Super Family Fun Time

On Saturday the folks treated us to a family day trip.  In our family that means choosing a starting destination, then going wherever the road takes us from there.  It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to do that, but with our dauntless vacationers gone only three days, there was some vacation budget left.

Our starting destination was Galco’s Soda Pop Stop, a rather famous store that sells all kinds of small-brand soda and old-fashioned candy.  It’s not very far from home, but who doesn’t love soda pop and candy?  For the first ten seconds Galco’s looks like an outdated neighborhood grocery store full of boxes, old equipment, and unused office furniture.  Then we start picking up soda bottles.  Elderberry soda?  Mint?  Birch beer?

Dandelion and what?! Are you sure this is soda?

They had over 400 types of sodas and beers from around the world, a make-you-own-soda station (a hand-made blue soda named TARDIS came home with us), and vintage candy. (Anyone remember something called a Chick-O-Stick?  Sen-Sen mints?  Zots?)  This place is as fascinating as a museum!  After we left we learned [from one of our more observant, less communicative family members] that they had a small deli, too.  We decided to take our sugary purchases and let the road find us another hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop for lunch.

Now friends, remember that we are following the people who had two weeks of vacation available to them, and could only handle three days.  There is a reason for this.  My step-dad, Rob, is a notoriously bad driver, so Mom does all the driving.  Unfortunately, Rob is also a notorious backseat driver, and sometime’s Mom can only take so much.

Let's flashback to 2006 for just a moment.

Let’s flashback to 2006 for just a moment.

Seven years ago we took a two-week family vacation together.  We followed them just like we are doing today.  In the Sierra Nevada mountains, about five minutes after the above picture was taken, Rob consulted his new GPS system and told us to exit the parking lot and make a right.  According to the old-fashioned Thomas Bros. paper map, however, we needed to go left.  Rob insisted it was right.  So we followed them out and made a right.  A minute or so later Mom made a tire-squelching U-turn on the two-lane mountain road, passed the parking lot we just left, and pealed into the first turn-out she saw.  It was like watching a silent movie: Mom parked the car, got out, slammed the door with all her might, stormed over to the passenger’s side, yelled at the window with arms flailing every which way, stomped over to the edge of the turn-out to find a rock to throw at the window, decided she didn’t want her insurance premium to go up (and couldn’t find a good rock anyway), marched back over the the car, started yelling and flailing again, threw herself back into the driver’s seat, and drove away.

Flash forward to now. Here’s a gratuitous picture of a beautiful car owned by our friend, John.

So here we are today looking for a sandwich shop: Mom, Rob, and Shelly in the lead car, with Drew, Joe, and me following.  We enter the parking lot of a little báhn mi shop, start to park, and then leave.  We drive a little ways, turn a corner, drive completely around the block, go back to the main road, and keep going.  We turn another corner, enter an alley, drive completely through the parking lot of another sandwich shop, stop in another alley, head back to the main drag, pull over under some trees…

At this point we expect Mom to fling herself out of the car and read someone the riot act.  Alas, not today.

We end up back in Pasadena, at a sandwich place called Ginger Corner Market that sells hoity-toity stuff like a ham and brie sandwich with fig jam and arugula, green pea salad with mint and feta, and lavender lemonade.  Okay that was just my lunch:  everyone else had turkey or grilled cheese with potato salad and iced tea.

Shelly's lunch.

Shelly’s lunch.

The owner gave us free lemon squares for desert, as a Welcome To My Restaurant present.  How nice!

We couldn’t decide what to do next, so we came home to regroup.  Poor Mom and Rob fell asleep almost as soon as their feet hit the living room carpet.  Drew just wanted to plop down, Skype his friends, and play computer games.  Shelly wanted to do anything please Janine don’t make me stay home let’s go somewhere else we’re supposed to be on vacation please please get me out of this houuuuuse!!!

We drove to a nearby garden center and bought these beauts,

Thyme, sage, and spearmint.

Thyme, sage, and spearmint. Note the empty dandelion-burdock soda bottle. Not too bad, that stuff.

came home and started these things,

Seeds!  Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

Seeds! Bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hollyhocks.

and then told Rob about my new herb garden idea.  Today, he bought me this:


Duranta repens

Sorry I couldn’t get a better picture of it.  It’s a type of verbena called Skyflower, Golden Dewdrop, or Pigeon Berry.  It has the prettiest purple flowers edged in white, which become clusters of yellowy berries.  The flower and berry stems arch willow-like from between the foliage.  Usually they’re big hedge shrubs, but this one is trained into a small ornamental tree that is going right into the center of my herb garden, where it’ll attract birds, bees, and butterflies.  Eeeee!

Tomorrow is the taping of The Sing-Off with Daddy. Yay!  So I’m off to get some shut-eye.  Sweet dreams!

Sing-Off snacks are ready to go.


5 thoughts on “Super Family Fun Time

  1. Janine, I have to say that this hilarious piece left me limp with laughter. Thank God for family vacations, no matter how long or short they may be. They are sure-fire never-to-be-forgotten moments to reminisce over again and again in the years to come. And they keep getting better over time. Glad you invited us along on yours. I had a great time.

  2. Thanks for following “Tails from Paris”. We’re now following your blog too.

    If you want to sharpen your international sense of humor, we do also have a French version called “Sous nos Couettes” :

    Thanks for sharing if you enjoy it too …

    Best from Paris, France 😉

    Alix, Roxane & their bald, bold & funny (at least he pretends to …) Dad

    • Thank you so much! I can’t wait to read more of your posts. Children are so funny. Mine are bigger now, so the funny things they say are usually inappropriate for general audiences. 😉

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