This winter has been pure hell. It has driven those who live in the northeast, including myself, inside.

Everyone’s electric bills and heating bills are way above last year’s totals. So, in keeping with the rest of the winter weary, I turned to various electronic devices to keep myself amused.

I used to read books all winter, waiting for spring. I still do, but the lure of all that amusement that electronics promised was just too much of a temptation to ignore.

Any form of electronics has always mystified me. But this winter, I just had to unravel the mystery of these various forms of entertainment.

I sat down to watch television. I looked at the three different remotes next to my chair.

There was the remote to turn on the cable box. This remote required the pushing of two buttons. It took several reminders from my ever-patient husband that I had to push two buttons on this remote to actually achieve getting both picture and sound.

There was one for the TV itself, which often got lost in the cushions of the couch until I realized that I needed it for volume to watch something called Netflix.

Now, to get to Netflix, a laptop had to be hooked up to my TV.  I also had to find the mouse connected to the computer to watch Netflix.

Home alone, I thought it would be simpler to watch a DVD. It was simple once I figured out that the DVD player was controlled by the remote I hadn’t had the pleasure of touching yet.

I found that this activity actually took all of the three remote controls.  I finally figured them all out.

I watched all of the seasons of Friends to get through most of February and some of March.  So then I was back to watching TV.  Look-back is wonderful feature, as is recording shows. Ask me any question about Castle and I can probably answer it.

Of course, there was a computer in my house.  I moved to it to amuse myself further, since the winter from hell continued. I somehow disconnected myself from Facebook.

I got a phone call in the midst of my panic.  The man on the phone claimed that my computer had all sorts of evil viruses.  I spent too much time and way too much money getting back onto Facebook.  When I finally did, I had no friends and couldn’t play any games!

I felt like and sounded like a 5-year-old on the phone with a gentleman who was guiding me back to both. He probably would have been more understanding of a 5-year-old. I did get my computer life back after pushing every button on the machine and asking any passing saints to bestow the blessing of understanding my way.

So now I have my computer, my television, my DVR, and Netflix mostly figured out. My next miracle will be to submit these musings via e-mail.

My son and my husband have both explained this process to me more times than I care to mention here. I know I am going to ask again. My son has moved away now. My husband will stand behind me and explain it yet again.

Someday, I will learn all of the tricks to computers and television but, by then, it will be a lot warmer. I will be back on my mower, mowing things I shouldn’t, and chasing rabbits that, having heard about my mowing issues, will be running for cover.

By the time the winter rolls around, the buttons for the television will be either lost or out of battery power. My e-mail address and password will be forgotten again.

Of course, by next winter all of the technologies will be changed.  But, for now, I can still read a good paperback without any technology.

I know about the Kindle and eReader, but I have to have some amusement that doesn’t involve electronics!  My next project is understanding my cell phone.

Please don’t call me if you see me out mowing! I will mow down rabbits and unsuspecting neighbors. If you see me out, call me on my landline and leave a message. We will all be much safer that way.  See you all out there on your mowers. Peace, love, and rock and roll.

Recently, I have been out and about for various functions.  These functions were for various occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and other social gatherings.

These were different social sets; some were family some were friends.  Some were at private homes; others were at facilities, like hotels. I attended these functions and thought of the recent headlines that obesity is a growing health issue in America.

There are several topics that have been discussed in the media. One topic is the size of the portions one receives in restaurants.

Now restaurants are required to list calories next to whatever is being ordered. Does anyone change her mind after reading the caloric content?

I want what I want and order to my preference not what the calories are. But I often end up bringing home over half of it because it is simply too much.

I have come to dislike functions that involve buffets because there is simply too much food. Whose job is it to figure out portions?

Do they figure that an 85-year-old woman is not  going to eat as much as a 19-year-old boy? No, they charge the same amount for the whole party.

There are people in the world who eat all they can simply because the food is there. I often look at a large person and put my fork down so I won’t look like them. Health laws state that, once the food is put out, it can’t be sent home.

I have gone to several home parties where there has been way too much food.  I know how that host feels because I always, always made too much food for the number of guests attending whatever event.

But it seems like more and more people are eating it just because it’s there. The same thing happens with alcohol, especially if it’s free. Open bars at weddings seem to be more common now.

Older generations had receptions at home. They ate Aunt Whoever’s pot roast and called it a party. Now people hire a three-ring circus and resurrect the Beatles.

My frugality is showing here. Birthdays, weddings, baby showers, any rite of passage is supposed to be about the age reached, the love, or the new member of the family. This is being lost in all of the hoopla.

Get back to the basics. Put the plate or glass down. Use those hands to hold the hands of loved ones. Remember that memories can’t be bought but can be experienced when the food is put away, the drinks are gone, and the music has faded.

That said, when I have my next gathering, I am sure I’ll have a pig roast and open bar for a gathering of six people for a Sunday picnic. Peace, love, and rock and roll.

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