Missing Letter Monday: no Z

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We’ve finally arrived at Z and the end of this round of Missing Letter Mondays.  Technically I believe I started with Z, and I may have skipped a letter or two along the way, but for all intents and purposes let’s say we’re through to the other side.

I’ve covered dogs and kids and other random subject matter.  For my Z-less post, let’s look back at the series.

This challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

Writing for Missing Letter Mondays has been a serious exercise in mental calisthenics.

How to choose a topic that’s interesting but not impossible to write about without stumbling into the banned letter over and over again.  Searching diligently for alternative adjectives and verbs when I bump into the week’s pesky letter.  Proofreading posts over and over again in a concentrated attempt to keep from screwing up.  (I’m pretty sure it happened just the once, but I couldn’t swear to that.)

Once I settle on a subject then it’s off to the races…find a good starting point and begin free writing, skimming as I go to block that dreaded letter of the week from slipping into my post. Hitting the wall once, twice, three times in the first half alone, struggling to juggle my words without altering the message.

Certain weeks were harder than others.  You’d think the vowels would be trickiest, but some of those consonants…G was shockingly difficult since it knocked all verbs ending with ing out of the running.  The R was a bit rough, and as for S?  Well, I simply threw in the towel for S, writing the post using *s.  Because S?!  Damn.  My brain went on strike.

Some subjects covered in the series include advice for the kids, a list of irresistible temptations in my life, responses after opening an unusual gift, enabler parents, sports bras, and my Christmas true confession.  (In the mood for something random?  Click on the missing-letter-monday tag on the right side of your screen to go to the archives.)

I don’t know that I have a favorite, though the sports bra rant (no Q) ranks right up there. Possibly because of the number of times I’ve nearly strangled myself putting one on, wondering mid-struggle if I should program Siri to dial 911 if it registers sounds of duress. Knowing my luck, though, she’d end up summoning the police during a scuffle to wrestle something from Gracie’s mouth.

All in all it’s been a good ride.  Thanks for hanging in there with me for some admittedly random Monday afternoons…

Missing Letter Monday: no Y

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Today’s post will tackle the horror of swimsuit shopping for girls.  Minus the Ys, of course.

No Why on earth do they make those itty bitty string bikinis for little girls?  Or Why don’t they sell these pieces separately?  Not everyone has a top and bottom that are the same size!  Or Why can’t Bear just wear a t-shirt and shorts to the lake so we can skip this torture altogether?

Nope, won’t be asking any of those questions today.  Or using the word today for that matter.

This challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

This is an annual rite of passage: the onerous hunt for Bear’s swimsuits.

It’s a precarious situation.  Show too much enthusiasm for a suit and Bear will pass it up without a second glance.  Exhibit horror and she’ll insist on checking it out.

It takes a delicate approach – using just a hint of suggestion – to get the right suits into the dressing room.  Because that’s more than half the battle right there.  With six suits I can live with, Bear’s got lots of room to choose.  Throw in one minuscule string bikini that she falls in love with and then we’ve got a problem.

Pourquoi?  (Sure, French meets the guidelines for Missing Letter posts.)  Because I’m looking a lot farther down the road than the cash register.  I’m looking at two weeks into the season when Bear feels fat and makes the mistake of putting on that string bikini, thus ruining it for the entire summer.  Because as we ladies know, once we put on a swimsuit while in a foul mood the image is burned into our brains.  Three weeks later that bikini might look just fine, but all Bear will see is the time she felt fat in it.  And the bikini will never see pool time again.

Nope.  Taking the right suits into the dressing room is crucial.  After that, it’s all about gentle guidance toward a comfortable fit and what will work best with Bear’s activities.

We did well this spring, all in all.  I’m throwing out a big old muchas gracias for full cut bottoms this season.  With luck, those will be in next summer, too.

Fingers crossed.

Missing Letter Monday: no X

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Excellent!  One of the hardest letters to use in Scrabble, so finally there’s an advantage to drawing the X.  Today’s challenge is brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

My apologies ahead of time if you love someone with this particular inclination but I am seriously at a loss so…

Mustaches.  I mean, what the hell are those about?

Ladies (and gentlemen), I understand everyone’s got their own particular jam and I’m all about whatever floats your boat, but I’ve never once looked at a fella sporting a ‘stache and thought to myself omg omg omg, he’s looking my way, just look at that ‘stache, HE’S SO HOT.


I find mustaches oddly distracting.  Like a train wreck I can’t look away from, I struggle to concentrate on whatever the gentleman might be saying but fail miserably because all I can see is upper lip hair wiggling with every syllable.  Which means suddenly I’m Charlie Brown and ‘stache man is the teacher.  He could be sharing the secrets of the universe, but all I’m hearing is wah wah wah wah.

Then there’s that inevitable pause because I’ve been asked a question but have absolutely no idea what it was because, again, ‘stache.

It’s not even like this is a quality issue.  There’s no such thing as a “good” mustache to me – bushy, trimmed, skinny, handlebar – no matter the style or lack thereof, I simply can’t stop myself from wondering what on earth would possess a man to grow hair there.

I mean, it takes effort.  Not actually growing the hair per se, but shaping and maintaining a mustache takes time out of a guy’s day.  Time he could spend on, say, cutting toenails or trimming nose hair.  (Just sayin’.)

I won’t bother with the crumb trap argument since it’s not like the rest of us don’t end up with ketchup on our face from time to time.  A mustache does seem to increase the likelihood of general food messiness, though, so you’ve gotta wonder why someone would open up that can of worms…

Or maybe they’re just better at eating neatly.  In which case more power to them but still.

To ‘stache or not to ‘stache, that is the question.  I kind of thought it was a no brainer, but considering how many mustaches I see floating around out there it’s clearly up for more of a debate than I thought.

Regardless, this was my random I-just-don’t-get-it babbling for the day.  Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Missing Letter Monday: no W

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Okay, so we’re skipping the Ws today.  No wreckage or wonkiness or worry or waste.  No wringing hands or writing poetry or waiting for the elevator.  We’re going W-free.

This challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and I find myself in a bit of a bind.

You see, I’m usually the one who handles greeting cards for the family.  Birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, thinking-of-you…I’m the one who pops into the greeting card section and stumbles onto the perfect card for each occasion.

But here I am, staring at my first Mother’s Day after mom died, and I can’t look at the cards.

Like, at all.

I actually tried to search through that section last Thursday – I saw the bright display, the banner overhead shouting Mother’s Day, May 8th, and stopped in my tracks.  I looked at the cards, processing the amount of pink displayed, and took a deep breath.  Surely I could do this.

I lasted sixty seconds, tops.

The first two cards brought sniffles, tears came with the third, and I didn’t even finish reading the fourth.  I just closed it up, put it back on the rack, and meandered off blindly trying to pull myself together.

Mother’s Day.  This one’s gonna be a doozy.


Missing Letter Monday: no V

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Five little letters left in our Missing Letter Monday series, and oh what a ride it’s been.  Hope you didn’t show up hoping for Vs ’cause we’ll be skipping that one today.

This challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

True confession time: for the last few years Christmas has been a year round occasion in our house.  We’re a little less conspicuous than the permanent holiday lights or Christmas tree in the corner, but it’s there all the same.

It’s just hidden away in the office.

The office is like our own black hole – things get sucked into its core and sometimes disappear for good.  It’s the home project that permanently nibbles at the edge of my To Do list yet I can’t seem to get it done.  It’s distressing, is what it is.

At any rate, I wrote about the insanity of our four annual Christmases.  (Didn’t see that one? You can read about it here.)  The schedule is nothing short of deranged, and the breakneck pace of it spills into my life like soda poured too quickly, bubbling out onto the counter and down to the floor.  And what do you get then?  Sticky counters.  And floors.  And only half a glass of soda.

But I digress.

You see, those four Christmases involve gifts.  Gifts kindly chosen by the people in our families but, in the end, gifts that are often stuff.  Now most of the time the amount of stuff that comes back to our house is manageable – the kids take their new thing(s) to the proper location, be it the bedroom or bonus room or garage, and we keep on rolling through the season.  This system only breaks down when we’re inundated with a quantity of gifts that, frankly, freaks me out.

Which is how the Office System began.

It started out innocently enough.  We’d walk through the door with a ton of gifts, but December is a tricky month.  I’ll be cruising along fine until one day I simply hit the wall.  That was the first time I said Just drop those in the office and we’ll deal with it tomorrow.

Famous last words, right?

If we’re not on top of things in December then guess what stays in our office, waiting patiently for our return?  Yep.  The stuff.  The same thing goes for January, February, and March, too. Hell, it’s not unheard of for us to tackle Christmas as a summer project.

I was feeling ambitious last month and (once again) tried working on the office.  I got roughly 80% of the way through before hitting my limit, so I did what any self-respecting mama would do.  I delegated.

I posted a sign that read FAIR WARNING: Go through any Christmas things in the office.  If it is not claimed and put away, it will be donated!

Big talk, right?  I’m probably losing credibility here considering that sign’s been posted since March 9th…

Plus we really need to get going.  It’s only eight months until Christmas 2016.


Missing Letter Monday: no U

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This afternoon’s post will be U-less.  Utterly, ultimately U-less.  Without that unreliable, unaccepted, hopefully not unavoidable letter U.

This challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays.

My entire life is covered in dog hair.

Everywhere I look, tiny white or yellow hairs stare back, mocking me with their obstinate insistence on invading my space.

Floating across the hardwood.  Embedded in the armchairs.  Coating the sofa.  Leaving a filmy layer on the coffee table.

Dog hair drifts in the air, catching on lamp shades and blinds, hovering above me as I read or write or cook.

Dog hair.


They say resistance is hopeless.  That pet owners finally accept they will never again leave their home deprived of dog hair clinging to their pants, their shirts, even their sneaker laces for Pete’s sake.

Now there is dog hair in my car.  Carried in on my clothes, it hovers midair, distracting me as I drive down the road.  I absentmindedly swipe at the pieces clinging to my radio, forgetting that it’s pointless.  New hair will simply reappear the next day, darkening the dashboard and display, irritating me with their ability to persevere.

It’s like the cockroach of animal dander.  Dog hair will mostly likely withstand an atom bomb as well.  The dog hair and cockroaches will be good company for each other.

I take dog hair with me into the world, leaving it behind in libraries, grocery stores, and doctor’s offices.  In an example of extreme irony, I even leave dog hair in the car wash waiting area.

They can never let me near a “clean room.”  I might live a million years and never rid myself of this mess.

Dog hair.


And we spread the love wherever we go…

Missing Letter Monday: no T

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Today’s post is brought to you by any letter other than T.

A challenge presented by The Mad Grad Students Missing Letter Mondays.

I’m weary.  I read my challenge and wonder, “Can I really survive one more week of avoiding words???”  I’ve finished A-S, so I’m deep in by now…

Sigh.  Okay.  Buck up.

My Monday morning joy: apprehensively occupying space in a car mechanic’s area.  No worries, our car is fine…my wheels need moving around so here I am, feeling very female.

Much like being in a barber shop, I feel awkward.  As if my ovaries confuse our surroundings, muddying auras and flubbing balance.  My organs and I perch in our chair, blogging clumsily, bungling words and repairing each one’s spelling for review.  Eleven proofreads and still I keep finding banned __s.

My Monday morning “well, crap”: no oil changes offered here.  One more errand for me before I’m done.

Missing Letter Monday: no S

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Short, simple, and to the point.  (Or *hort, *imple, and to the point.)  We shall forsake our esses.  Oh hell, I’m tired today, so we’ll *imply *kip over our e**e*.  I accept the fact that this invalidate* today’* po*t.

I’m blaming jet lag.

Today’s challenge brought to you by The Mad Grad Student’s Missing Letter Mondays Challenge.

A* I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how ab*olutely crucial it i* to remember my limitation*.

“I am Woman, hear me roar” i* great and all that, but they’re looking for roar* of triumph, not crie* from pulled ligament*.  And now that I’m in my fortie* I’ve found that I ignore the law* of phy*ic* at my own peril.

Take rearranging thing* around the hou*e, for example.

For decade* thi* wa* a *traightforward ta*k.  If I decided I didn’t like how thing* looked – that chair belonged by the window or the dre**er needed to be two inche* further down the wall – I *imply moved them.  Pu*hed the recliner acro** the room or lowered my *houlder and *hoved again*t the dre**er until it wa* where I wanted.

Done and done.

It’* not that ea*y anymore.

In my thirtie* I was *till *tubborn enough to do thi* *ort of thing.  I wanted the furniture moved?  Then I’d damn well move the furniture.  It would work out fine the fir*t four time*, but the fifth?  There’d be a *train then a pull, and I’d find my*elf icing *omething that evening.  *o it didn’t alway* work out the way I wanted, but it worked often enough to encourage the “of cour*e I can do thi*” attitude.

But my fortie*?  That’* a whole new ball game.

My fortie* have revealed that indeed there are item* that I am phy*ically unable to move.  No amount of pu*hing or *hoving or leveraging my weight again*t them will affect their location, a *ituation that quite frankly make* me crazy.  I want it moved.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I CAN’T MOVE IT?!

Even wor*e are the thing* that do move, but ju*t *lightly.  Only enough to make me think I can do it.  Until I lean in or pick up or pu*h or pull, only to feel that di*concerting POP of my body betraying me.  Unfortunately, the*e pop* aren’t the “ice it for an hour” kind…they’re the “knock you off your feet for the re*t of the day” kind.

Getting old…good time*.