Category Archives: Family


No really. Yesterday was Day 5 and we had to submit our word count to our RWA chapter. I’m at 10,000 words. (10,058 to be exact).

Today I’m a bit thrown by the time change. I actually woke up at 3:00 am, according to my phone. Went to the basement and cleaned up 2 boxes of family stuff that I’d been meaning to go through for years. Scanned a picture of my Dad from the 50s for my cousin Kim.

Now it’s 12:30 and I JUST opened my nano book file. Time for lunch, eh?

Dad, circa 1950s. More info here:

How much do you want this?

Look who I found on my keyboard this morning. Yes, that is Captain Tightpants.

It’s not my very first piece of fannish merchandise; it’s my third. I won a Dinky Car version of Ray Kowalski’s GTO years ago, I wear Dean’s “Samulet,” and now I own a plushie. I couldn’t be more pleased. Thank you to my soon-to-be nephew Dan. Awesome.

2016-05-31 09.03.24


20 minutes, my ass!

I am now the proud owner of a sit/stand desk. Too much sitting irritates, well, everything and everyone.

The “20 minutes to assemble” is clearly just the frame (which you usually buy separately.) We took apart my old Ikea desk and re-used the desktop.

Three hours later… I need another shower before our anniversary dinner tonight. And what a milestone anniversary it’s been. Not that it’s any significant number, but that we actually completed a project–the non-20-minute assembly–without fighting!

And now out to dinner. Happy Victoria Day everyone.

sit stand desk

How to Make Friends in San Miguel

I wrote the following article for the San Miguel de Allende SPA (Sociedad Protectora de Animales). It appeared in their newsletter and also in the city’s newspaper, the Atención.

Paul sitting w dogs SMAHow to Make Friends in San Miguel by Paul Schiratti (It’s published under Mr. Grumpy’s name, but I wrote it.)

Years ago, while waiting in line at the Teatro Angela Peralta, I overheard the stranger behind me say he needed a fourth for tennis.

“I brought my racket,” I said.

“Great! Here’s where we’re playing…”

I’ve been playing with them ever since.

That’s hardly a unique experience in San Miguel. Five minutes in the Jardin and you’ve already met two new people and received three restaurant recommendations.

I’ve met many wonderful people and had many exceptional experiences in San Miguel, but the most fulfilling, the one I hurry back to each year, is walking the dogs at the S.P.A.

No sooner do I unpack, when I head down Canal Street to see my friends. My welcome is deafening. Barking, howling, baying—a sweet melody of doggie greeting. I walk through the well-maintained, volunteer-run facility, past each brightly painted cage to see old friends and new faces.

There’s Dulce and Guera, Shy and Nube. I’ve been walking them for years.

And years.

Paul dog walking SMAI’m delighted to see them, but it breaks my heart they’re still here, year after year, hopefully awaiting their forever homes. No matter how clean and bright each cage is, it’s still a cage. Dogs need a home of their own and a family—even a family of one. Add a dog, and now you’re two.

I volunteer because I love dogs, San Miguel and walking and making new friends—of both the human and the canine varieties. The S.P.A. satisfies all my passions.

I walk the larger dogs, together with other volunteers—strangers one minute, best buddies the next. My wife prefers the smaller dogs, and sometimes “socializes the puppies.” (Read: plays with them.) Cats, too.

Sadly, this year, we stayed home because our older rescue dog had grown too frail to board. And indeed, she crossed the rainbow bridge just before Christmas—too late for us to change our plans and join you in SMA this year.

I miss San Miguel, the Jardin, the coffee window, parque Benito Juarez. I miss Azteca soup and the soulful violin of Pedro Cartas. I miss the music and the dining and the art and the people.

But most of all, I miss the dogs.

Here's Paul with t

Here’s Paul with the casita we sponsor each year.



50 Shades of Making Someone Feel Special

Gina's GameI had my family over for a BBQ yesterday. It’s always great to get together, especially with Meredith is home from London across the pond.

My middle niece, Gillian, (mother of 1.75 grandnieces) surprised me with this amazing gift to celebrate my recent writing success. She’d made me a game—a trivia game about me!

It contained 25 hand-written recipe cards (or as we writers like to call them, scene cards) with trivia questions on them. About me.

Now I talk all the time—if you’ve ever met me in person, you’ll know that. I’m a “think out loud” kind of person and sometimes don’t even need to have anyone there. I’ve solved several problems by writing emails to friends and by the time I get to the part where I’d hit send to solicit their advice, I had achieved my answer so I hit delete instead. 😉

But I never figured anyone was really listening. Even if we talked about something, I never thought they’d add it to long term storage. I was blown away by the amount Gillian knew about me to create these questions, and how much my family knew about my writing.

The family was divided into two teams, based on generation. My husband and sister and her partner as one team, while my other two nieces, Meredith and Gwendolyn, comprised the second team. Every time a team got a question right, grandniece Audrey toddled over and presented the winner with the penny (after being promised she’d get them back.)

It was close: 19 to 16 (Audrey might have been a bit generous with the pennies.) The younger generation won!

And here was me, thinking nobody really listened. In future, I’d better be more careful what I say!

Sample questions:
Name two books Gina has written.
Name one writer’s group Gina’s a member of.
Finish the name of this sub-genre: “Steam_ _ _ _”

I have the best family ever!

This is a great idea. If you ever want someone to feel special, for the price of a package of recipe cards and a little imagination, you can win someone’s heart forever.

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