Monday, December 17, 2012

It's My Party And I'll Resent Armageddon If I Want To.

Back Off, Mayans.

Have you all heard about this new movie - "2012?" Chock full of mind-bending special effects and a story that hinges on the fact that - according to the ancient Mayan calendar - the world will end on December 21st, 2012...?

(Yes, that movie called "2012.")

All right, well, I don't like it. Not one bit. Why? Because...not to make the imminent destruction of the world all about me or anything, but...

Hello?!? December 21st is my BIRTHDAY!

You think it's easy putting a NASCAR-themed fondue party together four days before Christmas? I swear, it's like people are just looking for an excuse not to make it. And now this. I can just hear it:
  • "Sorry, Anna, but the world's about to end and I've got to return these movies to Blockbuster."
  • "Can't make it, Anna. The earth is imploding and I need to lash my family to a raft."
  • "Oops, bad timing, Big A. The world is crumbling and this seems like an ideal time to finish writing that novel."
Come on. These are only slightly better than the excuses I heard last year.

The Grudge.

I know why the ancient Mayans are doing this. Two years ago, they came to my birthday party, sucked down all the wine coolers and started looking for trouble. While I was making a run to the Gas 'N Sip to reload on Snapple and Circus Peanuts, they rearranged all of my neighbor's patio pavers and started shooting pre-Columbian hoop against the side of his house. You've never heard such trash talk. Let's just say my neighbor (I'll call him Father O'Murphy) was not amused.

Naturally, I did not invite them to last year's party, but you know how hard it is to keep a social event secret. (Especially when you accidentally mail an invitation and then try to take it back.) I regret to say that ancient Mayan feelings may have been bruised as a result.

And you know the old saying:

"If you're going to mess with an ancient Mayan,
you'd better have a friend idling nearby in a fast car.
A V-8, ideally. And, for God's sakes, make sure there's gas in it."

Check Your Calendar.

The good news is, I think I've found a loophole on this world destruction deal.

See, I don't follow the ancient Mayan calendar. (I can hear them coming when they sell them door-to-door so I mute the TV and lie down behind the sofa until they're all the way off the porch and on to the next house.)

For years now, I have instead followed the City of Oxnard Employee Credit Union calendar, partly because they don't enforce any particular date for world destruction, but mostly because each month has its own miniature illustration harkening back to a time when life was less complicated and, apparently, more glitter-coated.

So take that, party-poopers! You may tip over a few monuments, but you will not be spoiling my fondue fete, even three years in advance.

Speaking of which, I'd better buy that dipping cheese now and put it aside for the party. With all the pre-destruction panic, you know the cheese market will be through the roof.

[Note:  This is a re-issue of a previous post from - you guessed it - the last time the dang Mayans tried to make my birthday all about them.  I swear, just when I think I'm out of the woods, they push the Armageddon date back a liiiiittle bit further.]

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Party at Adam's!

B.Y.O. Lorne Greene

By now, you no doubt have heard of my funny and charming bud Adam Heath Avitable.  

He recently sent me some very interesting interview questions.  My responses can be found right now on his blog where they are waiting to be read.   

By you.  [Ahem]

While you're there, make sure to check out Adam's standup clips and books, including his "50 Shades" parody, "28 Shades of Chartreuse."  Heh.

Thank you for the fabulous interview, Adam!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And Now, For a Pre-Recorded Message

Is This Thing On?

I recently took a break from working on my highly anticipated BBQ cookbook... be a guest on Brett Chapin's "LA LA Land" - a national talk radio (and Web TV) show that airs every Saturday at 3:00 pm PST on CRN.  

We had the best time talking about:

a)  jeggings
b)  fun with hate mail
c)  lack of fun with bikini waxing
d)  how, on the whole, women gracefully navigate a lot of crap
e)  all of the above - and more

Answer:  E, baby!

The show is posted in segments and I've included one of them below, but you can find all of them on YouTube.

Thanks so much for having me on, Brett!  And I hope you're all having a fantastic summer!

 (If you can't see the video, just click here.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

50 Shades of CHICKtionary

And Now We Know
Why Granny Was Always Smiling

I just read that the explosive sales of the steamy 50 SHADES OF GREY have lead to an estimated 300% increase in the sales of sex toys, including the infamous Ben Wa balls of page 362

As a public service, I shall now read from the book of CHICKtionary, so that all may go forth in erotic edification and participate with confidence in the girl-talk at your PTA meetings, church bake sales and country club locker rooms.

[Hint:  Try saying something like, "Oh, you're still putting them there?  *eye roll*  That's so 1992."]

Ben Wa Balls, noun
In use among a variety of cultures for centuries, Ben Wa balls and the like are instruments of female sexual arousal as well as tools used to help increase the strength of the vaginal muscles.  The balls can be made of a variety of materials and hollow models can contain smaller spheres or even chimes.  (Was that the doorbell?)  The balls are inserted into the vagina, where they remain until removed using an optional retrieval cord or are coughed or sneezed out.  For erotic stimulation, a gentle rocking motion is recommended, although Mr. Wa has reportedly received complaints that the balls’ effect is too subtle to be felt.  For conditioning of the vaginal muscles, the balls are held inside the vagina with a clenching motion, taking the definition of “private training” to its extreme.

So, anyway...[ahem]...have a stimulating weekend and ROCK ON.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm Mommy and I Know It

A Musical Mother's Day Tribute, Yo

For those of you who have been on a self-imposed media blackout for the last six months or so:

1.  Thanks for making this your first stop on your pop-culture re-entry tour.

2.  You might be the only person in the world who doesn't know this song:

[If you can't see the video, please click here.]

In keeping with the spirit of Mother's Day, I'd like to offer my own version of this LMFAO toe-tapper.

This goes out with love to all the mommies!

I'm Mommy and I Know It

Yeah, yeah
When I walk to school, kids look at me like, darn, she’s cool
I bounce to the beat, workin’ that crosswalk in my Shape-Ups feet
They see me stroll, my tricked-out Bugaboo is how I roll
My kiddie humor is oh-so-droll
And just like Oprah, I’m in control

Child, look at these highlights
Child, look at these invites
Child, look at these nite-nites
Ah-ah, I wake up!

Child, look at that swingset
Child, look at that new pet,
Child, look at that what you get
Ah-ah, I wake up!

When I walk on the school yard, this is what I see
Everybody stops and they’re staring at me
I got tissues in my purse and I ain’t afraid to
blow it, blow it, blow it, blow it

I’m Mommy and I know it.

When I’m at the mall, I nurse like a pro when I hear the call
When I’m at the beach, I put sunscreen on my baby’s cheeks
This is how it is, and on the side I got a jewelry-makin’ biz
We gotta fix the van but don’t be nervous
’Cuz no one fears me like customer service

Child, look at these highlights
Child, look at these invites
Child, look at these nite-nites
Ah-ah, I wake up!

Child, look at that swingset
Child, look at that new pet,
Child, look at that what you get
Ah-ah, I wake up!

When I walk into dance class, this is what I see
Everybody stops and they’re staring at me
I got tissues in my purse and I ain’t afraid to
blow it, blow it, blow it, blow it

I’m Mommy and I know it.

Check it out:

Juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, yeah
Juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, yeah
Juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, juggle, yeah
Do the juggle mom
I do the juggle mom
I’m Mommy and I know it.

Child, look at these highlights
Child, look at these invites
Child, look at these nite-nites
Ah-ah, I wake up!

Child, look at that swingset
Child, look at that new pet,
Child, look at that what you get
Ah-ah, I wake up!

I’m Mommy and I know it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Open Letter to the Dayton Marriott

Dear Dayton Marriott Management,

Thank you for your recent communication of 4/23/12 (forwarded to me by your corporate legal department and hereinafter known as "the steaming pantload") regarding my recent stay at your hotel while attending the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the various allegations therein, all most some of which are completely without merit and may adversely affect your hotel's score on the guest survey card which I have yet to complete and mail in.

First, it is outrageous and preposterous to assume that my suitcase was responsible for the malfunction and ultimate failure of elevator #3.  I believe the security tapes will show that the fault lies not with my sleek, utilitarian baggage but with the housekeeping staff member riding in the elevator with me and struggling under the weight of 3-4 thick, fluffy and obviously highly absorbent bath towels made from an exotic strain of imported cotton known to be both unstable and, well, really heavy. 

Second, it saddens me to know that the microwave cozy I crocheted for (keynote speaker and comedy legend) Alan Zweibel and stapled to his hotel room door left him feeling (as your so-called report puts it) "disturbed and anxious" rather than relaxed and heartwarmed as I intended.  As for my decision to staple it to his door at 3:14 am, I believe the logic behind that strategy is self-evident.  That being said, I really don't see how this matter is any of your bossy hotel security team's business, as Mr. Zweibel has thoughtfully begun a separate correspondence with me regarding this matter.  And when I see him in at our appointed court date, I will finally have the opportunity to tell him in person how much I admire his work.

With respect to the cake, I would like to remind you that I am an attendee/presenter in good standing at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop with all rights and privileges thereof, including - but not limited to - assorted desserts, baked goods and non-dairy creamer.  I have reviewed my official workshop documents and have found no language that asserts a fixed limit on the number of desserts an individual attendee may commandeer, assuming those desserts have not yet been laid claim to by another attendee.  As those slices of carrot cake were unclaimed at the time I consumed them (fact:  not a single person had even entered the ballroom yet when I stumbled across the pieces of cake at tables 14-17), I herewith reject your catering bill of $276.55 and demand that you reverse the charge in the aforementioned amount that you ran on my Mastercard.

Lastly, in the matter of the white school bus, it was my understanding that the bus was no longer in service as a shuttle for workshop attendees at the time I drove that out-of-state drum and bugle corps to Arby's for a late afternoon snack.  (Those kids must really have been practicing hard, because I have never seen young people with munchies like this in my life.)  I believe a review of the facts will clarify that it was completely beyond my control that the bus ran out of fuel on the way back to the hotel and had to be abandoned on the shoulder of the I-75.  And also, if you don't want anyone borrowing your vehicles, you probably shouldn't leave the keys in the lockbox under the registration desk where people can easily find them.

In summation, I have no doubt that we will be able to reach an equitable settlement in the matters above, especially in light of the fact that I have now returned the 769 facial soaps, 412 miniature bottles of body lotion, harvest gold woven blanket and pneumatic desk chair that I mistakenly interpreted to be gratis souvenirs of my stay at your hotel.

Note:  please address all future correspondence directly to me, as I have terminated my dealings with my previous counsel (who, it turns out, characterizes an evening of foofy-drink-fueled line dancing followed by a late-night half-stack at the Waffle House out by the airport as a "bizarro, one-off odyssey" rather than the sublime prelude to long-term romance we both knew damn well it was up until that unfortunate incident Saturday morning).

Thank you and good luck,

Anna Lefler


So here's the thing:  the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop was amazing.  (I hesitate to apply this word because it is so overused these days, but this instance calls for it.)  Other words come to mind, such as inspirational, humbling, hilarious, educational, magical and poignant.  I could go on and on, but I will simply say that, for me, unforgettable is the word that best captures every aspect of my four days and three icing-flecked nights among my fellow humorists and heroes in Dayton.

To the organizers of the workshop who paid me the tremendous honor of inviting me to teach two of the sessions, to the folks who spent their time listening in the audience, to the people who went out of their way to ask questions, share experiences and pay compliments, to the warm and gracious Bombeck family who welcomed me into their company at dinner, and to every attendee and speaker, I would like to say THANK YOU.  From my heart.

You can find out more about the workshop at their website.  And you can see lots of photos from the weekend on the EBWW Facebook page.  

The next workshop will be held in 2014.

See you there.

 Dinner with Erma's husband Bill and daughter Betsy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In Which I Sprain My Dominant Boob

...And Forget to Ask About the Specials

The scene: An elegant Italian ristorante on the good stretch of Ventura Boulevard. (Let's call it Il Primundo Novo al Allegro Grappa.) A rare date-night opportunity while Morticia and Gomez are at the middle school dance for three glorious, drama-laden hours. Candlelight. Genuine faux-Italian background music and a platoon of grinning waiters displaying theme-appropriate levels of swarthiness.

Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name) and I are shown to a table for two in the front window and we begin to settle in. I slip off my coat and reach around to hang it on the back of my chair...reaching...reaching...a little further...and...

My chest seizes up

Not in a "next comes the pain down my left arm/cardiac event" kind of way. And not in a "zing! went the strings of my heart/Judy Garland" kind of way.

No, more of a "I just broke my boob" kind of way.

"Hmprhzork," I say, and spin back to a frontal position with both arms across my chest as if 1) I were pledging eternal allegiance to Emperor Vorgon of the Quang Galaxy, or 2) I have just dropped my nunchuks.

"What's the matter with you?" Jon Bon Jovi says, flipping open the menu.

"I...I just blew out a boob," I wheeze.

He slaps the menu down and leans across the table before realizing he has stuck his chin in the genuine Italian candle. He huffs and moves the candle, then leans in again. "How did that happen? I mean," his eyes dart left to right and he lowers his voice, "is that even possible?"

"I don't know! I didn't invent the dang things, I'm just an owner-operator!"

Wincing, I hunch my shoulders forward and rub my chest with my forearms, tongue lolling in the corner of my mouth.

"Stop that!" he says, opening his menu again and trying to cover me with it. "Do you want people to think you're a Kardashian or something?"

"But it hurts!" I attempt to sit up straight. "And it's my dominant boob!"

Jon Bon Jovi freezes. "I'm sorry, your what?"

"You know, my dominant one. The leading lady. The first string. The prima ballerina. The big dog. The--"

"OhmyGodstop," he says, falling back into his chair. "You don't really have a, um, dominant you?" He looks at me like he's wondering whether I'm the kind of person who has a favorite kidney. (Which would be weird. Right?)

"Well, of course I do."

Jon Bon Jovi takes a deep, cleansing breath - the kind he takes when the children and I pause the TV to explain "America's Next Top Model" to him.

"Okay, then. So let me ask you this: what do you call the other, ah, non-dominant one?"

"Hello?!?" I roll my eyes. "It's called the back-up boob? Was I your first girlfriend or something?"

He shakes his head and tosses his napkin in his lap. "Next you'll be telling me they have names."

"Don't be ridiculous," I say with a snort. "They're nicknames."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kind of Like Buddha...

...But With More Muffintop

As you know, I come from a long line of stupidass, and so it was especially fitting that I spent last week fielding questions over at

Here are my thoughtful, penetrating responses to a week's worth of some, um...interesting inquiries.

What can I say? It's just my small way of giving back...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Excuse Me, I Speak Blog

Yes, That's an "Airplane" Reference
So, anyway, I was thinking about how much information I've absorbed in the six months or so that I've been workin' my corner here in the blogosphere. Anyone who blogs knows there's a bit of a learning curve when you first start - the sure was for me, anyway.

I've relished in my small (okay, microscopic) triumphs as I've felt my way along, figuring out little things about posts and layouts. I think it's kind of tough for non-bloggers to relate, though.

For instance, the other day I scampered into the kitchen, fresh from my desktop, to tell Jon Bon Jovi (not my husband's real name) something I'd just figured out on the ol' blog.

"OK, so the Blogger template wasn't giving me the option I wanted, so I went into the HTML and found the notation for the main background and then I inserted a new hex code and totally changed the color to the one I wanted!"

Poor Jon Bon Jovi. It's just not fair to do that to a husband. I could practically see the thoughts going through his mind as he stood there, frozen, coffee mug in hand:

OK, I know something good just happened and I want to be supportive, but I have no flippin' idea what she's talking about.

Wait, am I
supposed to know what she's talking about?

Oh crap, have we (God forbid) talked about this befo
re and I've forgotten about it? Be cool! Play it off...

Now, hold on, she's usually only this excited when she buys something expensive. What the hell has she bought now?

It's an understandable reaction, after all. If someone had started yammering to me about HTML seven months ago, I'd have advised them to seek counseling.

One aspect of the blog world that fascinates me is the array of acronyms, like ROFL, IMHO, LMAO, etc. I still have to stop and decode them each time (duh!), but I find them very entertaining.

And so, in an effort to do my part to contribute to the lexicon of this new world of which I am so fond, I offer a few blog-specific acronyms of my own:

TBBGIIMC - This Better Be Good - I'm Ignoring My Children

ISSBFMFTC - I Smell Smoke But First Must Finish This Comment

- Banner Envy

- Proceed With Caution: Extremely Bitter Blogger

- Just Here To Mooch Followers

SICS - Seizure-Inducing Color Scheme

- Extreme Crafts Intimidation Zone

- Unwarranted Music Onslaught

- Comment Performance Anxiety

INTGTTBFFHN - I've Needed To Go To The Bathroom For Four Hours Now

This is an encore of a post that originally ran way back in 2008. I was inspired to do so by my bud Kim Moldofsky who blogs at Hormone Colored Days. Kim served as a kick-ass Community Leader in my session at Blissdom and, while we were chatting, she mentioned that she'd always remembered this post and how much it made her laugh.

I hope I conveyed how much her comment meant to me at the time, because it sure made my day. Thanks, Kim. YAOSCAL (You Are One Super Cool-Ass Lady)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Erma Bombeck Contest Entry

Perception Is Reality-ish

I don’t remember the minister inserting air quotes into our wedding vows. Then again, my vision at the time was clouded by multiple layers of tulle and mascara—not to mention a professionally tightened chignon that stretched my eyes so far sideways I was starting to resemble a Gila monster.

I believe, however, that a review of our wedding video would reveal the moment when the reverend rolled his eyes heavenward, waggled his fingers at the dearly beloveds in attendance, and applied a pair of floating punctuation marks to a key word of our blessed troth: in “sickness” and in health.

Everyone is prepared to stand by their spouse if, God forbid, they are faced with a serious illness. That’s a sacred part of the deal, after all.

No, it’s not the sickness that wears on the marriage—it’s the “sickness.” It’s the aches and twinges that must be discussed and assuaged to the point that you would welcome a bullet in the thigh if it meant never having to hear another word about his sensitive toe. Or his acid tummy. Or his pre-sore throat.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” he said, peering up at me through rheumy eyes as I perched bedside.

“I think you’ll pull through,” I said.

“I want you to know that, when the time comes, I trust you to make the decision support.”

“You realize that cord you’re holding leads to a lamp, not a respirator?”

“Look at you, putting on a brave face.” He patted my hand.

“Listen, when they invent a durable power of attorney for the sniffles I’ll prop you up so you can sign it. In the meantime, your office called—it’s your turn to take doughnuts for the staff meeting.”

“I’ll never make it.” He rolled over with a moan.

These were the times I wanted to use bad words. Words like episiotomy. And perimenopause. Words I once thought of as afflictions but now categorized as “lifestyles,” in the same way I had come to think of my reading glasses as “streetwear.”

But, wait—this could be the answer. I couldn’t change the behavior, but I could change the label, like the time I blacked out from the flu while selling Girl Scout cookies in the Jiffy Mart parking lot then told the other moms I had been “multi-tasking.”

It was matrimony meets Madison Avenue and it just might work. I congratulated myself on my new, strategic mindset.

No, my husband wasn’t bedridden from a runny nose.

He was on a “spiritual mini-retreat.”

Yeah...he’s Zen like that.

Erma Rules

You can find out more about the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition here.

And I hope to see all of you who are Erma enthusiasts at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop in Dayton April 19-21.

I'm on the faculty for the 2012 conference (ahem, pardon me while I adjust my cravat) and I'll be running a workshop titled "Brand to Book - Creating an Online Voice that Opens Doors" as well as leading sunrise calisthenics on the lawn of the Dayton Marriott.

And Speaking of Conferences...

Blissdom '12 is this weekend in Nashville and it promises to be epic in its, well...epicness.

I'm stoked to be attending for the first time, and my enthusiasm has not been dampened in the least by the fact that my movement to call the conference "BlissDOME" has failed to gain real momentum. (The hotel where it's being held is a dome...get it? Blissdom + dome = Blissdome? Okay, whatever!)

Anyway, I hope to see many of you there this weekend. Here's where you can find me when I'm not practicing my line-dancing in the Grand Ol' Opry parking lot:

Friday, Feb. 24 at 4:00 pm - CHICKtionary Book Signing at the Barnes & Noble booth in the Expo

Saturday, Feb. 25 at 2:30 - I'll be running a hands-on editing workshop called "More Method to Your Madness"

Side note: I might also be wearing one of those hats that holds a beverage on top and has straws running down the sides. It depends on whether I can find one that goes with my sheepskin peasant skirt.

In any case, I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, February 13, 2012



Happy Valentine's Day!

Now, get out there
and bag some romance!

And remember:
no matter what happens,
you guys are
like a brother to me
the best.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For Crying Out Loud

And Laughing, Too

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the super-swank podcast "For Crying Out Loud," hosted by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor and Lynette Carolla (yes, lovely wife to Adam).

It. Was. So. FUN.

The podcast is now available on iTunes - or you can listen/download right on the "For Crying Out Loud" website.

And, as further evidence that the best things in life are, in fact, free, the bottom-line price to own this episode (or any other, for that matter) is:

That's right! Rest assured that today's burrito budget will remain intact no matter how many times you download the podcast.

And Now, A Brief Quiz

Which grown-uppy topics* were covered on the most recent episode of "For Crying Out Loud?"

a. food porn
b. flapjacks (note: not the popular breakfast food)
c. Brazilian bikini waxing
d. chumps
e. household nudity
f. all of the above and more

If you bubbled in "F" then you just won yourself a totally FREE download of "For Crying Out Loud!"
And you know what...?

Since you're such a good-lookin' crowd and I like each and every one of you personally, I'm going to extend that prize and say that no matter which letter you bubbled in, you STILL win a completely FREE download of the show!
[insert trumpet/trombone fanfare here]

MANY THANKS to ACE Broadcasting, Lynette Carolla, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor and Producer Gary (who is a total babe, btw) for inviting me to be a guest!

(*Yes, we talk about some adult topics on the podcast, just so you're prepared...)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Daily Affirmation #FAIL

Thanks. I Got It.

I love the uplifting app I started using January 1, but this particular entry makes me more tired than inspired:

Yes. I know.

It comes with being a parent.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Am a 12-Year-Old Boy

And Here's the Proof

Ever since Morticia and Gomez (my children) introduced me to Ragestache, I've been obsessed with it.

Then again, I still convulse with snort-laughs every time I see the opening UPS-guy scene of "Ace Ventura." (When did that movie come out? 1994? EVERY TIME.)

After laughing at so many comics on the site, I had to try my hand at making one of my own. (Thankfully, this kind of "me, too!" crap only crops up occasionally and not, for instance, when I'm sitting on the sofa watching NASCAR or Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling. (Okay, it happens with NASCAR.)

Anyway, I made a comic and I'm sharing it with you because we're tight like that. I hope it gives you a giggle. It may also explain why I'm not on as many school committees as I used to be.

And now that I'm done playing, I need to go do my pre-algebra homework and take a bath. (Awww, man, no fair!)


If you can't see the liquid awesomeness flowing above, click this link.

[ARGH - It doesn't fit in my column no matter what I do. Just click on it to see it full-size at the site. Sorry about that.]