Get Your Arse Out of Walmart!

It's funny how we think we know so much about the town we live in, only to discover we knew nothing at all.

We had a lovely, full weekend. On Saturday morning, I got up early6:30!so that Nettl and I could hit our local farmers market. I've never been to one of these here in Stillwater. In fact, I've only been to two in my entire lifetime and those were in California. Why do they have to open so darned early? Anyway, we bought some beautiful salad greens, two batches of asparagus, and some locally grown, free-range, grass-fed beef. I cook so little meat anymore (maybe once or twice a week), I'm going to continue to get it from this rancher. Yes, it costs a little more, but at least I'm not feeding my family "pink slime", growth hormones, and plastic pellets...

At 10:00, Dr. Kielbasa and Ville came by and off we went to the downtown thrift and antique stores. We all found some great little things we couldn't live withoutYou know the stuff I mean, two etched crystal sherry glasses for 10¢ apiece, for example, and I got heavily flirted with by a boy who couldn't have been older than 25. I don't mean he looked or smiled at me, I mean he talked to me, followed me around, and led me apart from the others to talk to me some more. I admit that I'm looking better these days, but come on! As Katy Clarke in With A Bullet (book two) says, "I'm not eighteen. I'm, well, I'm not eighteen!"

After that, we headed for the annual Stillwater Arts & Heritage Festival that was being held on Main street. We ducked into a new 50s-style dinner called Boom-a-Rang's for lunch first, then ambled up and down the street looking at the booths full of arts and crafts, all of it really very beautiful. Dr. Kielbasa bought a couple pieces of pottery and I bought Nettl a bracelet made from the handles of two sterling silver spoons that just happened to be the pattern of our own silver, which was handed down to me by my mother. Its name, fittingly, is "Eternally Yours". It looks exactly like this, except that the stone is a pearl.

When we finally got home, I had to start dinner because we'd invited friends, Mika and Jen, over. I made two pans of meatless lasagna (one with regular pasta and one with brown rice pasta), asparagus sauteed with zucchini and parmesan, a salad made from the greens we'd gotten earlier, garlic bread, and a dessert of pound cake topped with fresh fruit, and the crème fraîche I'd made the day before. Oh, and did I mention all the wine?

After dinner, we retired to the front porch, where I lit the mason jar lanterns I made a few weeks ago, put on some mellow music, and we talked and laughed and sipped while breathing in the lovely weather and the fragrance of the overloaded honeysuckle vines that cover the fence outside our bedroom window.

It was a great weekend, and I learned that Stillwater, especially downtown, is a great place. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that while we were out, I discovered we now have an Irish pub on Main Street, called Finnegan's Public House. Hey, that's only five blocks from my house, so it looks like I have a local at last!

My opinion of Stillwater has changed. If the only place you ever go is Walmart (no matter where you live), then that's how you're going to think of where you live, but if you get out into the actual community, you might get a pleasant surprise. I know I did. I'm so happy to be living downtown instead of out in the surrounding area now. It's vital in a small city way and I can walk anywhere I want to go: Finnegan's Pub, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Aspen Coffeehouse, Crepe Myrtle Market, Zanotti's Wine Bar... Downtown Stillwater has a lot to offer. Too bad it has taken me this long to figure that out.

P.S. The images I used from the Arts Festival were not taken by me. I harvested them from the festival's website and they are of last year's event.