Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Watching the TV show Dance Moms


Dance MomsCan crow’s feet wrinkles kill you? Probably not, but watching Lifetime’s reality show, Dance Moms, might put you in the hospital.

That is, if you take the examples on the show and actually apply them to real life and real people.

Recently sucked in persuaded to watch an entire back season of this audacious show, I was under contract to my intellect to take something from the experience. What could I do but create a list of life lessons?

Disclaimer: My list is created exclusively from the television show, Dance Moms, and is not intended to apply to dance moms the world over. Surely *please God!* there are exceptions to the war and destruction lively antics of that show.

For Dancers

  • Everyone is replaceable.
  • If you freeze on stage, thaw quickly…or die.
  • Second-place winners are losers.
  • If you are injured, don’t bleed.
  • Learn dance routines until you blather like an idiot. Like your mom.
  • Dance until something in your foot breaks. Then dance some more.
  • The crash from the top of Abby’s pyramid can be heard around the world.

For Moms

  • Gossiping is a religion and must be practiced daily.
  • Live through your children or remain an empty shell. Your choice.
  • Argue violently with the dance teacher in front of your kids. That shows them you care. Violently.
  • Tell secrets, get mad, take sides, whisper, giggle and pass notes until you turn sixty years old. Then stop.
  • Take no responsibility for your actions so you won’t be blamed for anything. Ever. Make Sense?
  • With the precision of Chef Gordon Ramsey, learn to slice, dice and sell each other on toothpicks to any passing troll.

Have you ever been forced swayed to watch Dance Moms? What did you take away from the experience? We’d love to know! In fact, we must know!

How about wandering around my website a bit! It's guaranteed non-toxic. By the way, y’all come back soon.

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery ...  you'll love my Any-Age novels! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. It's available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Two of the Silki series, CANYON OF DOOM, launched a few months ago. It's available everywhere and is also in paperback and all eBook formats. Here's a brief synopsis:

Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.

I can't wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is her first novel. CANYON OF DOOM is her second novel in the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series.

Made Just Right…MAID-RITES!


 

Mom's MAID-RITE...made right!

Mom’s MAID-RITE…made right!

1939. The year my mom first tasted a MAID-RITE hamburger. She and a couple of her girlfriends were coming home from their swimming lesson at the YMCA in Muscatine, Iowa. Enticing aromas tempted the girls’ nostrils as they passed a walk-up window restaurant. One of the girls had a bit of pocket change, so she paid a dime each for the girls to enjoy their first MAID-RITE.

Mom remembers the “juice” running down their arms as they giggled and devoured the delicious hamburgers invented by Fred Angell in1926.

Thus began a 75-year love affair between my mother and the loose-meat sandwiches smothered in a cabbage, onion, and pickle sauce.

I grew up eating those sandwiches; but I have to admit, I didn’t know their actual name was misspelled. Mom called them “MADE RIGHTS”, and that was all I knew about it until I traveled through Iowa as an adult.

“Maid-rite? What? The whole franchise is misspelled?”

I couldn’t believe it.

Since then, I’ve come to terms with the fact that Mr. Angell was, to quote the MAID-RITE website, “quite a sandwich maker but not much of a speller.” Apparently, Mr. Angell invented the sandwiches and named them after a deliveryman’s comment that the sandwich was made right. Hmm.

That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

A Disappointment

2008. Mom and I marched into one of the franchises in an Iowa mall grinning from ear to ear. We couldn’t wait to order a MAID-RITE. Passing up every other eating opportunity as we traveled across the country that day, we were starved and anticipatory.

After all, this was to be the first store-bought maid-rites Mom had eaten since 1939. I’d never eaten any but my mom’s.

Honest. I have to be honest and say that something drastic happened to those maid-rites since Mr. Angell first cranked them onto the streets via his four franchises by the end of the 1920s. Dry. No cabbage in the topping. Tasteless. Disappointing.

I still see mom shaking her head as she sat across the table from me. We took a few bites and shoved the sandwiches to the side.

You’re About to Get Lucky

Since 1939, Mom has served us MAID-RITES like the ones she first tasted – just like the ones Mr. Angell used to sell. Since she also happens to be a fabulous cook, I have to believe her method and her recipe are PURE.

The other evening, Mom made MAID-RITES. I took a picture of my plate and put it at the top of this blog. Now that’s a MAID-RITE made right! So right, that Mr. Angell would rise up and give my mom a high-five if he could only taste one!

The only thing we’ve added to the mix over the years is a sprinkle of cheddar for the top. It’s a great addition and really adds flavor. If you want to make these easy but incredibly yummy loose-meat sandwiches, cruise on over to the Chuckwagons and Campfires section of my blog for the authentic recipe.

You can’t go wrong when you go rite!

Ever had a MAID-RITE? We’d love to hear about it!

How about wandering around my website a bit? It's guaranteed non-toxic. Y’all come back soon, okay?

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery ... you'll love my All-Age fiction series, Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves. Book One, Summer of the Ancient and Book Two, Canyon of Doom are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, they're also available for your Kindle, the Nook and most other eBook readers.

Canyon of Doom: Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.

I can't wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is her first novel. CANYON OF DOOM is her second novel in the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series.

The Recipe: Made Just Right…MAID-RITES!


Mom's MAID-RITE...made right!

Mom’s MAID-RITE…made right!

  • High-quality 80/20 hamburger meat
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • Potato Chips, optional

Maid-Rite Special Sauce

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Dill pickles, chopped
  • Mustard and mayonnaise

Heat oven for lightly toasting the hamburger buns. Brown loose meat and season with salt and pepper. Drain off nearly all fat. Add a small amount of water to keep meat “juicy.” Prepare sauce by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. The amount of mustard and/or mayo to make the sauce is a matter of preference.

Each person prepares his/her own MAID-RITE. Spoon loose meat with a slotted spoon onto warmed hamburger bun. Top with special sauce and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. Serve with potato chips. Enjoy!

Comment:  This is the original MAID-RITE recipe according to my mom. She has been making these hamburgers since 1939 and had the honor of eating her first ones in Muscatine, Iowa *home of the MAID-RITE sandwiches*. Go here to read more about Mom’s 1939 experience…

Comment:  You can trust this non-steamed recipe tastes eerily like the first constructed MAID-RITES!

Browned and seasoned hamburger meat.

Browned and seasoned hamburger meat.

The sauce really is the secret.

The sauce really is the secret.


Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Joanna Barnes from “War Wagon” is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)

"I wouldn't be a saloon girl if I hadn't borrowed all those media images without asking." ~ Wikipedia Commons image “I wouldn’t be a saloon girl if I hadn’t borrowed all those media images without asking.” ~ Wikipedia Commons image


How about wandering around my website a bit? It's guaranteed non-toxic. Y’all come back soon, okay?

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery ... you'll love my All-Age fiction series, Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves. Book One, Summer of the Ancient and Book Two, Canyon of Doom are available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, they're also available for your Kindle, the Nook and most other eBook readers.

Canyon of Doom: Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.

I can't wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is her first novel. CANYON OF DOOM is her second novel in the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series.

Why are Metaphors Both Awesome and Terrible?


Miss Metaphor! Image from Wikipedia Commons.

Miss Metaphor! Image from Wikipedia Commons.

One dreadful  inspiring morning at a writing seminar, I emerged from a face-to-face editor session feeling as though I were stepping out the door and onto a parade float. For a few minutes, I could have sworn I was wearing a pageant gown, a tiara, and a ribbon sash proclaiming I was Miss Metaphor, and not in a good way.

Said editor had reviewed the first pages of my first novel and practically stamped that lofty title *Miss Metaphor* on my chest.

I emerged from the room fluttering a weak little Miss America wave at the other terrified aspiring writers awaiting their turns at the chopping block.

That experience caused me to

  • Greatly revise my manuscript, and
  • Wonder why metaphors are both awesome and terrible

With a little research, I found a true Metaphor Devotee — Italian semiotician, literary critic, and novelist Emberto Eco, who said, “…metaphor gives birth to pleasure (in writing).”

He claims that knowing how to conceive metaphors is an art.

I agree.

Metaphors, and their cousins – simile, hyperbole, allegory – add punch to pallid writing. They enlighten and freshen dull manuscripts.

Too Many Metaphors

Some writers (Jodi Lea Stewart in the past, for example) are addicted to figurative language. Consider the following paragraph, and yes, I wrote it myself, and furthermore, it was easy because I could almost live inside a metaphor but that’s another story, n’est-ce pas?

The female fire hazard blazed her way into the board meeting – bull nostrils flaring, poblano pepper eyes glowing – and roared at the Sovereign Power himself, “Give me back my job or I’ll torch your underwear from the inside out!”

Thirty-nine words, twenty-one of which indicate some kind of metaphor.

That’s overkill.

Writers who use metaphors to that extent might want to hook up with a 12-step Metaphors Anonymous program sooner versus later. Over metaphorizing *I made that up to add interest* dulls out the reader almost as much as the writer who doesn’t use figurative language at all.

Too Few Metaphors

If Elements of Style by Strunk & White make you salivate…

If you love stringent grammar rules and feel it is a crime to alter them…

If you use symbolic language ultra-sparingly, or not at all…

If you wallow in strict English correctness…

Stop reading this blog.

Grab your Elements of Style and repertoire of grammar books and take a nap with them because you’re boring us all to death  with your writing. Sleep. Just sleep.

However, if you are boring even yourself, and you are often told by readers, agents, or editors that your writing lacks color, excitement, or imagination, then I have a suggestion for you.

Run, don’t walk, to buy Arthur Plotnik’s Spunk & Bite. Read it under the covers with a flashlight if you must, but read it without delay.

Plotnik, a self-defined, writing-rule-rebel said,”Both Strunk and White knew well that bending the rules…can give writing its distinction, its edge, its very style. Bending the rules can spring writers from ruts – get them out of themselves, out of the ordinary, and into prose that comes alive, gets noticed, and gets published.”

Strike the Balance

A sassy blend of metaphor mixed with essential writing rules will let you stand proud on that Miss *Mr?* Metaphor float, or anywhere else. Just as a superb pageant contestant is lovely, well-rounded, and interesting, so is the kind of writing that stands out from the crowd.

“Metaphor is the supreme figure of all…connecting notions and finding similitude in things dissimilar.” – Umberto Eco

What about you? Have you been guilty of too much flowery writing? Did anybody ever tell you to stop? Maybe you abhor metaphors, simile, hyperbole and the like. Tell us about it. We love to hear from you!

When writers share, we just get better.


That dame saw me borrow unauthorized social media. Maybe I can dart under the table...

That dame saw me use unauthorized social media. Maybe I can duck under the table before she calls the coppers.

Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Henry Fonda is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)


Know what? I’d be as happy as a lady in a new pair of heels if you would wander around my website a bit! To sign up to receive notices of new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, leave your email address above. Y’all come back soon. I miss you already!

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery ...  you'll love my Young-Adult-to-any-age-novels! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. It's available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Two of the Silki series, CANYON OF DOOM, launched right before Christmas. It's available in paperback and all eBook formats. Here's a brief synopsis:

Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.

I can't wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is her first novel. CANYON OF DOOM is her second novel in the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series.

Did My Arizona Childhood Make Me a Fiction Writer?


Jodi at the Grand Canyon

Jodi Lea Stewart, age 8, Grand Canyon.

Exciting news!

Today I am honored and thrilled to be a guest blogger on the awesome, award-winning Grandmother Hen Blog! It’s the coolest site with unique posts and a motto of Visit the Coop to Stay in the Loop! What’s not to love about that?

Since I write novels infused with strange and mysterious events taking place on the Navajo Rez, I thought it might be fun for you to guess whether or not…

…my crazy childhood in the Arizona mountains had anything to do with my becoming a fiction writer. Hmmmm.

Oh, and guess what else?

They’re running a Book Giveaway of autographed copies of my novels from the Silki series, Summer of the Ancient and Canyon of Doom!

When I heard about that, I felt like,

Fotolia photo.

Fotolia image.

It reminded me of riding the Judge Roy Scream at Six Flags Over Texas, which is like,

Grandmother Hen...here I come!

Grandmother Hen…here I come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, I digress. Rush on over there before someone else wins all the novels.

https://grandmotherhen.com/2014/02/silki-book-giveaway/

I’ll wait right here for you. I’ve got a pot of beans on the stove, and I’ll fry up some okra and make some cornbread while you’re gone. Hurry back, and let me know what you found out, okay? You know I love to hear from you!

Arrow

Know what? I’d be as country girl at a Saturday night dance if you’d wander around my website a bit! To sign up to receive notices of new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, leave your email address above. Y’all come back soon. I miss you already!

If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery …  you’ll love my Young-Adult-to-any-age-novels! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. It’s available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindlethe Nook and most other eBook readers.

Book Two of the Silki series, CANYON OF DOOM, launched right before Christmas. It’s available in paperback and all eBook formats. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.

I can’t wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!

Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Bogie and Pals is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)

You're going to Unauthorized Social Media Borrowing Jail. Mr. Bogart will inform your families.

You’re going to Unauthorized-Social-Media-Borrowing Jail. Mr. Bogart will inform your families.

Jodi Lea Stewart was born in Texas and grew up in Apache County on a cattle ranch near Concho, Arizona. She left the University of Arizona in Tucson to move to San Francisco, where she learned about peace, love and exactly what she didn't want to do with her life. Since then, Jodi graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Business Management, raised two children, worked as an electro-mechanical drafter, penned humor columns for a college periodical, wrote regional western articles and served as managing editor of a Fortune company newsletter. She currently resides in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two Standard poodles, two rescue cats and numerous gigantic, bossy houseplants. Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is her first novel. CANYON OF DOOM is her second novel in the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series.