TROPICAL LIVING IN THE FLORIDA KEYS - FALL/WINTER 2022
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FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, It’s officially fall in the Florida Keys, with winter right around the corner. Well, as close as we can get down here with the 60- or 70-degree days that are the envy of the rest of the country. As our nearshore waters cool off, island dwellers begin to spend just a little less time on the water, which means more opportunities to enjoy our own homes and yards – and dare I say, complete a few “projects?” With that in mind, Keys Weekly is proud to present the 2022 Fall/ Winter edition of our Home & Garden Magazine. This edition is stuffed full of ideas to kick-start any interior design-oriented brain – and lend a hand to those of us not blessed with such innate talents. From Destin Barkley’s tips for a pro-grade gallery wall to Annie Briening’s guide to building a brilliant bar cart or Irene de Bruijn’s spotlight on upscale pet-oriented furnishings (Bark-itecture, get it?), we’ve got project ideas to fit all sorts of imaginations and budgets. For the true art appreciators in the crowd, enjoy a deep dive with Mark Hedden into boat-and-wire master craftswoman Lauren McAloon’s story, or take a gander at the patriotic woodwork of Tavernier-based concealment cabinet builder John Ribble. If you’re looking to add something new to your home, check out Chris McNulty’s suggestions to find a piece that resonates with your zodiac sign. For a cozy night in, snuggle up with one of Karen Newfield’s recommended fall reads as you work through a bowl of Stephanie Mitchell’s favorite “soup season” creations. Or if you’re headed out – and by “out” we mean “out of the islands” – make sure to read Erin Stover Sickmen’s tips to avoid coming home with lots of explaining to do when you talk to your bank. And speaking of dollars and cents, be sure to check out some of the WILD finds our staff and friends have come up with from the treasure trove we call the curb in the Florida Keys. Whatever your fall and winter plans are, welcome back “home.” We’re glad you’re here. So throw on some music (just see page 8) and feel free to get inspired. Sincerely, Alex Rickert, Editor
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Publisher Britt Myers email@example.com Managing Partner Jason Koler firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director Stephanie Mitchell email@example.com Art/Design Irene de Bruijn firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Alex Rickert email@example.com Director of Sales Manuela Carrillo Mobley firstname.lastname@example.org Account Executives Stephanie Mitchell email@example.com Patti Childress firstname.lastname@example.org Jill Miranda Baker email@example.com
14 20 24
Staff Writers Mandy Miles firstname.lastname@example.org Jim McCarthy email@example.com
Production Manager Anneke Patterson firstname.lastname@example.org
Art/Design Javier Reyes email@example.com Travis Cready firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Administrator Char Hruska email@example.com Contributors Maison Benitez, Annie Briening, Mark Hedden, Christopher McNulty, Karen Newfield, David Sloan, Erin Stover Sickmen.
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Published MMXXII The Weekly Newspapers 9709 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, FL. 33050 305-743-0844 Key West office 5450 MacDonald Ave. No. 5 Key West, FL. 33040 305-453-6928 Tavernier office 91760 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 305-363-2957
FILL YOUR HOME WITH MUSIC OMG sets the tone HAPPY HOUR IS CALLING Make it happen at home COFFEE FIRST, Then displays and boats FURRY FRIENDS Make them feel right at home GREAT WALL The dos and don’ts of a perfect gallery wall SOUP SEASON Classic Midwestern recipes WHAT’S MISSING? Home items you need based on your sign FALL IN LOVE With a great romance QUALITY CRAFTSMAN Quality products THE BIGGEST LUXURY? It’s YOU. CHILD’S PLAY The haunted dollhouse at East Martello Museum YOU GOT THAT WHERE? Florida Keys street finds THINGS WE DO… Dumpster dive
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 7
HAPPY AT HOME PLAYLIST
Here at Keys Weekly Media, we are so much more than just your weekly newspapers. We’ve also taken on the role of musical curators for many of our magazines. SCAN TO LISTEN When it came time to create the playlist for our Fall/Winter edition of Keys Home & Garden we enlisted the help of our sister company Overseas Media Group (OMG) to create the perfect soundtrack for all your fall activities.
| Home & Garden
Whether it’s autumn cleaning, cooking with the windows open or finally relaxing in your yard WITHOUT the humidity, we think they’ve come up with some great selections to provide a soundtrack for this season. Listen, read and enjoy! The vibe: Self-care at home with chill tunes, or an instant boost to rock out while cleaning, organizing and getting things done before the hectic holidays arrive.
CHANGING LIVES ONE SMILE AT A TIME! From left to right: Dr. Hector Guzman D.D.S, Dr. David McDonald D.M.D Dr. Natalia Vazquez-Marrero D.M.D and Dr. Oscar Rodriguez D.M.D
2758 N. Roosevelt Blvd. (in the Overseas Market) • Key West 305.294.9914 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.docguzman.com keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 9
By Annie Briening
Top Shelf STYLING
AND WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO BUILD A BRILLIANT BAR CART
Bar carts have become a staple for homes of all sizes (not to mention the perfect opportunity to bring your inner “Mad Men” aesthetic into your space), they can be tweaked for any season, and are a favorite for year-round entertaining. Sometimes space can be a factor for your bar cart. You’ll want to keep it organized and stocked with your favorite essentials and bar tools — think decanter, shaker, ice bucket. Vintage bar accessories such as cocktail stirrers or picks will be sure to make a charming addition. The carts themselves can also be a fun way to show off your best-looking bottles. We have some bar cart ideas and tips to help you be stylish and organized while displaying your favorite glassware and home decor items that reflect your personal style.
| Home & Garden
ADD A TOUCH OF GLASS Choose glasses with texture and color to make a statement. Mix and match or go for a set to elevate whichever shelf you choose to add your favorite martini or highball glasses. FRESHEN UP Always leave space for something fresh like flowers or a plant. Coordinate all your bar cart accessories — plant babies included! Pro tip: Your favorite plant will match a bowl of fresh picked key limes perfectly. Or, ‘go green’ and add fresh herbs to have the perfect garnish right at your fingertips. MAKE THE MOST OF A SMALL SPACE Have your bar car double as a side table, or pair it with that beautiful mirror or vibrant piece of art you found at a local thrift store or yard sale. We all have that corner that we don’t know what to do with. Well, now you do. STYLE WITH THE SEASONS Festive bar carts set the stage for any season. Scented candles and holiday decor will really set the vibe and get your “spirits” in the spirit. CURATE BEAUTIFUL BOTTLES Liquor and wine bottles have become works of art in recent years. Consider curating a collection of your favorites, or some from a local distillery to display. We hope you find these ideas for your own personal bar cart just in time for happy hour.
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keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 13
By Mark Hedden
MODERN. ANCIENT. TIMELESS. & BOATS. ARTIST LAUREN McALOON - THROUGH TIME & SPACE
| Home & Garden
Lauren McAloon starts working in her studio most mornings a little after 6:30. She’d probably get there earlier, but she can’t get a con leche – large, no sugar – from Five Brothers before then. Her studio is on the second floor of the old armory building on White Street – the yellow, turn-of-the-last-century building with the turrets and the long skinny windows. It’s 300 square feet of space with a small number of work tables, a set of wooden shelves that reach like rickety skyscrapers towards the 16-foot ceilings and one not-particularly-stable chair. It’s a proper, busy artist’s space, stuffed with spools of wire, wooden hoops, pipe organ pedals, royal palm fronds, washed up pieces of coral, iron bed frames, ladders, colored glass balls, tree stumps, cigar boxes, barbed wire, string, fan chain pulls, scrap wood, a small army of foot-high hardwood posing as manikins, and a lone pink ballet slipper, still in its wrapping. What doesn’t fit on a shelf or table gets hung on the wall. There are also at least eight or 10 works in progress. McAloon works in short bursts, an hour or two a session, refining and reshaping a piece until she feels it is right. Occasionally a finished piece will end up in a group show, or on commission in a gallery. More often than not a red dot, indicating the piece is sold, will appear next to it before most people have a chance to lean in and see the price. Late in her morning, early in everyone else’s, she heads into The Studios of Key West, where she’s worked as the gallery and facilities manager since its creation in 2007, maintaining multiple buildings, managing improvements, and hanging up to four exhibitions a month with a deft sensitivity to the work that most artists describe with a giddy reverence. (She’s hung four of my shows. Before one opening, she repainted the same wall three times until she felt it was the right shade of gray to go with my images.) Boats and their parts have long been the predominant theme in McAloon’s work. Often her pieces will be a single vessel, usually elongated and narrow. Often they will look to be made of found pieces of driftwood, or carved chunks of unfamiliar minerals, though they are all actually ceramic, specifically high-fired stoneware. These pieces are usually combined with sheafs or loops of wire that suspend the boats’ hulls over an invisible sea. Her work tends to look simultaneously modern, ancient and timeless.
Lauren McAloon photo: Mark Hedden. Artwork photos: Lauren McAloon.
“The boats all started because I had clay, and I dropped it on the floor, and it was such an elongated shape, I was like, whoa,” said McAloon. “So then I started purposely flinging it. It’s basically my version of throwing vessels, or boats.” “I find the shape really sexy. Boat shapes, especially working boats, have references for journeys and travel and voyages and history. A lot of my work has a historical base to it. Immigration and migration — by choice or not — really pulls at me. With the boat shapes, I can use that shape and then manipulate it to then evoke what I’m thinking about,” she said. “I don’t like to use the word symbolic. I like to use the word reference. There are multiple layers to a lot of my works. For me, it’s important that they are just visually strong. But if you are the kind of person who likes to go deeper into something, there’s definitely layers and layers of meaning — to me — that most of the pieces have,” said McAloon. Sometimes there will be an array of vessels, repeated shapes that form visual chords and harmonies. Sometimes there will be improvised materials, such as an oar from a Cuban chug — a rustic, homemade vessel used by migrants – combined with, say, taillight covers from old American cars, and more ceramic vessels. “I was actually having a drink at a bar in town, and a bunch of people were talking about migrants and stuff like that. A guy came in, and he started asking me, ‘What’s with the boats, Lauren?’ And I said, ‘OK, everyone here, how did your family get to the U.S.? And it was, well my uncle came – or my great grandfather came – on a boat from Italy. The next person – by boat from Poland. And the next person, by boat from... by boat from... by boat from…” McAloon pointed out that unless you’re an American Indian or you and/or your family migrated more recently, your people most likely came by boat. “A lot of people, their history is rooted in someone making a decision to step onto – or being forced to step onto – a boat. To me that’s such a common thread. It’s amazing. Amazing,” she said.
McAloon herself arrived in Key West by car, on Christmas Eve in, she thinks, 1990, though maybe it was 1991. She and her husband Brendan drove from Portsmouth, New Hampshire after enduring the loss of five immediate family members in five years. “It got to the point where you just didn’t want to answer the phone anymore,” she said. They left Portsmouth when “everybody remaining sort of seemed healthy.” The plan was to work in Key West for a few months to earn enough money to head south to the islands. “We were totally expecting dirt roads. So we were driving into Key West and there’s the old Kentucky Fried Chicken,” she said. “We were like, ‘Oh my God, where’s a U-turn?’” They persevered, though, and made it to Full Moon Saloon that first night, then spent a week at the hostel for $13 a night. “And then we got off of Duval Street and into the neighborhoods and realized we really liked it,” she said. To get jobs, they realized they needed a phone. To get a phone, they realized they needed an apartment. So they rented one, where they stayed for close to 30 years. (Brendan passed away in 2016.) In New England, McAloon had mostly managed kitchens and worked as a cook on tugboats. (She had her Merchant Marine license.) She worked a number of jobs in Key West before she ended up running the fish department at the former Waterfront Market for 13 years, a job, she said, that actually prepared her for work at The Studios of Key West. “You had to really display things, it was important, so people could see the different things. But also, it all had to do with texture and color,” McAloon said. “It was the same as putting up exhibitions. You get 120 pieces by 120 different artists, and you want to make it so things relate to each other in some way, whether it’s color or subject matter. That there’s a flow through the space that’s comfortable for people. It was a good primer for all that,” she said.
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 15
McAloon came from a family of makers. Her father was a Bauhaus-trained architect who also designed and built sailboats. Her mother was a painter and illustrator who once worked for Joyce Ballantyne, the painter of pin-up girls, as well as the original Coppertone ad – the one with the dog tugging on a little girl’s bathing suit. McAloon said she made things her whole life, but mostly just to entertain herself. In Key West she created elaborate costumes for the Green Parrot Halloween Party, as well as a series of kites that hung on the ceiling of the old Bamboo Room on Appelrouth Lane. What she felt was her first real piece – or at least the piece that changed her trajectory – was a weathervane she’d created while taking a welding class at Florida Keys Community College (now The College of the Florida Keys). She’d slipped a photo of it – which was the silhouette of a dancing woman trailed by stars – under the door at Harrison Gallery and ended up in Sculpture Key West, an outdoor art show that used to fill Fort Zachary Taylor with sculptures for a few weeks a year. She became one of the stalwarts of the then-annual event. Her installation “The Gathering” at West Martello Tower, was inspired by the story of the three slave ships that were illegally en route from Africa to Cuba in 1860, but were intercepted by the US and brought to Key West. (This was before the current African Memorial was in place at Higgs Beach.) She’d been struck by the stories of how the town came together to clothe and feed the Africans that were aboard the intercepted slave ships. The installation included elements such as wind- activated aeolian flutes created from large bamboo trunks as well as blue glass bottles on the fence spikes, referencing a tradition she’d seen in the South where blue bottles surrounded graves or were hung in trees as a way to distract and trap evil spirits. A few years later her installment “Threshold” included 48 aeolian flutes – each one representing how many years, at the time, the United States’ Cuban embargo had been in effect. There were also a series of steel and iron rudders, salvaged from Cuban chugs, rising up out of the water onto the beach. It’s a work that people who saw it at the time still think about. “The rudders were brought to me from Fort Jefferson by the rangers out at the Dry Tortugas. I was still at the Waterfront Market at the time, and I would see the rangers coming in carrying another rudder that they had gotten. It took me five or six years to finally come up with a piece that really, I thought, respected those rudders. They have a pretty amazing energy to them,” she said. In the years since she’s had her own studio, McAloon’s work has gotten smaller in scale and more intimate. A large part of that has been space and time – the thing that has caused her to work in early one- or two-hour bursts. But all that will be changing soon. McAloon will be giving up both her role at The Studios of Key West in the coming months, as well as her 300-square-foot studio at the armory. She’s not leaving town, but moving to a 1,000-square-foot space on Stock Island, one that will allow her to work on larger, more complicated pieces. “I have no idea what’s gonna happen. I’m so used to working on my artwork in little snippets. I start spinning after that. It’s such a habit. To have full days, it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens. The last time I ever had that chance was for a period of about four weeks in 2005,” she said, then laughed. McAloon said she is also preparing herself to find new sources for con leche. She said there’s El Mocho on Maloney Avenue, but there’s also a new place that looks interesting on Third Avenue. “I’ve got enough ceramic pieces at this point to keep me busy for a while. There are also some larger pieces – that aren’t necessarily related to boats – that I’ve just really been champing at the bit to work on. And now I’ll have space,” she said.
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By Irene de Bruijn
By Irene de Bruijn
Pets may be the only ones who enjoyed the stay-athome mandates that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. They enjoyed more attention than ever while their humans worked from home all day. American pet owners spent over $103 billion on their animal family members in 2020. But plush beds, squeaky footballs, carpet-covered cat towers, catnip-filled fish and organic dog biscuits can only go so far. Fortunately, more ambitious and stylish pet products and furniture have arrived in the form of barkitecture. Check out this assortment of ingenious products designed with our poodles, Persians and perfectionist home decorators in mind.
Designer furniture for your fur babies? 20
| Home & Garden
Don’t listen to those people who frown on spoiled pets. If pampering your little prince or princess brings you joy, then why not fully embrace it?
Images from yankodesign.com, thisisurbanmade.com, lordlou.com, design-milk.com, acornoakleaf.com, freepik.com, etsy.com, unsplash.com and remodelandolacasa.com
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 21
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By Alex Rickert
THE RULES OF ORGANIZED CHAOS THEY MAY SEEM RANDOM, BUT THEY’RE NOT. THEY’RE MADE OF A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT PIECES, BUT SOMEHOW THEY ALWAYS FIT TOGETHER. AND SUBTLE VARIATIONS CAN DISTINGUISH A GREAT ONE FROM A DISASTER. Gallery walls, as they’re now known, seem to be popping up in nearly all rooms of homes across the country. The concept seems simple enough: take a bunch of different pieces of art, and assemble them in a defined space to create a collage-like effect. While the walls allow for a great deal of variety and creativity, subtle aspects of these creations help set some far apart from others. And when the details make the difference, it helps to have a pro on board. With that in mind, Keys Weekly enlisted the help of senior designer Destin Barkley to give us the 4-1-1 on the unofficial “rules” of gallery wall creation. Here’s what we learned:
In most cases, she said, “You’re definitely not creating a square with them. There are some gallery walls where people have pieces and make them exactly the same size and put them in a grid. It’s a very nice look, but most people prefer the more organic shapes.”
MIX IT UP, BUT KEEP THE THEME Having a variety of pieces, frames, or even types of art (think different media, 3-D or sculpted items) can add depth and intrigue to a gallery wall, but there needs to be a common theme. “People need to feel like you didn’t just pick every different type of art that’s out there and try to put it on one wall,” said Barkley. “The main thing is that they have some underlying theme that ties them together, whether it’s what the pictures are, the colors, the frames.”
AVOID THE HOLY WALL Unless you’re a paint and spackle enthusiast, put the hammer and nails away until you’ve planned out your design, taking time to play with different layouts and arrangements. Use the floor, purchase a gallery wall kit, or even use blank squares cut and taped to the wall to visualize your creation. “Start with your biggest piece, and then use your second biggest piece to counterbalance that,” Destin said. “It’s organized chaos, and it looks like you just randomly put them up, but there’s usually a lot of planning involved to make sure it looks thought out.”
| Home & Garden
Play with the layout, but don’t get so lost that you start to second-guess a look you like. “I think people overthink a lot of things,” said Barkley. “We’ll sit there and stare at it, and they’ll say, ‘I don’t know if it looks good.’ You’re probably overthinking it.” CONTAIN THE VARIETY Differences in your art pieces within the wall are usually a good thing – but don’t overdo it. “If you have a sleek black frame and then an ornate gold frame, those are never going to look right together,” said Destin. “As much as you want to mix them, they can’t be worlds apart.” Thankfully, these differences tend to sort themselves out naturally due to the creator’s preferences. “Most people, if you’re putting art on a wall, your home is either more traditional or more modern, so the art is going to be like that,” she said. WATCH YOUR WALLET, AND TAKE YOUR TIME According to Barkley, the “biggest mistake” she sees is when people are so eager to create gallery walls that they start without the proper ingredients to work with. Take your time collecting a variety of pieces that you can arrange all at once, rather than starting with a small group and attempting to expand one piece at a time. Art can get very expensive very quickly, especially for those who love higher-end pieces or want to incorporate custom frames. “If you shop around and you’re a savvy consumer, you can find really great deals on frames and art,” she said. “It gets expensive, so some people don’t purchase as much as they need and their walls look a little underfilled and underdone. They look empty, and you’re really trying to get that dramatic effect.” Destin Barkley is a senior interior designer with D’Asign Source in Marathon. A graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in interior design, she has spent the last 11 years working on the company’s design-build projects.
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 25
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE
Florida Keys Contractors Association
Monroe County requires all contractors to hold a State or Local Contractor's License (aka Contractor's License), Worker's Comp and General Liability insurance.
PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR HOME. ASK YOUR CONTRACTOR • Do you have a State or Monroe County License? • Do you have general liability and workman's comp insurance? • Are you familiar with Monroe County Building Regulations? • Will you pull a permit if my work requires it? • Have you done this type of work before? • Are you self performing the entire project? • Will you supply releases of liens for your subcontractors & suppliers? WORK THAT REQUIRES A LICENSED AND INSURED CONTRACTOR Electrical • HVAC • Plumbing • Roofing • Shutters Windows & Doors • Seawalls & Docks and more. Please call for more information.
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keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 29
By Stephanie Mitchell
SOUP’S ON! My favorite season is finally here — soup season! Growing up in the Midwest, this was the time of year when my dad took control in the kitchen and you knew soup-and-stew season was upon us. Every year in the Florida Keys, when the humidity subsides, we remember why we pay the big bucks to live here year round, I still get excited for an impromptu rainy day that keeps you indoors and gives you the best excuse to whip up the biggest pot of soup imaginable. It’s taken me years, but I finally have a stockpot that would make my dad — and quite frankly, an entire army — proud. Simmering and cooking in that pot makes me think of home every time, and you know my dad gets a picture sent to his phone whenever that pot appears. Missouri still flows through my veins. Ask any of my co-workers what their most-requested soup from my kitchen is and they all have a favorite. It doesn’t hurt that it’s all made with the same Midwestern love as my dad’s big batches of soup were all those years ago. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as the time of year.
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INGREDIENTS 2 ½ pounds of ground hamburger 2 white onions 6-8 cloves of garlic (1) 46 oz. can of tomato juice (2) 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce (1) 6 oz. can tomato paste (3) 15 oz. cans chili beans (3) 15 oz. cans black beans (3) 15 oz. cans navy beans 1 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 Tbsp. onion powder 1 Tbsp. chili powder 1 Tbsp. salt 1 Tbsp. ground pepper 1 large stockpot
MIKE’S MIDWESTERN CHILI DIRECTIONS 1. Sauté onions and garlic in your stock pot. Once translucent, add in your hamburger to brown. 2. Drain excess fat from your meat and begin to add in your rinsed and drained cans of beans. 3. Pour tomato juice and tomato sauce into your beef and bean mixture. 4. Add all dry ingredients to your pot on medium heat (these can be adjusted as your chili cooks to your personal preferences). 5. Stir occasionally and once your chili begins to bubble, reduce heat to low/simmer and cover. 6. Add in tomato paste by the spoonful to help thicken. 7. Stir occasionally over the next hour. 8. After the chili has the consistency you enjoy, ladle and add your favorite toppings.
LOADED BAKED POTATO SOUP INGREDIENTS 9 baking potatoes 2/3 cup butter 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 4 cups whole milk 2 cups chicken stock ½ tablespoon salt 1 tsp. ground black pepper 1 package of bacon (cooked and chopped into bits) 4 green onions, chopped 1 chopped white onion 10 oz. shredded cheddar cheese (1) 8 oz. container sour cream 1 large stock pot 2 cookie sheets Parchment paper DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 2. Put bacon on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and bake until crispy. Set aside. 3. Prick potatoes with a fork and place them on a cookie sheet, bake until fork tender, then remove from the oven. 4. Using a potholder to handle the hot potatoes, slice each down the middle and squeeze or scoop out the insides into a separate bowl. 5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté white onion until it begins to turn translucent. 6. Stir in flour and cook about a minute. 7. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly until thickened. 8. Stir in potatoes, salt, pepper, half of your cooked bacon, 2 tablespoons green onions and most of the cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated. 9. Stir in sour cream and heat through. 10. Top bowls with remaining bacon, green onions and cheese.
TOMATO BASIL SOUP INGREDIENTS 2½ pounds roma tomatoes, halved ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1/3 cup chopped carrots 4 garlic cloves, chopped 3 cups vegetable broth 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tsp. thyme leaves 1 loose-packed cup basil leaves, more for garnish Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until the edges just start to shrivel and the insides are still juicy. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tomatoes cut-side up on the baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 1 hour or until the edges just start to shrivel and the insides are still juicy. 2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, vegetable broth, vinegar and thyme leaves and simmer for 20 minutes. 3. Let cool slightly and pour the soup into a blender, working in batches if necessary. Blend until smooth. Add the basil and pulse until combined. 4. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread. keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 31
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By Chris McNulty
THE ZODIAC AT HOME Ideally, our homes are places where we can drop all of our social performances at the door and really be ourselves. The things that we fill our homes
ARIES As the fire sign that marks the beginning of Spring, Aries people are known for their energy to get things started, radical courage, and sometimes impetuous natures. My recommendation for our Aries rams is a FIREPLACE, FIRE PIT OR OTHER FIRE ELEMENT. Starting a fire allows an Aries person to feed their need to get things going, and better to start a fire than to start a fight. The constant dance of a flame creates external activity that can actually allow an Aries to relax, and every warrior needs a fire to curl up next to after a long day on the battlefield. TAURUS As an earth sign ruled by Venus, the planet of beauty and indulgence, Taurus is all about practical enjoyments and luxuriating in comfort. For our Tauruses, I recommend a SIMPLE, SOLID COFFEE TABLE so they can relax on their couch with accompanying snacks and a good book or Netflix show. Tauruses work hard and relax hard, and it is important to have everything within grasp once they get cozy. A simple coffee table that ties the room together perfectly fits their need for beauty and leisure.
with can either help or hinder this process for us; the items that surround us either allow our true natures to sing or inhibit our songs. As an astrologer, I believe that our Zodiac signs can help us ascertain the kinds of things we can put in our homes that help us to express our true purposes and live in resonance with our birth promises. While there are never any singular, one-size-fitsall prescriptions for any Zodiac sign, there are characteristics of each sign that can be nurtured by the choices we make in our home space. Here are my suggestions for each sign...
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GEMINI Always inquisitive with a mind spinning with curiosities, Gemini is an air sign ruled by Mercury, the planet of intelligence and communication. In our modern age, the perfect item in a Gemini home is a SMART SPEAKER that allows them to pose their questions to the room and get instant answers. The air in their home can instantly be filled with audio books, podcasts, news reports, or Wikipedia entries at the speed of their lightning-quick whims. CANCER Cancer is an emotion-centered water sign ruled by mother Moon, and a Cancer’s greatest superpower is to be an empathic caregiver. My home item recommendation for Cancer is a HOUSE PLANT OR 30. House plants gives Cancers a living being to pour their nurturing souls into and is a healthy outlet for their tendency for attachment, and the simple act of pouring water is soothing to these sensitive water signs.
LEO Ruled by the sun with birthdays around the height of summer, Leos have a reputation for theatricality and royal tastes. For these reasons, I think a CHANDELIER OR SIMILAR CENTRAL LIGHT FIXTURE is exactly what a Leo needs. Not only does it provide light for these entertainers to be seen, it provides a warm ambience and noble atmosphere for these fire signs. Feeling royal at home can keep Leos humble in public. VIRGO Virgos are born at the time of the harvest and are ruled by thoughtful Mercury. They are meticulous and purposeful in how they prepare for the future, and their motto is “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Because of this, I recommend PLENTY OF PRACTICAL SHELVING so they can store their necessities where they can see them. Graceful organization is a Virgo dream, and it deserves to be displayed. LIBRA An air sign ruled by lovely Venus, Libras are the ultimate hosts and are constantly aware of the harmony in their space. In order to facilitate their social balancing act, I think DECORATIVE MIRRORS are the perfect home pieces because they make a space feel larger when peopled with friends, can humor a Libra’s natural vanity, and let them keep an eye on the social dynamics within the space from multiple vantage points. SCORPIO Scorpios are known for their appreciation of shadowy motifs and taboo subjects because they were born in the middle of autumn, when life is going dormant in the northern hemisphere. In order to tend to their need for darkness and privacy, I recommend BLACKOUT CURTAINS for our Scorpios. Not only do they keep the pesky light of day out and allow piles of clothes to sustain their demon forms, they also tempt allday sexy time.
CAPRICORN Represented by the mythical sea-goat, success-driven Capricorns are always climbing a mountain of some sort. Ruled by Saturn, the planet of time and constraint, I think that every Capricorn deserves a GRANDFATHER CLOCK OR OTHER SIGNATURE TIMEPIECE in order to maintain their busy itinerary with style and authority. With a big clock chiming their schedules, perhaps our Capricorns can let their lighter, domestic sides out. AQUARIUS Aquarians live outside the boundaries of societal norms in some way or another, giving them a reputation for quirkiness and marching to their own drumbeat. With an orientation to the future and need for progressive change, I recommend SMART LIGHTING for their home — you know, the lighting that can change color and brightness. This home item will allow them to always have a different aesthetic environment to live in and offer a futuristic feeling. And as Aquarians tend to be the humanitarians of the Zodiac, the eco-friendly LEDs are an added bonus. PISCES As watery Pisces marks the end of the Zodiacal year and are always placed in the space between end and beginning, Pisceans are known for being dreamers, creators and mystics. What better way to catch their fleeting dreams and unleash their creativity on a whim than a CHALKBOARD WALL? A designated, signature space that can capture their feelings, visions and poetics may be just what our Pisces friends need to feel grounded.
SAGITTARIUS While Sagittarius season is the end of autumn and beginning of winter, it also represents the hopeful return of the light because it ends with the Winter Solstice. Ruled by Jupiter, the expansive planet of joy and adventure, Sagittarians would do well to have a WORLD MAP OR SIMILAR PICTOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW on their wall. Sagittarians need a constant reminder that there are greater exploits, a bigger world, and perhaps even possibilities for rebellion. keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 35
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By Karen Newfield
THE LEAVES DON’T CHANGE TOO MUCH IN OUR ISLAND CHAIN, BUT YOU STILL CAN ENJOY THAT PUMPKIN SPICE FLAVOR WITH THESE DELICIOUS FALL READS.
COZY BOOKS TO CURL UP WITH By Bonnie Garmus “Courage is the root of change — and change is what we’re chemically designed to do.” Elizabeth Zott proudly recites the mantra again and again. It is not her fault the world of the 1950s and ‘60s is a patriarchal society into which she does not fit. Zott is the ONLY female chemist at Hastings Research Institute and a career in chemistry is all she ever wanted. When Elizabeth unexpectedly falls in love (perfect chemistry) with fellow scientist Calvin Evans, the results are explosive. Elizabeth is hounded throughout her career by sexist superiors and chauvinist men. Threatened by and intolerant of her intelligence and beauty, they do whatever it takes to knock her down. Years later, Elizabeth finds herself as a single mother and host of a television series called Supper at Six. Using chemistry and cooking to influence women across the country, the show becomes a smashing success. Daring to change the balance of power, Elizabeth makes many people (men) uncomfortable with her candid commentary regarding women’s issues. This witty observation of history is one experiment you don’t want to miss. 38
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By Jasmine Guillory Running the family winery in Napa Valley is no easy task. Margot’s brother is the winemaker and when their beloved uncle dies, all business duties fall on her petite shoulders. A hard worker, Margot will do anything to prove her worth. After returning from a short business trip, she stops in at her friend Sydney’s quaint bar down the street. In walks Luke Williams, a new and sexy face in the familiar crowd. Their pairing leads to a long conversation, and upon leaving the bar, the only question is, “Your place or mine?” Following an unforgettable night, Margot arrives at work the next morning on cloud nine. She is shocked when her brother introduces her to their new employee, drumroll please … Luke Williams. What began as a sexy one-night stand becomes a confusing and tense workplace scenario. Surrounded by gorgeous rolling hills, mouthwatering bottles of vino and plenty of family drama, this fun flirty romance is the perfect blend for any happy hour.
By Dee Ernst Once upon a time Lucy Giannetti thought she had it all. As hotel manager of a ritzy New York establishment, Lucy was known throughout the industry as a savvy and detail-oriented executive who happened to be the girlfriend of the owner himself, Tony Fielding. She wore fine suits and lived in a luxurious suite, keeping her unyielding Italian parents and difficult brothers at arm’s length in New Jersey. When her entire life is turned upside down by scandal, she loses her career and all her savings. She’s left with nothing but a broken heart. Two years later, 49 and desperate for a new beginning, Lucy cautiously accepts a position managing Hotel Paradis in Rennes, France. Upon arrival, she finds a dilapidated chateau that hasn’t had a guest in over 80 years. A quirky group of tenants convince Lucy she is up to the task to renovate the hotel and her life at the very same time. Filled with the joy of second chances and everything charmingly French, this fast-paced romance is a DIY makeover for the heart.
By Sarah Adams Pop star sensation Amelia Rose, a.k.a. Rae Rose, has been enamored with Audrey Hepburn her entire life. Watching with her mom, the Hepburn movies were a soothing balm for tough times. Now she is running away from her glamorous life, desperate for a mental break before she actually has one. Amelia leaves Nashville and heads to Rome, Kentucky. It might not be the Rome of Audrey’s movies, but it’s the best she can do. When her car gets stuck late at night, a strikingly handsome stranger taps on her window. But Noah Walker seems less impressed with her fame and more annoyed by her vehicle’s disturbance of his precious front lawn. Noah cannot ignore his Southern upbringing and takes Amelia under his wing. As she learns to appreciate the simple things — making the perfect pancake — Noah must open his heart to the possibility that’s right in front of him. This cozy small town affair has all the ingredients of a perfect fall romance.
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 39
By Jim McCarthy
QUALITY CRAFTSMANSHIP DOWN SOUTH PATRIOT PUTS THE FUN IN FUNCTIONAL FURNITURE
Top to bottom: John Ribble showcases his concealment cabinets. Customizable challenge coin holder. Handmade cabinet.
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Inside his compact Tavernier workshop, John Ribble makes precise cuts as he begins to construct handmade wooden concealment furniture and cabinetry. Using all solid, natural wood, Ribble methodically assembles the cabinet from his work table. It’s followed by some careful hand-etching of stars for the American flag and some staining of the red and white stripes. With the final touches come several polyurethane coats. For Ribble, Down South Patriot wood craft company sprouted from a pandemic that presented him with time to pursue a hobby. Out of it came some passionate creations and a company that has exploded over the years. Ribble is a frequent visitor at gun shows in Tampa. As his brand has become known, orders have been flowing in by the month for birthday, anniversary and holiday gifts. With orders for customized cabinets emblazoned with a tarpon or a branch of military service also come growing demands for challenge coin holders that hang from the wall. An Air Force veteran, Ribble’s company hones in on quality craftsmanship and quality products. No veneers are used to make these products look high quality, and no particle board or pallet woods are ever used. Rather, Radiata pine, mahogany and other solid woods are utilized to create a quality concealment furniture piece that people can use to store items away from the naked eye. Concealment cabinets, such as the slimline framed art cabinet, can be hung on the wall like a picture frame. With a simple slide to the left or right, the picture opens to give people storage space for items they’d like to keep out of sight but close at hand. Other cabinets use a magnet for safe storage. Ribble also constructs sturdy coffee tables and end tables — they can hold 1,100 and 800 pounds of weight respectively — with storage sections that open via a small magnet. From American and Cuban flags to branches of military service, the art on Ribble’s cabinets and furniture can be fully customizable. All accessories, from blum hinges to drawer slides, are made in America. Even the stains and polyurethanes used are made in the U.S.A. “Our tireless efforts to source American made (if American made is unavailable, then American-ally made) materials will ensure that ‘Made in the USA’ is synonymous with the Down South Patriot brand,” he said. In addition to cabinetry and furniture, Ribble also constructs flag plaques, wine holders, challenge coin displays and fun quotable signs. People will find Down South Patriot featured on MammothNation.com and PublicSq.com. Visit downsouthpatriot.com or visit Down South Patriot on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.
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By Erin Stover Sickmen
LITTLE LUXURIES Occasionally pop culture hits right on the mark by naming and mainstreaming a concept we already love. Once in a rare while, that concept leaps ahead to become a standardized celebration. So it is with “Treat Yo’ Self Day,” which sprung from an episode of “Parks and Recreation” in which two characters chose to throw financial maturity out the window and indulge themselves every Oct. 13. While recognition of this fine holiday may not have spread much further than social media, the concept is already firmly ingrained in our, sometimes self-indulgent, American psyche. Got in a fight with your partner? You deserve that glass of wine. Got a promotion? By all means, your next paycheck should go toward that designer bag. While the excuse to frivolously spend money we don’t have isn’t a responsible path that I can recommend, the idea of micro-splurges is something I can absolutely embrace. Most of us grew up with some kind of reward system. Positive reinforcement. A gold star for the right answer. A sticker at the doctor’s office. Even cold, hard cash for straight As. As adults we have to structure, and underwrite, our own rewards. At a certain point in our lives, hopefully we’ve adopted this system into our hardwiring. It no longer has to be simple cause and effect. Instead, we learn how to integrate little treats into our day-to-day routines. So maybe nothing spectacular happened on this particular Tuesday, but you’re still a solid, functioning adult, so you deserve to skip cooking and order takeout. That raise you hoped for didn’t come through, but you’re out with a friend and found a perfect pair of shoes. Did I mention they’re 20% off? Yeah, go ahead. When we travel, everything is amplified. Meals taste better, vistas are more vivid and we take a hell of a lot more photos. We also give ourselves license to enjoy some upgrades we might not spring for on that random Tuesday. I’m not talking about falling into the ‘sunken cost fallacy,’ the phenomenon in which we continue to expend money, time or other resources simply because we’ve already invested so much. It’s an economic theory more casually defined as, “We already spent $2,000 on airfare, so why not splurge on the hotel’s best suite?” As you may have guessed, this line of thinking typically isn’t beneficial.
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The good news for those toeing the line between fiscal responsibility and a damn good time is that there is a viable middle ground. Like so many things in life, the answer is balance. Consider what you can realistically spend on your trip (without too much buyer’s remorse) and simply rearrange those funds throughout your day, or your trip. On the larger scale of the whole trip, I’ve often balanced hotel against airfare. Typically for me, hotel wins out and I book a better room knowing I’ll survive my economy middle seat to get there. Once, I swung the other direction and splurged for first class on a long-haul flight. That sleeping pod was worth every penny, and I arrived to find a perfectly suitable and charming hotel, in which I spent very little time. The idea of balancing luxury and restraint in travel has worked across the whole of my travel life. I’ve packed sandwiches for Disney World and had exorbitantly expensive cocktails at the Ritz in Paris. I’ve taken local buses in foreign countries and paid for Uber Black in my hometown when I just needed to relax. I’ve had front row seats for great theater in London and have sat in the outfield bleachers of MLB games. As someone who loves a good meal on a trip, though, the best example for me comes down to food. If I’ve allotted a certain amount for meals, I know I could eat at solid mid-tier establishments all day. Or, if there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant I’d love to try, I’ll grab a coffee-shop breakfast, followed by a food cart lunch before heading off to taste some celebrity chef’s culinary creations for dinner. The extra layer of good news in a decision like this is that I typically walk away with more than one great experience. I’ve had fabulous meals at some of the top restaurants in the world, but I also vividly remember eating a soft pretzel in Washington Square on a perfect fall day. The more expensive option isn’t always the more memorable, but it’s likely you’ll be thankful to have tasted both.
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By David Sloan
THE SMALLEST HAUNTED HOUSE IN KEY WEST It was almost midnight when Liam and Christa opened the door to the tiny house. They could barely stand without hitting their heads. A dozen dolls watched them as they placed the Ouija board on the floor and sat down facing each other on opposite sides of the board. Liam turned on the Spirit Box and asked if anybody was with them. After 30 seconds of silence, a faint voice came through the box. “Becky.” They placed their hands on the Ouija Board’s planchette, and it started to move. P-L-A-Y. Liam asked another question. “Did you die in here, Becky?” The house filled with the sweet smell of tobacco smoke. The planchette moved slowly to “no” and started vibrating. The energy in the house changed. Liam and Christa removed their hands from the planchette, but it continued to shake. The Spirit Box cracked with a new deep voice. “GO!” They didn’t need to be told twice.
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Size may matter to the living, but it seems to have little importance to the spirits who stick around after their human jackets turn to dust. The Edna Wolkowsky Dollhouse at Key West’s Fort East Martello Museum is not a house you would expect to be haunted. Yet, visitors regularly report encounters with the young spirits – more than a dozen – haunting the tiny structure despite no known records of children dying in the playhouse or in the Civil War-era fort that surrounds it. A sign in the quaint playhouse shares its storied past, starting with Key West businessman Isaac Wolkowsky building the house for his daughter Edna around 1920. Edna kept her dolls in the playhouse behind the Wolkowsky home at 407 South St., which became a favorite gathering place for the neighborhood children. The Wolkowsky family relocated to Miami in 1924, and the playhouse was passed on to another Edna – Edna Gato, their young neighbor at 1327 Duval St. Neighborhood kids continued to play there until 1949, when the Gato family home was sold to Eugene Martinez.
Martinez had no children, so he gave the house to his sister-in-law Solita McCarthy for his nieces Francine and Emilie to enjoy. The tiny house was trucked to their home at 1312 Reynolds St., where it remained for nearly a decade. When Solita McCarthy donated the dollhouse to Fort East Martello Museum in 1960, it wouldn’t fit through the fort’s doors, so a crane was used to lift the house over the fort’s thick brick walls. It brought with it a particular enchantment that continues today. But who are the playful spirits haunting the dollhouse?
One theory suggests the ghosts are residual hauntings — recordings captured in the ethereal plane of children who played in the house a century ago, still seen today, but unaware they are here. But interactions with the spirits indicate they are aware of their surroundings. They interact and play with museum visitors who venture into their hideout. The reports of sweet cigar smoke filling the house are telling, too. Edna Gato was the daughter of Eduardo H. Gato Jr. of Key West’s Gato Cigar empire. Many people believe Mr. Gato’s spirit is there to protect the children.
Adult spirits tend to prefer solitude. They are usually seen alone. But the ghosts of children are more often experienced in groups. It’s as if they understand there is safety in numbers. This could explain why dozens of children’s spirits are encountered here, even if the dollhouse only had a single spirit attachment when it was donated. But then there are the dolls. Tiny glass cases in the tiny little house host antique dolls of several designs and eras. They may have been added to the house by Curator Jeanne Taylor, who was an avid doll collector, but a March 1970 Miami Herald article indicates some of them were donated by America’s first female bank president – Mary Roebling, after she was enchanted by the playhouse while visiting Key West as a guest of David Wolkowsky at the Pier House Resort. Reports of dolls serving as
spirit vessels go back thousands of years to China and Egypt. Perhaps some wayward spirits were attached to Mary’s dolls and decided life in Key West wouldn’t be so bad. If this is true, it means Robert the Doll isn’t the first haunted doll to call Fort East Martello Museum home. But perhaps it is all just child’s play. David L. Sloan IV is an American author, publisher, artist, and producer in Key West, Florida, best known for his books about the Florida Keys and work in the paranormal field. Keep up with his haunted happenings on GhostKeyWest. com.
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 49
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It starts with a passing glance toward something on the sidewalk, something that looks too good to be trash. It continues with a quick reverse for further investigation. “Is someone really throwing that away? It looks brand new.” By then, we’re committed. Seduced by the thrill of a satisfying sidewalk find, we park our car or bike for closer inspection of one or more objects being discarded by others.
FROM TRASH TO TREASURE IN THE FLORIDA KEYS
STREET FINDS This intriguing chandelier was peeking out of its box on the side of Watson Street in Key West. I was on my way to see a friend, who had just bought a home down the street and dragged her back immediately to check it out. It now lives happily in the courtyard at her new place, where it has become quite the conversation piece.
Call it what you will — trash picking, sidewalk shopping, Dumpster diving, street sweeping — one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure in the Florida Keys. “Curb Alerts” are frequently posted on local social media pages, followed by a location (800 block of South Street) and a photo of a promising pile of potential treasure — furniture, lamps, home decor, picture frames, mirrors, toys, books and small appliances. Though destined for the garbage truck, they rarely last that long, collected instead by someone who will use it. Most houses and apartments in the Florida Keys contain at least one sidewalk score — and they all come with a triumphant tale of its discovery. When guests arrive and comment on our “new” lamp, bookshelf or mirror, we eagerly explain its humble origins — and its free price tag. Here, the Keys Weekly staff brags about a few of our own proud finds….
This trunk was about to be discarded 15 years ago when Ocean Key Resort in Key West was remodeling its guest rooms. (THAT was a famous and island wide curb alert that refurbished many small apartments in town, albeit with very similar-looking chairs, leather trunks and lamps.)
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Admittedly, this wasn’t found on the curb, but came to live with us when a neighbor was getting rid of it and asked if we had room. We certainly did. It gets extra points for its storage capacity AND the number of compliments it prompts. Thanks, Chuck!
While walking the dogs, ran into this cute, very rusted little mirror. Brought it home, cleaned it up and spray painted it. Now it’s the first thing I see when I walk in the house.
Score! Found this lamp in perfect condition on Fleming Street in Key West while riding my bike home from happy hour. The shade was intact — AND the light bulb in it still worked!
From Key West Marketplace. They were 2 for $25 and they match our company colors.
My husband found this by a dumpster and still talks about the other one he left behind. We popped a chalkboard in behind the frame and now have a fun message board in our kitchen.
My neighbor put these two candle holders out with his trash. I thought they were cute, but didn’t pick them up. A week or so later, I found them lodged deep in one of my bushes after a windstorm had apparently blown them there. I added some new rope and have been enjoying them ever since.
This was a steal at the DAV flea market for only 20 bucks.
keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 53
DU M P DIVSE TER E D IT ION
The things we do
Life in the Florida Keys comes with A LOT of really great benefits, but visitors may not know just how great the street ”trash” finds can be. When a new homeowner or snowbird comes to town, the things they decide to discard on the curb can be of mind-boggling quality. So when we see an item left on the side of the road here are a few things that cross our mind.
Is that a chandelier? In its original packaging? LOOK AT ALL THOSE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!
Oh, that’s coming home with me. WHAT IS THAT STAIN? SHOULD I NOTIFY THE POLICE?
WHY, YES, AS A MATTER OF FACT, I DO NEED MORE PLANTS.
That mirror is HUGE!!!
Is that on the curb or waiting for a moving truck?
IS THERE SOMETHING DEAD IN THERE??
I can totally refinish that, I’ve watched a Tik Tok.
CAN I SLEEP ON THIS COUCH? Aren’t those expensive? Let’s check eBay…
Drop me off. I’ll guard it, you get the truck.
WHAT PROXIMITY TO A GARBAGE CAN CONSTITUTES FAIR GAME?
Rich people, man… 54
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keysweekly.com | Fall/Winter 2022 55
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