About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-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 Wednesday, 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 a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and 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, April 1, 2015

March Madness




   It’s April 1st, which means my family has completed our own version of March madness.  Our celebratory streak is finished, for now.  

   The celebrations started back in February when both my dad and my husband celebrated birthdays (my dad turned 69, my husband 39).  My husband and I also celebrated our wedding anniversary (our 16th) on Valentine’s Day.  

   But it’s March, that’s really the heavy-duty month for our family.  We began the month with my husband and I celebrating the 18 year anniversary of  our first date on the same day that served as the two-year mark for when I left my teaching career.  (Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote shortly after I left teaching:  http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2013/03/march-1st.html)  We’ve celebrated my birthday (my39th), and three days later, my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary.  

   And then there’s the end of the month, March 30th.  On that same day, my mom celebrated her 70th birthday while my son celebrated his 7th!  It was magical and miraculous.  Exhilarating and exhausting.  

   It was a momentous March!

      

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

MomsLA Post: Making a Rainbow

Dear Readers,

Here's my latest MomsLA post.  One of my favorite March teaching ideas!

http://momsla.com/making-rainbow-hand-counts/

Last Week Quakes, This Week Quacks





   Recently we’ve had two unlikely visitors to our home (actually, our back patio).  A male and a female.  They’re fairly quiet and keep to themselves.  I don’t know where they’re from originally or why they’re here now.  But, when they do show up, it makes me smile.

   Did I mention that they’re ducks?

   My son and I have named them “Donald” and “Daisy.”  
When we see the ducks, we go outside and admire them.  We watch them walk around the lawn.  We talk to them.  We give them a slice of bread.

   Just to put this into perspective -- we live in an urban area, within a gated community of over 10,000 residents.  Wildlife around here (if you can call it that) usually consists of squirrels, cats, dogs, hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.  Generally, we don’t get a lot of ducks in our neighborhood.  Which makes their visit all the more special.

   Their arrival has brought with it all sorts of questions.  Where did they come from?  Why are they here?  And their daily arrival also brings a certain sense of joy.  I find myself looking out the window for them, hoping to catch a glimpse of them.  

   I’m proud to say that my son is a considerate bird-watcher (unlike some of the other neighborhood children who seem to delight in chasing and scaring the ducks).  When we’re watching “our” ducks, we’re content to just do that -- to stop, watch, and wonder.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Quaking with Fear


“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, 
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear 
is fear of the unknown.”
- H. P. Lovecraft


   I’m scared of earthquakes.  Born and raised in California, you’d think I’d be used to them by now.  But I’m not.  They terrify me.  When I was teaching, I was doubly afraid.  Afraid of earthquakes, and afraid that one might happen during the school day and I’d become too unglued to properly take care of my students.  (I’d like to hope that adrenaline would have kicked in, and I would have been able to squash my own fears, to keep my students as safe and calm as possible).  Thankfully, I never had to find out.

   I don’t like earthquakes for so many reasons.  They’re random.  Happening whenever they choose, day or night.  (The 1994 Northridge quake occurred at about 4:30 in the morning).  They give no warning.  Other potential natural disasters are considerate enough to put themselves on radar or satellite images.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons -- all have warnings.  They’re omnipotent.  There’s nothing you can do to try to fight an earthquake.  There’s a fire?  You grab some water; you try to put it out.  Tornado coming?  You seek safety in a proper shelter.  But with an earthquake, there’s nothing to do but wait it out.

   When the Northridge quake hit, I was a high school student.  My sister and I stood in our doorway as my parents stood in theirs.  We talked to each other, my parents reassuring us that we’d be okay, and it would stop shaking soon.  All I could think of was, “This is it.  This is the big one they talk about.  I’m not going to be able to handle it.”  So I didn’t.  I fainted.  Not my most dignified moment, but certainly one of my most honest ones.

   My dad, an employee of the phone company, was required to go into work that day.  I, however, spent the rest of the day sitting on a pillow, covering myself with a blanket, as I sought safety in the doorway between our dining room and living room.  I kept a flashlight and a teddy bear nearby.  I was absolutely petrified.  And we were lucky.  Our house was in tact.  Our damage involved some broken items, including a fallen television set.

   My son’s first earthquake happened a few months after he was born.  At the time, we were transitioning his day-time care to the woman who would be his nanny when I returned to my classroom in the fall.  She was on the couch, giving Ryan a bottle, I was in the kitchen.  The shaking started.  She calmly got up from the couch, away from my large bookcase, stood in the middle of our living room, cradling my son, feeding him his bottle.  Ryan never stirred.  Just kept right along drinking.  I, on the other hand, was petrified at what could have been and oh-so-thankful that this kind, gentle woman I was entrusting my son’s care to would also be calm and collected during an earthquake (unlike me).

   Hopefully, my son hasn’t inherited my fear.  (I haven’t shared my terror with him).  We talk, matter-of-factly, about what to do in the event of an earthquake.  He knows how to drop, cover, and hold.  We have emergency backpacks in our home and car.  

   Calm, cool, and collected?  When it comes to earthquakes, I am not.  Fearful, frazzled, and frightened?  Yep, that’s me.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Choices



(The quote below was found in this book)

“People said:  ‘Oh, be yourself at all costs.’  
But I found that it was not so easy to know 
just what one’s self was.  
It was far easier to want what other people 
seemed to want and 
then imagine that the choice was one’s own.”
                                                         - Joanna Field


   I celebrated my thirty-ninth birthday last week.  This birthday got me thinking (even more than usual) about who I am, who I was, and who I am still struggling to become.

   I read Joanna Field’s quote and nodded my head in recognition.  Looking back, there have been instances when choices, big ones, weren’t really a choice but more a matter of there being no other choice.  For instance, I really didn’t want to graduate high school and begin my college education at a community college (Los Angeles City College).  I went to LACC simply because it was the closest college campus to my home, and because it was all I could afford.  I didn’t choose to transfer to a university as a non-car-owner and be entirely reliant on public transportation to get me back and forth (six buses a day for that commute).  But, I enrolled at California State University Northridge because it was cheaper than a UC school and it offered classes on the semester system rather than the quarter system.  

   On the other hand, there have been choices, big ones, that were entirely mine.  Marriage and parenthood -- the hows and whens have been up to me. 

   But then there’s my autoimmune disease -- something I certainly didn’t choose.  It’s forced me to transition from a career as an elementary school teacher to the life of a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer.  And while I’m grateful for those gifts, I didn’t choose them.  I’m hoping that somehow, somewhere along the line, there may be some choice for me to make, some way of giving myself some control over an uncontrollable situation.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Pentimento Magazine

Dear Readers,

I'm pleased to say that one of my personal essays has been published in Pentimento Magazine.  Pentimento Magazine is a literary print magazine focusing on the disabled community.  You can't access my essay online, but I encourage you to check out the magazine.  It includes a wide range of writing (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) and artwork.

As always, thank you for reading,
Wendy

http://www.pentimentomag.org/