Umbrellas, Roses…and Nola’s

Everyone has their secret indulgences–

Those special preferences that, while not shameful, are nonetheless often misunderstood.  For instance: the organic, raw-food vegetarian who harbors a predilection for cheese-whiz on Ritz crackers… Or the fashion diva who can’t let go of her Whinnie-the-Pooh sweatpants and matching slippers. You get the idea.

Well. I love umbrellas.

And not just any umbrella, mind you. Not your teenie, fold-up, utilitarian types. I’m talking wooden shepherd’s-crook handles and Japanese fan-frames, big enough to invite your friends. I have spent more money and time seeking out umbrellas than I feel its right to mention here, and you would think (with all that) I would have more than three. But you see, my indulgence is picky. Not every umbrella is worthy, you know.

They have to look appropriate in graveyards, for one.

They also have to look right for that perfect evening out…

(The perfect evening out in this shot was my anniversary. Mark and I celebrated 11 years…but we celebrated in two different states. No worries. We’ll get round to joint celebration in a few weeks when he moves. In the meantime, friend Andrea and I went out to Signatures–see the Destination Winona page for more).

But of course, a girl cannot live by umbrellas alone. Perhaps it is the lingering rhyme from my youth: April showers bring May flowers. Whatever the trigger, I tend to put umbrellas and flowers together. It’s as though, somewhere in my brain, the umbrella stand sprouts daisies and people are offered bouquets of multi-colored rain gear.

And you might know–there is an umbrella-flower shop in Winona, MN. (Serendipity, you say? Fate, you say? God and his angels did proper demographics before sending me on this trip, apparently). Yes, for those unfamiliar with Nola and her eclectic little storefront, let me provide a picture worth a thousand words: Every surface arranged in flowers: some real, some silk, and some… rain proof.

This is me, posing with my latest purchase. Notice that lovely fanning of ribs, with embroidered tulips–in green! Nearly a flower itself, and too nice to leave in the stand by my door (I hung it on the wall–Très chic). And of course, in my left hand is the second best reason to go to Nola’s shop: picture perfect roses. I received a dozen from Mark–one for each year and one to grow on, so to speak.

But if, like Andrea, your allergies don’t allow for the greener things–go for silk. Better yet, go for umbrellas. A nice arrangement, many-colored, whimsical and full of child-like promise (and of mud puddle jumping to come). And if you are not in the mood to buy, stop in for a lifted spirit; particularly in Winona’s winters, you won’t find a happier and more colorful place.

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