Monday, February 23, 2015

Quote 12

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

-William James 

When I go substitute teach, I ask myself myriad times why I do what I do, and I come back to this quote.

If I didn’t believe I made a difference, why bother showing up? I mean, where’s the reward? Then, I look into the eyes of that one student whose life I touched, and I know that what I do makes a difference.

What about my writing?
I take the above quote into my writing life, too.

If I didn’t believe anyone was reading my blog posts, why did I continue doing them?
And if I didn’t write to entertain someone somewhere, why bother?

Yes, I write because I like to, but would it make a difference…somewhere or to someone? Good or bad?

When I read books, I take something from them. I believe this is true for all readers. Whether it be a feeling, knowledge, or other; the writing has made a difference in my thinking.

Thank you to all the readers out there for sharing this moment (blog) with me and for helping me make that bit of difference. =)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pet News 15: Ban the Beast within Us

The book, A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals by Rory Freedman, is about the hard facts of the animals we consume and the sports we make them do. The author provides explicit details about the hard lives animals go through. She also talks about converting to veganism.

This is probably the hardest thing to do, but the least we could do is try to consume less and buy only from reputable farms where animals are treated with respect, and not to participate in sports where animals could get hurt, maimed, and die.

Further, Freedman talks about being proactive to influence change. This includes the way we eat, where we eat and buy our food, and support organizations that are bringing the voice of our animals in need to the public.

The best part of all, Freedman shows us how to be kinder, compassionate, and loving toward the animals we care for. Knowledge well suited for the kind of society we should be driven to.

The book is small, but the content is heavy.

Some websites listed at the back of the book include:

www.greenpaws-products (to treat dogs from fleas and ticks) (for free vegetarian starter kits)

google: compassionate consumer guide

Monday, February 9, 2015

Short Stories & Such 17: Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer

With Valentine’s right around the corner, I decided to post a story that dealt with that concept… well, sort of…
Valentine’s Day Secret Admirer

It’s been a long time anyone has sent me paper mail. The only thing I receive are ads and offers for credit cards. This is new, though, an actual Valentine’s card… except it’s not from Peter. All it has is a picture of puppies in a basket with the words: “Love, Your secret admirer.”

Oddly enough, the joke continues on the back where the admirer will reveal his or her secret identity today at the same location Peter and I are going!


“Coming!” I lowered my dress and ran to the door. Peter was early. He must be very excited about today.

“Hi, babe,” he leaned to kiss me on the lips.

“Mmm... Could I possibly get anymore lucky?”

He let go of my waist and said, “Let me get my things and we can go.”


I left him by the door and grabbed my purse and coat. Before I walked out, I stopped to admire my admirer. Not bad Susan. Not bad. He has a nice built and he’s top of his engineering class. I’ll just have to forgive his joke.


“That was great meal.”

“Yes,” I wiped my mouth, “yes it was.”

“I wanted to talk to you about something… something that’s been on my mind…”

I love it when he gets serious and nervous. His dark eyelashes seem to flutter when he speaks and I can watch his soft lips move.

“I wanted to--”

“Excuse me.”

We both looked up. A young man stood holding a bottle of champagne.

“Would you mind if I sit here?” He pulled the chair out and sat, “It won’t take long,” he opened the bottle and called for a waiter who happened to be ready with three glasses.

“You know, we are kind of in the middle of a conversation,” Peter said.

“Not to mention dinner…” I pointed to the empty plates and shook my head. Then, I gasped and recalled this morning’s secret Valentine.

“Who are you anyway?” Peter crossed his arms and frowned. I could hear the tapping of his shoes on the carpeted floor.

“I’m the secret admirer.”

“What is this man talking about?” Peter gestured. His voice stern. I was sure he would soon be ready to pop with that adorable vein he got in the middle of his forehead. “Listen, if he has been harassing you--”

“Now, Peter, let him explain. There must be some confusion or something.” I placed my hand on his forearm. “I never met this man before.”

 “Yes you have. Three weeks ago I helped you with your banking concerns.”

“My banking concerns?”

“We got to talking about what you do for a living. You have been withdrawing a hefty amount of cash about every three days since.”

“What?” Peter’s eyebrows shot up.

“I don’t know, honey. I really don’t. I haven’t been in a bank since two months ago. I do all my deposits online.”

He took a sip of his champagne, “Are you trying to tell me you’re not Sandra?”

“Sandra, of course!” I hit my forehead with the palm of my hand.

“What is going on here Susan?”

“Sandra’s my twin sister.”

“Twin sister?” Both men said in unison like a well-rehearsed choir.

“I feel really stupid about this.”

“Don’t be. You’ve done me a great help.” I paused. It isn’t like Sandra to do something like this, but during our annual Christmas reunion back home, she mentioned something about being bored with life.

“Why is she using your address?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” I looked at both their puzzled faces. “And I can actually use your.”


You can see the first draft posted on the Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt’s on February 15, 2012 under ‘Chilo’ at 
(see under February 14, 2012)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Art III: A New World

                                                                                                         M. Arana 1999

Here is another piece I did titled: A New World. It’s an abstract artwork.

In this, you can see the outline of a Chinese woman doubled to appear as two. There are outlines of a Cadillac inside the women which mixes cultures. There are also spheres that represent the world/s.

All these images coupled together formed an abstract piece that dealt with ‘change’ and how traditions and modern thinking join forces to create a new world.