About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a six-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each week, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.
Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, and DivineCaroline.com. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found. I am also a regular contributor at MomsLA.com. You can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Pining for Plastic (Bags, That Is)



   I’ve got a minor grievance -- I miss free, store-issued plastic bags.  

   Remember when you bought something at a store, and your purchase was placed inside a plastic bag?  (You can read about the technical side of this issue at this website:  http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/aboutthebag/)  Those were the days.

   Now, I understand that we need to be environmentally-aware, and using our own canvas bags is better for our planet.  Even before the ban on “single use plastic bags,” I used to bring my own bags to the market anyway.  But, I liked knowing that if I went into CVS my purchase would be placed inside a plastic bag.  Now, I need to either remember my canvas bags, stuff my purchases into my purse, or pay for a paper bag.

   But it’s not like this ban has erased all plastic bag usage.  People are still purchasing plastic trash bags.  They are the quintessential “single use plastic bag.”  They’re still in our landfills.  And that’s what I’m having a problem with.  I don’t want to buy an item knowing that its purpose is to wind up in the trash.  It seems so wasteful to me.  I used to rely on those freebie plastic bags for my trash bags at home.

   My stash of bags is getting low, and now I’m having to get creative for my trash bags.  I’ve found that those produce bags you use when you buy apples and oranges are the perfect size for my bathroom trash cans.  Whole Foods Market offers large bags for purchased flowers.  I am able to then use those bags as trash bags.  The plastic bag from my 12-pack of Charmin Toilet Paper also works as a trash bag as does the outer plastic packaging from my 3-pack of paper towels.

   That’s it.  I haven’t figured out a solution to the problem or an alternative to offer.  Sometimes, it’s just good to get things off your chest so you can concentrate on more important things.  Is that why this bag ban was passed in the first place?  Maybe now, the powers-that-be can focus on some bigger issues.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Massage, Pajamas, Chores (In That Order)



   Back in my community college days, there were a couple of semesters when I had no classes on Fridays.  Back then, my younger sister was still in high school, my dad was at his full-time job, and my mom was at her part-time job until noon.  Which meant I had the house to myself until about 12:15 pm.  

   Privacy didn’t come easily in my childhood home.  We all shared one bathroom.  My sister and I shared one bedroom and one closet.  

   Naturally, I took full advantage of those Fridays.  I treated myself to an unhurried bubble bath.  I brought candles into the bathroom, set up my boom box with one of my bubble-bath-friendly cassette tapes (usually something instrumental), brought my book, and soaked until my skin resembled a raisin.  I didn’t have to worry if I was soaking for too long; there was no one else at home who might be growing impatient with me hogging our bathroom.

   Not teaching means I do have the luxury of having the house to myself while my son is at school and my husband is at work.  But, I don’t indulge in morning bubble baths any more.  Instead, once a month I treat myself to a massage.  They say massage has an abundance of medical benefits including better posture, improved circulation, and lower blood pressure.  I don’t know if that’s true or not.  I do know that my massages leave me feeling relaxed and recharged.  

   I come home after my massage, shower, and spend the rest of the morning in my pajamas.  However, I’m not completely a lady of leisure during this time.  I still have the tasks on my daily to-do list to accomplish.  

   But there’s something so different about emptying the dishwasher, writing bills, and cooking noodles when you’re dressed in your pajamas.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Alphabetical Prescription for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

Dear Readers,

I'm pleased to share with you some more publication news!  Breath and Shadow has once again selected one of my essays for publication.

Here's the link:

http://www.abilitymaine.org/breath/win15e.html

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Think Pink Issue #1

I'm pleased to let my readers know that my "A to Z List of Being a Woman" has been published in the inaugural issue of Think Pink.  The issue is available as a paperback as well as a free PDF download.  Here's the link:
http://pinkgirlink.blogspot.com/

Finally Tossing the Cap and Gown





   With parenthood, and all the extra “stuff” that accompanies a child, I feel as if I am in a perpetual state of cleaning.  Cleaning up and cleaning out.  Used to be, I did big clean-ups a few times a year.  Now, cleaning is just a perpetual process.

   Back during summer vacation, I wrote a post for MomsLA about my goal of finding one item each day to get rid of.  Here’s the link to the essay in case you missed it:  http://momsla.com/summer-clean-7-things-live-without/

   Honestly, I don’t always get rid of something every day, but I find that I’m at least looking every day.  And on days when I do take a forgotten box down from the high shelf in the closet, I find several items to get rid of.  Sometimes, they are things I had no memory of and was therefore not needing.

   A few days ago, it was my cap and gown from high school graduation that made it to the donation pile.  I don’t think I’ve worn the ensemble since that June day twenty years ago.  And without any hesitation, it was very easy to look at the gown, finger it for a quick minute, and discard it.

   At the time, high school was just a stepping stone; it got me to college which would get me to my teaching career.  And although I didn’t know it at the time, the most beneficial part of high school was meeting the man who would one day become my husband.  (In case you’re not familiar with our story -- we were classmates and met during our junior year English class at Fairfax High School.  It wasn’t until my last semester at community college that we started to date).

  It’s funny in a way; I had held onto that cap and gown for twenty years and through two moves, but now it just didn’t seem important to me to keep it any longer.  I was able to see that cap and gown as just an unnecessary bit of clutter, taking up valuable closet space.

  Generally, I’m a sentimental person.  I tend to hold onto certain things because of the memories attached to them.  Yet, I’m discovering that as I get older, my memories, and their related mementoes, become re-prioritized.  Which ultimately leads to cleaner closets.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Promises to Myself




   In the spirit of the new year, I’ve decided to write about my beliefs.  Some of my beliefs also happen to reflect “promises to myself” -- a term I prefer to “resolutions.”

I believe the size of my pants isn’t as important as how I’m feeling while I wear them.  These past few years, my weight has yo-yoed quite a bit.  Most frustrating has been my lack of control when it comes to my weight.  One medication caused significant weight gain, and my levels of pain make walking (my primary source of exercise) quite difficult.  But the tag inside my pants is just a number, and that number doesn’t really matter.


I believe I am surrounded by magic and wonder.  Trips to Paris and Hawaii are highlights of my past and goals of my future, but it doesn’t negate the fact that here, in my own corner of the world, I am surrounded by magical, beautiful things.  The moon, as seen from my dining room window, shines down on me and I am in awe that twelve men have walked on the surface of the moon.  I delight in seeing hummingbirds visiting my patio plants, and remember the six years I lived in an apartment without an outside patio.


I believe taking care of myself has to be one of my priorities.  This has been a hard lesson for me to learn.  Used to be, I took care of everyone else and paid attention to my own needs when it was convenient (which means it didn’t always happen).  I may not be teaching any more, but one of my new jobs is taking care of myself so that I can take care of others.


I believe a lot can be accomplished in five minutes.  I don’t always have the uninterrupted time or the required energy to tackle big projects -- cleaning out the refrigerator, going through the boxes stored on the top shelf in my closet.  But I can usually find five minutes to wipe off some of the shelves in the refrigerator or open up that mysterious box inside the closet to determine if the contents should still be kept.


I believe marriage doesn’t necessarily get easier the longer you do it.  Next month, my husband and I will celebrate our sixteenth wedding anniversary.  With that longevity comes danger -- the danger of not trying, of taking each other for granted, of not paying attention.


I believe I am beautiful, and my son is the proof.  I’ve always been very good at finding fault with my looks, at being overly self-critical of myself.  But I look at my son.  His long eyelashes.  His deep brown eyes.  His full smile.  In his handsome manner, I recognize my own beauty.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Let It Go




   One of my son’s favorite Christmas gifts this year was the movie Frozen.  And if you’ve watched that movie, you know the song “Let It Go.”  For me, that song took on a different meaning in the days before Christmas.

   Shortly before Christmas, I became incredibly ill (stomach-wise) after dinner one night.  My husband took off work to be home to care for me and our son.  On day one, I didn’t do much but sleep and nibble on a few crackers.  On day two, I actually got out of my pajamas, ate a couple of corn tortillas, but I still needed to rest a lot.

   It’s not easy for me to be home and not be able to actively participate in my family’s activities.  After all, I’m usually the one who goes grocery shopping, takes our son on his weekly library visits, prepares meals, and reads our son a bedtime story.  (My husband took care of all that).

   On day three, when I began to feel slightly like myself again (meaning I got dressed, was actually a bit hungry, and felt strong enough to stand) I realized that these days when I was sick shared similarities to the days when I was a teacher and called on a substitute to cover my class.

   When I was a teacher, procedures and routines were firmly in place in my classroom.  A lesson plan was prepared, and a substitute was always left with all necessary paperwork and materials.  But I was never there to see what went on.  I found out when I returned.  My students would tell me about the substitute who just gave answers to math questions, or the substitute who skipped a math lesson entirely.  

   Here at home, when I was awake, I was around to observe my “substitute.”  I can say that, like in my classroom, the routines at home are firmly in place too.  But it still wasn’t easy to lie back and let my husband step up and do things his own way.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  My son was fine, and was actually loving all his extra time with Daddy.

   I learned I had to “let it go.”  I can’t control everything, and I can’t do it all -- as much as I try.  It’s a lesson I need to carry with me into the new year.


           Wishing my readers a radiant new year.  May we enter 2015 with courage, hope, and love.