Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Summary: For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on the disappearance of her mom Alice. She teams up with Serenity Jones, a psychic for missing people who doubts her gifts and with Virgil Stanhope, a jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her colleague.

My opinion, NO SPOILERS: This was my first Jodi Picoult book and it was definitely not the type of book I usually read, but I did like it! The writer goes into multiple narrators between Serenity – the psychic, Virgil – the detective, Alice – the mother who disappeared when Jenna was a small child, and Jenna. Alice is an elephant research so there is also a lot of information about elephants thrown in there which I personally liked (elephants are my favorite). However I can see how someone may get lost in all the elephant text or information. But there is a mystery to solve and that’s what keeps you going. What happened to Jenna’s mom? Why would Jenna’s mom leave her? Where is Alice now? Is she still alive? I won’t spoil the ending but it’s a nice tie in as to how elephants are these really big animals, so different then us, yet so similar when it comes to saying goodbye to their loved ones. I really want to spoil the ending and discuss but I won’t!

One year of seeing 20/20!

At the age of 24, I decided to have corrective eye surgery. I knew my vision wasn’t perfect. I got my first set of reading glasses when I was in high school, but rarely wore them. In college, I had an eye doctor tell me that my vision had gotten so bad that she highly recommended I get contact lenses. She told me I was almost legally blind… which although it did scare me, I felt she was being dramatic. She kept telling me that I would notice the difference between just wearing glasses versus contact lenses … and I did! But I hated it. I hated contacts. In fact, it took me over an hour to put them on the first time. Thankfully, I got better at it, I just hated it. Since my prescription was so high, I wasn’t even able to get colored contacts, which let’s face is… it’s the only perk of contacts. Well, I decided to wear my contacts only when needed and for the most part, stick with my glasses. When I ran out of contacts, about a year later, I realized how expensive they were!! At my yearly eye exam, I learned that my vision had gotten worse, and so had my astigmatism. So I picked out new frames for glasses and ordered the “test” contact lenses in my new prescription, but because the prescription was so high I was told it could take 3 weeks to get the test contact lenses and after that another week or so if I order a pack of them. It was all becoming a bit much and realizing how bad my vision was… I asked my eye doctor if I would be a candidate for Lasik. She said no and that my vision was so bad that there isn’t enough research on the consequences and success of Lasik on my level of astigmatism.
At this point, my mother had already had LASIK eye surgery (bad eye sight runs in the maternal side of the family). So, with my mom’s encouragement, I decided to get a second opinion from her eye surgeon. After a consultation, I was told that I was not a candidate for LASIK.
My heart was crushed, and I almost wanted to cry because I knew that my eye sight would only get worse. At the age of 24, you don’t think about losing you sight as you get older. I then got some great news…. PRK surgery was still an option! I knew a little about PRK so I was extremely happy that I was a candidate! PRK stands for Photo Refractive Keratectomy. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that in LASIK, an incision/flap is made to make the correction; PRK, the top layer is basically scrubbed off to make the correction.
I scheduled my PRK surgery for an evening in February 2017, specifically the Thursday before President’s Day weekend. There was a good amount of paper work to fill out and a few surgeries scheduled, so there was a bit of a wait time – However, I spent it reading the cutest get-well letters from my husband’s first grade class ❤
The procedure from the time I entered the room to when I exited took less than 15 minutes. I laid down on a chair (similar to the dentist chair but way comfier) and was given a teddy bear to hold on it (gave me something to do with my hands/distract me).
I am not sure if the surgeon used a sticky pad/tape or a clump but something was put on me to keep my eyes from closing –it didn’t hurt at all, I didn’t even feel it. Which is why I can’t exactly tell what was used (I am sure I was told at the time).
The surgeon commented on my astigmatism and told me he would try to fully correct it and the goal was to get me to 20/20 vision. I was administered different drops into my eyes and instructed to look straight up into a red dot. While the laser is going it smells like burning hair but there weren’t any weird noises and I didn’t feel a single thing! The actual lasering takes seconds per eye. As soon as the lasering was done, I was administered more drops and the surgeon put band aid contacts on my eyes. The surgeon told me he was able to fully correct my astigmatism. He told me I had 20/20 vision and when I got up from the chair, I glanced at the eye test chart that was on the wall in front of me and I couldn’t believe it… I was able tor read every single letter on the chart, without putting effort in to it. I had stared at this chart before the surgery, only being able to read the top line.
I was then taken to a dark room where my band aid contacts were checked again, just to be extra sure that they were okay. I was given a little bag that had a starter pack of eye drops, sunglasses, googles, and post op care instructions. I was given a prescription for pain killers and other eye drops, one of which was steroids.
I wore my googles to sleep that night and for at least the rest of the week. When I wasn’t sleeping, I wore the sunglasses. I stayed indoors for at least 3-4 days and tried to stay in darkness as long as possible for proper healing and to avoid light sensitivity. I had absolutely no discomfort or pain after the eye surgery.
After the long weekend, I returned to work on Wednesday (I decided to take an extra day even though I was okay).
The most important thing for a healthy recovery is to follow the post care instructions!! Wear the goggles, wear sun glasses, make sure to use all eye drops without missing a dose!
I just had my one-year post op exam and I am still 20/20! Its amazing to be able to see so clear. PRK has been one of the best decisions and investments I have made!

Two Weeks of Healing

 

This past week I took Diggy to his two week post surgery check up… and he is doing amazing! His surgeon is super happy with where he is in his healing. He was very active during the visit, barking non-stop and walking around….so much that they had to take him to a different room to finish his check up because he was clearly showing off infront of me. He tried to run (he isn’t there yet) and tried to stand up and lean against a wall (he isn’t there yet), he slipped each time so he still has to be monitored closely and continue on his “crate rest.” We aren’t too worried about him slipping/sliding every now and then because after all… hes spine surgery was only a little over two weeks ago, however we do want to limit his ability to have moments that cause slipping (i.e. running/jumping). At one point, he’s surgeon sat down on the floor while explaining his progress and continued care and Diggy climbed on her lap and laid there… clearly his way of saying “thank you.” I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am for Diggy’s surgeon. From the first consultation, to the MRi, to facetiming us through it all because we were out of state, to her obvious love of pets… she and her team are literally the best! ❤
*I’ll write an update post on Diggy after this next check up in March

New Year, New Lesson

Can we all agree that January has been dragging? It’s crazy how much can change from the beginning of the month to the end of the month. When the year started, Mike and I wrote down our goals for the year. The biggest goal we had listed was traveling. On January 1st 2018, we had six trips already planned and booked for the first six months of the year. We never imagined that during our first weekend getaway trip of the year, to Orlando, we would be hit hard emotionally and financially. On January 19th,  as I headed out the door to get breakfast and then rush to the airport, I kissed my dog and told him how much I loved him.  Mike and I were having one of those mornings where everything seemed perfect. We grabbed our favorite breakfast bagels from Einstein Bagel, we got to the airport in the nick-of-time, had zero wait time at the TSA line, had a smooth airplane ride – watching Netflix of course, we got our rental car with no problem and then spent a nice afternoon in Orlando. I guess you can call that the calm before the storm. While at dinner with friends, we got a phone call from my mom telling us that Diggy was not moving and was convinced that he was unable to stand or use his legs. I brushed it off as her being dramatic and Diggy being stubborn and maybe a little depressed– knowing Mike & I were away.  I’ll go into more details in another post but after two different vet hospital visits, it was determined that Diggy had become paralyzed and needed emergency spine surgery in order to save his life and have any hope of being able to walk again. All of this happened within a 48-hour span. I cried uncontrollably all weekend wondering how and why this had all happened while I was out of state. My dog made it out of surgery with zero complications and has been progressing tremendously these past several days.

 I can’t begin to explain how much God answered my prayers and the different ways I continue to see Him speak to me regarding this situation.

Through Diggy’s hardships, I was forced to view a few relationships, which were not always positive, in a different light.

Also, although I have always been good with managing money, I have been forced to really analyze where I spend my money and be more focused on my financial goals.

 I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from Diggy’s hardship is not to save materialistic things. To enjoy what you have, while you have it, and while you can. I was faced with this lesson right away. When Diggy got out of surgery we were told he needed to be on strict “crate rest.” No problem, Diggy was crate trained as a puppy and although we gave away his crate years ago because we felt he no longer needed it – we knew he would be ok with it. He loves crates, he views them as he’s room…he’s personal space.” I remembered that I had gotten him a beautiful crate made out of real wood about a year ago that doubles as an end table –  call me bougie. I had been saving it for when Mike & I bought our own house, literally never even opened it from its box! Well we pulled it out and realized that although it would have been an amazing crate, it just wasn’t ideal for what Diggy needed at the moment. And so I felt the need to sell it. Diggy’s medical bill had gotten pretty hefty and I figured I’d sell it and put that money to good use.  I know its just a crate but it’s the idea behind the crate that made me sad to sell it. I also have a crystal glass water bowl, still in its box, that reads “King” on it… you best believe I am now going to get it out of storage and make sure my pup gets to use it. Mike & I hoard dog toys because my Diggy destroys them so fast! So we had only allowed him to have three out at a time, and when one was destroyed we would then take out another one… well forget that! Diggy gets to play with all the toys his heart desires now. I can’t wait for Diggy to get completely healed and cleared to go long walks… He deserves to see more of the world. This notion of having Diggy live his best life and enjoy everything he can has carried on greatly to other aspects of Mike & I’s lives as well.   Don’t get me wrong, Diggy was already living a spoiled life like the true King he is, and Mike and I were living a darn good life! We just want to amplify it even more, and make sure we aren’t wasting anything.

 So, January – you sucked but I learned so much. I can’t wait to see what February has in store for us ❤

An Afternoon well spent at Disney Springs

My husband put together this video of our walk through Disney Springs from our most recent trip! What is your favorite part of Disney Springs?!

Citizen Girl

cgaFrom the authors of The Nanny Diaries. This was a hard book to finish. After reading the first chapter I thought I would like the book, maybe even find it relatable to my life. I was so wrong! The book starts off with Girl (yup, that’s her name), working for a feminist non-profit, under one of those bosses that should have retired already. She gets fired and attends a networking event (with her pre-teen brother…what?) and then somehow in life gets hired at MyCompany (yup, that’s the name of the company). The majority of the book is her boss, Guy (yup, that’s his name), giving her tasks with zero direction or explanation and Girl having to ask 100000x about how to get it done. Ultimately, “MyCompany” fails at what it is trying to accomplish and needs to get rebranded by- Manly (yup, that’s her name) from the bank. I WONT SPOIL WHAT TYPE OF COMPANY IT BECOMES.
I guess the book is meant to be a satire of corporate consultation? It does have some very tough issues like feminism, sex trafficking, and glass ceilings. It shows that anyone can become a hypocrite and sacrifice their own moral ideas to make money and keep their job.
The writing was choppy. Characters and situations were not properly introduced and I found myself flipping through pages I had already read just to make sure I didn’t miss something. I hate leaving a book unfinished so I was really hoping the book would get better.
I kept wondering, “Am I missing something or maybe I should try to see it from a different point of view?” Citizen girl can be found on Amazon.  If you’ve read the book… please leave your opinion in the comments! I am genuinely interested.

 

25, A Quarter of a Century!

This past Saturday I turned 25, one of those milestone birthdays. I’m still trying to process how I feel about it; I mean I am a quarter of a century now! There may have been a slight midlife crisis. I decided to do kind things on the week leading up to my birthday.  I…

1.       Picked up trash. I live across from a school and now that it’s summer I’ve noticed a big increase in the amount of trash that is left on the field and court. I play tennis and often take the dog(s) and my niece over to the field and courts to run around and it’s not a pretty sight with all the trash. I took gloves and a trash bag and picked up as much as I could.

2.       I brought in chocolate chip cookies (store bought) to work! It was Thursday and I thought having nice treats helps push through the day!

3.       I left flowers at the cemetery.  This might sound morbid and it wasn’t my original idea but it turned out to be a memory I’ll remember forever. I got a dozen white roses and placed a single rose on different tombstones throughout the cemetery. My husband’s biological father was laid to rest in this specific cemetery, so we walked around until we found his spot. It was my husband’s first time visiting and we realized that his dad’s birthday was just the day before. It was over all an endearing moment.

4.       Donate food to the women’s shelter. I went through my pantry and picked out all the canned goods that would be expiring in the next few weeks. I also went to my local grocery store and bought a few items, such as cereal, pastas, and more canned goods.

5.       Donate different items to the Children’s Hospital. I spent the morning of my birthday dropping off coloring books and crayons. I had never been to the Children’s Hospital but got to see a little of all the great things that they do there to help children. There was an artist at the lobby who was playing guitar and singing. I also got to see children talking live at the Ryan Seacrest studio. I did have plans to donate blood as well (it would have been my first time) but unfortunately my iron levels were too low.

In the past, my birthdays were always big. Big as in, growing up I always had a party… clowns and puppeteers were included! As a teen and young adult, I always celebrated with a lot of friends – sometimes ALL week long. This year, I really wanted to keep it simple. I spent the evening at home having dinner and cake with my family – followed by opening presents! Afterwards, I went out for a few drinks with my husband at a new restaurant that opened a few minutes away from my house. I can’t wait to see what being twenty-five brings me, but it’s still weird to think I am closer to thirty than ever before.