Monday, December 20, 2010

This Christmas, I'm Thankful...

...That No One Gave Me This:

I'm sorry, but this is perhaps the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life.

Rather than Christmas, I think more appropriate gifting opportunities for this particular item include:
  • A "get out" gift for that special someone
  • A little something to leave behind for the person who called out a name other than yours during sex (with you)
  • A heads-up for your parole office that you've skipped town
  • A token to nail to your ex's front door to show you stopped by...with your hatchet.
The catalog calls it a "driftwood angel." Really? In that case, I'm inspired now to realize my dream of opening an Etsy shop for my handcrafted Used Burrito Wrapper Potpourri Wish Flingers.

Please Note: This is not a craft project assembled by underprivileged children in a struggling nation or the like. Because that wouldn't be funny at all. Nope, this is just a regular old item being sold in a regular old catalog...for $35.00.

Just so you know - my Wish Flingers are priced to move at a budget-friendly $29.99, so come on by the storefront and finish up that holiday shopping! I will not be undersold!

In Other News...

I will be taking a little BlogLand breaky-poo over the holidays, so let me take this opportunity to wish ALL of you...


Cheers, friends, and may the new year bring nothing but joy to your doorstep. See you in 2011!



Monday, December 13, 2010

Great News - Ewe Won!

Oxfam "Sheepstakes" Winner Announced!

But First, A Brief Holiday Message
From The Management:

Thanks to Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month for inviting me to participate in this year's Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert - to be held on his blog on Wednesday, December 15. Check it out to see lots of other bloggers busting out the holiday cheer!

And Now, The News Ewe've Been Waiting For

The winner of our Oxfam Collection Sheepstakes - who will have the honor of dedicating the donation of a much-needed sheep to a village suffering from severe poverty - is:

Lori from In Pursuit of Martha Points!

Congratulations, Lori! Please email me (whatsupwithanna(at) with a few pertinent details, including your full name, complete shipping address (not a P.O. Box, please) and your telephone number. I will pass this information along to everyone on the Internet the good folks at Oxfam and they will handle the gifting of your sheep.

Thanks very much to everyone who entered the contest with a punny comment!

Ewe guys are the BEST!

(The sheep puns are over. I swear.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sheep: It's What's For Christmas

A "Wooltide" Giveaway

If you're like me, the words "sheep" and "Christmas" are inextricably linked.

Although sheep have been witness to many important historical events...

...none comes close to this moment in history when - yes - the sheep was once again on the short-list for attendance:

A Giveaway

And so, in the spirit of "yakking it forward," I am very pleased to announce that, in association with Oxfam America and the Oxfam Collection, I am giving away a sheep.

Um, What?

You know, a sheep. About yay high with wistful brown eyes and a really thick sweater?

A Giveaway

Through the
Oxfam Collection, one can donate vital livestock and other supplies directly to the people who need it and where it will have the greatest impact with the goal of improving the lives of people living in poverty.

How It Works

Once the contest winner is selected, the sheep will be sent not to that person's houseboat/chateau/de-luxe apartment in the sky...but rather directly to an impoverished village where this little fleecy critter will change lives by allowing locals - especially women - to create their own income as well as provide wool for local textiles.

The contest winner then gets to:
  • Officially dedicate their gift to a loved one.
  • Bask in the warm holiday fuzzies of having improved the lives of some people in severe need.
  • Lord their generous philanthropy over others, which is perhaps the greatest gift of all, yes?
How Do I Enter?

Simply leave a comment below that includes some kind of sheep-related pun, the more awful the better! For example:

I know ewe can do it! (See what I did there?)

Comments must be in before noon on Sunday, December 12.

The winner will be chosen by random drawing and announced here on Monday, December 13.

Many Thanks...

To Oxfam America for inviting me to participate in this campaign to help raise awareness of their collection of charitable gifts and for providing my giveaway sheep (whom I have dubbed "Maurice").

If you find yourself at a loss for gift ideas this season, or you're interested in adding a charitable aspect to your gifting, I hope you'll take a moment to visit the Oxfam website. Here you can learn more about this organization's work to eradicate poverty and browse an extensive selection of life-changing charitable gifts.

In the meantime, I think I can speak for Maurice when I say:

Good luck!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Super Mega Thanks-O-Matic

In Today's World... thanks is not as simple as it used to be.

Gone are the days of the gratitude short-list, when you could cover pretty much all the bases by giving your burro an extra carrot and pat on the head, then looking up at the starts and saying something along the lines of, "I really appreciate the help with that whole locust thing back in the summer."

No, life today is complicated, crammed with barristas, manicurists, feng shui practitioners and even a spouse or two. Heaven forbid you neglect to thank any one of them, lest you suffer through lukewarm lattes and ragged cuticles into the new year.

Yes, it can be a little overwhelming to try and express thanks adequately in our contemporary setting.

LJKGW Is Here To Help

In order to streamline your holiday experience and help you deliver thanks that are both sincere and efficient, we've designed the LJKGW Super Mega Thanks-O-Matic - the most complete collection of pre-printed thank-yous ever offered through the Internet.

Your Super Mega Thanks-O-Matic comes in handy pad form - almost four inches high! Simply flip through the pad, find the appropriate pre-printed thank-you and rip it out. Fill in the blanks as you desire and *doink!* your heartwarming message of gratitude is ready to be slipped under the windshield wiper blade of that deserving someone.

Hint: Have a child or home bound loved one color around the edges of your thank-you with crayon for an extra-special touch. Awww...

Wondering what kinds of messages are included in the Super Mega Thanks-O-Matic? Well, wonder no more!

Sample Thanks

#1 For the Vendors in Your Life:

Dear [vendor name],

I just want to say thanks for doing such an [adjective] job on my [body part/household item] so far this year. It means a lot to me that, thanks to your fine work, I hardly ever had to [be rushed to the emergency room/activate my homeowner's policy] in 2010. Have a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoy your traditional meal of smoked [meat of choice].



#2 For Your Children's Teachers:

Dear [teacher name],

What better time than now to say thank you for all that you do? Thanks to your diligent efforts, [child's name] has almost completely stopped [annoying habit], and - even more amazing - he/she has reduced the instances of [borderline-criminal activity] by 15%. I'd also like to take this opportunity to give you a hearty thanks for not contacting the authorities after that whole [wacky prank] episode earlier this fall. I can assure you that [child's name] no longer has access to that kind of commercial-grade adhesive.



#3 For Your Spouse:

Dear [spouse's name and/or endearment],

Well, it's Thanksgiving again. I was pretty sure that after last year's [incident], we wouldn't have made it past Easter, but here we are. Thank you for being the kind of person who doesn't write someone off just because they [annoying habit #1], [annoying habit #2] and [super-annoying habit #3] or, for that matter, because they fall slightly short in the [moral and/or hygiene] department. I knew I had found someone special the [time of day] I [mishap] you at the local [mega-discount store].

Thanks for being you, [endearment] [animal].



Don't Be Fooled By Imitations

Remember, only the LJKGW Super Mega Thanks-O-Matic is made from 400% recycled post-consumer waste and includes a bonus recipe for Ritz Crackers' Mock Apple Pie (no apples needed!) right on the box.

And that's not all! Be one of the first 500,000 to order and receive a copy of my highly anticipated debut single - "I've Got Your Thanks Right Here" - absolutely free! (Offer void in Delaware.)

Order now - operators are standing by!

And While We're On The Subject

Many, many thanks to all of YOU out there in Reader-Land! You make the Internet a heck of a nice place to be and it means the world to me that you stop by here week after week. I wish you a joyous, peaceful and fruitcake-free holiday.

Now, be safe in your travels and I'll see you back here after the long weekend, you crazy kids!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Yak Special Edition

Because We Care

Many of you, loyal readers, have written, emailed and - on two occasions - driven by the house corporate headquarters and impaled flaming arrows on the door with questions and concerns regarding this blog's yak coverage.

"What have you got against yaks?" asks Ann I. of Wisconsin.

"I think a yak advice column would be quite popular," offers
Lisa R.P.R. of Los Angeles.

"You're an ass-clown," writes
Jessica B., also of Los Angeles

[Dangit - I meant to save that last one for the Ass-Clown Special E
dition I'm putting together for December.]

Anyway... I'd just like to go on record and say:

I like a yak.

And the more I learn about them, the more my appreciation grows.

Let's discuss.

What's So Great About Yaks?
  • They are the opposite of gila monsters. Seriously, go check.
  • Through a fluke of selective breeding, modern-day yaks are the best spooners in the animal kingdom. No, really. Once you've spooned with a yak, you never go back.
  • When a yak laughs (I mean really laughs - not just a chuckle) it sounds exactly like Chewbacca.
  • If you accidentally enrage a yak, you can easily calm it by playing anything by Henry Mancini. (Yaks are particularly partial to the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" soundtrack.) **But for God's sakes, don't play any Tony Orlando & Dawn - or Foghat - around them. Not if you value your coffee table, that is.
  • A freshly laundered yak will absorb all questionable odors in your condo, kind of like a box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, but, well, huger and SUPER hairy.
So Here's What I'm Thinking

Many of you have suggested ways to incorporate yaks into future LJKGW posts. I'm having trouble, however, deciding which suggestion best meshes with this blog's reputation for both hard-hitting investigative journalism and heart-rending human interest coverage.

And so I'm putting it out to you, my discerning and elaborately groomed readers. Which of the following would you most like to see included in upcoming posts?

"On the Horns of Love"
Relationship advice with a uniquely yak perspective.

"Woolly, Woolly World"
Current events and interesting happenings in and around Mongolia.

"Yak It Forward"
Philanthropic column informing readers about ways in which they can make the world a better place (for yaks).

"The Cloven Hoof"
Literary supplement highlighting the best of contemporary yak short fiction.

"Bovid's List"
Online marketplace where yaks and their enthusiasts can sell or trade yak accoutrements.

"Yak Shred"
A unique and thrilling mash-up of yaks and their emerging presence in the world of extreme sports.

"America's Top Yak"
Whose square, wet nose will gleam the brightest in our video competition that cuts across singing, dancing, cooking and - of course - runway skillz?

I look forward to hearing from you...

Speaking of Yaks...

Any post devoted to our wuzzy friends would be incomplete without mention
of my favorite big, blue one.


A special shout-out to Morticia's friend Ibby. [hi-five!] Thanks for being a loyal reader and Go, Griffins!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not My Best Moment

A Disturbing And True Story

The only (and I mean only) thing I miss about my old job is how much I used to laugh every day.

There was a core group of five of us and together we formed a dynamic, dysfunctional work family held together by a complex webbing of in-jokes, proclivity for Mexican food within walking distance of the office and shared torment at the hands of the Tribal Elders (a.k.a the bosses).

And there were pranks.

They ranged from the ridiculous:

Realizing halfway through writing a memo that your keyboard was not attached to your computer
at all.

To the ironic:

The high-strung French intern sits on an eclair during the holiday party. (Perp still at large to this day.)

To the sublime:

As one of us drove the group to lunch one day, another complained loudly about the restaurant we were going to, saying that that the last time he dropped his car off there, the valet guys reset his stereo buttons to all-Hispanic stations. Then, while the driver stopped to get cash at the ATM, we frantically reset his stereo buttons to all-Hispanic stations and turned the radio off.

After lunch, he got his car back and we suggested that he check to make sure his buttons hadn't been messed with. I'll never forget the look on his face when - after pitching a fit on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant - the valets pointed at the car full of his friends who were howling and wetting themselves with laughter.

See what I mean? Good times.

When Jokes Go Wrong.

It's a particularly giggly day at the office (well, for the five of us, anyway) and, after my sixteenth cup of coffee, I go down the hall to the ladies' room and ensconce myself in what I like to think of as my office annex: stall #1.

I hear the door squeak open and, moments later, a pair of feet pass my stall door. The feet are clad in sassy little Mary Janes with tiny leather flowers on the straps and shiny patent cap toes. These are the very shoes my work buddy "Darla" (name changed to protect, well, myself) is sporting today.

Since we'd just been doubled over in laughter listening to our 20-year-old Armenian receptionist release her trademark stream of international obscenities at the copying machine, I figure why not continue the hilarity in the bathroom? Right?

[Note: this was a long time ago and I had not yet become the pillar of maturity you all know today.]

So - how to maximize the comedy potential of the moment? Right - I have it!

"Pllbbbttt!" I say, making a giant, echoing raspberry with my mouth (something at which, if I may say, I excel). Then, to stifle my giggles, I clamp my hands over my mouth and wait for Darla to burst out laughing.

Well, that's weird, I think.

Oh, wait - I get it: she's playing hard to get.

"Pllllbbbbttttt!" I repeat, louder and longer than before, my eyes tearing up with effort, then gnaw my knuckle to keep from laughing out loud.


A creeping uneasiness causes me to lean down and take another look at those shoes. Yep, they're Darla's all right.

But wait! Darla is wearing a skirt that day and these shoes are topped with [gasp!] plaid slacks!

I recoil in horror, reeling from two shocking thoughts:
  1. I was raspberrying a COMPLETE STRANGER - in the BATHROOM.
  2. Who would wear plaid pants with those shoes?
Although I was never able to pin it on her, I know in my heart that I was set up by the French intern. (But how did she find out about the eclair?)

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Official Halloween Aptitude Test

Kindly take a seat.

As we head into the holiday season, it's important to remember that the holidays
present unique emotional challenges for many people. The experts here at Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder have designed this targeted aptitude test to help citizens better address their emotional state as we head into the first of the season's special celebrations: Halloween.

At the conclusion of this questionnaire, you will be advised as to which holiday coping mechanism will likely work best for you based on your responses. [Please use a No. 2 pencil and fill in the bubbles completely. We really shouldn't have to tell you that, but whatev.]

Halloween Aptitude Test

1. When I first see Halloween items appearing in the stores, I feel:

a. giddy
b. enraged
c. twitchy
d. disoriented

2. At the sight of the massive quantities of candy for sale, I:

feel sorry for poor little children who receive store-bought goodies on Halloween night and resolve to perfect my recipe for dairy-free organic pralines in time for trick-or-treating.
poke my finger into each and every Reese's cup.
c. lecture store clerk on the nation's skyrocketing child-obesity rates.
climb into shopping cart and do loud impersonation of Sammy Davis, Jr. singing "The Candy Man" toward security camera.

3. My favorite Halloween memory:

is the time dear Papa hitched Bess, our kindly Clydesdale, to the old red wagon for a jaunty hayride in the crisp, autumn air down to the apple orchard and Mama brought a basket of fresh, warm pumpkin muffins and an earthenware jug of hot, spiced cider, the warmth of which toasted our plump, little fingers through our hand-knit mittens that Grand Mere made for us in spite of being legally blind (but never grumpy). It was grand, simply grand.
is the year I perfected my flaming poo catapult.
is when I discovered that I could fake a fever so I could hide under my blankie rather than have to go trick-or-treating in the dark with all those creepy strangers in costumes.
is gone for good since that last electro-shock treatment.

4. At Halloween I like to take a pumpkin and:

a. well, I usually get a dozen pumpkins for all my projects, but if I only had one then I guess I would toast the seeds as a snack for my bridge group and use some of the meat to make my signature cinnamon pumpkin butter and then decoupage the shell with travel illustrations clipped from my vintage magazine collection and slip a nightlight in there for a cheery glow.
b. carve Charles Manson's face into it. Then back over it with my pickup.
c. oh, I would never get a pumpkin. They mold and attract gnats, which are known disease carriers.
d. you know, just hang out with it.

5. I think the foundation of a great Halloween costume is:

b. lots of blood. Fake, if that's all you have on hand.
c. something without wool. I'm allergic to wool.
MC Hammer pants.

6. What is your Halloween costume this year?

a. Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE - yards and yards of silks and velvets and - oh! - such a delicious little hat!
b. Leatherface from "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." That's my costume every year.
Howard Hughes. That way, I can stay in character and still not have to touch anything.
Something that goes with my MC Hammer pants.

7. When someone rings my doorbell on Halloween, I:

a. present a hostess tray with seasonal offerings, including my handmade clove and nutmeg sachets tied in dainty organza bags.
b. leap out of the bushes in my mask and fire up the ol' chainsaw.
distribute antibacterial hand wipes
d. start drooling. Happens with any kind of bell. I don't know why.

8. Do you decorate for Halloween?

Oh, yes! Each year I bedeck my cottage to look like a haunted Victorian carriage house, complete with ghostly figures gliding past the windows in gossamer bedclothes, searching in vain for their earthly dominion. I accompany the scene with an original composition that I play on my antique harpsichord.
b. Yeah, if you call covering the front of the house in camouflage "decorating."
Of course not - that would only encourage people.
d. Well, sure, I mean I've got the dry ice and strobe lights going year-round, so it's pretty easy to crank it up a notch for Halloween.

9. If you could change one thing about Halloween, what would it be?

Have a second Halloween in the spring that's all about being cute rather than scary.
b. Allow the use of live ammo.
If I couldn't get rid of it altogether, I'd at least do the trick-or-treating at lunchtime when it's nice and sunny.
d. More caroling. I like a good Halloween carol.

10. The best thing about Halloween is:

a. the sheer joy of sharing my vision of All Hallow's Eve with my cherished neighbors and their adorable offspring.
b. scaring the crap out of people. Duh.
c. when it's over.
d. the egg hunt!

Assessment and Recommendations

If you answered mostly "A":

You need to back it off the pumpkin. Even Martha Stewart finds you annoying.

If you answered mostly "B":

Please stand by while we confer with your parole officer.

If you answered mostly "C":

Have you considered moving to Switzerland?

If you answered mostly "D":

You are uniquely equipped to understand and appreciate all that is Halloween. Enjoy!

[You may put your pencils down.]

Have a Safe and Fun Halloween, Everyone!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Measure of a Man

A Real-Life Limerick

A mommy who tidies a lot,

Found a ruler perched next to the pot.

Did she seek out which treasure

They'd seen fit to measure?

Hell, no, my good sir - she did NOT!

Holiday Greetings That Help

Gearing up to order your holiday cards? If you order them from Paper Culture, they will donate 20% of the sales to Somaly Mam Foundation, an organization dedicated to combating the global sex slave trade. Simply enter the code CA10 at checkout and the donation will be on its way.

And, not only does Paper Culture plant a tree for every order they receive, they even have a free mailing service that will address and send your cards for you - you pay only the postage! Man, I love it when I get to help, celebrate and be lazy - all at the same time!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Uptight Spiritualist - Volume 1

An Occasional Column

For several years now, I, Anna Lefler—conventional briefcase-toter, reflexive shirt-tucker and habitual thank-you-note-writer—have been on a metaphysical quest: to find a spiritual practice that solves life's big mysteries, provides comfort in trying times and illuminates the path toward becoming an all-around better person.

Is that too much to ask?

In this new, occasional column, I share with you what I've learned so far.

The Uptight Spiritualist - Volume 1

How to Meditate

First, find a quiet location where you can sit comfortably for 20 minutes without interruption. Before settling in, remove your shoes and turn off your cell phone and any other device that might distract your untrained, novice mind.

Now, sit with your hands loose in your lap. Taking a deep b
reath, close your eyes. Allow your shoulders to relax and fall away from your earlobes. Visualize your mind as an elevator gliding down your spine, dropping lower and lower into yourself.

During this descent, realize that you have forgotten your mantra. Yes, the personal, customized mantra that was bestowed on you and you alone by the nice lady from the Transcendental Meditation Center with the Harpo Marx hairdo.

You've already called her once because you forgot it, and if you call again, she'll know you haven't meditated since last week, when you're supposed to be doing it morning and night. Nope, you can't call her again.

Keeping your eyes closed, scrunch up your face and concentrate. Think back to the moment the TM lady gave you your special word. It reminded you of something, didn't it? Yes, that's right. When you first heard it, you thought of a name. But whose name? Wait, it was someone famous – a sports figure. You've almost got it. NBA? Yes!


Wait, is that it? "Kareem?" Grimace harder and dig deep. Nope, Kareem is all you've got. You're going with it.

Back in the elevator, continue your descent. Your destination is the base of the spine, also known as your dirt chakra. No, make that root – your root chakra. Chastise yourself for this mistake and continue your deep breathing.

By now you have arrived at a spiritual destination deep within yourself, as indicated by two factors: you feel spiritual and/or deep and, no matter how many times you push the button, your elevator will go no lower.


Now, then. Empty your mind.

That's right – drain it like a sink of dirty dishwater. Right now.

As you perform this super-easy task, enjoy the spastic thought-flurries that leap from your mind like flying fish ahead of a tourist cruise to Catalina.


Is that my car alarm?


That salesgirl was totally lying; these yoga pants do give me Kardashian butt.


How come the NBA guys stopped wearing those tiny shorts, anyway?


I bet I could lift a motorcycle if I tried.


Fight the urge to peek at the clock to see how many of the 20 minutes are remaining. Remind yourself that the five minutes you spent trying to remember your mantra don't count. Nor do the two minutes you spent trying to crack your neck.

All right, empty your mind again and this time put your back into it.

Deep breath.


Your mind is an aquarium. Thoughts swim by like tiny fishes but do not disturb you. They merely move past you on their way to investigate the plastic treasure chest in the bottom of the tank. See how the lid opens and closes. Is there a battery in there or what? Because I don't see a cord.


Consider the possibility that meditation would be easy if you 1) were vegan 2) listened to more Cat Stevens 3) hadn't mocked the TM lady's velvet fanny pack to your work friends.


Spend the next five minutes trying to think of something you're actually good at. [Optional: fall asleep.]


It is now time to begin your ascent and return to your everyday level of consciousness as indicated by the elevator button marked "PH" or "penthouse." When you discover that your elevator does not list a penthouse, become anxious and attempt to exit at the plaza level.

Open your eyes, staying attuned to any shifts in feeling or perception as a result of your recent meditative state. Recognize that you feel relaxed. Also, you could go for a snack.

Four minutes later, as you're standing in your pantry eating a handful of tortilla chips, recall your correct mantra.

Huge Thanks To...

...trail-blazing Creative Alliance '10 organizers Lee Vandeman, Jessica Bern and Andrea Fellman for a truly unforgettable, inspirational weekend.

...Ann Imig, whose Listen to Your Mother Salon took our collective breath away (while benefiting OPCC's Sojourn Program for battered women).

...creative Jedi Lisa Page Rosenberg, who made presenting our session a delightful experience.

...all of the warm, generous women who attended (what a privilege to be in your company!).

...the fantastic event sponsors: Moji, Paper Culture, Ciao Bella Gellato and CalNaturale.

It was an honor to be a part of this inaugural happening. I'm ready for next year!