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, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. 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, July 27, 2011

Bye-Bye Borders

   It’s not just me.
   It’s not just me that’s saddened by the news of Borders going out of business.  It’s Sandy Banks, too.  Sandy Banks wrote an entire column in the Sunday L.A. Times lamenting the closure of this national book chain.
   Nothing compares to shopping for books in a book store.  Nothing compares to holding a book, opening it up, feeling the resistance of the spine give way.  Books are objects to be treated gently, reverently.  Books are miniature worlds I share with children - both my son and my students.  
   I share with you some of the words Sandy Banks included in her column from the July 24th edition of the Los Angeles Times:

   “But nothing beats holding a book in my hands; skimming it, smelling it, flipping the pages, hearing the author’s voice in my head.  It’s that process of discovery, not the product, that makes partners among loyal book lovers and buyers.”
     “I like moving through my house and seeing the evidence of who I’ve been and what ideas I’ve wondered about stacked on shelves and tables around me.”

   My son is three years old and already I have evidence of his growth just by looking at his collection of books.  Ryan has progressed and no longer solely reads chewable books (books with teething portions attached for infants).  We are reading from our third copy of Goodnight Moon, having worn out the first two copies.  Ryan can pick up a book of shapes, look at the pictures, and correctly identify the names.  Ryan can ask to read Todd Parr’s The Mommy Book and comment on the illustration of the upside-down mommy and the mommy with the big hair.  Ryan is perfectly content to spend time browsing books - books at home, books at the public library, books at the local bookstore.  There is no electronic device that offers a comparable experience.
   And now, Borders is gone. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Just a Ring

“Being hugged by family members you’ve never met in your life
makes it a Wedding,
Gold makes it a 
The tagline above was written for the World Gold Council and served as an advertisement in a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times.  I read it twice, not quite believing what I was reading.
I know these words are intended to help sell jewelry.  But these words are wrong.  Very wrong.
First of all, I’m not a gold person.  My wedding band is made of white gold, looking silver, which does not diminish the value of my marriage.  Secondly, a ring is a physical object.  If my ring was ever lost or stolen, I’d be devastated.  My ring would be gone but would eventually be replaced by another.  My marriage would not be devastated.  My marriage would not be replaced.
A marriage is a commitment.  It’s a legal contract that is not entered into without careful consideration.  A marriage requires work and maintenance.  A marriage means you’ve got someone looking after you, watching your back, holding your hand so you don’t fall, but if you do, that person is right there to help you up and kiss the hurt away.
I’m married twelve years, some of which have been easier and happier than others.  We said our “I Do’s” at a local wedding chapel.  Our reception consisted of cake and champagne in my parents‘ living room.  
Thirty-six years ago, my parents traveled to Las Vegas to exchange their wedding vows.  Silver bands are worn on their left hands.  My parents were, and are, my model for a good marriage.  Two people who genuinely like spending time with each other.  Two people who sometimes annoy each other but still kiss and say “good-night” each evening. 
I think we need to get away from this whole fairy-tale wedding equals fairy tale marriage idea.  No such thing.  The wedding lasts one day.  A few hours.  It’s the marriage that is important.  It’s the marriage we need to pay attention to.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Year in Numbers

365 days in a year.  7 days in a week. 52 weeks in a year. 
       A calendar year is an infinite math problem with an endless series of celebrations and special events.  Here, I offer some of the most popular monthly dates.
January 1: (1/1) New Year’s Day.  A day that holds promises and high expectations for the 364 days to follow.
February 14: (2/14)  Valentine’s Day.  A day of friendship and love.  Red and pink.  Hearts and cupids.  Roses and chocolate.
March 17: (3/17) St. Patrick’s Day.  A silly day that gives us an excuse to wear as much green as possible.
April 1: (4/1)  April Fool’s Day.  A day of pranks and tricks.  

May 5: (5/5)  Cinco de Mayo.  A day the United States enjoys celebrating in the form of margaritas and quesadillas.
June: (6/) Too many celebrations to pick just one.  The beginning of summer.  Father’s Day.  The less popular Flag Day.  Weddings and Graduations.  
July 4: (7/4) The Fourth of July; our nation’s birthday.  A reminder that our land of the free wasn’t always.  A day of barbecued food and nights lit up with fireworks.
August 8: (8/8)  A quiet month, although many feel August 8th is a lucky day.

September 11: (9/11) Nine-Eleven.  Those numbers are forever altered in our minds.  The day our world changed.  The day we realized our country wasn’t invincible.
October 31: (10/31)  Halloween.  A day of costumes and candy.  A day of tricking and treating.  
November 2-: (11/2-) Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November.  A day of turkey and mashed potatoes, a day of pumpkin pie and giving thanks.
December 25: (12/25) Christmas.  Depending on your religion, it’s either a deeply religious day or a day to bestow gifts on those you know.  Or, most likely, a welcome day off of work.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't Judge a Book By its Cover

I don’t know who first issued that rule.  But whoever it was, he/she was a pompous liar - in my opinion.
We do judge books by their covers, all the time.  My students do it in the classroom library.  When faced with three copies of the yellow Diary of a Wimpy Kid, my students will always fight over the least-bent, newest-looking copy.  I try to tell them the story is the same in each of the three copies.  And it’s true, the story is the same.  But there’s something to be said for holding a brand-new (or newish) book.  A book that has no pages bent back, a book without creases.  A book that doesn’t look like it might have spent some time in someone’s washing machine.
And, in all honesty, I’m no different.  Recently, I received an email from a large book store chain advertising it’s summer clearance.  I clicked and encountered page after page of bargain books; each page containing 100 different book cover images.  And I scrolled.  Quickly.  I paused when a familiar writer’s name adorned a book cover.  Otherwise, I scrolled and didn’t stop until I saw an image that “spoke” to me.
I don’t even know how to properly describe a book cover image that “speaks” to me.  There’s something about the photo, or the font, or the title that captures my attention.  It might not be enough for me to buy the book (I do read the synopsis before clicking “buy”), but whatever I saw was enough - there was the possibility that I might buy the book.
Maybe that familiar adage should be amended; something along the lines of “The cover can only do so much.”  Yes, the cover is important.  But, if I’m not intrigued, if I’m not caught up in the story unfolding on those inside pages, it doesn’t matter what the cover looks like.