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  • Writer's picture Jana

Winter Holiday Break: Day 5 and Counting. A Perfectly Splendid Day Takes a Prickly Turn.

Our winter staycation continues. Today's outing was to The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. The kids and I have been trying to get there for at least six months, but it has either been sold out or just too hot to spend the day at an outdoor garden. Today turned out to be the perfect day or at least it started out that way.

The weather was overcast and in the low 60's, which was ideal for exploring this expansive 207 acre botanical wonder. We arrived shortly after opening, at 10, to maximize our time there, since there is so much to see. We started at the Desert Garden. My expectations were measured, as I admittedly am not a fan of cacti. I have nothing against them, but have never found them to be very attractive. However, after just a few minutes in this magical space, I was entranced. I never knew cacti could be so diverse. The varieties were endless. The Desert Garden is an incredible 10 acres. I could have spent the entire day there.

As we were nearing the end of the garden, Curious George Miles, decided to crawl under a large cactus plant to retrieve a leaf (if that's what it's called) that had fallen off. He brought it out to show us, proudly. What none of us realized was that it was covered in almost microscopic sized needles. Neither Garin, Graham nor I actually handled it, but both Catherine and Miles did. Catherine seemed to get the worst of it. Talking about a painful lesson.

A few minutes after handling it, she started to complain that her hands were in pain. As we looked closely at her hands, we found countless tiny needles (they almost looked like little hairs) protruding from the palms of her hands, her fingers and even on her wrists. I immediately started trying to pull them out, but realized they were then becoming lodged in my skin. Garin too tried to help but had the same problem.

Catherine, being the strongest person I know, was trying her best to be brave, but tears started rolling down her cheeks. We saw a professional gardener tending to some of the cacti, explained the problem to him and asked what we might be able to do. He said there was nothing much to be done, but wait a few days for her body to dissolve the needles naturally. That wasn't the news we were hoping for.

I took Catherine to a bathroom and spent a good deal of time rinsing her hands under warm water (with some soap) in an attempt to remedy the problem. It was only mildy helpful. Since we had waited months for this outing, we tried our best to continue on, but eventually it just became too difficult. Besides, we were all famished. So we made our way back to the front and converted our tickets to a year-long membership (for a pretty penny) so we could return to explore the gardens another day. Then we were on our way.

Pain or not, we all needed to eat so headed to the venerable Green Street restaurant on Lake Street in Pasadena to get a late lunch. I hadn't been there in many years and had fond memories of lunching there with my dear friend Lucy in our pre-mom days, We always had their famous Dianne Salad, so of course I had to have that for lunch. The kids all enjoyed their lunches and everyone was in much better spirits by the time we were done.

Once we got home, Garin tried an Elmer's glue remedy on Catherine hands that we read about online to help with the cacti needles. You can watch the riveting videos below to see how that turned out.

Garin's Videos;

Part 1

Part 2

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