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.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

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 22, 2015

Pretty Piggies

   I read somewhere that when dealing with a chronic medical condition, one should re-phrase “I can’t” statements into “I don’t” statements.  This word-change is supposed to give a person an additional sense of power; as if there is some choice involved in the situation.  It’s really hard for me to apply this train of thought to my own life, however, because most of what I can’t do isn’t something I chose not to do.

   With one exception.

   I don’t cut my own toenails anymore.  Every three to four weeks, I treat myself to a pedicure (nail polish optional).  

   Truth be told, it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to maneuver my legs so that I could cut my toenails.  Applying and removing nail polish was a whole other awkward task.  At my mom’s urging, I’ve begun treating myself to pedicures.  And now instead of saying “I can’t cut my own toenails” (technically I can, but it’s really difficult), I can re-phrase that as “I don’t cut my own toenails.”

   Now you should know that I am not a woman who is used to receiving regular pedicures.  Simply because my feet are so ticklish.  Just watching someone else’s feet being rubbed with a pumice stone, can set me off and get me squirming and giggling.  (During my pedicures, I ask that only my heels be rubbed.)

   Sometimes, getting a pedicure isn’t an easy thing for me to do.  It can be  difficult for me to sit in one position and keep my legs still for a period of time.  So I shift when I need to.  And I make sure that my legs are rubbed extremely gently.

   But when I’m as comfortable as I can be, I’m a happy multi-tasker.  For while my toenails are being taken care of, I get to enjoy some bonus reading time.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hurray for Hummingbirds

   The bottlebrush tree outside our dining room window is blooming which means:  

a).  more bumblebees are around
b).  I’m sweeping our front steps more often because the tree sheds
c).  we’re enjoying more frequent visits from hummingbirds

   Needless to say, reason “c” is my favorite!  There’s something about the sight of a hummingbird that always surprises me.  Part of it is their small size and their amazingly fast speed.  Because they do move so quickly, it can be difficult to catch a glimpse, which makes a hummingbird sighting all the more special.  

   There’s almost something incongruous about these very small creatures (their weight is measured in ounces) and their flying abilities.  They can fly in all directions (including backwards), and the sound of their wings is reminiscent of a helicopter’s propellers.

   The hummingbird is also the symbol associated with Papyrus Greeting Cards.  In fact, every greeting card includes a protective paper which explains the legends involving hummingbirds.

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration.  The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.

   I like the fact that these hummingbirds are visiting our home during our meal time.  I like to think that they keep returning because they see our family sitting together and sharing a meal, all the while talking and laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.  For our life is rich, beauty does surround us, and my son is certainly my sweetest creation.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Advice from Dr. Seuss

Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don’t matter
and those who matter don’t mind.
- Dr. Seuss

   It’s not the type of quote that is usually associated with Dr. Seuss, or at the least the type of quote I’m more familiar with.  You know, quotes that are cute and/or silly and/or encouraging.  I’m thinking of the quote seen in the picture below that used to hang in my classroom.  

   The quote at the top of this post could almost be described as snarky.  Yet, the more I think about it, the truer it seems to be -- at least in regards to the people in my life.

   It’s an accurate observation to share that as I’m getting older, my circle (of friends and family) has gotten smaller.  And when I think about why, it all comes down to this quote.  Because I had assumed that those who matter (certain members of my family and closest friends) wouldn’t mind my choices, my opinions, my decisions.  Turns out I was wrong.

   You know who I’m talking about.  Those people that can see me with my hair in a bun, wearing my “comfy clothes” around the house.  The people you don’t have to dress for.  You let your guard down around these people.  And then, when you’re at your most vulnerable, a judgment is made, a rift comes between you and these people, and then they’re gone.

   It used to make me sad.  If I fixate on it for too long, it still does.  But then I think about my current circle.  And I think of this Dr. Seuss quote:

When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad...
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more...
oh, ever so much more...
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!

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!


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.