BIDEN / HARRIS INAUGURATION DAY REFLECTION

January 20, 2021

A historic day for women

Kamala Harris

Now officially Madam Vice President

The nation’s first female, Black and South Asian Vice President

The glass ceiling?

Shattered

 “I may be the first woman to hold this office.”

“But I won’t be the last.”

Jill Biden

Dr. Jill Biden

Once Second Lady, now First

Wife

Mother

Teacher

Educator

In the White House

“Teaching isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am.”

I’ll tell my children about this day

With tears in my eyes and pride in my heart

The chills I had every time I heard the words, “Dr. Jill Biden”

Because it’s not easy being highly educated and articulate

And it’s not easy being a woman

It’s harder to be both

I beam with pride every time I hear her name

Speak her name

Dr. Jill Biden

“Mr. President and Dr. Biden”

I was once ridiculed for studying too much

Too focused on school work in college

But what did it get me?

The title I hold so near to my heart

Dr. Meryn Frey

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Today I exclusively signed my name Dr. Meryn Frey

In Dr. Biden’s honor

I’m proud of my degrees

I’m proud of my hard work, determination, and dedication

I’m proud to hold the title Doctor

I allow no man to make my feel inferior for their little self worth

Until tomorrow, Dr. Meryn Frey


SNF PT POV: COVID-19 JANUARY 2021 UPDATE

December 22, 2020

For the first time, in a long time, I have hope

I chose to get the COVID vaccine for myself, but more importantly, for my patients

I can’t bring back the 14 patients who have died unnecessarily at the hand of this virus

But I can do my part to protect myself and my patients, from this day forward

January 12, 2021

Today, 21 days later, I felt excitement and thrill receiving my second dose

I’m proud to stand with science

To trust the scientific process

To support the scientists and researchers who made this vaccine possible

In record time

I’m proud to advocate in my personal and professional lives

On the importance and impact of vaccination

Because I’m done with the heart break

The mourning

And the grieving

I’m ready to close this very difficult chapter

The tears I’ve shed have evolved over the course of this pandemic

First, in fear, with uncertainty and unknowns

Second, in happiness, as my patients started to recover

Now, in hope

Hope for new, better days ahead

I hold onto hope

Until tomorrow, Meryn


2020 ONE LITTLE WORD — END-YEAR UPDATE

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

End-Year Update

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!

2.
Happy Planner daily fitness planner
Happy Planner daily journal

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.

5.
Letterfolk passport update
2018 South Dakota/Wyoming road trip Mixbook
2019 Denver, Colorado trip vacation Mixbook
2020 Breckenridge ski vacation Mixbook

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.

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // DECEMBER 2020

Reading //

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

Cooking // Half Baked Harvest chipotle cheddar corn chowder, Half Baked Harvest 4 cheese sun-dried tomato and spinach pasta bake, dutch baby, funfetti mug cake, The Defined Dish black pepper chicken

Eating // Mancino’s baked potato pizza

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

Supporting // local and small businesses for the holiday season: Paige Poppe artist, Flourish in Fibers fiber art, Wax Buffalo candles, Peripeti candles, MAME soy candles

Buying // board games and cards games with Christmas money, Ohio City Oatmeal Stout, new Whole30 book Cooking Whole30

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // NOVEMBER 2020

Reading //

Watching // Regan of PeruseProject on youtube, Tik Tok creatives collaborating on the fictional Ratatouille the Musical, Cleveland Browns 8-3 baby!

Cooking // homemade cornbread, Buck Naked Kitchen Thanksgiving turkey meatballs, Half Baked Harvest beer bread, Half Baked Harvest carnitas, homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Eating // traditional Thanksgiving Day grub from work

Drinking //

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)

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


THANKSGIVING DAY REFLECTION: COVID-19

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.

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // OCTOBER 2020

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

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // SEPTEMBER 2020

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!

Cooking // Half Baked Harvest herby tomato soup, Rachael’s Good Eats stuffed peppers, Primal Gourmet kung pao lettuce cups, The Defined Dish whole roasted Greek chicken with potatoes, Paleo Running Momma stuffed acorn squash sausage and rice

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

Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn


TOP 15 INSPIRATIONAL + INFLUENTIAL BLACK PEOPLE

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

Anna Groves

website

instagram

Ashley C. Ford of smashfizzle

website

instagram

The Financial Confessions podcast episode

Berrion Berry

website

instagram: personal

instagram: the flo academy

Candance M. Read

website

instagram

Danielle Coke

website

instagram

Jade Purple Brown

website

instagram

Words to Live By

Jessi of Ettavee

website

instagram

Kamala Harris

website

instagram

Mashama Bailey

instagram: personal

instagram: The Grey Savannah

Michelle Obama

instagram

podcast

Becoming

Morgan Harper Nichols

website

instagram

Rachel Cargle

website

instagram

Well-Read Black Girl

website

instagram

2020 reading list

This is a start, but the work doesn’t stop here.

Until tomorrow, Meryn


CURRENTLY // AUGUST 2020

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

Cooking // Healthy Little Peach’s chicken bacon ranch stuffed sweet potato, Half Baked Harvest’s instant pot crispy carnitas with chipotle peach salsa (salsa 10/10, to die for, would make again), Half Baked Harvest’s herby tomato soup

Drinking // Biggby’s 24 ounce black iced coffee (no joke, 5 times a week at minimum), Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat, Rhinegeist Slangria

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
[1] Chinese IT company ByteDance agrees to divest from US branch of TikTok
[7] two people die of bubonic plaque in the region of Inner Mongolia, China
[8] MAC announces cancellation of fall football season
[11] 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
[11] Big Ten announces cancellation of fall football season
[18] California Governor declares a state of emergency as 27 wildfires as raging across the state, exacerbating a stifling heat wave
[24] Ohio representative John Becker draws up 10 articles of impeachment on Governor Mike DeWine over his COVID-19 orders
[26] all 3 NBA playoff games are postponed as the 6 teams involved sit in protest after shooting of Jacob Blake
[26] NBA announces agreement between players union to convert franchise-owned-and-operated arenas into voting facilities for resumption of NBA playoffs
[28] Chadwick Boseman dies of colon cancer at the age of 43

Monthly Mood Board //

Until tomorrow, Meryn