Maggy Button: High-tech stress solved with chocolate


Remember the good old days when telephones had cords and rotary dials? I miss those days.

With my new position at The Berkshire Eagle, I've had to come into the 21st century. I opened my pocketbook the other day and realized I could open my own RadioShack branch store. Two cellphones, a digital voice recorder, an adapter to record interviews off my desk phone, another to record off my cordless phone at home, earphones for listening to the interview and writing the story without disturbing my co-workers, a cord to charge my personal phone, a cord to charge my work phone -- and one to charge it in the car -- and a pack of AAA batteries for the recorder.

When I was little, not only was our phone a rotary dial with fabric-covered cords, but we shared a party line. A party line was shared by two or more people. Each one had their own ring, but shared an outgoing line. Sometimes, you would pick up the phone to make a call and one of the others sharing the line would be in the middle of a
conversation. Mom caught me listening in on a conversation one day, and I was punished for it. I have no doubt, though, that that was a common pastime for some people.

The years passed, and around the time I was 16, I got a pink "Princess" phone in my bedroom on which I spent hours talking to my friends. That became a baby blue "Trimline" phone when I hit college.

The next phone evolution was a cordless phone -- no wire restricting my movement! I could go anywhere in our house, and even In the backyard. Just one problem -- where the heck did I leave it?

Our son's demands for a cellphone started when he was in sixth grade. Two days after he graduated from junior high, we were at the cellphone store.

That was the first -- and the last -- time we ever got the same model cellphone. I want one that will receive and send calls, and have a keyboard for texting. In the 10 years I've had a cellphone, I've had only four different ones.

David, on the other hand, is on about his 50th cellphone -- each one with more bells and whistles than anyone would ever need. He has broken them, destroyed them, had one deliberately smashed in a football locker room and -- my favorite, at least until the next mishap, dropped the phone from a beam at a work site, 15 feet above the floor, directly into a toilet that hadn't been flushed.

The most recent accident topped the time we had bought a model allegedly used by military personnel. It was supposed to be unbreakable, water-proof, shock-proof and everything-else proof. But it wasn't David-proof: He lost it.

So it was with great trepidation, I accepted a company iPhone. The head editor told me I was free to download any apps I needed to do my job, but any for my own personal use I would have to pay for. I agreed; it seemed fair. But, what was an app? Better yet, how did you turn the darn phone on? It was time for a little mom and son tech talk.

That night, I was ready to throw the iPhone across the room. It required a password to access the phone. Done. It then required a password and a credit card number to access something else. I tried six different passwords that the phone rejected -- I have no idea why, and I may be in trouble because I can't remember which one it did finally like. And then there was the whole credit card thing.

"I don't plan on buying anything," I pointed out.

"You have to do it, Mom," David insisted. "You can't use the phone unless you do."

It was only the next night, when I was at a performance at Williams College, that the horrible truth hit -- no one had shown me how to answer a phone call or send a text message on the new phone. David had dropped me off, and I was to text him during the last few minutes of the performance to let him know he could come and pick me up. I opened the phone -- and realized I had no clue how to text. After 10 minutes, the phone started vibrating, David was calling and I had no clue how to answer it. Fortunately, he showed up to pick me up anyway.

So this week, I've had it with everything electronic. What I need and want is something sweet and chocolate. It's amazing how much a little chocolate can solve.

Buckeye Brownies

1 (6 ounce) packages semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (8 ounce) jars creamy peanut butter

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

19 1/2 ounces brownie mix

Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan according to package directions. Let cool.

Mix powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter and peanut butter. Mix well and spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour.

Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Spread over brownies. Let cool; cut into squares.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 (16.5-ounce) rolls refrigerator chocolate chip cookie dough (keep refrigerated until needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed; set aside. Slice cookie dough rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange slices from one roll on bottom of a greased 9- x 13-inch glass baking dish; press together so there are no holes in dough. Spoon cream cheese mixture evenly over dough; top with remaining slices of cookie dough. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden and center is slightly firm.


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