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Showing posts from June, 2009

Lemon Bundt Cake

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Something nice today on this posting. My last couple of postings have been on the heavy and serious side. When I renewed my blog postings about a year ago I made a conscious effort not to be too political or to complaining in my posts. I'll be honest and say it has been a struggle but I think there are more than enough political and complaint blogs. While I cannot totally avoid politics or complaining, I think I have maintained a mostly positive blog that is enjoyable to me to write and for others, who are interested in my little corner of the world, to read. Thus, it is with great joy that I share one of my favorite recipes with you. This is my recipe for Lemon Bundt Cake. It is not my original recipe but of all the recipes that I have tried for lemon cake, I have found it to be the best. It stays moist, freezes well, and gets the most compliments when I share it with friends and neighbors. I got the recipe from the Internet via Woman's Day magazine. It is as follows: L

AARP TV: Stonewall 40 Years Later

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Thus began the gay liberation movement in this country. This video is for my gay friends who are still in the closet, ashamed of who they are and thus permitting the oppression of the GBLT community of which they belong. Wake up my friends! Do not be afraid. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. The world will not end if you come out as who you are. If you do nothing else in your life, at least have the courage to be honest with yourself and your friends, family and co-workers. Do not ask me to enable you to stay in the closet. If you are ashamed of your association with me because I publically identify myself as gay, then perhaps you should discontinue your friendship with me because your lie is more important than your friendship with me. I will not assist you in condoning your self-hatred as a gay person. It is your choice.

A Day at the Beach

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Today I decided to visit the beach in Rehoboth Beach. I live so close but rarely go to the beach. One of the reasons is that I am susceptible to a precancerous skin condition so I don't lie on the beach anymore seeking that sexy, healthy tan. But I do love breathing in the sea air and walking the boardwalk on a beautiful summer day like today. On my way in I took along some of my neighbor's backyard vegetable bounty to deliver to a friend who has a place in Rehoboth Beach. This is a friend that I had dinner with last night. When I arrived, I noticed that he was edgy. Something was on his mind. It didn't take too long to find out when I asked to take a picture of him and his friend. He was angry and demanded "Why do you have a blog? Why do you do it?" I could see he was very agitated. What was his problem? I soon found out. His picture was on my blog. Now why is this a problem? He said he thought my blog was only read by a few of our friends, he didn't k

Saturday Night Dinner With Friends

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The past two weeks I've been a hankering for either a char grilled hamburger or Eggplant Parmesan. Since Bill (my partner) doesn't like to eat out, I have to persuade some of my very small (and select) circle of friends to go out with me. I've tried eating by myself (and have done it many times) but it's not the same as enjoying a night out with friends dining. Tonight I got lucky. My longtime friend Ed (since high school ) came down from his home in Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with another friend at his place in Rehoboth Beach. They usually go out to eat on Saturday night. I invited myself along. One has to be aggressive in these matters sometimes. We had a very pleasant night at a local restaurant in Rehoboth Beach (Zorba's) that welcomes the gay crowd but is open to all. That the restaurant is "open to all" I found out quickly when, while waiting for my friends outside Zorba's, I watched as two dads unloaded three kids and a two month

Glorious Summer Days

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Yesterday was a glorious summer day. Today is starting out to be another wonderful, carefree lazy, hazy day. After a very rainy spring I'm ready to indulge myself in summertime. I love all the seasons living down here in this southern most county of Delaware but I especially enjoy the long summer days. Waking up to the sun at around 6:30 in the morning and not seeing the sun set until 8:30 or so in the evening is almost the ultimate luxury to me. What's even better I don't have to get in my car or board a plane and travel long distances to soak up summertime. I'm right here in the heart of the east coast summertime vacation destination for the Washington D. C. crowd as well as travelers for the nearby state of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. As I often tell guests at the hotel where I work the front desk, living here in Delaware in the Milton/Lewes/Rehoboth Beach area I feel like I'm on permanent vacation. However, there is one downside to liv

Governor Mark Sanford

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Yet another conservative Republican "family values" politician from the Bible Belt fell from grace yesterday. South Carolina governor Mark Sanford emerged from his lie that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. At a dramatic, rambling, impromptu press conference in the hallways of the state capital in Columbia yesterday he confessed that he was really in Argentina with his paramour. With the bizarre backdrop of some giggling teenage girls behind him, he admitted that he was unfaithful to his wife. He admitted that instead of taking a solitary hike through the Appalachian Mountains to clear his head after a tough legislative session, he was instead in Buenos Aries, Argentina, in the arms of his "dear friend" Maria. Affairs of the heart happened. I understand that. Lord knows I've had a few myself. Where the difference is that Governor Mark Sanford is a public figure. He is a conservative Republican politician who espouses "family values." When he

Another Day Ends

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As I was getting ready for my daily walk at the end of the day, I looked to the for horizon and saw this wonderful sight of the sun shining rays through the clouds. That's what I love about living where I do, out in the open. In Pennsylvania I lived in the middle of the woods, which has its advantages but one of the big disadvantages was that I never saw a sunset. Oh how I missed seeing sunsets. For the twenty five years I lived at the Crawford Road property the only way I could see a sunset was through a forest of trees. What sold me on this property was its position to see sunsets. In November of 2005, as I was leaving Delaware, I stopped at this Ryan Homes development on the east side of Route 1 to check the available properties for sale. At the sales office I saw a corner lot on the map. I asked if I could see it. Jerry, the sales representative, told me how to get to it. It was about 5:30 pm. I had to rush to the lot before it got dark. As I arrived at the lot the sun was

Car Repairs

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It's late and I'm way past my bedtime but I did want to get this post in. Early this morning Bill and took a ride down to The Garage. A place I've been visiting a lot lately with my ten year old red Subaru Forester. My Check Engine light came on again. I figure I better get this checked out. Fearing the worst (that I would need a new catalytic converter) I turned the keys in at the front desk at The Garage (don't you just love that name for the garage that I go for automobile repairs?) Half an hour later I got the verdict. I know I'm screwing this up but it had something to do with my spark plugs and the "knock"? Anyway, it wasn't the catalytic converter. I still have to put the car in for repairs but the cost will be a third less than I was anticipating. I take the buggy in tomorrow and drop it off to get it repaired. Then I'm ready for the next unexpected financial expense. I have found one thing to be true since I've retired, expect

Missing My Monday Nights

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This is the second Monday night I'm not working a the hotel. I don't work next Monday night either. I was asked to fore go these Monday nights so a co-worker could have the Fourth of July weekend off so she could spend time with her son before he ships out to Iraq. I'm always willing to help and being flexible with my work schedule was one of the offers I made to my employer when I first applied for the job of part-time front desk clerk way back in April of 2007. I knew there was a need for flexibility for the position I was applying for. I found that out when I worked at the Hampton Inn as a part time night auditor back in 1998. I was frequently asked to fill in for my co-workers which I was glad to do. This is the longest stretch of time that I'm not working at the hotel. By the time I go back to work on July 2nd I will have been away from the job for three weeks. The most I've been away before was a week and half. Even with that short layoff I noticed that

Father's Day 2009

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April 18, 1920 my Father was born in the hills of western North Carolina. His name was Isaac Walter Tipton. He was named after his maternal grandfather, Isaac Ledford Lewis. His middle name of "Walter" was taken from the doctor who delivered him. My grandmother named the middle name of most of her sons after the doctor who delivered them. My Father was born and brought up in an Appalachian community, or as it is more commonly known, "hillbilly country." He and his parents and eight of his brothers moved to southeastern Pennsylvania in the late 1920's to seek a better way of life. The family was hired as migrant farm labor on my grandfather's brother-in-law fruit and vegetable farm near Unionville, Pennsylvania. Two more of his brothers were born in Pennsylvania, for a total of eleven Tipton boys to pick the fruits and vegetables on their Uncle Don Byrd's farm. My father met my Mother when he was 19 years old (she was 16 years old.) It was love at f

Keeping it Real

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Recently, a friend and regular reader of my blog sent me an e-mail with a link to an article about "Secrets of Productive Bloggers." Basically what the article said was that most of the productive bloggers make it up sometimes. Well, initially I took some offense to being sent that article. Was she insinuating that I make up some of my blogs? I don't mean to be too defensive but I'm here to tell you that anything you read on my blog is not made up. It is the whole, unvarnished, gospel truth. To me it's too hard to make things up. Anything that appears in this blog is the real deal. There is nothing artificial in this blog. Another friend of mine likes to write stories. He tells me he writes often about his childhood experiences but substitutes made up names for people and places. I asked "Why? Is someone going to sue you?" He says that John Updike did the same thing with his novels. Maybe that's what the famous writer John Updike did, but if I

Bird Rescue

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About an hour ago while I was doing some yard work out back I noticed that the Purple Martin house was very quiet. That usually indicates a problem. I looked up and saw the Taliban House Sparrow barrel out of one of the gourds. He’s back. I went over and pulled down the Purple Martin house (as I have done many times this spring) and checked all the apartments. All apartments had either baby Purple Martins, eggs, and one had Mom sitting on her eggs (she wasn’t disturbed by me.) In one of the apartments one egg was in the forefront. I felt it and it was cold. The nest in the back held four warm eggs. I took the cold egg out. I don’t know how it got to the front of the apartment but it obviously was abandoned. I checked both gourds. One held a neat nest which was obviously the former swallow nest. The other gourd was stuffed with just about every kind of weed and trash that you can imagine. That’s a Taliban Sparrow nest. I checked it for eggs. None were there…..yet. I left the nest.

Then There Were Four

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First thing when I returned home from Pennsylvania yesterday was check my bluebird box. Ah ha! As I suspected, it now contained four perfect blue oval eggs. The second batch of bluebirds is on its way! The Purple Martin house is fully occupied with Purple Martins raising their young. One of the other bluebird houses is occupied by a swallow and her four perfect white eggs, which will hatch any day now. The house sparrows have found nesting places on nearby properties because I see them all around. I saw several dozen flitting about in their normal raucous activity as I took my walk a few nights ago. All is well in the bird habitat in our little corner of the world here on the Delmarva peninsula.

Golden Anniversary Class of 1959

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The DHS Class of 1959 50th Anniversary Portrait Last night at this time I was sitting on a folding chair in the middle of Walter E. Kottmeyer Stadium in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The occasion was the Commencement Program for the Downingtown High School West Campus class of 2009. I, along with seven of my classmates from the Downingtown High School Class of 1959 were the Golden Anniversary Class and guests of the current DHS Class of 2009. Tonight as I type this blog, another ceremony is being conducted for the Downingtown High School East Campus class of 2009. Although I was invited (and I said I would attend), I opted out. While I enjoyed last night's ceremonies, I didn't want to repeat sitting out in the cold breezy evening with only my yellow shirt for warmth. If I was smart I would have worn a suit or a sport jacket (which I don't possess) but I thought the evening would be warm. I actually debated wearing a short sleeve shirt of a jersey. Boy I'm glad I didn&

The Class of 2009

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Well, here I am at my Mom’s in Pennsylvania. I arrived this afternoon to attend tonight’s Downingtown High School’s class of 2009. Each year the graduating class invites the class celebrating their 50th anniversary as guests to their graduation. I am a member of the DHS Class of 1959 of fifty long years ago. It is a cliche but it hardly seems like fifty years. I know that all of the members of tonight’s graduating class don’t realize how fast the next fifty years will fly by. They will find out, oh will they ever. I wasn’t sure how to dress for tonight’s occasion. So I wore tan Docker pants and a yellow Eddie Bauer shirt. I considered a suit but thought that would be too much clothing on a summer night. Oh was I ever wrong. First of all, tonight was overcast (thank goodness it didn’t rain because we were sitting outside in a football stadium) and chilly. The temperature hovered around 58 degrees. Five members of my class also attended tonight’s ceremonies and were dressed in suits.

Ah One and Ah Two!

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My resident bluebirds have begun their second batch. Yesterday the first egg was laid. This morning another pastel blue egg was added to their neat nest. By the time I get back Thursday I expect to see two more additional eggs in their nest. Tomorrow I'm going to Pennsylvania to visit my Mom and attend the graduation ceremonies for the DHS Class of 2009 as a 50th anniversary guest. In a way I really don't want to go because I love my home here in Delaware so much I hate to miss even one day. But I do have some business to take care of in Pennsylvania and I would like to attend that graduation ceremony. There is only one time that I have the opportunity to be a 50th anniversary guest (DHS Class of 1959) and I don't want to pass up the opportunity. I'll take pictures and maybe even a video or two. We'll see. I just hope this isn't a bust and I'm viewed as some ancient fossil. Actually, I don't care if I am. I just think it will be interesting. Of cou

Video of Bill and swallows mowing lawn

Bill mowing the lawn this afternoon with the swallows following him look for a meal.

Lazy Sunday

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"Stormy", my friend Big Bob's cat Today is another overcast day on the Delmarva Peninsula. No complaints from this quarter. After the past two years of almost no rain during the spring and summer seasons, the farmers of the area are finally getting a decent growing season. Everything is so fresh and green. While it would be nice to have more sun, this isn’t a bad trade off. We have still gotten enough sunny days for my tan to return. My tan, that’s ironic. All the years I laid out in the sun trying to get a tan and it never worked. I never lay out in the sun now and in fact, try to avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, lest I reactivate my precancerous skin cancer condition. I have yet to put my toes in the sands of any of the beaches here on the eastern coastal shore. The closest I came to a beach was last year when my brother John visited me from Greenville, South Carolina and he walked the beach (in his brown dress shoes yet.) I stood on the boardwalk a

Check Engine

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The actual picture of the message on my dashboard Right after I gassed up at the Wawa in Milford, I turned the ignition to my 98 Subaru Forester on and I immediately noticed something new on my car’s display behind the steering wheel. Two letter in orange glow that said “Check Engine.” Gee, I wonder what that means. Actually, I know what that means. That means I’ll probably have to put out some more bucks on my faithful Subaru. I guess I should count by blessings because I have over 113,000 miles on my car. This is the absolute first time I’ve seen that message. To be honest, it’s a message that I didn’t want to see. Reading my Subaru handbook, it tells me there are two possible reasons for the “Check Engine” message. One is the emission controller is shot (catalytic converter.) The other is that I didn’t put my gas cap on correctly and that the “Check Engine” message will go away all by itself after a few more drives. I’m hoping for the second reason. I don’t need any more proble

Thoughts on a Late Spring Night

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Ronald Walter Tipton, Downingtown High School Class of 1959 After a good day at work, things fell apart at home this evening. Bill came in from mowing the lawn (which has to do every three days with the weather we're having down here on the Delmarva peninsula) and I told him he was "stinking." I guess I could of been more diplomatic (you think?) but I apparently wasn't thinking. Why Bill got mad was that he had just taken a shower but apparently was wearing the same shirt that we was wearing when he mowed the lawn. He wasn't really "stinking" but did smell of sweat. As I age I am losing some of my faculties but one that I have not lost is my sense of smell, much to Bill's displeasure. I apologized to Bill but he's mad and probably won't speak to me for a while. That's how he deals with his anger. I sometimes lose my temper but I quickly get over it. Bill is different. I hurt his feelings and it will take him a while to get over it. T

New Bluebird Nest!

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New bluebird nest Purple Martin eggs We have a new bluebird nest! After a delay of about ten days, mama and papa bluebird have built a new, neat nest. The bluebird pair is apparently the same because the Biggest Bluebird I’ve Ever Seen, is again perched atop the bluebird box. Of course there were a few forays into the bluebird box by the errant house sparrow but the Biggest Bluebird I’ve Ever Seen quickly took care of that unwelcomed intruder. In a day or two I expect to see four small blue bluebird (what other color would they be?) eggs in the new bluebird nest. In about a month the new baby bluebirds will be grown and out exploring their new world just like their sisters and brothers are doing now. The swallows have built a nest in one of the other bluebird houses. Their pure white eggs are nestled in another neat nest lined with white feathers. It’s interesting that each bird has its own unique nest. The Purple Martins don’t build so much of a nest as th

Plants or Travel?

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Me at Pepper's greenhouse in Milton, Delaware One of my two new raised flower beds Yes, I purchased more plants today. I wasn’t planning on buying more plants but when Bill and I were at Lowe’s this morning, I saw forsythia plants at a price that I couldn’t pass up. After I purchased the forsythia plants, the floodgates were opened to filling my cart. I couldn’t leave Lowe’s with a half empty cart. I also purchased a variegated barberry bush, a burning bush and a couple sage herb plants. Then what did I do when I got home? I unloaded the plants and then took off to Peppers to buy some annuals for color in my new raised flower beds. So I’m thinking “Ron, aren’t you spending a lot of money on plants?” I answer “ Yes, you are Ron.” Then I asked myself “What would you rather do – spend a couple thousand dollars taking a trip or spend a couple hundred dollars stuffing my backyard with plants?” The answer was easy, the plants won. I haven’t traveled since 9/11. The la

Backyard Update

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Swallow peeking at me from her nest . Swallow eggs in birdhouse. Here is the latest on my backyard bird sanctuary (except for the house sparrows.) The bluebirds have built another nest in the same bluebird house. The first crop of baby bluebirds are now on their own, now it’s time for the second batch of new bluebirds. Last year the bluebirds also raised two batches in this same bluebird box. I'm happy to say it looks like a repeat performance this year. This year for the first time, swallows have taken up in one of the other bluebird houses. Their pictures are featured on this blog. There is also a swallow nest in one of the two gourds hanging from the Purple Martin house. Last year the only swallow nests were on my neighbor’s porch. They built a mud nest right over his front door. While it was cute and interesting to watch the baby swallows grow, the mess they made wasn’t too cute for my neighbor’s company. This year my neighbor took down the hook the swa

No More Blizzards

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The past couple of weeks Bill and I started a new habit of visiting the local Dairy Queen in Lewes and ordering a Blizzard. To be specific, we ordered a Banana Cream Pie Blizzard. After yesterday we decided to end that short lived habit. Sure, the Bizzards are good. In fact they are delicious. However, they must have about 5,000 calories because after we devour one of these Blizzards we’re not hungry for at least the next 24 hours. I guess that's what happens when you receive your minimum caloric requirements for the next week. It was a nice little tradition while it lasted. We got out of the house, took a pleasant ride through downtown Lewes and slurped our Blizzards watching the fisherman and boaters play at Breakwater Junction in Lewes. We can still take our ride and watch the scenery in Lewes, but we will have to do it sans the calorie laden Blizzard. Yesterday was a wonderful sunny mild day here in southern Delaware. Bill and I headed off early for Loew’s to pick up ten b

Good Neighbors

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As I was leaving for my daily walk through the Oyster Rocks development Bill asked me “Don’t you want to take your camera?” Anyone who knows me personally knows that I almost always have my Canon Powershot A560 digital camera strapped across my chest. It was late and would be dark soon and I didn’t think there would be many opportunities to take any pictures. But, as I have learned from past experience, that one time that I didn’t take the camera with me was the one time an opportunity presented itself for a unique picture. I asked him to get my camera for me. Bill got my camera and handed it to me as I exited our garage to being my daily walk. As I walk down our driveway who do I see but my neighbor Bob walking his dog with his house guest for the weekend. As Bob introduced me to his friend (Gene), I asked if I could take their picture. I told Bob this would be the “June” picture of the photo calendar I have made every year as gifts to my friends. Bob and his friend Gene graciously

Reflections on a Rainy Friday Afternoon

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Yesterday was cloudy. Today a gentle rain falls. While the rain is good for the local farmers it isn’t helping my energy level to do something around this house. Gray skies and rain has a way of doing that to my mood. While I like to hear the rainfall on the side of my house and watch the rivulets of water running down my windows, it doesn’t encourage me to attack my storage room downstairs in the basement and finish unpacking the boxes I moved down here in November 2006. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I still have unpacked boxes from our move from Pennsylvania almost 2 ½ years ago. I have to wait for the mood to hit me. That hasn’t happened yet. I don’t have to go to work at the hotel until Monday so I have the whole weekend off. Unfortunately, rain is forecast for the next five days. Bill and I just about have the two new raised flowerbeds ready to be filled in with dirt. We will have to put that on hold until clear skies appear again over our southern Delaware skies. I also wor

The Gently Falling Rain

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It is near midnight, the rain is falling gently outside and I sit at my computer typing my blog for the day. Earlier today I was complaining about the cloudy and rainy weather but I take that back now. Sure, Bill has to mow the lawn every three days now but this rain is wonderful for the area farmers. Since we moved to Delaware in November of 2006, the area has suffered from a drought. It was so sad the last two summers to see fields of corn withering and drying up because of the lack of rain. Not so this year. The corn, soybeans and wheat are flourishing. And, as Miss Martha says, “That is a good thing.” Even so, the gray skies this morning sapped all the energy out of me. I wanted to finish up building my two raised flower beds that border our backyard. Instead, I watch one of the DVD’s I had from Netflix. It was called “Yossi and Jagger.” The story was about two gay Israeli soldiers. The movie was interesting but it ended in death and sadness. I’m ready to see a gay themed movie

The Three B's

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Bob, Bob and Bill, are the Three B’s I had dinner with last night. I had to redeem myself from the Dinner Disaster of last week with Bill, Bob and Jay. Dinner last night was a success. The only missing ingredient was our friend Jay, who returned to his home in Landisville, Pennsylvania. I’ll make it up to him the next time he drives his new Subaru Imprezza through the flat coastal plain that is Sussex County, Delaware. The menu was very simple last night – Swiss steak, Smashed Potatoes, and salad. For dessert we had Hawaiian Wedding cake. My Swiss steak recipe is a longtime staple of mine. I measure nothing when preparing this recipe. It’s a little different each time but always good. Last night was no exception. As is always the case with a gathering of old friends, it was a night of good conversation and gentle teasing camaraderie. Sometimes it is best to have a meal at home instead of fighting traffic to get to a restaurant to face uncertain service and a roll of the dice for f

Dinner Disaster

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Last week I had a few friends over for dinner. It was a disaster. Here is what happened. I wasn’t really in the mood for preparing a big dinner. I was more in the mood to do yard work because it was such a beautiful day outside. So, I got sloppy. I decided to make Fettuccine Alfredo. My first mistake was I didn’t cook the fettuccine long enough. They were like rubber bands. I should have set the timer so I would know when the pasta was done. I don’t think I have ever set a timer on cooking pasta. I usually check by eye. This time it didn’t work. My second mistake was that I didn’t have heavy whipping cream. I thought I could get by with using half and half. Well folks, half and half had the effect of making milk soup. Yes folks, I made rubber bands with milk soup. But, I didn’t think my company would notice. Bill, my partner, is like Mikey…..he can eat anything. Our two guests are not known as gourmands. First up was the salad. That went well enough. Next up was the Fettuccine Alf