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, October 21, 2015

What Would You Give Up?

   I’m currently taking a writing course through UCLA Extension.  In addition to our weekly class meetings, we have homework assignments.  Basically, there are two things writers must do on a regular basis -- read and write.  So one of our ongoing assignments is to read a book a week.  Preferably a non-fiction book since that’s what we’re writing in class.  

   Last week I read Mary Carlomagno’s Give It Up! - My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less.  I don’t know where I first heard about this book, but it was marked as a “want to read” on my Goodreads list.  And at 196 pages, it was readable in a week.

   The basic premise -- Mary, the author, has decided that there’s just too much stuff in her life.  Too many items, too many stresses, too many complications.  Her solution -- to give up one item each month.  To experiment and see how living without that one item changes her life (positively or negatively).  I like the idea behind the book because it’s realistic.  It’s something anyone can do, at any time in his/her life.  (The author documented the changes she made over the course of a year).

   In terms of my reading enjoyment, I was disappointed.  I just couldn’t connect with a woman who was struggling to give up alcohol (can’t drink it), coffee (I prefer mochas -- blended or hot), eating out (maybe we do it once a week), and cursing (I was a teacher for 12 years and have a second grader at home so I’ve got that one under control).

   Then there were other things the author cut out of her life that simply aren’t an option for me.  One month, even though her office was on the 10th floor, she stopped using elevators (not possible in my case).  And another month, she swore off chocolate (life’s too short and full of too much pain not to regularly enjoy a sweet treat).

   Another month she stopped reading the newspaper.  I must admit, that one did intrigue me.  Reading the paper has become such a chore.  (I wrote about this in another blog post.  Here’s the link in case you missed it:  http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-sunday-chore.html)  Would I really feel so out of the loop if I stopped reading the paper and instead devoted that time to reading more books?  I haven’t made up my mind on that one yet.

   After reading the book, I gave it 2 stars (out of 5) on Goodreads.  But it did make me think about changes I could make in my life, and it inspired this blog.

   By the way, here’s the complete list of items Ms. Carlomagno gave up:  alcohol, shopping, elevators, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate, multitasking.


  1. I would say that was quite a book,and it really gives you something to think about.I never thought I would give up eating chocolate,but do to a medical conition I can no longer eat chocolate,and to me there is no other flavor.I guess when you are made to give something up for health reasons it is a lot different than just choosing to give it up.
    I love you and I am proud of you.

  2. I gave up smoking 13 & 1/2 years ago, and it was the hardest thing for me to do. I had tried many times before with no luck, and this time it stuck. I had been smoking since I was a teen-ager. Your mother & I are proud of you.
    Love, dad

  3. Honey,
    This is a great post! I Love you so much!
    Love, me