Jenny Zenner running the 400 meter hurdles Photo © Washington State University Photo Services

“Her butt cheeks are showing,” my son noted about a nearby girl as we waded into the spray park kiddie pool. Several years later, the same twin commented, “She must be cold,” as a figure skater twirled on TV.

Well, yes, son. You’re right. I’m raising twin boys and riled up about girls’ athletic attire. Why is it that girls get the short end of the inseam?

The same could be said for what I wore in college. For four years, I competed in basically a sports bra and underwear. My butt cheeks showed. I was cold. …

2019 reads

I read a bit this year…

Here they are in chronological order:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama — What a gift to get a glimpse into the life and relationship of an amazing woman, her marriage, and their coming into being. Humbled by how Barak and she have lived.
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel — I had to read the woman who coined the Bechdel Test for movies. I’m also digging graphic memoir.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling — Read aloud with the boys.
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel — Had to…

Breathing in the world’s suffering helped me deal with sickness and death

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

We knew that death was rapidly approaching for Libby when she became too weak to swallow her pureed food or even suck from a straw. My twin sons were only three years old when we started frequenting the nursing home where she lived, excited to take McDonald’s milkshakes to their great-grandmother.

On what turned out to be her last day, I lifted my boys over the side rail and oxygen tubing that surrounded her like armor. One hovered, giggling as he planted a kiss on her forehead. She was just shy of 88.

During that final week, I finally pulled…


Or run or skate or cheer or tumble?

About the time I started college, women’s track uniforms uniformly shrunk. No longer singlets with running shorts. My first year we basically wore onesies. If we were swimmers, it would have made sense. But we weren’t, and steeple chase wasn’t a women’s event yet so we didn’t even have water hazards. Then we switched over to the equivalent of sports bras and underwear — aka “bunners” or “butt huggers”. Meanwhile the men continued to wear material that covered their midriffs and asses. I shaved, spray tanned, and did daily abs — not…

I assumed it was a heart attack for both the men whose wives were widowed. Not yet 50. Fit. Athletic. Lean. Brilliant.

Died suddenly.

The tech news headline. The Facebook status update.

Registering the words inflicted a bodily jolt.

My first thought, “Dammit! Why don’t men go to the doctor?”

Or did they do annual physicals and know cardiac arrest was looming? Or did the doctors miss it?

Fit, athletic, lean as in CrossFit studio owning, doesn’t own a car cyclist commuting forty-something lean. Smart and good looking. …


How do you want to spend your days? Your life? How are you interacting with your family, colleagues, random bystanders? What changes if you spend more of your time with a grace face instead of in growling attack mode? Need help making that happen? Try biting on a pencil for a few minutes. See if anything shifts. Be a force of grace.


On Getting Paid

“Globally, women spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on unpaid work,” Gates writes. “Men spend less than half that much time.”

1642.5 hours of unpaid work per year

Women negotiate for promotions and raises as often as men but face more pushback when they do. Women also receive informal feedback less frequently than men — despite asking for it as often — and have less access to senior-level sponsors.

The industry with the largest uncontrolled gender pay gap is Finance and Insurance, in which the typical woman’s salary is roughly 29 percent less…

#mardimeditation Justice, Faith, Power

Do you know what the Mardi Gras colors represent? I didn’t. The internet did:

  • Purple — symbolizes Justice
  • Green — symbolizes Faith
  • Gold — symbolizes Power

I had the chance to be in New Orleans the first Mardi Gras after Katrina. Resilient spirits lined the streets. Talk about persisters! Celebration in the wake of devastation, the city rose to the occasion.

In the spirit of persistence, grab your Mardi Gras beads and breathe with me:

Breathe in and invite justice — breathe out and offer justice.

Breathe in and invite faith — breathe out and offer faith.

Breathe in and invite power — breathe out and offer power.

Inhale justice, exhale justice.

Inhale faith, exhale faith.

Inhale power, exhale power.

May your Mardi Gras abound with justice, faith, and power. Here are my earlier posts on the background and kickoff of these Mardi Meditations.

#mardimeditation #persist

#mardimeditation #grace

Grace doesn’t make a fuss about itself, but it subtly warms and transforms the atmosphere. At its essence, grace is the transference of well-being from one who is calm and comfortable to those around. — Sarah Kaufman, The Art of Grace

My sons wish I would show more grace and growl less. I agree. Grace certainly seems like a worthy aspiration. Everyday graces are within reach for us all. Being generous. Extending the benefit of the doubt. Forgiving. Inviting. Including. Welcoming. Accepting responsibility. Apologizing. Being a good sport — win or lose.

Grace is not rejecting, controlling, or denying reality…

PERSISTER Jenny Zenner

Persist origin: mid 16th century: from Latin persistere, from per- ‘through, steadfastly’ + sistere ‘to stand.’ Merriam-Webster

To steadfastly stand, it takes a steadfast breath. So take a steady seat and put your hands on your heart.

Take a big, deep breath in and feel your chest expand. Slowly release the air out.

Big, deep breath in.

Slowly release out.

Take a long, slow inhale. Pause and feel your heartbeat.

Then slowly, slowly exhale. Pause and feel your heartbeat.

Big, deep inhale, pause.

Long, slow exhale, pause.

Big, deep inhale, pause.

Long, slow exhale, pause.

Breathe and stand steadfastly through, persister!


Jenny Zenner

Hurdler turned helper

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