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, August 28, 2013


   They say everything happens for a reason.  Back when I was teaching, my students would have told you it’s called a “cause-and-effect” relationship:  one thing happens that is the reason for the second event happening.

   I was thinking about all this recently after my son and I went for an-almost-hour-long bike ride.  

   There’s a lot involved within that one bike ride.  My son wanted to ride from our home to his elementary school, where he is a new kindergartener.  He’s still getting acclimated to a different schedule, a new teacher, a large class, a noisy cafeteria -- it’s a lot different from his beloved preschool.  We rode right up to the gate where Ryan and I walk inside each morning.  And then we turned around and came home. 

   Ryan is a fairly new two-wheeler-with-training-wheels bike rider.  He graduated to this “big boy bike” when he graduated from preschool.  He was trepidatious about his new bike for quite some time, preferring to be pulled along rather than pedaling himself.  After some practice sessions, he feels much more comfortable pedaling but still likes the security that comes from having mommy or daddy’s hand on the handlebar, just in case.

   Today though, mommy was having a hard time on the way home.  A walk of that length is an iffy proposition.  It’s either something I can manage okay or else it’ll be something that will leave me in tears.  On this day, it was the latter.  The pain in my calf intensified the closer we got to home.  

   My slow walking was holding Ryan back, and when I let go of the handlebars to avoid colliding with an overgrown shrub, Ryan surprised himself and kept on pedaling.  His voice was rich with pride, “I’m doing it,” as he happily maneuvered the sidewalk and waited for his limping mommy to catch up.

   By the time we got to our patio, Ryan was ecstatic at his accomplishment.  I, on the other hand, was in pain that had me reaching for my “last resort” pain pill.  

   Which brings me back to the whole cause-and-effect scenario I mentioned earlier.  It was because of this very pain that I was able to have this adventure with Ryan in the first place.  If not for the pain, I would still be teaching.  And on this particular day, I would have been sitting in a faculty meeting thinking that most meetings really are not beneficial.  Had it not been for the pain and my medical condition, I wouldn’t have retired from my teaching career six months ago.  I would be spending hours with other people’s children and missing the opportunity to take my son to and from school, miss being the first one to hear a story from his day, and miss having afternoon adventures like an hour-long bike ride.

   My pain is the price I am paying that allows me to now be a stay-at-home mommy.  It’s certainly not a cause I’m happy about, but I’ll just try to keep focusing on the positive effects instead.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thank You for Voting

Dear Readers,

I want to to sincerely thank you for voting for my essay in the Consumer Cellular Grandparents Day Essay Contest.  Voting ended Sunday night, and I finished with 208 votes!  Thank you for your votes, your support, and for reading!   Truly, Wendy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dealing with Drivers, Wendy-style

   I guess you could say I’m passive-aggressive.  I am not one quick to shout, to curse, or to give someone “the finger.”  I find those reactions don’t get a whole lot accomplished.  However, I am not above being annoyed and frustrated by the actions of others.  These actions usually fall into one of three categories:  selfish, ignorant, or unsafe.  

   I react to these actions, but in a way that most people aren’t expecting.  My reactions are thus a surprise.  It takes the offender a moment to realize what I’ve done, and since I haven’t responded with an expected curse word, I have, most times, angered the offender even more.

   Let me give you some examples:

   In the selfish category:  This is a person who is completely wrapped up in him/herself, totally oblivious to others around.  For instance, the person who parks their shopping cart in the middle of the market aisle, thus making it impossible for anyone else to navigate and select a box of Cheerios from the shelf.  This is the person who double-parks to dial on a cell phone, instead of pulling next to the curb where there are ample parking spaces.  I give these people a beep of the horn or a nudge with my cart, and sometimes a snarky comment (“The lines are painted on the street for a reason”or “Too bad there isn’t a speed limit on this street”), which they may or may not hear. 

   In the ignorant category:  The driver who is
holding up traffic to make a left-hand turn, when the sign clearly dictates no left-turns allowed at that particular time of day.  Horns are honking, tempers are flaring, and this ignorant driver is becoming increasingly agitated that he/she is the subject of such hostility, all for a left-hand turn, which he/she still hasn’t realized isn’t legal.  I admit, most times, I am one of those people who will keep my hand on my horn, trying to point to the sign overhead and shed some light on a person who maybe shouldn’t be in possession of a driver’s license.

   And then there is the worst category; the unsafe one.  Unsafe is the person who is tailgating me down a residential street, honking and making hand gestures when I didn’t speed up through a yellow/almost red light, but instead stopped.  I respond with a wave.  If that same driver will speed ahead of me further along the street, only to come to another red light, I applaud.  Their speed and unsafe driving has gotten them to the same traffic signal as me.  

   And as a bonus, I, on occasion, ask the powers that be to send a large bird that driver’s way where I hope that bird will make an unsightly deposit on the car’s windshield.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Grandparents Day Essay Contest

Dear Readers,

For those of you who don't already know, I have entered an essay in Consumer Cellular's fourth annual Grandparents Day contest!  And, I need votes!!!  Voting ends August 25th, so help spread the word.  You may vote for my essay once each day.  Please share the link with others and help me accumulate votes. Thank you so, so much!

Here's the link:


Kindergarten Readiness

   A few years ago I wrote an essay called “Five Things I Wish Every Parent Knew Before Sending Their Child to Kindergarten.”  I was inspired by the five years I had spent teaching four and five year olds.

   This week my son began kindergarten, and I thought I should examine my own list, make sure I had been doing my job as a parent and that my son was ready for kindergarten.  After all, there’s a lot more to kindergarten readiness than identifying one’s own name, knowing colors and shapes, and recognizing letters and numbers.  

  1. Basic skills are a necessity:  crayons color paper, scissors cut only paper.  Ryan knows how to cut paper, but I admit that he’s not the biggest fan of coloring.  He’d rather read.
  2. Kindergarten kids need to wear clothes they can manipulate.  Ryan wears pants with elastic waists, so there’s no fussing with zippers, snaps, or buttons.  His shoes are Velcro which means he is self-sufficient at school.
  3. Kindergartners need to be responsible for basic hygiene:  washing hands before eating and after restroom visits, drying hands on paper towels.  Ryan is independent and knows he needs to do his part to stay healthy and strong.
  4. Waiting in line is a fact of life:  At school, there will be lines for the water fountain, for the restroom, for getting a sticker from the teacher.  From our visits to the market, the pharmacy, and Coffee Bean, Ryan understands that turns must be taken and sometimes lines move faster than others.
  5. No means no:  Ryan is like every child I have ever taught.  He will sometimes repeat his request, hoping that my answer will change from a “no” to a “yes.”  It didn’t work for my students and it doesn’t work for my son.

   On top of all that, Ryan knows our address, his full name, and has been reading since before his fourth birthday!  As a former teacher, I know I’ve done my best at getting him ready for the year ahead.  But, as a parent, I still hold my breath a bit each day as I send Ryan off on this new adventure.

By the way, the essay that inspired this blog was published in an anthology titled Beyond the Diaper Bag in 2011.  All of the authors’ proceeds were donated to a charity called “The Mommies Network.”  The book is available on Amazon; here’s the link:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A to Z Recipe for a Successful School Year, Part 2

Happy First Day of School!  Ryan's off to kindergarten with a happy face, and the second part of my essay was posted online at MomsLA.com.

A to Z Recipe for a Successful School Year, Part 2

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Breaking the Rules

   I first began breaking the rules in high school.  They were other people’s rules for my life.  Other people, namely teachers and counselors, had ideas about my high school career - classes I should take (AP History and Calculus) and careers I should pursue (not teaching).  During high school I reached the equivalent of “burn out” - tired of pushing myself to earn straight A’s, tired of the honors classes, tired of living up to everyone else’s expectations.  I rebelled and took “regular classes,” decided I would become a teacher so I could do things differently and not treat my students the way my teachers had treated me.

   As a young adult, I decided to continue the rule-breaking trend.  I moved in with the man who would become my husband when we were both just shy of our twenty-second birthdays.  A year later we were married, in a non-denominational chapel with a reception in my parents’ living room where the twenty-five guests enjoyed cake and champagne.  Again, I had done it wrong.  Lived with a man before we were married.  Had a simple wedding instead of an elaborate ceremony.

   Our married life was more of the same - making choices that fit our lifestyle while not adhering to everyone else’s pre-conceived ideas.  We lived in Los Angeles, without a car.  He worked, I went to college and worked part-time.  We rented an apartment and had no immediate plans to become homeowners.

   Some thought we might “settle down,” finally fit into the mold others had lined up for us.  We didn’t.  We continued to rent when we moved from our one bedroom apartment into a three bedroom town home.  We chose to postpone parenthood, waiting nine years after our wedding to welcome our son into the world.     

   We’re terrible parents, to some.  We haven’t done it right.  We rent a home, instead of owning one that would require a lengthy daily commute to and from our jobs.  Instead, we both worked less than five miles from our home.  And we are not having another child.

   People - family, co-workers, mere acquaintances, are never shy to voice their disapproval.  We have broken the rules; gone against the norm.  To me it makes perfect sense that my husband and I would be these renegade adults - we each have committed to our relationship, living the way we both thought was best for us.  We have heard comments about our inter-racial relationship, our son’s skin color, and though the year is 2013 and we have again elected an African-American president, certain limitations still exist.

   Turns out, the general population isn’t as open-minded as we may have hoped.  People have very fixed ideas about the boxes our lives should fit into.  And when we instead make the choices that are best for us, it is deemed wrong.  We have broken the unspoken rules.  

   We will continue to do so.  And I can only hope that our son will follow in our footsteps.