CURRENTLY // JULY 2021

Reading

Watching

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, booktube per usual

Planning

Summer reading, last minute details and purchases for our 3 month road trip

Cooking

Honestly the bare minimum, attempting to eat all the food in our fridge, freezer, and cabinets before we move out at the end of July

Eating

Wixey’s donuts for my birthday at work, grilled cheese from Manhattan’s, Kroger donuts for out last day in our Holland apartment, Joe’s KC BBQ and ice cream at Silas and Maddy’s in Olathe, Kansas

Drinking

Catawba Island Brewery (Port Clinton, OH), Brewery Becker (Brighton, MI), Boulevard Brewing Company Beer Hall (Kansas City, MO), Afterword Tavern and Shelves (Kansas City, MO), Causal Animal (Kansas City, MO), Boiler Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), White Elm Brewing Company (Lincoln, NE), McKinney’s (Lincoln, NE)

Going

Camping in Brighton, MI, St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO, Lincoln, NE

Loving

The absolute freedom and badass energy and vibes from quitting my toxic job in healthcare to travel the US

Creating

Summer and road trip TBR list

Dreaming

Physical and mental space from my work in healthcare

Feeling

Disappointed by Riley Sager’s newest release Survive the Night, a little sad but mostly excited to wrap up work at my nursing homes, nervous about living on the road for 3 months, stressed about moving out and cleaning our apartment, to be 100% honest, also stressed about finances prepping for this trip, extremely frustrated by my company and their mismanagement of my retirement accounts, impressed by my own gusto and risk taking

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Songs: Almost by Hozier, Breathe and This Kiss by Faith Hill, Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
Spotify Playlists: Rom Com Pop Hits as recommended via Tik Tok, Grand Teton by Parks Projects

Celebrating

The announcement of Alex Snodgrass’s second cookbook The Comfortable Kitchen, My 28th birthday, last day of work, the start of our “first retirement”

Learning

You are easily replaced in the eyes of management, everyone wishes they could do what we are doing, ya’ll just need to do it

Buying

Silicon bands, playing cards and dice for our road trip

Instagram Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


REVIEW OF YEAR 27

The people, places, and pleasant pastries that defined my year

Year 27 highlights:

1 | 30 pounds weight loss

2 | exploring Detroit

3 | Traverse City for Kyle’s birthday

4 | solo half marathon

5 | COVID19 vaccination

6 | 7 years with Kyle

7 | BFF’s wedding in Presque Isle, Michigan

8 | longest run of 10 miles

9 | quitting my job to travel for 3 months

10 | car camping in Brighton, Michigan

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // JUNE 2021

Reading

Planning

Birthday weekend camping trip near Brighton, Michigan (Brewery Becker and Bourbons Brighton), packing and moving out our of first apartment, last minute purchases for our road trip

Cooking

Tomato basil frittata, grilled hot dogs, baked beans, and pasta salad for Father’s Day

Eating

Double dates at Twin Oast Brewing, The Heights, and Bronze Boar, Garden Harvest, Mr. Freeze sundaes for Father’s Day, authentic Amish donuts in Pennsylvania

Drinking

Sibling Revelry Brewing’s Blood Brood, Twin Oast’s Kellys Island Pilsner, Ship Burner, and Legitimate Swells, Wilhelm Winery (Hadley, PA) samples and Fredonia

Going

Many trips to the library, Twin Oast Brewing, Delaware, OH for PT classmate wedding, The Lodge in Pennsylvania for the annual Fourth of July pig roast

Loving

Audiobooks, exploring new coffee shops, new library books, double dates with friends, Book of the Month subscription

Creating

Color coordinated book collages, an aesthetic bookstagram

Dreaming

Again, but always, moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Relieved finally announcing my resignation, excited for this next chapter, proud of our courage and gusto for quitting our jobs, foraging our own path, thankful for the support from family, friends, and coworkers

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Listening // Music

Albums: SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Normal People soundtrack
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams, Grand Teton by Parks Project

Celebrating

Wedding of two PT classmates, resignation from my first PT job , 49 books read in the first half of the year, coworkers 30th birthday, 100 followers on this blog and over 1,000 views

Learning

As an employee, you are always dispensable and replaceable to your employer

Buying

More bike shorts from Old Navy, sports bras from Aerie, vintage America’s National Parks book for our trip, pre-ordered Riley Sager’s new thriller Survive the Night

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MAY 2021

Reading

Planning

Memorial Day weekend in Cleveland, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City or Detroit for birthday in July, GART planning is slowing down, we’ve secured like 90% of our campsites, permits, and hotels

Cooking

Kyle’s favorite Alton Brown meatloaf for mom’s birthday, HBH corn, tomato, and avocado pasta salad, HBH browned sage butter chicken pot pie for Mother’s Day

Eating

Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, Royal Docks Brewing Co, Harvest, The 27 Club, Beerhead Bar and Eatery, Stone Made Pub, lots of salads at work and for dinners

Drinking

Earnest Brew Works, Jolly Pumpkin, from the tap at Harvest, The 27 Club, Southern Tier, Butcher and the Brew, Phoenix Coffee Co

Going

Ann arbor, Up North for Leeann and Anthony’s wedding, Canton, OH to visit #girlgand, Cleveland for Memorial Day Weekend, back to Planet Fitness with emphasis on stair climbing and incline treadmill walking to prepare for our hikes

Loving

Ann Arbor in the spring, free little library find – The Maidens, dog sitting, parents new cat Alley Cat, air brushed make up, thriving house plants

Dreaming

Moments of calm and serenity surrounded by beautiful landscapes and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the next chapter, together

Feeling

Incredibly proud having ran 10 consecutive miles (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), highly annoyed at the crack in my windshield (second incident in two years), excited and nervous to quit my job, overwhelmed by my June reading plans

Listening // Books

Listening // Music

Albums: Justice by Justin Bieber, SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Let Go by Avril Lavigne
Songs: 1 step forward, 3 steps back and happier from SOUR, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits, 2020 Half Marathon Jams

Celebrating

7 year anniversary with Kyle in Ann Arbor, the wedding of Leeann and Anthony, parents 35th wedding anniversary, securing a Glacier hotel reservation

Learning

About white fragility and how to be anti-racist, to love my body for what it is capable of (running 10 miles) , not for what the scale reads (167.0)

Buying

Went hog wild buying camping gear and new clothes during the REI anniversary sale (30% off), tshirt and national park stickers from Keep Nature Wild (Memorial Day sale), Canon point and shoot camera – PowerShot G7 X Mark II

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // APRIL 2021

Reading

Planning

Anniversary weekend in Ann Arbor, weekend in Cleveland in May, weekend in Pennsylvania for 4th of July pig roast, Traverse City for birthday in July
Road trip: campgrounds, back county permits, hotels, continuing to tweak the schedule/itinerary, coordinating with friends and family

Watching

Booktube: Ellias, Gabby (gabbyreads), Kayla (booksandlala), Sabine (Sabine’s Book Nook), Jack Edwards, Joel (fictionalfates), Noelle Gallagher, Reagan (PeruseProject), Sydney (Syd Bookworrom)
Beauty Youtube: Kelly Gooch, Jessica Braun
Instagram: Hayden Cohen of @hayderz
Other: REI virtual class Exploring Crater Lake National Park, NFL draft live from Cleveland, OH, Cleveland Indians games

Cooking

meatloaf, Mexican cabbage soup (The Defined Dish recipe), cabbage soup, Greek chicken meatballs with Greek salad (The Wooden Skillet recipe linked here)

Drinking

Market Garden Frosty, Olipop strawberry vanilla sparkling tonic, King KoKonut from Avon Brewing Company, local kombucha from Boochy Mamas

Going

Ye Olde Durty Bird, Gathering Volumes independent bookstore, Flying Joe’s coffee shop with BFF, hammock hangs and reading in Oak Openings, dress alterations for MOH dress, lots of walks and hikes at Secor Metropark

Loving

Mike’s macaroni and cheese pizza, audiobooks, long runs to clear my mind and challenge myself, prioritizing time outside in nature weekly if not daily

Dreaming

breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, beautiful landscapes, freedom, lightness, togetherness, new beginnings

Feeling

very ready to quit my job and take a break from patient care, nervous for another new boss and another brand new PTA, excited for our road trip and our next chapter together

Listening // Books + Podcasts

Books: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho
Podcasts: Thank You For Asking

Listening // Music

Albums: Fearless (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, Justice by Justin Bieber
Songs: MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, Runaway by Aurora
Spotify Playlists: Today’s Top Hits

Celebrating

Independent Bookstore Day at Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg (3 book purchase), new personal best: longest run of 8.25 miles, over 34 miles ran in the month of April, 1 year of investing with 4.5k gain, Easter with family I haven’t seen in over a year, Earth Day by picking up trash around the neighborhood, the lives of the 18 lost in the past 6 months at Wauseon

Learning

various National Parks as we plan for our GART, camping food prep, how to be anti-racist, always, running is therapy as much, if not more, than it is exercise

Buying

active wear from Nebraska brand Little Movements Apparel, sunscreen from Sephora, hotel reservations for GART, spring dresses from Petal and Pip, spring colored athletic shirts for work

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // MARCH 2021

Reading

Planning

Logistics of quitting our jobs in July, our 10 week, cross country, Great American Road Trip starting in August (blogs to come)

Watching

Chef’s Table with Ana Roš (season 2, episode 5), movie I Care a Lot starring Rosamund Pike, March Madness basketball games

Cooking

Homemade meatballs, chicken salad, quick and easy weeknight meals, mini ground chicken meat loaves

Eating

Panda express, Jolly Pumpkin in Detroit, Bon Bon Bon, Delanie’s Grille

Drinking

Starbucks new spring drink iced brown sugar oatmilk shaken espresso, personalized non-alcoholic cocktails at Sugar House, craft cocktails at Cleveland Speakeasy

Creating

Starting and updating my reading journal, book cover collages, bookstagram content

Going

Detroit, Livonia, Garden Harvest, neighborhood runs, Defiance stops for spring cleaning

Loving

Running outside, I feel like a different, better human being returning to running outside! The Toledo Public Library, I don’t think I can express how much I love requesting and borrowing books from the library (21 of the 24 books I’ve read this year were library books!)

Dreaming

Of the satisfaction that will come from pushing send on my resignation email to my regional managers, of the amazing collection of postcards I’m going to gather during our trip to make the post amazing keepsake and conversation piece

Feeling

Beyond frustrated with the headache that is managing my health insurance coverage with my company (long story short, they had my hire date incorrect so I was uninsured in the month of February which left me to cover the cost of a pelvic US and f/u appt to check my IUD placement)

Conflicted about having a hand in getting a boss fired *grimacing face emoji*, equal parts excited and scared for the unknowns that come with quitting a stable job to spend 10 weeks on the road, supported by friends and family regarding our GART plans

Listening // Books

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Justin Bieber’s new album Justice (favorite songs include As I Am, Holy, Unstable, Ghost)

Celebrating

Kyle’s 1000th transport, National Meatball Day, daylight savings time aka day light at 7:30PM, Women’s History Month, BFF’s bachelorette party in Ann Arbor at Vinology followed by Blank Slate ice cream, the joy of running 5 miles, $1,400 stimulus check, country wide vaccinations!

Learning

Life’s too short, it’s now or never to explore the country while we have so little responsibilities in terms of pets, home ownership, and no children

Buying

Bath and Body works hand soaps, Wax Buffalo candles – hummingbird and oatmeal stout, bachelorette lingerie from Aerie for a BFF, Osprey pack from REI

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


CURRENTLY // FEBRUARY 2021

Reading

Planning

To quit our jobs, move out of our apartment, road trip across the US for 4-6 weeks, and then move to Cleveland or Ann Arbor

Watching

Super Bowl LV Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Kansas City Chiefs 31–9, Noelle Gallagher of booktube channel (link), Sabine’s Book Nook booktube channel (link), this tik tok on repeat:

Cooking

Pork carnitas and homemade pico for the Super Bowl, Half Baked Harvest 4 cheese sun-dried tomato pasta bake, Half Baked Harvest kung pao chicken, spaghetti squash with meat and tomato sauce

Eating

Mike’s mac n’ cheese pizza (a little too often this month), big freakin’ donut from Holey Toledough, chicken nachos at Wolverine State Brewing Co

Drinking

Sippin’ Pretty by Odell Brewing Co, HOMES Brewery in Ann Arbor, Wolverine State Brewing Co in Ann Arbor, Tiramisu Brown Ale by Maumee Bay Brewing Co, Grand Mimosa by Ciderboys, black iced coffee from Biggby, Starbucks pistachio latte

Pinning

Beautiful home libraries and bookcases, bullet journal and book journal spreads, gallery wall inspiration, kitchen inspiration, white bean Greek salad, buckeye brownies

Making

Finally finished lettering the addresses for my classmates save the dates and mailed them back to her, repotted my house plants

Going

First house viewing in Westgate, second house viewing in Old Orchard, Ann Arbor to visit BFFs and pick up an item at REI, dinner at cheers with a coworkers, the library like 2-4 times a week

Loving

Blue skies and 40 degree plus weather, hammock stand, The House in the Cerulean Sea, compliments on my skill, integrity, and clinical reasoning and decision making, methodology in my career, mentoring and learning from my new grad PTA

Feeling

Devastated with the unexpected news of losing the Wauseon building, pissed off having only been given 1 weeks notice, hopeful for the end of quarantine, excited for spring, euphoria running outside again, appreciated and seen by my colleague and mentor

Listening // Books

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Listening // Music

Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is An Animal album, Taylor Swift’s evermore album, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist, Summertime Sadness and Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray, Driver’s License by Olivia Rodrigo, 8 Letters by Why Don’t We, Heather by Conan Gray

Celebrating

Pre-approval for a mortgage, 812 credit score, Valentine’s week which concluded with the gift of a hammock stand (Kammok), running outside, beautiful blue skies and 40 degree weather

Learning

Big Bird has cousins (see below), cute and simple hairstyles from Tik Tok, George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth, no no, he had the teeth of his slaves

Supporting

Black authors only with February BOTM selections: NK Jemisin, Nancy Johnson, Bryan Washington

Buying

My own copies of The Night Tiger (50% off) and The Ghost Bride (second hand), foaming hand soap from Bath and Body Works

Mantra

Every emotion that I feel throughout the day I accept, because it’s what makes me human

Monthly Mood Board

Until next time, Meryn


2021 ONE LITTLE WORD — INTENTION

It’s the middle of February and I am not feeling my original 2021 OLW. Let’s change it.

At the the end of 2020, I had picked what I thought was the perfect one little word (OLW) moving into the new, hopeful year of 2021 – maintenance. Despite the chaotic and unexpected year that was 2020, I worked hard to create healthy and suitable habits in many aspects of my life regarding physical, emotional, and financial health.

In January 2021, maintenance sounded like a great goal to have! Of course I wanted to keep exercising 5x/week and read everyday, because my biggest personal accomplishments in 2020 were a direct result of those habits. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t feel possible or sustainable at all right now to maintain these habits, at that’s okay. Because the fact of the matter is I’m not working out 5x/week, not even 3x/week, because I don’t have the motivation or desire to do so. What I want to do for myself and my mental health is run outside. But that’s also exactly the thing I am not willing to do in the middle of February when the average temp is mid to low 30s. So what’s the deal? Am I unmotivated? Lazy? No, I don’t think so. It’s just not the right time. I had the best of intentions for myself, but my lack of progress signals to me, this isn’t working. And instead of being upset with myself or engaging in negative self talk, I can just change my word. Simple as that.

That brings me right now, February 14th, 2021, at the time I’m writing. Yes, Valentine’s Day. I found myself standing in Kroger, waiting to order a Starbucks drink and sandwich [because #treatyoself] and as I looked around at all the people buying bouquets and chocolates, it hit me. I’d lost touch with reality. On the surface I knew it was Valentine’s Day; I’d seen the advertisements. The romance book recommendations. The cute red and pink heart decorations at work. Even enjoyed the heart shaped donut Kyle brought home from Dunkin’ for me the day before. But it wasn’t until I was standing in the grocery store that I realized I hadn’t made a single effort or attempt to celebrate or acknowledge the holiday.

From there, my mind began to spiral. Christmas effectively came and went with little to no lasting impression. No stockings. No wrapped presents. No family gatherings. And yes, obviously this was due to the pandemic. All to say this reminded me of the promise I made to myself that 2021 would be different. I’d be more present, despite how depressed I felt or how chaotic work became. No matter the excuses I made for myself. Then a new word hit me like a ton of bricks.

Intention noun
1: thing intended; an aim or plan
2: what one intends to do or bring about
3: a determination to act in a certain way, resolve

Intentional adjective
1: done on purpose; deliberate
2: done by intention or design, intended

What a cliché OLW, I know. But it feels right.

Here’s the ways in which I hope to be more deliberate moving forward in the year 2021, guided by my new OLWs, intention and/or intentional.

Environment
Last year, I fell into the habit of sitting on the couch with my laptop, purely due to comfort. Less time sitting at my desk resulted in less journaling, less time spent being creative, and my desk became cluttered, unruly, and unmanageable. Definitely not a sight for sore eyes.
1 | sit at my desk to check emails, write blog posts, journal, engage in creativity

Similarly, Kyle and I fell into the habit of eating meals on the couch as our schedules got crazier and crazier as the year progressed. We used to set up the dinner table and enjoy dinner together, sometimes with candlelight, and I want to get back to that.
2 | eat more meals with Kyle at our dining room table

I had some initial success with working out at home when all the gyms closed, then really fell into a routine running outside which gave me such mental clarity and emotional stability in what would prove to be the hardest year of my life professionally. But anymore, my desire and motivation to exercise in the home is non-existent, even for a 20 minute work out.
3 | return to the gym (when safe to do so), walk and run outside when the weather allows

“A place for everything, everything in its place.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Time
I have dozens of ideas in my head of creative projects, some I think I should do, some I want to do. Also a handful of mundane tasks that have been on my to do list for 3+ years. It’s time I either buckle down and complete these projects or determine what the barriers are limiting me from completing these tasks.
1 | ditch the creative ideas and projects that aren’t sparking joy, alter expectations

In 2020, I lost sight of maintaining healthy boundaries with work. There was a point where I was working every weekend, feeling obligated to my employer to work 6 to 7 days per week because work was sparse at times in the middle of a pandemic. In December I realized the extra $120 on a paycheck wasn’t worth it. The bliss of having an entire day away from work did so much for my mental health than the extra hundred bucks a paycheck.
2 | prioritize time with and for myself aware from work without guilt or shame

I’m notoriously bad at maintaining a morning and nighttime routine. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of sleeping in on work days if I know my schedule is lighter than usually, which often back fires because things always pop up. I justify these actions by convincing myself I’m spending time with Kyle when in reality, his sleeping body is just next to my sleeping body.
3 | wake up at the same time every work day, despite having a ‘short work day’

Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.
— Theophrastus

No one can know what the future holds, but this is a good enough place to start.

Until next time, Meryn


2020 ONE LITTLE WORD – DOCUMENT
2020 ONE LITTLE WORD – MID-YEAR UPDATE
2020 ONE LITTLE WORD – END-YEAR UPDATE

A LOVE LETTER TO THE SNF THAT RAISED ME

Welcome to my diary entry, stream of consciousness on the pain and grief felt having been given one weeks notice that my position at my first job was terminated due to a dissolved business agreement.


How do you say goodbye to a place that means so much?

How do you accept leaving a job not on your own terms?

But the terms of a dissolved partnership?

I thought I would get to decide when my last day was.

I thought this was my decision to make.

I thought I’d leave on my terms.

Not the terms of management.

I get it, life’s not fair.

I know.

How do I say goodbye to the coworkers that made each day better than the one before?

To the patients and residents that made me a better physical therapist?

More so, a better person?

More empathetic.

More patient.

A better communicator.

A better listener.

With improved confidence and conflict resolution skills.

How do I say goodbye?

I wasn’t given the chance or the privilege to say goodbye to those taken by the COVID virus.

I think about them everyday.

Jane,

Betty,

Lee,

Lupe,

Arden,

Rick,

Don.

I’ll feel that pain for rest of my life.

How they died alone.

So unnecessarily.

But remember,

Life’s not fair.

I know, I know.

I walked in a fearful new grad.

Scared out of my mind.

Into a building with a lot of heart.

And a lot to offer.

A team with so much to learn from.

And I leave a better PT.

I leave a better person.

From the bottom of my heart,

Thank you,

Meryn Frey, PT, DPT

2020 IN REVIEW: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

The year 2020 was a lot of things:
unexpected, transformative, eye-opening

I had no idea that I would:

Start a blog and publish 50 blogposts

Read 56 books and start a bookstagram

Complete a whole30

Run a half marathon

Lose 30 pounds

Start trading in the stock market

Negotiate a $2 raise in a global pandemic

Amass a six figure net worth

And grow closer in my relationship with my partner

But also:

Lose 13 patients, so unnecessarily

Sob uncontrollably at work

Mourn and grieve those I never had the chance to offer a goodbye

Put my patient’s health and well being ahead of my social life

Become a telehealth physical therapist

And as a society we didn’t expect to:

Lose some 400,000 American lives to the cornavirus

Bear witness to horrific events of racism in this country

Mourn the losses of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and hundreds more

Watch our nationals capitol be stormed and defaced at the hand of white supremacist, Trump supporters

But there was some good:

Bread baking, puzzle building, reading, working out at home, playing board and card games

Carbon dioxide emissions declined

Shelter intake was down 24% compared to last year due to the increase in pet adoptions

NASA launched an advanced rover to Mars and landed a spacecraft on an asteroid

A SpaceX rocket sent American astronauts to the International Space Station

Mass production and distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID19 vaccine

Record number of Americans turned out to vote in our national election, despite the pandemic – best voter turn out in 120 years

Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

Resources:

1 | 18 Actually Good Things That Happened in 2020
Huffpost article linked here

2 | 20 good things that happened in 2020
The Washington Post article linked here

3 | 50 positive things that happened in 2020 (so far)
The Columbus Dispatch article linked here

4 | Good news in 2020? Yes, it’s true! Here are 100 positive things that happened this year
USA article linked here

5 | It wasn’t all bad: Here are 20 good things that happened in 2020
Fox29 article linked here

6 | These are the hobbies everyone has picked up during COVID-19 outbreak
The Ladders article linked here

Until tomorrow, Meryn