In 2004, I stood at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was hot, tired, cranky, and suffering from the sort of teenage angst that only a 17-year-old who had never been on a date can feel. (Apparently it can be remedied by Avril Lavigne. Because I listened to a hell of a lot of it that trip.)

It was late, the memorial looks beautiful lit up at night. I took a picture of it that night, one that I have framed and can’t wait to hang up. Grandpa walked up to me and said, conversationally, the way he always started to talk to us when he had something really important to say but didn’t want to make a big sappy emotional deal out of it, “Someday, you’ll bring your children here and I hope you’ll tell them about your old grandpa.”

I don’t remember what I said. Probably something profound like, “Oh! Of course!” I do remember being really glad when he walked away to my brother and sister and cousins, because I went behind some column and started to cry.

Because it was the first time that I really realized there would be a time when I was there without him.

I’m getting married in 16 days. And he’s not here. He never met my fiance, and he doesn’t know my daughter. He would love them though; I know that.

He would love Matt for being a wonderful man, the kind of man that he was (sometimes eerily so)- a decent man, a hard worker, and a wonderful father who would do anything in the world for his family. The kind of man you don’t find too often, but I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life three times with Matt, Grandpa, and my daddy, who brought me red velvet cupcakes last night because I had a bad day.

He would love Eva, for being so smart and cute and sweet and mine. He would play with her and teach her so much and painstakingly pick out cards for her birthday that she would treasure just like I do.

I see them together in my head sometimes. That’s weird, isn’t it? He died three years before I met Matt and Eva, but I can see Matt shaking his hand and him playing with Eva as clear as day in my head. That’s weird. Don’t think I’m crazy, please.

I want him at my wedding. We wrote our prayers of the faithful the other night (an exercise in emotional futility that most couples probably don’t have to go through), and it kills me that he’s in one of them and not the procession.

So someday I will go back to the World War II Memorial. And I’ll take Eva. and I’ll tell her about her great-grandfather, who was a wonderful man and made Grandma Susan and  Aunt Colleen and Uncle John and Mommy the people they are and who would have loved her more than anything in the world because I asked him to.

And maybe we’ll even get there before she’s an angsty teen listening to the 2025 version of  Avril Lavigne. 

I am NOT one of those women.

I am not crafty. I don’t care about being crafty. Like, at all. I prefer stores. With things that are already made in them.

But I totally wanted to make these coasters. Like, a lot. I like maps, I like commemorating special places in your life, and I like the idea of making something for my home after I get married.

And, thanks to the glory of Pinterest- map coasters. YES. I would make those. I dragged Buzz to like eight stores to get the stuff, which Pinterest seemed to think I would just, I don’t know, have on hand?, and set off.

I documented it, in the case of epic failure.


The supplies: map (that I purchased, because I couldn’t find one), pretty tiles, ugly tiles in case I messed up the pretty tiles, cork board, mod podge, finishing and adhesive spray, and a teensy little brush that never fails to remind me of building the house.

I’m feeling crafty already.


Ah. The most important supply for us non-crafty types. Vodka tonic. It makes me feel craftier. Dude. Crafts are AWESOME. I want to do ALL the crafts!


After I take a picture of my desk. Us non-crafty types are also easily distracted. Isn’t my Daddy cute?


How I prefer to engage in any sort of craft endeavor. Most endeavors, really.


I made a copy of the map section I wanted to use to make a test coaster.

(Which sounds way more bad ass than it really was.


It worked okay, but the colors were less vibrant. So I just decided to live on the edge and use the real map.

That’s right. If I messed it up, I’d have to drive all the way back to Target.


I don’t know if that is the worst knife thingy in the world or what, but I switched to the little Pampered Chef thingy after about two minutes of swearing at the map and the knife because WHY WON’T YOU CUT???


Artsy shot of me looking through the map, in which my eyes look huge and doe-like. Something which they are not, in real life.

I may make it my profile picture.


My selections of meaningful places. (True story. I had to scrape for like at least half of them. We don’t do a whole lot.)


My engagement ring and the church where we’re getting married.


Mod Podge step…haven’t screwed up yet. This is a new feeling for me.


They kind of look…adorable. Oh my gosh. Could I secretly be talented at something???


Next morning after they dried, time for the finishing spray.


Maybe because of the vodka tonic last night.

(No. Just because I’m an addict.)


am crafty! YES.


This part was pretty boring, so I didn’t photograph it, but I attached cork board to the bottom of the tile with adhesive spray. In retrospect, I think I’d try to get thinner cork or those cork dots I didn’t know existed until my fiance pointed it out.

Of course, the day they needed to dry outside was the only day in the last six months that it’s rained. So they spent the day in the garage. I half expected them to be awful when I got back in the afternoon, but no!


They turned out really really well! Like awesome.


I was really really happy with them, and if I didn’t manage to screw them up, really anyone can do it.

There really weren’t any problems- make sure the sides of the coasters are sealed. I must have had some spots that weren’t, because when I used the glossy spray it leaked in and left little wet spots some places. Not a huge deal. I also sanded the edges after they were all finished because they were tacky from all the stuff. Now they’re fine.

And it really is a multi-day project, which probably is not news to anyone except me who prefers to buy things fully made and is also really impatient why can’t I use it now dammit???

All in all, pretty awesome. I’m going to do another set after we get back from the honeymoon, and it would be a really cool way to commemorate a road trip.


I like to think Pinterest changed my life.  I love Pinterest! It’s amazing! It combines my new imperative to cook, organize, raise a child, and make a home,1 with the fact that it’s been long enough since the whole Grandpa’s house…experience that I can look at some home improvement projects without bile rising in my throat.2

Some goals are a tad lofty. I mean, according to Pinterest, I have a floor-to-ceiling build-in-bookcase in my attic alcove, make an incredible array of healthy, well-balanced meals and delightfully sinful and GORGEOUS treats like perfectly frosted Bailey’s Irish creme cake, am pretty bitchin’ at making and hanging canvas-wrapped prints, make keep-sake books of all the important cards I’ve ever received, have all sorts of adorable first-day-of-school photo ops planned for every year of Squeaks’ life, take part in every single monthly photo challenge (which I’m sure my friends and family all appreciate),and will have mason jars at my wedding as a cost-effective and whimsical alternative to wine glasses.

Ah. Well, kind of.

I mean, I am TOTALLY all about the canvas-wrapped prints. I think that would be awesome. I have BIG plans for a set of three wedding pictures hung from ribbons. But instead of making them myself, I had Buzz buy a LivingSocial deal where someone else would do it for me. (I still have to figure out the ribbon. Which means…there probably won’t be any ribbon.) And I have a drawer full of the lovely wedding cards we’ve received because I’m TOTALLY going to turn them into a book but I can’t really…how do they…how do you get the punches to match up…I don’t know, it probably won’t be that pretty.

I would love to do a thing where I take Squeaks’ picture on the first day of school holding a chalkboard with the date and “When I grow up I want to be…” right up through grad school (Oh, she’s going to grad school.) But, I realize that I probably will forget to write it before the first day of school. Or buy a chalkboard. So she’ll be standing at the end of the driveway holding a piece of construction paper that’s used on the back. If that. A more realistic possibility is that we’ll be running late and I’ll be swearing (quietly, I’m a good mother) and probably crying because MY BABY DON’T LEAVE ME SO HELP ME GOD IF YOU LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER AND GO TO MADISON I WILL COME WITH YOU.

Probably a better chance of that.

I don’t really cook the things I pin with the exception of the easy casseroles…like the pizza casserole. I knock that one out of the park. It’s hard to screw up putting ground beef on top of noodles and dumping a bag of cheese on top.

I set out every month with the intention of doing the photo challenge…but then inevitably forget about it or get hopelessly uncreative. “How can you take a creative picture of ‘nine o’clock’? That’s ridiculous. You suck pinterest.”

I’m not really a mason-jar-at-the-wedding kind of girl. And it’s an Italian restaurant. I’m thinking they’ll have wine glasses.

And I don’t even know if Buzz has an attic and if he does I’m guessing he’s not interested in funding my ill-advised attempt to turn it into a reading sanctuary.3

So. In general. Pinterest is fun, but unrealistic. Except this one thing. This one thing I could totally do. Mostly because it involved absolutely no craftiness at all. Behold- the wine-rack-as-towel-holder thing.


This, this I could do. I mean, I’m sure the blog post it originally came from involved days of antiquing and finding the wine rack at some vintage store where it came with a card saying it was haunted or something, I don’t know, whatever. I don’t like antiquing because it’s very rarely air-conditioned and the stuff makes me sneeze and then it makes me cry because it belonged to people who obviously don’t have anyone who loves them because they sold their stuff and don’t ask me about the boxes from my grandparents’ in my basement, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

No, I wasn’t going antiquing. I was just going to buy a wine rack off of and hang it up and call it a day. Oh, yes, look! I found that on Pinterest! I know, right? So amazing the things these people think of!

So I did a search for wine rack. And it popped up with a lot of standing wine racks. Which, okay, awesome, but not exactly what I needed. So I searched for hanging wine racks.

And…it came back with a lot of “wine/towel racks.”

Wait. What?

Amazon figured out my trick? And took all the barely-there-creativity out of it? Well, that ruined it for me.

Whatever, I didn’t really want a wine rack in the bathroom anyway. Fine.

1 This is related to my new imperative for STUFF. HOUSEY STUFF. This from the girl who, when asked by her mother if she wanted dishes or something for her birthday said, uh, well, the seventh season of CSI:NY was just released. Now it’s ALL about the electric can-opener.
2 Not paint or wallpaper. Not yet. Dear God, not yet.

3 Although it would mean he could return all those bookcases I made him buy last night because SERIOUSLY DUDE. I DON’T THINK YOU REALIZED THE NUMBER OF BOXES OF BOOKS I COME WITH WHEN YOU PROPOSED TO ME.

I wish my grandma were here.

Most days, for the past thirteen months (well, four years, really, but especially thirteen months), I wish my grandpa were here. Whenever I have a bad day or a question or an existential crisis, I think about how helpful he would be. Then I cry for a minute and try to figure out what he would tell me to do or think (usually along the lines of “Seriously? Calm down.”) and either attempt to do it or go back to burying my head in the sand.

Because that? That’s what my grandma was good at. I don’t know what you’re talking about life is rosy, everyone has ten-pound babies seven months after their weddings*, and I don’t know about you but our depression was awesome!

I’m pretty good at it too. Most  days, I’m a freaking rockstar at it. It’s fine, we’re fine, he’s fine, no, everything’s totally okay my eyes look like this normally is that wine?

Some days, though, not so much. Some days I’m exhausted and not feeling well and just want to go home to my mommy but I can’t because the baby has to sleep and she didn’t yesterday and DEAR GOD WAS THAT SCREAMINGLY AWFUL so I’m going to go to Bayshore instead and buy shit because that makes me feel better and then we’re going to go talk about our wedding and act like everything’s totally awesome and then I can drink.

But my grandma would be way, way better at it than me.

*That makes it sound like I’m pregnant. Definitely not pregnant.

My standards. They have lowered .

Last night I came very close to judging a couple having a fight in Target. They were in the kitchen department and the guy (wearing a trucker hat…I’m sorry, is it 2003, Ashton?) was saying something like, “I’m not even going to justify that…” and the woman scoffed and said, “I can’t talk to you when you’re like this. Let’s go.”

I was totally snickering and my lips were literally forming the words to make some snotty comment about how this was just one step up from Wal-Mart when I remembered that, yeah, I probably shouldn’t.  

Because I maybe stood in that very same department a few months and (almost) screamed at my lovely fiance who didn’t exactly understand why we needed a new mattress, “Don’t try to placate me with a new coffee grinder. We don’t need a new coffee grinder because you’ve never had sex with anyone else on the old one.”

Not, perhaps, my finest moment. 

Touche, universe. Touche.