Monday, July 26, 2010

Hemingway's House

One of our favorite vacation spots is Key West. I started going the year after I graduated college—won’t go into detail about that trip—and have gone every few years since. And every time we go, Husband and I, we venture off Duval Street, walk a few blocks to 907 Whitehead Street and tour the Hemingway house.

The house was built in 1851 and purchased by Hemingway in the early thirties. He owned it until his death in 1961, at which time it was sold and ultimately declared a national landmark. Today, it is operated as a museum.

Many of the furnishings that Hemingway and his wife, Pauline, brought to the home from Paris are on display. Pauline’s chandelier collection still hangs throughout the house. Hemingway’s favorite art of the time hangs in the living room. A penny that Hemingway pressed into wet cement along side his newly built swimming pool, the first residential pool in Key West, is still visible. And descendants of his famed six-toed cats still roam the grounds. And then, of course, there is Hemingway’s studio—the second story of the carriage house. His books still line the shelves and his Royal typewriter sits at a small table, his Cuban cigar-maker’s chair slightly ajar as if he just stepped away.

While living in this house, Hemingway wrote several of his famous works. He preferred to write in the mornings, 300 words a day I once read, and walked to Sloppy Joe’s in the afternoons—the real Sloppy Joe’s, not the chain that popped up in more recent years. He took up big game sport fishing during this time, and in 1939, after he and Pauline divorced, he moved to Cuba, and Key West became his overnight retreat.

I’ve traveled many miles to visit this house over the years. Now that I live in Florida, it’s not such a long trip, but when I still lived in Kansas City, the journey required a plane ticket and a rental car. So imagine my surprise when I recently posted on facebook that I was re-reading The Sun Also Rises and a friend responded with the address of Hemingway’s in-law’s house in Kansas City—a house in which Hemingway apparently lived during his time working at the Kansas City Star. I mapquested the address immediately. It is approximately 1.5 miles from the house I lived in while in Kansas City. I’ll be driving by when in town later this summer. Another reminder that the world is a very small place, in deed.

You will find more information about the Hemingway house in Key West at While visiting the website, be sure to check out the Live Cat Webcam broadcasting from the grounds. I find it oddly soothing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just a Quick Word

I'm going to make it short and sweet today. Daughter and I were in a car accident this weekend. Everyone walked away, except for my car. It was towed. Back again next week with a regular post.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Salsa Wars of 2010

We’ve been having a war of sorts in our house this summer—a salsa war. Daughter developed a sudden interest in preparing salsa, not sure why, and has done so several times. Husband is the greatest benefactor of this new found interest as he eats it on almost everything. Son chooses to abstain. All was well until I suggested that Daughter add diced mango and black beans to her salsa. She refused and called it a gross idea, if I remember correctly. I insisted that she would love it, and the war was on.

Daughter likes to chop her tomatoes in a crank operated food processor. I prefer to chop mine with a knife. Daughter removes the seed and slimy center from her tomatoes. I leave the slime in mine. I add balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Daughter most definitely does not. We both agree on garlic and minced onions. As previously stated, I add mango and black beans. Daughter furrows her brow and pinches her nose at this sight. Lastly, Daughter likes to pick out oddly shaped peppers in the produce section and add them to her salsa. I’m less adventurous and stick with the chopped jalapeƱos that come in a jar.

I suppose at this point, I could equate these different but equal salsas (although Daughter still insists her salsa is better) to different but equal novels. I could write about readers with different tastes and writers with different skill sets. But really, this is just a blog about salsa.

I will continue to insist that mango makes it better. Daughter will continue to insist that mango makes it gross. Whatever your preference, do a bookstore and an author a favor—read a book. And if you pick an oddly shaped pepper from your produce department, accidently get a bit of its juice on your lips, a thick paste of milk and baking soda will soothe the burn.

On a side note – my website is now up - see link at the top of my blog

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Here's hoping everyone had a happy and safe holiday. I am still on vacation and basically standing on my head to get internet connection, so just a short note to touch base and say I will be back to my regular schedule next week.