Honor of Wendi Winters–Poem for Healing

A pro-active poem for healing

In honor of  Wendi Winters

By Nadja Maril

 

June 28th2018

The Facebook post says mark me safe

I’m safe, here in Annapolis Maryland

I’m safe, I’m safe

Did you hear the news?

White man with long gun and ponytail

An angry vigilante

Glass shattered at the newspaper office

Several people down, possibly dead

But mark me safe

 

Such a tragedy

Did you know anyone?

Do you recognize the names?

Five people killed, five souls

Did you know anyone?

 

Yes

My friend Wendi Winters

My writing colleague Wendi Winter

A  prolific and tireless journalist.

 

Wendi wrote about people

Happy people, lucky people,

People with a cause to promote

Houses, fashion, recreation, the arts

Teen of the Week

A Veteran to be honored

A spectacular home to admire

The United States Naval Academy

The Bay Bridge 10K Race

Sailing regattas, Parades and Fireworks

All part of Wendi’s beat.

 

Writer, photographer, Girl Scout leader

Publicity and Event Consultant

Former model and fashion expert

The woman who volunteered to chaperone

Just about every teenage event at our church

She served on multiple committees

Ushered, greeted and prepared snacks

The perennial volunteer who always showed up.

 

It’s not easy to be a newspaper journalist

Few jobs, long hours, low pay

No one bothers to read what you write

And now it’s downright dangerous

Grow a thick skin to shield you from criticism

And start wearing a bulletproof vest

You’re the one they’ll blame when truth is revealed.

 

 

Who will fill her shoes?

Tall, slim and fearless

Laughing at the challenges

Taking pictures, always taking pictures

Dramatic, chic, daring

Passionate about her children

About causes for social justice

Organized and precise

Never taking a vacation

Balancing a tight budget

Embarking on adventures

Savoring bread and wine

Music and beauty.

 

 

Mark me not safe

Not immune to crying

Mark me not safe

I’m sad and afraid

Of the destructive hate

Infecting the minds of those

Angry enough to hold a gun in their hand

Angry enough to take another’s life

Angry enough to think it’s okay

To steal a mother from a family

To steal the future from a child

To shatter a community with violence.

Wendi with Hat

Wendi Winters-, one of the 5 victims of the June 28th Shooting in Annapolis.

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Voting day in Annapolis

Lines are long. Finding a place to park is a challenge at the Bates Middle School voting poll.length of wait? It could be an hour or two! Stay posted.

Good news. It only took 40 minutes. People were in good spirits when they were finished.  So now I get to wear a sticker on my sweater that says I voted.

Hot independence day in Annapolis

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We’ve got one more day left of the brutal heat, here in the Mid-Atlantic.  The Washington D.C. region has long been known for its brutal summers but this is one for the record books. July 4th and the accompanying celebrations, at least broke the week in half with a one day brake but it wasn’t easy getting off to work Thursday morning knowing temperature would climb towards 100 degrees. I’m not certain how many folks braved the heat to watch the Annapolis parade but I’d certainly like to commend all those brave souls who marched in the heat. My husband and I still talk about the year we did a float for the girl scout troop I was leading. A generous neighbor lent us their white pick-up truck which we decorated and my husband drove, while I stood in the back of the truck with the girls holding up a banner and throwing out candy. It was hot, really hot, and by the time I stepped down off the back of the truck I was soaked in perspiration from head to toe. But the girls had a good time. My daughter had always wanted to throw candy at a parade, and she got her chance.

If you weren’t there, enjoy the slideshow. There were plenty of politicians, as predicted, plus some wonderful South American dancers, dog walkers, horses, and an antique fire engine.

Visiting Cuba American Style


The swimming pool on the roof of the Parque Central Hotel in Havana, Cuba looked clear and inviting. Quenching my thirst with a welcome cocktail, Cuba’s signature drink, a mojito made of freshly crushed mint leaves, soda water, sugar, lime juice and rum. I imagined taking a dip in the pool one morning or late afternoon, relaxing after a hectic day of sightseeing. But that never happened. Although I was told to pack my swimsuit, there never was time for a swim or much leisure, because Americans are not allowed to visit Cuba as tourists. The only way to visit our nearest neighboring country to the south of Key West, Florida is to visit as a member of a People to People exchange, a tour licensed and approved by the Office of Foreign Assets Control(OFAC). Each member of our group, which numbered 18, was required to sign a statement that we would fully participate in all scheduled activities. Our programmed activities began around 9:00 a.m. and continued through the afternoon, with just enough break time at the end of the day for a quick shower and change of clothes before dinner. The pool didn’t open until 9:00 a.m.

I was traveling with the University of California, Santa Barbara alumni association on a “Gaucho Getaway”. I was also one of three actual UCSB alumni in our traveling group because you don’t have to actually be an alumnus to participate and it was such an intriguing trip, participants signed up from both coasts. I am old enough to remember watching I Love Lucy re-runs on T.V. and the fiery Ricky Riccardo directing his band and playing his congo drums. I also remember hearing stories from my parent’s generation of trips to Havana, the gambling, prostitutes, exotic nightclubs, and flavorful Cuban cigars. What remnants of the old Cuba still existed and how had it changed? I wanted to find out.

Although I had my trepidations about going on a tour with an organized group, it turned out it was a great group to travel with. Everyone was interested in learning about Cuba and respectful of each other, as fellow travelers. Despite the fact that we all rode together on a large (made in Korea) tour bus and were herded around from place to place, initially labeled by our name badges with cameras in hand, we were too absorbed by the sights and sounds, fascinated by the people we met, to be self-conscious. At least I wasn’t. I forgot to be embarrassed of being an ugly American. All the tour guides at the various places we visited seemed so happy to see us. Tourism (even if we were not officially tourists) is the primary source of economic stimulus to the Cuban economy. People from around the globe, countries that include: Germany, England, France, Canada, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Russia, and China all come to vacation on this beautiful island located just 90 miles to our south. In mid February the temperature was in the mid 70’s and the sun shone brightly as it grew warmer each day during our 8 day visit.

Since the socialist revolution led by Fidel Castro in 1959 and the nationalization of previously held American assets in 1961, the United States government has maintained a strict trade embargo since 1962– the longest in history. Whereas once the United States provided a large market for Cuban sugar cane, sugar cane is no longer a large export. To acquire oil, the Cuban trade medical care with Venezuela. They send them doctors who work, courtesy of the Cuban government. Children in Cuba are required to go to school until age 16 and if they desire can attend universities and professional schools for free. After graduation, they will be assigned to a professional post for three years and then they are responsible for finding their own jobs.

Due to the ratio of doctors to citizens, we were told one doctor to every 40 families, life expectancy is age 78. Everyone receives a ration book for a subsistence amount of food they can purchase at specially stocked small stores, food that includes rice, beans,flour, cooking oil and a small amount of meat and vegetables. Supplies of powdered milk are limited to children and the elderly. While no one appears to be starving, the population looks quite lean and muscular. They work hard and they do a lot of walking. And those who do have cars, drive around in gorgeous vintage vehicles that make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the 1950s.

How can those cars have lasted so long? How can they afford to drive those cars with their six and eight cylinder engines when gasoline in Cuba costs approximately $5 a gallon. My husband Peter finally figured it out, six days into our trip, when we stopped at a gas station on our way to the city of Trinidad. A car there was being repaired, the hood was up, and he looked inside. “Why it’s a diesel,” he exclaimed. “They’ve removed the old engine and replaced it with a 3 cylinder diesel probably from Eastern Europe. That’s how they keep them running.”
On that note I’ll end this particular entry with more to come on the specific topics of: Art and Artists, Architecture, Farming, and Entertainment.

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Bluebird of Happiness/Blue Bra


Yesterday the springlike weather started to arrive and I couldn’t resist the urge to make a new wreath to place on my front door to welcome the new year. It looks so bare without the Christmas wreath. The next big holiday is Valentine’s Day, so of I opted for a pink bow and red flowers but I wanted to feature a Bluebird as a touchstone for good luck and positive thinking. The bluebird is considered sacred and special around the globe. The Bluebird is considered a sign of spring and a symbol of happiness and love. They were considered special by Native Americans because their color matched the color of the sky. The Pima and the Cherokees tell a story of the bluebird achieving her beautiful blue color when she bathed four times in a sacred lake and sang a special song.
Associated with love, contentment, and hope, the bluebird is the subject of many poems, stories, and songs including the 1934 classic Bluebird of Happiness.
Today my attention was drawn to an article in the metro section of the Washington Post by Sally Quinn talking about the Blue Bra Revolution. Within a few short weeks, wearing a blue bra has come to symbolize solidarity with oppressed women, after a young woman was stripped down to her blue bra after being beaten and stomped on during a demonstration in Egypt. Says Quinn, “The blue bra, for me, has become almost a talisman or amulet. It keeps away bad feelings. It makes me feel lucky and protected in the way that wearing certain numbers or carrying charms does for ballplayers or religious symbols does for soldiers headed into battle.”
Blue is the color of the fifth Chakra, one of seven power points in the human body thought by eastern spiritual believers to circulate life force energy known as prana. Each chakra is aligned with a position in the body center, close to the spine, and the blue chakra is centered at the throat and is associated with communication and expressing feelings through speech. As a writer who repeatedly finds my life calling in the field of communication, it is one of my favorite chakras and when I start getting sick I always feel it in my throat first. The color blue has thus come to be associated with inspiration, devotion, infinity, spirituality and peace. No wonder Sally Quinn finds wearing a blue bra soothing.
I find it appropriate that blue has now also come to symbolize solidarity and the freedom of expression for all women around the world. The freedom of expression is one of my many positive affirmations for 2012. May we continue to live it.

New York 911 Memorial, Batman Movie and Occupy Wall Street

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The latest Batman movie was being filmed near Wall Street, where we were staying this past weekend, so we got to see several bat mobiles parked in the distance. Littered on the ground was fake snow. It is crumpled up bits of white paper. But the multitude of guards and police made it difficult to see anything up close. So Sunday after our focus on art the previous day, we decided to do some exploring in the Financial District. In our group was my son Chris, his girlfriend Laura, and husband Peter. (Just in case you’re wondering who are those people in the photos.)
I’ve been seeing the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters on the TV news for several weeks. Up close the occupied zone looked a lot smaller, and yes there was a large amount of commercial enterprises connected to the demonstration as vendors sold buttons, flyers, and T-shirts to interested onlookers. Having recently lost my job, I could certainly identify with the protestors. But the most moving part of our Sunday tour of New York City’s financial district was the 911 Memorial. Remember, if you go you’ll need to get tickets for an entrance time. (The memorial is free but donations are accepted). Sunday was the day of the New York Marathon, so probably there were less tourists interested in the memorial and we were able to get tickets that morning by standing in line at the store/check-in location.
I tried to read all the names inscribed on the edges around the two pools and what struck me immediately was the diversity of names. Every nationality is represented, although the attack on the Twin Trade Towers was supposedly an attack on America. There were names that were obviously Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, English, Irish… it was very moving. And in the background was the sound of rushing water and visually the sunlight being reflected off the water.
Battery Park and the Museum of the American Indian (Free) are other sights in the area we visited and enjoyed before heading back towards Penn Station to catch a train home. A very late train I might add. But other than the late train, it was an fine weekend.

Sunday A.M. Main Street Shut Down


At approximately 9:15 this morning, traffic came to a halt in downtown Annapolis as upper Main Street was shut down due to a reported gas leak at Joss Cafe and Sushi Bar. Fireman suited up with tanks on their backs rushed to the scene accompanied by emergency vehicles, an ambulance and several fire engines. The arrival of so many vehicles blocked traffic around Church Circle. At 9:30 when I was walking by, laden with my purchases from the downtown Farmers’ Market near City Dock, the source of the leak was still being investigated but there was definitely a strong smell of gas in the air.
It’s great to have such a responsive emergency team, but I do think they should have opened a lane around Church Circle for traffic to proceed to Route 50. Just another Sunday stroll in Naptown.