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, November 11, 2015

My Website

Dear Readers,

   In my continuing efforts to improve my writing, I have made the move to my own website!  From now on, you can find my weekly blog there as well as information about me and my published work.  Please take a look, bookmark the site, and keep reading each week.   http://wendykennar.com/

 As always, I appreciate your support!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Publication at MUTHA Magazine

Dear Readers,
   I'm pleased to let you know that one of my personal essays has been published at MUTHA Magazine.    
Here's the link:  http://muthamagazine.com/2015/11/the-a-word-wendy-kennar-on-parenting-with-an-invisible-disability/

   As always, thank you for reading!

Thanksgiving Crafts Post at MomsLA.com

If you're looking for cute, easy ways to make your home Thanksgiving-ready, check out this post on MomsLA.com.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Apollo 13 Still Inspires

   My son and I have been watching the Ron Howard film Apollo 13 quite a lot lately.  Ryan is very interested in spaceflight.  Originally I showed him the same scene I used to show my fourth-grade students -- a scene that showed the 3 “astronauts” as they demonstrated weightlessness in a broadcast for the audience back on Earth.  But my son was curious and wanted to watch more of the movie.

   It’s got a PG rating (the same as Frozen; a movie that his kindergarten teacher showed his class two years ago).  

   I am a big Apollo 13 fan.  Twenty years ago, my dad and I saw the movie in the theater.  I owned the soundtrack on cassette and read the James Lovell book that inspired the movie.  I was the girl who had wanted to be an astronaut, and I reveled in watching the movie.  

   So I’m more than happy to watch the movie with Ryan.  We talk about why the movie is important.  How it shows teamwork, determination, and creative problem solving (remember the guys who figured out how to put a square cartridge into a round hole?)  

   Ryan now wants to meet Tom Hanks. 

      But that’s not all.  He tells me he wants to walk on the moon.  I told him when he’s up there he can actually moonwalk on the moon.  (After all, Alan Shepherd, Commander of the Apollo 14, hit a golf ball on the moon.  Take a look at this website that includes a video of this incredible feat:  www.pga.com/news/golf-buzz/feb-6-1971-alan-shepard-plays-golf-moon)

   If you haven’t watched Apollo 13 in a while, I highly recommend it.  The story is incredible -- because it’s mostly true.  (Like all movies based on a true story, some things have been changed.)  But the essential elements are in place.  There are relationships and connections that move you.  Each time I see it, I cry along with the wives as the Saturn V rocket launches.  My son and I embrace when Apollo 13 successfully splashes down into the South Pacific.  And you gotta respect Gene Kranz with his passionate declaration, “Failure is not an option.”   

   It makes me proud to say that my son and I watch this movie together and then later re-enact lines of dialogue.  And when Ryan gets to the moon, he has promised to blow a kiss down to me on Earth.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is It Over Yet?

               I’ve written it before, and I’m writing it again.  I’m not a fan of Halloween.  (In fact, here’s a link to a blog post I wrote a few years ago in case you missed it then.  http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2012/11/contrary-costumes.html  And here’s a link to a post I wrote on Divine Caroline a few years ago.  http://www.divinecaroline.com/life-etc/culture-causes/tricky-treats)    

   In our family, we celebrate Halloween in a minimalist type of fashion.  We’ve got some decorations up (mostly things my son has made at school during previous years).  We’ve got treats to pass out to random children who will ring our doorbell Saturday night.  My son’s got his costume ready to go.  (This year, he’ll be dressing as Michael Jackson!)  And we’ll take him trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, only ringing the doorbells of people we actually know.  But other than that, it’s just another day for us.  A day I’m not particularly looking forward to.

   Because there’s this whole other side of Halloween that I don’t understand.  This gruesome side that, frankly, I could do without.  For instance, how do you explain the families who decorate their homes with fake blood and artificial limbs hanging from trees?  The house across the street from us has covered their front window.  So when we look over we see what is supposed to be shadows, red blood, and the words “help.”  In contrast, when they look over at our house, they see a sparkly jack-o-lantern on our front door.

   The saving grace is that my son’s elementary school doesn’t celebrate Halloween so there’s no school-wide parade (like there was when I was teaching) and no in-class celebration.  Instead, they’re going on a field trip on Friday (which is a whole other blog post).

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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Brain, Child Magazine

Dear Readers,
   I'm proud to say that one of my personal essays has been published at Brain, Child Magazine.  Here's the link: