January 5th

love my carbs

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to
recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and
let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or
its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a
belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather
than out.”
–Ellen Goodman

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately. I know I’ve enjoyed the recommendations of your favorite reads in the past, and talking about what I’m reading is one of my favorite points of conversation. Yep, I’m a dork. But you know what? I’m done caring that this label makes me anything other than exceptionally curious about the world.

In 2010, (or the last few days of 2009), I’ve read:
The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: this book came at the recommendation of my friend Erin. When I saw it on sale at a local bookshop a few days later, I scooped it up. Out of 5 bananas, I’d give this a 3.5. It is the story of a Chinese boy and Japanese girl who fall in love in Seattle during World War II when the United States so thoughtfully decided to inter Japanese families. The story is told from the present and the past. It is a sweet, interesting read and taught me more about an ugly chapter in our nation’s human rights history.

A Homemade Life: Molly Wizenberg is the blogger behind Orangette who made French cooking in the current day seem fun. Her blog is delightful. Her book is like your favorite slice of cake served warm from the oven. (Or, like “Christmas morning,” as Matty would say.) The essays chronicle chapters in her own life (father’s death, meeting her future husband), each capped with a recipe that reminds her of the characters involved. It is such a good book — one my mother begged me for when I finished it on our vacation. Uncharacteristically, I said no. This is a book I’m keeping forever. Instead she copied large portions of the recipes by hand and has since purchased her own copy. I’ve also made several other recipes since and they are very, very good. Molly is a great storyteller and a good cook — two of my favorite things. 5 out of 5 bananas.

The Hummingbird’s Daughter: This book couldn’t be a better read after having just finished The Lacuna. The Hummingbird’s Daughter is a fictionalized take on a real woman’s life as a healer. It is set on a ranch in northern Mexico in the late 1800s – early 1900s. It is a fascinating read. I learned much about Mexican politics of the time, life on a working cattle ranch, bee keeping, healing with herbs, the Catholic church’s influence on international politics, etc. If this secret wasn’t already spilled: I love Mexico. I love the way this country celebrates color, spice, dance and life. I love the vast history of mixed people. I love the varying landscape — from tropics to desert plains. If you share my passion, you’ll love this story. 4 out of 5 bananas, absoloodle.

I would love to read a book a week in 2010, like this person did in 2009.

“Naive you are / if you believe / life favours those / who aren’t
–Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

And if you are still reading — a personal tidbit to throw into the mix. I resigned yesterday. I didn’t sleep much last night but I know it is the best choice. I’m moving on to a new position and career direction, and am balancing a couple part-time jobs too. Change has notoriously been difficult for me, but there are times when you know that the sting of the unknown won’t last long. At a time when so many are out of work, I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have options.

Taking fear by the horns in the new year,


P.S. Yep, that is a potato shaped like a heart. A sign I love carbs? Indeed.

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30 Responses

  1. Oh, Kel! You brave woman! Congratulations on embracing change and having options. I wish you all the best.
    I am waiting for Amazon to deliver my Happiness Project book. And currently reading book 2 of The Mysterious Benedict Society – I do so love kid lit. 😉

  2. best of luck with the new career endeavor. i don’t know how you find all the energy you do. you are my accomplishment hero.

  3. AmyinOR January 5, 2010

    I wrote down that quote to keep with me as a great reminder during a massive life change. Do you know which book of the author’s it came from? Best wishes, Kelli!

  4. All the best for this period of change – taking fear by the horns ALWAYS pays off!

  5. Change is scary, but it is a wonderful thing. It keeps us on our toes and our eyes and hearts at attention. Good for you for knowing to say goodbye to your current workplace. Opportunity awaits.
    As for books, I too have lofty goals of reading many, but I’m sticking to a smaller number of 20 for this year. It’s all relative. I just finished an interesting read called “Mister Pip” by Lloyd Jones. It’s an easy read, but very good.

  6. Love the heart-shaped potato, love all the book recommendations, and love the fact that you are out there challenging yourself! May 2010 bring you personal and professional happiness, my interblog friend!

  7. I just finished The Beautiful North by the same author of the Hummingbird’s Daughter. I have not yet read Daughter but I am on the wait list at the lib. I’m currently reading the new one by A.S. Byatt The Children’s Book. So far, so great. She wrote Possession my fave of 1990. I don’t have anything wise or witty to say about careers. Finding one’s way is sometimes difficult. I am happy that you have the support and resources you need to move on when necessary and explore your many opportunities. Bonne chance.

  8. “A Homemade Life” was one of my favorite books that I read last year. I received “The Lacuna” for Christmas and will start it soon. I am currently reading “The Lost Art of Gratitude” by Alexander McCall-Smith and it is simply a good story with wonderful characters. Happy reading!

  9. Best wishes in your new endeavors Kelli, I know you’ll be awesome wherever you go. Your new place(s) of employment should thank their lucky stars that they got you!

  10. Fantastico – more book selections from Kelli! My favorite book I’ve read lately has been The Help. Great story, great female characters. Good luck in your new job, and I’m so glad to hear the transition is going smoothly. I know you had a real passion for the people you were helping at your old job, so it couldn’t have been an easy decision.

  11. Congratulations on the big changes. Enjoy!

    Much love and support –

  12. Wow, Kelli, as one who has always been chicken to move on job-wise (all that stuff about “security” drummed into me by my parents forever, I certainly admire your strength! I hope we will be privy to what other sorts of things you are doing when you are ready to talk about it (part-time gigs always sound appealing to me). I’m excited to hear about your options!!!!!

    I have vowed to read more this year, too. It’s really one of my fave things to do but it’s so easy (for me) to get sidetracked. The Lacuna is definitely on my list. I’m contemplating a Kindle, too, but in a way that seems excessive although I understand they pay for themselves quickly and offer a lot of flexibility…like if you run out of reading material at 2 in the morning, you can just go download something else. My boss just got one for Christmas and loves it so I’m a little jealous.

    Congratulations on your personal courage.

  13. A brave soul indeed! It’s hard to make that choice when so may are unemployed. But then again, you ‘ll never know fullfillment wthout taking a chance! The best of luck and I llok forward to hearing more!

  14. You’ve already read 3 books this year? You are on your way to a book a week, my dear. (I can’t even seem to read a book a month!) And, big congrats on your courage to try a new direction. Good luck at your new job!

  15. I dare you! I’ll try to do it, too. (48 last year….)

  16. Kelli,
    I wish you all the best and less of the mess in 2010! My favorite book recently was the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I learned a lot about that period in history. I’m currently reading Pope Joan-historical fiction about the woman who became Pope in the 9th century.
    Good luck with your career change.

  17. Don’t feel like a dork! Share with us what you are reading! I keep an Amazon wish list all year so when I come home I have some great ideas of what to buy! I like your reviews!

    Good luck in the job change! It’s good you are brave! 😉 Happy 2010!

  18. Being a dork is great! Good luck in the next chapter of your life 🙂

  19. Congratulations on your new position! Without a doubt, your new employer picked the best possible candidate, a blessing for both parties.

  20. Hey Kelli, you will do great in your next job, I’m sure of it. I have been reading some great books recently. I really liked The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg (set in my home country!) and I just started Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which is 2009 Booker Prize winner. Surprisingly I am loving it and I am not usually big on historical fiction! Being a book dork is great :)Happy 2010!

  21. Wow Kelli! What a great post. I would love to sit & chat books with you. I am always asking my friends/family what they’re reading, what they’re reading next, etc. I love to give away books (as you know) and borrow books from others. And of course talk about them!!

    And Wow – on your change in direction in life. Kudos to you for being brave & going for it…I’m stuck in neutral myself and still feeling a little deer-caught-in-headlights about the possibility (inevitability) of the changes to come in the next few months. As usual, you are an inspiration!

  22. Kelli – congrats for taking a big step. Your bravery and willingness to take such a step just adds to my admiration for you. Way to go girl!

  23. Oh Kelli! Late to the party as usual but so happy for you that you are taking the leap!! You’ll do great things wherever you are! I’ll save this post in my bloglines for some good book recommendations. Right now, I’m reading about my camera! 😉

  24. Thank you for the book list, looks very, very interesting to me.

    I wish you well in whatever you endeavor to do. I’m sure your reasoning is sound and that you’ll make the healthy choices you need to make in your life. I have great faith in you.

  25. as always, thank you for the book posts. can’t enough of your kind of “dorkiness” and look forward to trying out some of these books. i thieved “the book thief” from the book shelf in the waiting room at work, (by markus zusak) and definitely did not regret it! i still have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. ps. all the best in your new job direction too.

  26. Rachael January 7, 2010

    Best wishes for the new career choice. Change can be uncomfortable can’t it?

    A book on my list to read is Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, about the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. You might like it.

  27. Best of luck for your new professional adventure! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, but I’m sure you will do just fine, as always.

  28. I read A Homemade Life and really enjoyed it. Good luck with your new job(s)! You seem to enjoy life no matter what you are doing. 🙂

  29. best of luck with all the new that 2010 has in store for you!

  30. Good luck with the new gig. I can’t wait to read more about it.