availability.  The manager did ask if I was going to school or will be, and I told him I wasn't.  He was looking for someone to work on Fri. or Sat. nights.  I wanted to work days.

    He was planning on hiring more part-time workers in the summer.

    My opinion: If I get hired, I would work there.

    Autistic muppet: Here's some light and fun news:

    Folks on Sesame Street have a way of making everyone feel accepted.

    That certainly goes for Julia, a Muppet youngster with blazing red hair, bright green eyes — and autism. Rather than being treated like an outsider, which too often is the plight of kids on the spectrum, Julia is one of the gang.

    Look: On this friendliest of streets (actually Studio J at New York's Kaufman Astoria Studios, where "Sesame Street" lives) Julia is about to play a game with Oscar, Abby and Grover. In this scene being taped for airing next season, these Muppet chums have been challenged to spot objects shaped like squares or circles or triangles.

    "You're lucky," says Abby to Grover. "You have Julia on your team, and she is really good at finding shapes!"

    Mar. 24, 2017 Kissara closing down: I was in downtown today.  I already put this on Facebook.  This women's clothing store in Commerce place is closing down.  It sells more older women's clothes like 40-50yrs old. 

    Mar. 25, 2017 Amy Jo Johnson: She was the Pink Power Ranger on the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.  I watched that show when I was in gr. 3.  I loved that show and kids at school did too.  When I read this article and interview about her, it was insightful.

    How she was 21 yrs old and made a lot of money to her, but in industry standards, not really.  Here's an excerpt:

    Multiple Rangers were replaced after demanding higher wages. David Yost, the Blue Ranger, who later came out as gay, said he quit the show after enduring homophobic slurs from the crew.

    In a guest column for Variety this week, Johnson wrote that in addition to being paid "peanuts," she "almost died a few times because of the makeshift low-budget stunts we performed."


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