40 is the new black

It is well-documented that sometimes I am a bit of a birthday party pooper. So much sugar and social pressure and there are new-to-me episodes of Mad Men waaaaaiting at home on Netflix! My introversion goes into overdrive on the weekends and I am just selfish with my time.

But I am so glad we got invited to celebrate our friend Selena’s 40th this past weekend. She is a maker of mischief and her birthday was a fair tribute!

Twas a barn party, as you can observe. (p.s. Is this little girl not a doll?)


The wee ones galavanted and if you squint your eyes, it looks like a Mormon family gathering. I so envy the Mormons and their family gatherings.


Of course they made the birthday girl dance when she arrived blindfolded, unwittingly in front of 40+ of her closest friends and neighbors.

Judy and Selena, who also hail from New England.


I made her this 40 godmother. I didn’t even consult Pinterest, players. I just bought a soda, a roll of rainbow duct tape, and let the candy lead me. For reals. DIY.

A Chinese proverb says the sun is no less beautiful when it is setting versus when it is rising. Also, this barn ain’t bad when the sun is nowhere to be found.

Happy Birthday, Mama Selena! You are loved 40 to the 40th power.

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I know why the caged family sings

I bought a new curio cabinet last week from Merchants on Main. It was filled with vintage children’s books. I wanted them, too, but the cabinet I had to have. It was like that puppy at the pound that you know you’ll spend the rest of your life thinking about if you don’t take home. You’ll just be bypassing the dog food aisle and thinking what if…I tell you that cabinet was just barking politely, not even begging to come home with me. It knew. It knew that it BELONGED at home with me. What? Keep acting like these tacit dialogues with other people’s forsaken furniture in consignment shops DON’T HAPPEN TO YOU.

Forty moneys later and I had totally justified its purchase because organized home! I emptied a big tub full of picture frames that we hadn’t yet found a home for in Tennessee. I was then able to fill said tub with Little Man’s new King of Sodor playset which rawks something fierce if you are into spend your days using the phrase “really useful engine.” I felt like a really useful engine getting to empty one container for another. Home organization for the win.

Curio Cabinet
Curio Cabinet

Once all the family pix were shelved and displayed, I shut the cabinet doors because I have this strange illusion that just because there are doors on something, it will prevent the collection of dust. Since I like to dust like I enjoy dreaming about reptiles molting all over my bedspread, I try to save myself that chore as much as possible.

Loverpants came home and immediately laughed at the new curio cabinet, because this is what husbands do. You buy something new that totally kicks booty and they notice the one thing that is sort of hilarious and they point that out first. “Our relatives are all caged in there. Did Toni Morrison write that book, too?” Of course he was talking about Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, but we will forgive him because you can’t be right all the time about your black female author trivia.

Now every time I pass by the cabinet, I think about what things my family and friends are saying that I’m trying to muffle. I have to say I have been fortunate in that my parents and siblings are kind in word and deed. They are full of encouragement and are quick to laugh. I tend to choose friends who are brainy and good humored. Rare are the times when I feel as though I need to stuff their words in a cage. Even then, that’s still often all we get. We don’t get to stuff the things we hear throughout our lives in a sealed vault like the ingredients in Coke syrup. We don’t get to compartmentalize them. They seep, they echo, they influence us.

My greatest joy and necessity is writing about what I’m thinking, hoping, dreaming, reflecting upon. I can’t imagine not being able to do that readily and freely. I am glad my words are not caged or boxed or vaulted up; I am glad I am free to peck on this keyboard and figure out whether the cabinet should be open or closed.

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A novel departure from the script

Here at Kendraspondence, we know you rely on us as your trusted source for the latest information on fracking, Fantasy Football picks of the week, and vaccinating your children. But just for this once, we are going to depart from script and go totally rogue. That’s right! We’re going to showcase a few of the things that Kendra has been bedazzling. We know what you’re thinking! That can’t be! Kendra has final exams to prepare and grade. She’s got holiday open houses to host. Au contrair, dear readers, for herein we explore the fruits of her distraction and procrastination….

There have been mantles to festoon.


The gumdrops were all Loverpants and the kids.

There have been bald, brassy lamps to buy at Goodwill for $3…



















…which are delightful to paint and offer a proper hat.

lamp rehab


















There were salt scrubs to make for my teaching assistants, who deserve so much more than an upcycled mason jar filled with natural goodness, but don’t we all, really….

DIY salt scrub











I’ve been persuading my young’ns that getting clean is not just as much fun as Saturday Night Fever, it practically IS a disco.

Even Loverpants has been getting crafty. The man was so fastidious in preparing the layers to our haystacks-in-a-cup that he has it DOWN, young. Down to an artform.



I also tried these cookies as I had all the ingredients on hand, but these little puppies were so amazing, because parchment paper because chocolate and peanut butter because try them.


This was also one cigarette lighter short of a a MacGuyver innovation. We didn’t have any receptacle for displaying classy Coke bottles and also keeping them on ice at our holiday open house, so I busted open a hatbox and threw a plastic bag in it. Done and done.


The students we adopted from our church were wanting to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. With Coke.


Happy Holidays, you. Drink Coke and be merry. This post was not in any way sponsored by Coca-Cola, though it should have been.

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