Sleep Hypnosis

As I have mentioned before, I often have insomnia. Recently I have been a sleep therapist who has taught me self hypnosis. I wanted to try hypnosis for my sleeping problems since I felt I had tried everything else.

Before the first visit, I thought that she would put me under, give me a command and then I would automatically go to bed and  fall asleep. It doesn’t really work like that.

The therapist gave me tools to use to focus sufficiently so I could fall asleep. The idea is to put yourself in a trance through counting down, visualizing going downstairs while counting from ten to one, using a mantra with deep breathing and other techniques.

The cognitive behavior aspects of insomnia also comes into play. Being on a set sleep schedule is key as is avoiding devices for a period of time before you go to bed. To me, the hypnosis feels close to guided meditation with the purpose being a successful night of sleep.

Off Schedule

As you may have noticed, I did not have a post last week. I have had a lot of stuff going on in my personal life and I was away from home visiting a sick relative from Monday to Wednesday.

On Sunday June 9 my website was suspended because the renewal date for Bluehost came and went without my realizing it. I have been planning to change my hosting situation, but I never got around to actualizing those plans.

My idea was to switch to a paid WordPress site where I supposedly wouldn’t have to worry about paying separately for security. I currently pay Site Lock $70 a month for that service. I think I have been reluctant to make the move because I don’t believe that WordPress will be user friendly and free from security issues.

My ambivalence led me to procrastinate; when the site was temporarily suspended, I just renewed for six months. Now I can spend that time reevaluating what I want to do.



Stop The Bans

Yesterday I attended a  Stop the Bans rally in Northampton. Similar demonstrations  were held all over the country in response to the draconian anti-abortion laws that Alabama and other states have passed. It is very depressing to me that  reproductive rights are so threatened in 2019 when I can remember marching for the right to have an abortion in New York City in  the late 1960’s.  Abortion became legal in New York State in 1970.

Abortion was not legal in Massachusetts until Roe v. Wade in 1973. Massachusetts was also one of the last states to legalize birth control. However, last year, Gov. Baker, a Republican signed  the Nasty Women Act which repealed several old laws regarding abortion and birth control.  Nasty stands for Negating Archaic Statutes Targeting Young Women; legislators felt  the bill was necessary in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh ‘s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Several of the speakers at yesterday’s rally spoke about pending legislation in Massachusetts, the Roe Act.  This legislation would remove the requirement of parental consent for  an abortion for people under the age of 18.  The Roe Act also provides health care coverage for abortions for people who don’t have Mass Health.

Current Massachusetts law does not provide abortion coverage after 24 weeks. The Roe Act would extend that time period in cases of fatal fetal anomalies. Other provisions of the bill include ending the currently required 24-hour waiting period, and codifying the principles of reproductive freedom into state law. You can get more information about the Roe Act here.

Looking Forward.

My original plan for this blog post was to write about my goals for the New Year. However, I have been so busy that I haven’t had time, yet, to sit down and formulate specific goals

The things I will continue to work on include my book, my website, blogging and tweeting. On a more personal level, I plan to continue skating. If I could test, compete, or perform in 2019, that would be thrilling.

One new project I will be involved with in 2019 is the Jane Austen’s Regency World Book Club which I will be facilitating at the Jones Library, Amherst. The first book we will read is Pride and Prejudice. All are welcome.

A Look Back

This year I will have 49 posts, counting this one. Last year I had 51 but this year I was hacked which was one of many life events that cut into time for blogging. As I have said frequently this year, it was harder to post once a week.

I am on track to end the year with 3160 tweets. I will have tweeted 538 times this year which is well over once a day. The political situation makes it pretty easy to tweet frequently. I still can’t tweet my URL and I don’t think I will ever be able to again.

In my goals for 2018, I mentioned doing more on Instagram. That hasn’t really happened because many of my posts don’t have pictures. It is not really something I care that much about.

My main goal for the year that is ending was to make progress on my book. I finished the fourth chapter in October and I am about halfway through the fifth. I have almost 200 pages done. I wish I had been able to do more but it is what it is.

My other goals were around improving personal habits such as eating and sleeping. This was also a mixed bag. Last spring, my husband and I did the Slim Fast diet. I lost five pounds but  gained it all back. More recently I have tried to focus on healthy, anti-inflammatory eating and I have again lost some weight.

My sleeping has been hit or miss with at least one day of insomnia a week. I  haven’t figure out how to be a better sleeper yet but I will let you know when I do.

I now skate three days a week and I do feel I am improving. I have also started doing off ice training which is great.

This year was pretty much like other years . There was some really good stuff, like attending skating camp and some really bad stuff like my mother-in-law dying. That’s life.

Unforeseen Circumstances

I had every intention of writing a blog post this week. Yesterday around 11:30 a.m., I realized the power cord to my laptop was broken and I only had about 25 percent of the battery left.

The tip had broken and part of it was still in the port. It took a while to get it out. I googled replacement cords and found one on Amazon.  Amazon promised next day delivery so I bought it.

I then tried to see if  Asus would send me a new cord since the computer was under warranty. No luck. Cords are not covered under the warranty.

I feel that is a new thing because in the past I have gotten new cords. It is bad that they aren’t part of the warranty because power cords are always the first thing to break on a laptop. The tips are so flimsy and so is the port.

All of this drama with the cord prevented me from writing something. I didn’t get the new cord until around 2 today and I had an appointment for 2:30 . I didn’t get home until about 5:30.

There also won’t be a  post next week  since I will be away. I promise I will have a new post November 23. Happy Thanksgiving!



At the same time that I was doing genealogical research on my great-uncle, Abe, I was also researching another child. My grandmother, Celia and grandfather, Albert got married in October, 1918. My mother was born in August, 1921. However, I always knew they had had a son before my mother and that he died when he was a baby.

I didn’t know when the boy was born or how long he lived. This made searching for him very difficult. The window between his birth and my mother’s appeared to be between 2 and 3 years, if he was premature. The short life of the child  put him between census years.

At various times I thought I had found the baby but it turned out the dates were wrong or the infant wasn’t Jewish. I kept looking in the cemeteries where I knew my other relatives were buried but nothing panned out. Finally, after having rejected a baby named Benjamin, that child turned up in Ancestry with workable dates and a burial in the Hebrew Free Burial Association section of Mount Richmond Cemetery in Staten Island.

The records from the cemetery showed the baby lived at the same address as my grandparents. The only question was why did the record show him as being born in Russia? This turned out to be a scribners error. The name Benjamin made perfect sense since I was sure Celia would name her first child after her mother, Bessie.

When Benjamin died my grandmother worried she might never have another child. In August 1921, when my mother was born, Celia named her Beatrice, probably to honor both Benjamin and Bessie.

Benjamin’s death certificate confirmed he was my grandparent’s child. He was born Aug. 11 1919 and died four months later on Dec. 16, 1919. Benjamin died  from bronchopneumonia which seems to indicate his death was part of the flu pandemic. I plan to visit Benjamin’s grave in Staten Island so I will keep you posted.

It must have been so sad for my grandparents when Benjamin died. I feel very badly for them. I am glad that they weren’t victims of the flu since if they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here. My grandparents were wonderful people and terrific grandparents.  May their memories be for blessings.







This is a picture of my grandmother, Ceil with her three siblings and another relative at the graveside of my great-grandmother, Bessie Shapiro. My grandmother is the one with her head against the stone. This picture is so sad since Bessie died in 1914, aged 36, and left four children. The youngest, the little boy in the picture, was five.

For about four years I have been searching for that little boy whom family stories said died around the same time as his mother. Growing up, I was never told his name and none of my remaining relatives knew it either.

I first started by using Ancestry to try to find the family in census data. The Shapiros are in the 1910 Census. One problem was that Ancestry read the little boy’s name as Olive. Of course I knew his name was not Olive since it is a non-Jewish girl’s name. Because Ancestry  coded him as Olive, it made it very difficult to search  for him in other databases on the site.

Although I had the picture of the family at the grave when I began my search I didn’t know where Bessie was buried.   My working hypotheses was that the little boy would be buried where his mother was, especially if he died soon after her.

It turns he didn’t died right after Bessie but lived to be twelve years old. I spent a lot of time looking at the handwriting in the 1910 census and eventually decided the child’s name was Abie.

In the 1920 Census there is a Shapiro family  with my great-grandfather Sam, his second wife, her children and my grandmother’s three siblings including Abie.

By the time I figured this out I had found out that Bessie was buried in Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens.  There was an Abe there also but Shapiro was spelt Schapiro. Eventually I found that both Bessie and Abe were buried in the section of the cemetery for the United Mazirer Society which was one of many Jewish burial societies.

After all that I was able to get Abe’s death certificate which listed his mother Bessie and his father Sam. He died of encephalitis with a secondary or contributory cause being respiratory failure. He spent eleven days at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City and died on Feb.21, 1922.

A moth ago, I was able to go to Mount Zion Cemetery and visit both Bessie and Abie.  I was very glad to both name and claim Abe as my relative.



There are 81 days left to 2018. Since the beginning of the summer I feel time has sped up and I have been very busy. Blogging once a week has continued to be difficult . At the same time, it is the one writing commitment that I have kept so it is important to me to post something, anything, every week.

I haven’t really worked on my book since early September.  I am not completely satisfied with the chapter I recently completed but I think I have to let it go for awhile and work on something else.

Politics, genealogy and family have filled the vacuum created by not working on my book. I am still staffing the Take Back the House office and I am helping Jacqueline Maidana run for a seat on the newly created Amherst Town Council.

The genealogical research I have been doing uncovered some things I had been searching for for a long time. I hope to write a post about my findings in the near future.

My family is basically okay but I had to go to see a relative unexpectedly last week.  We were also away for a week in Kansas City attending the Jane Austen Society of North America’s Annual General Meeting. This is another thing I plan to write  about in a post.

The next few weeks should be a little calmer but I  think things won’t completely settle down until after Election Day. Please remember to register and please VOTE.


A few months ago, I bought a Fitbit Charge HR2 because I wanted to see how hard I was exercising when I skated. I have had pedometers in the past and they are bad at capturing the stroking you do while skating. I had hoped that the Fitbit would be different but it is a pedometer like every other one I have had. It works best if you are walking.

The heart monitor is also not very accurate. I never get into the peak range when skating even though I know I am really exerting myself by how  out of breath I am. A couple of times when I have done strength training or circuits I have gotten into the peak range.

Fitbit has you set goals. The default is five days of of exercise and 30 minutes daily activity. I don’t really understand why those are two different things. If I do two hours of Tai Chi I don’t get any activity minutes. If I used one of the device’s preset categories like “workout” maybe then I would get both the day of exercise and the activity minutes.

The Fitbit also monitors your sleep. I thought I would hate this feature but I don’t mind it at all. Of course, it is quirky as well. If you are lying down but fully awake it often counts that as sleeping time. It has been interesting to see the different sleep cycles. Sometimes it calculates that you got more sleep than you would have thought based on how much you were tossing and turning. Sometimes it is less than you would have thought.

When I first had the Fitbit, I was motivated to tailor my activity and exercise to its parameters. That has mostly faded. Now I just use it to monitor my goal which is 300 minutes of exercise a week. I try to skate 3 days a week and do Tai Chi one day. Often that is it for the week so I don’t get the five days and Tai Chi doesn’t count as activity so that day I don’t get the thirty minutes of activity.

I got a Fitbit because SuperTracker and the President’s Challenge went out of existence. That and a paper calendar was how I used to track my exercise. I still use a paper calendar to keep track of how many hours I skate so I know when to get my skates sharpened. I really liked SuperTracker better and working on my platinum medal was more motivating.

If you have had experiences with Fibit or other exercise and heart trackers, let me know. If you use something other than a tracker for recording your exercise, I would love to know what that is.




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