A quick recap on what One Little Word is by creator, Allie Edward: “a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as I go about my daily life. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another—a process I document via simple creative monthly prompts from January to December.”
To read my OLW introduction, click here, and to re-visit my mid-year update, click here
1. meryn made blog
Status: GOAL MET I crushed this goal, if I do say so myself. Since it’s inception at the end of March, I’ve posted 50 blogposts in total in 2020, which just boggles my mind. My plan was to write about art, creativity, inspiration, physical therapy, and health and wellness. But, plot twist, what I’ve posted the most about is books and reading – so unexpected!
Status: PARTIALLY MET Sitting undistributed and unopened for months, I blew off the dust and cracked open my fitness planner to see that I haven’t written in it since August 30th. That’s not to say I gave up on fitness in the second half of the year – quite the opposite, actually. As the summer days turned to fall and the cooler weather set in, I found myself wanting to run outside more, compared to exercising at home in our living room. Running became a very real form of therapy for me in October when COVID was running rampant in my nursing homes, taking the lives of so many. As a result, I stopped writing and reflecting in my fitness journal completely. I did continue to track my weight and measurements in my excel spreadsheet and the FitBit app through October 1st. But after I ran my quarantine half marathon on Halloween, I took the first 3 weeks of November off all exercise.
In a similar way, I kept up with weekly decorative planning in my happy planner through September, but fell off in October when COVID struck at work and never got back to creative daily planning. I continued to utilize my planner for planning, obviously, but it was pen and highlighter only.
3. Card/invitation ring book Beer stickers pocket pages Travel stickers pocket pages
Status: NOT MET, NO PROGRESS Yeah, I just never got around to any of these, but at least have an idea of the barriers limiting my progress, I think.
In regards to the card/invitation ring book, the hold up in my head is that I think everything that I need to complete this project is scattered all over the place, in various boxes both here in our apartment and back home. Which really shouldn’t be a barrier, I just haven’t prioritized this project.
I feel the same about the beer and sticker pocket pages as I did during the mid-year update – I just don’t want to invest time, energy, and money into a project when I can’t be certain myself or anyone else will actually look at it. Kyle and I did go through some of the beer stickers and turned them into magnets for our small beer fridge in our wet bar, so some of the (duplicate) stickers are on display.
4. One Line a Day (OLAD) journal
Status: GOAL MET I definitely met this goal and my OLAD is one of my favorite things I worked on this year. I started this journal thinking it would be so interesting to track the first 5 years of this new decade. Little did I know on January 1st, 2020, that this year would be simultaneously the best and worst, most transformative year of my life. And I have daily entries highlighting it all, for better or for worse!
I will say that I didn’t keep up with my daily entries like I would have hoped. In the last quarter of the year, there were times when I got 10-14 days behind and had to go back through my daily planner, camera photo roll, Instagram, and Twitter to fill in the one line prompt, but we made it work.
Status: NOT MET, NO PROGRESS Yeah, literally no progress made on creating photobooks of the last few vacations I’ve taken. While I love the idea of having these memories and pictures in a physical, bound book, I rarely look at the one I made in 2018 for my trip to Europe. Maybe when Kyle and I have our own home and a proper place to store and display these books, I’ll feel more inclined and inspired to revisit this project.
Also never cracked open any of my Letterfolk passports, which could be due in part to little to no traveling this year. Honestly I never thought of them at all this year, out of sight out of mind I suppose.
Planning // reading plans for Kayla’s #buzzwordathon 2021 (blogpost linked here), goals and intentions for 2021, TBR list for 2021
Watching // marathoning booktube content from Kayla of BooksandLala (youtube channel linked here), dipping my toes in fellow Canadian booktuber Ariel Bissett (youtube channel linked here), The Bachelorette finale spoilers and highlights, Jessica and Tyler Braun’s vlogmas content, Amber Burns’s vlogmas content
Drinking // drinking Nebraska and Colorado craft beer from James and Rikki for the First Annual Frey Family Beer Exchange
Crafting // 2021 family photo collage for mom’s holiday card, wedding envelope lettering practice, book cover collages
Going // to watch Kyle play indoor soccer at the sports dome, Red Cross blood donation (COVID antibodies not detected)
Loving //drinking tea in the evenings while reading, muji 0.38 fine tip pen, Taylor Swift’s ninth studio album Evermore, flipping through my One Line A Day journal
Dreaming // of a fresh new start with a new year, my second COVID vaccine dose, Cleveland browns Super Bowl
Feeling // careless and stupid for rear ending a van on my way to work (hit a patch of black ice), tears of joy receiving my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine , accomplished having read 56 books this year, proud of my 30 pound weight loss this year, impressed with my finances and year end net worth, above all else, hopeful for 2021
Listening // Podcasts: Book Riot, Books Unbound
Listening // Spotify: Taylor Swift’s new album Evermore (top 3: coney island, no body, no crime, and long story short), Michael Bublé’s Christmas, Today’s Top Hits playlist, my 2020 Half Marathon Jams playlist
Celebrating // FDA approval of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and mass delivery out of in Portage, MI, two more custom wheelchair deliveries, surpassing reading goal of 30 books with a total 56 this year
Learning // Airbnb IPO set for 12/10, intubation protocols from Kyle, Kamala Harris’s political and personal history through her autobiography
Eating // traditional Thanksgiving Day grub from work
Going // Slow Brew at the Toledo Zoo (unlimited samples from local roasters and coffee exhibitors)
Loving // cute thank you letters at Thanksgiving from local students, first snow fall of the year, borrowing books from the Toledo Public Library, posting on my MerynMade Instagram – lots of book stacks!
Feeling // frustrated after being mandated to work the COVID unit after the building realized the lost revenue, like a true healthcare hero – finally, mildly depressed being alone for Thanksgiving, defeated with 100% of patients testing positive for COVID19, hopeful, we have to be, thankful for my health and the health of my family, friends, and coworkers, love-hate relationship with new responsibilities as a telehealth PT
Listening // Spotify: This is Lennon Stella, artist Dua Lipa, Adele, Normal People Official Playlist
Celebrating // President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris, announcement of a new Biggby on Airport Hwy
Supporting // local fiber artist Flourish in Fibers (Instagram, Etsy), Garden Harvest Marketplace and Deli (buying local Ohio and Michigan beer for family Christmas beer exchange)
It’s Thanksgiving Day, 2020. Here is what’s on my mind:
I’ve spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the past few weeks and months living and working through the COVID-19 global pandemic. This public health crisis has brought forth a lot of change, for good and for bad – I find myself repeating this has been a transformative year, but more on that later. While there is much to be thankful for, including my health and the health of my loved ones, job security, a roof over my head and food in the fridge, I am not one to ignore the emotional pain and grief I’ve endured this year.
I take no shame in fully engrossing myself in my emotions. I promised myself long ago that I would never feel embarrassed for having or displaying my feelings, which, in the past few months, has manifested itself as sobbing at work, unapologetically. I sobbed as residents were discharged following positive COVID-19 test results, uncertain if or when I’d ever see them again. I sobbed as the positive cases grew, first it was 2, then 4, then 7, 13, 19, then it was 100% of residents. Finally there were moments of tears of joy when residents started to recover and were moved off the COVID unit.
Nothing has been harder than holding the hands of my dying Hospice patient, only to learn she passed alone 2 hours later. I felt hopelessness and fear watching a 31 year old receive CPR, to hear time of death called, then to see her lifeless body alone in her room. The tears have slowed down overall, but they visit me when someone asks how I’m doing or how work has been. Or now, when I spend intentional time thinking about the patients, the friendships, I’ve lost.
At this point, I’ve lost 13 patients, a majority of whom I’ve known and cared for since the first day of my career as a nursing home physical therapist. These are people who died unnecessarily at the negligence of others, my heart will always hurt for them. In an effort to honor them, I’ve kept a running list of their names alongside fond memories or stories I’ve shared with these special people.
Cynthia showed me the importance of gratitude and appreciation for those who help others
Beverly taught me you’re never too old to play video games, especially until 3AM
Don showed me a few words was enough to let your needs be known
Lupe taught me the time is always right for a cup of coffee and a cookie, especially at the end of a PT session
Ed showed me how my words impact outcome and patient trust
Lee taught me the importance of knowing what you want and standing your ground – “but I don’t wanna” and “I’m lazy”
Arden taught me the only correct answer to the question “how are you?” is “finer than frog fur”
Richard showed me strong men cry
Betty taught me you’re never too old to appreciate a cute pair of shoes
Jane taught me the key to being simply the best grandma was to rest as often as possible
Rick taught me no matter how hard you try, the worst of circumstances can fall on to the best of people
I hope I don’t have to add many more names and memories to this list, but it is likely the number will grow. COVID cases are rising, expecting to get worse as we head into the holiday and winter season. In conclusion, wear a mask, wash your hands, distances yourself from others when able, and treat others with kindness.
Reading // The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle, Urban Jungle by Igor Josifovic, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard
Planning // potentially to quit our jobs early to mid next year, an epic 2 to 3 weeks roadtrip out to Seattle and back
Watching // Bachelorette season 16 with lead Clare Crawley, Normal People tv drama series on Hulu, 2 tik toks that literally had me crying – I’ve watched each over 10 times, the feel good ABCs of careers, beat boxing-kid-edition linked here, Amber Burns youtube videos
Cooking // bacon triple cheese grilled cheese, shepherd’s pie, Primal Gourmet’s chicken meatballs with sun-dried tomato cream sauce from his cookbook (similar recipe on his blog here)
Eating // Holey Toledough donuts, brunch at Fowl and Fodder downtown, Taproot Cider House, North Peak Brewing Company
Drinking // Taproot Cider House, North Peak Brewing Company, Right Brain Brewery, Silver Spruce Brewing Company
Crafting // the absolute bare minimum anymore, I don’t decorate my planner at all, I haven’t kept up with my fitness planner in months, reading has occupied all my free time
Going // weekend in Traverse City with Kyle, hiking Mission Point lighthouse at the end of the Old Mission peninsula in TC,
Loving // my beautiful and thriving house plants, time spent with Kyle’s cousins
Dreaming // of Donald Trump out of the White House, a less divided country
Feeling // nervous but excited for the end of this election, heart broken for my residents contracting and dying from COVID-19 (pt count 2, 4, 6, 7, then up to 19 this month, our isolation unit had to become a COVID unit which became an entire wing of the facility), loved by my partner and friends during tough times, surprised how every sect of media is encouraging people to register to vote this election, from Instagram to Facebook, from Credit Karma to small and local businesses, relief and crying tears of joy when patient’s have moved off the COVID unit having recovered
Listening // Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 6, Normal People official soundtrack, Today’s Hits playlist on Spotify, huge decline in listening to podcasts, I’ve been really leaning into playlists on Spotify, also listening less and less to the radio
Celebrating // national physical therapy month and 2 years as a SNF PT, Kyle’s 27th birthday, running 8 miles, then 10 miles, then 2 weeks later, running a half marathon in 2 hours 41 minutes, having read 40 books this year, surpassing a net worth of 100k, brother and SIL home purchase
Supporting // postcards to swing states, a program encouraging registered votes to vote in the Nov. 3rd election (I personally sent 150 handwritten postcards to South Carolinians), independent bookstore Horizon Books in Traverse City
Buying // new jeans from H&M since most of my pants don’t fit having lost over 30 pounds this year, new battery for my car, 3 ARCs from the independent bookstore in Traverse City
Reading // We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda, The Whisper Man by Alex North, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Verity by Colleen Hoover, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, Final Girls by Riley Sager, blogpost on white silence and white privilege linked here
Planning // blog post reflecting on what I’ve learned in my first 2 years as a PT, blog post about inspirational and influential black people, weekend trip to Traverse City, MI in mid October
Watching // “rating things my grandma says wrong” parts 1, 2, and 3 on tik tok, also, too much tik tok, professional football – GO Browns!
Eating // Forage Public House in Lakewood, OH, Lagerhaus No. 5 and Eastern Market Brewing Co. in Detroit
Drinking // Biggby’s black iced coffee (it runs through my veins), Starbuck’s pumpkin cream cold brew, Biggy’s sweet foam caramel cold brew, Maddie & Bella’s iced pumpkin spice latte
Pinning // fall desserts (puppy chow, s’mores, coffee cake, twix bars, chocolate chips cookies), sweater inspiration, acorn squash recipes, road trip itineraries for Montana and Wyoming (a girl can dream), reading challenges, pilea plant care
Crafting // not much these days other than a cohesive merynmade Instagram feed
Going // walks around the library, pumpkin hunting at Hoen’s Garden Center, Detroit Institute of Art
Loving // curbside pick up Toledo Public Library, new house plant pancake (pilea, Chinese money plant), spending time with an old college roommate, BOTM subscription
Dreaming // of a pre-COVID world, 2021 travel opportunities
Feeling // upset for Breonna Taylor, accomplished having read 30 books since April, annoyed by mandated COVID CMS trainings, excited for time off in October
Listening // Songs on repeat: September by Earth, Wind, and Fire, Dynamite by BTS, my ex’s best friend and I Think I’m OKAY by MGK, Holy by Justin Bieber
Celebrating // Kyle’s high school classmates wedding in Elyria, OH, 30 pound weight loss, longest run of 7 miles, fastest mile of 9’17”, do you remember, the 21st night of September?, first day of fall, the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supporting // local library, promoting mask/facial coverings
One of the first blog posts I wrote, which I was initially very proud of given the amount of time invested, was titled TOP 20 INSPIRATIONAL + INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE, linked here. The blog post is essentially a collection of my favorite Instagram accounts at the time of March 2020. It never occurred to me the whitewashing I was promoting, as all but one person listed was white.
The need to diversify my feed is more important than ever. America is in the thick of the Black Lives Matter movement after the unlawful and unnecessary deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, Breonna Taylor, 26, and George Floyd, 46. I’ve seen immense support for the Black community in response to these recent events, both in real life and on social media, and have been exposed to numerous Black people and Black promoting accounts to follow on Instagram as a result.
Having had time to reflect on what media I’m consuming, I’ve come to realize the majority of the accounts I follow on Instagram are white women that bare resemblance to me, whether it be professionally, socially, or geographically. I’ve spent the past few months finding new women and accounts to follow to improve the diversity of the media I’m consuming in an effort to be more inclusive.
Note: the following individuals are listed in alphabetical order by first name, this list is not meant to represent a ranking system
Reading // All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn, Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
Planning // October weekend getaway to Traverse City, Michigan, browsing homes for sale in Toledo, Cleveland, and Ann Arbor areas, for a successful September whole30
Watching // Cleveland Indians baseball, too much Tik Tok let’s be honest
Eating // southern butter pecan ice cream, pork chops with granny smith apples and caramelized onion, tomato chorizo frittata, lots and lots of BLT salads – Kyle’s new obsession is BLTs now that he has a cast iron bacon press, deli sandwiches from Garden Harvest
Pinning // fall dessert recipes, recipes with cherry tomatoes, travel guides and blog posts in up state New York, reading challenges
Crafting // brewery stickers into temporary magnets for our wet bar mini fridge, planner spreads, blog post reflecting on my One Little Word document
Going // day drinking at a coworkers with yard games (including relay pong on our closet door, Kyle was so happy to be reliving his college days), neighborhood walks and runs, Biggby per always
Loving // Goodreads, Toledo library pick up, the park that surrounds my local library, weekly COVID tests for peace of mind
Dreaming // of international travel
Feeling // sad but understanding in the decision made by the BIG10 to cancel their college football 2020 season, hopeful for professional football 2020 season, excited at even just the thought of browsing for homes, disappointed in having to give up the prospects of a fall road trip to up state New York, proud of my on going dedication to daily exercise and weight loss journey
Listening // Podcasts: new to me this month was You’re Wrong About and I really enjoyed episodes about Going Postal and Stockholm Syndrome, also loved the conversation Michelle Obama had with her friend Michele Norris which gave us this advice, “don’t reach for normal, reach for better“
Listening // Spotify Playlists:
Celebrating // 1k profit in stocks, brother and sister-in-law bought their first home in their dream neighborhood, new lowest weight on 161.6 lbs, yet another custom wheelchair approved and delivered to a long term care resident
Supporting // UPSP, Black Lives Matter
Buying // anniversary gift for M and T from Giften Market, new thriller The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard, wire plant stand from Crate and Barrel, purple and grey face masks for a September wedding
Current Events // via wikipedia  Chinese IT company ByteDance agrees to divest from US branch of TikTok  two people die of bubonic plaque in the region of Inner Mongolia, China  MAC announces cancellation of fall football season  former Vice President Joe Biden selects Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, she is the first black woman and first Asian-American vice presidential nominee  Big Ten announces cancellation of fall football season  California Governor declares a state of emergency as 27 wildfires as raging across the state, exacerbating a stifling heat wave  Ohio representative John Becker draws up 10 articles of impeachment on Governor Mike DeWine over his COVID-19 orders  all 3 NBA playoff games are postponed as the 6 teams involved sit in protest after shooting of Jacob Blake  NBA announces agreement between players union to convert franchise-owned-and-operated arenas into voting facilities for resumption of NBA playoffs  Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer at the age of 43