“Captain, my recon mission is complete. During my sweep of the beach, I spotted eleven fat, blue jellyfish wash up onto shore. I request to hand over my togs and be sent back to base.”
“What are you talking about?” M asks me.
“Look…just look…you see those giant, blue blobs just hanging out on the sand? Those…those are what I’m talking about.”
“Can we go look?” asks G.
We see a young girl in the distance, just a wee speck on the horizon, she reaches down and picks up a blue blob with her bare hands and tosses it into her sand castle bucket. As we get closer I see she can’t be more than four and is surrounded by older brothers…not parents. I fight the urge to run towards her in Chariots of Fire style slow motion and yell out, ‘Nooooooooooooo!’ as she wanders over to pick up the jellyfish you see below. It is the size of an extra large pizza. She has drawn a small crowd and from the strained looks on their faces they seem to fight the same urge I do.
“Hi there,” I say sweetly, “do you think these jellyfish are safe to touch?”
She looks up at me with an expression I can only describe as appalled, “I am a croc huntah,” she says, “I am so big and so strong. This jelly can’t hurt me.”
She motions up the beach a bit where we spot her ‘jelly’ graveyard, “Look! Those jellies have lost their stingaahhs!” she says with great confidence.
In the short amount of time it took me to report back to M about my findings, this little one had collected all the jellyfish I saw wash up. She’s good, real good, but I need more information. No adult on the beach will go anywhere near these jellies, nor do they seem to approve of the little croc huntah’s collection methods.
One of her brothers tells me it’s true. A lifeguard told them yesterday they had lost their stingers so they can’t hurt you, but this brother is only nine or so. I need a more reliable source. Then the mum and dad show up on the scene, “Oh, been collecting jellies have we?”
“Is this your little one?” I ask.
“Oh yes, that’s her.”
“She tells me she’s a croc hunter.”
Both parents laugh cautiously, “Yesterday a few of these jellies washed up on shore and we panicked until the lifeguard told us they’d lost their stingers and the kids could hurl them around like footballs. I actually wish he hadn’t told them that.”
With this more official sounding news, G wants in on the jelly hunt. We oblige.
When I sat down now to write this post, I thought I’d look up for myself what the story was with these jellyfish. It turns out these Blue Blubber Jellyfish (that is their name) actually don’t have stingers to lose. They have hundreds of tiny mouths on those big, chunky legs of theirs. They sting their prey with tiny venomous bites from those little mouths. If they’ve come up on shore, it’s because they’ve died and they won’t bite you if they’re dead (unlike box or bluebottle jellyfish who defend themselves from beyond the grave with enough remaining venom in their dead tentacles to paralyze a horse).
But if you find yourself swimming with Blue Blubbers, beware. While the bites won’t kill you; they can be itchy to some; a little rashy to others and if you’re the allergic one, which you’ll never know unless you get stung (surely that’s me), they can leave big welts that hang around for months.
The moral of the story is, Australians have such a weird and wide variety of creatures to deal with, they can only commit to memory the ones that can kill you. All the rest? Sure, toss ’em around like footballs. So I tossed this experience into my personal sandcastle bucket of reasons to love the great indoors. To quote Fran Leibowitz’s Reader, “To me the outdoors is what you must pass through in order to get from your apartment into a taxicab.”
I would like to thank the people over at MrPrintables.com as they were the force behind this year’s Easter Egg decorating success.
It is a relief to be of a certain age and finally accept who you are. You are not crafty. You admire all the Do-It-Yourselfers out there and their blogs with endless tips and tricks (a personal favorite is katescreativespace.com –go look at her baby chick cupcakes), but when they show you what the finished product should look like you always think…ug. can I just buy that from you?
Then Mr. Printables entered my life and assumed I could at least use a pair of scissors and some glue (barely).
They gave me a printable template for an egg car and some eggy outfits. All we had to do was draw some faces on the eggs, a job I gleefully passed on to Michael and G.
I hardly ever post about the reason we’re here…the Lion King! The Company Manager, Randy, took this photo at a press event for the Melbourne opening and I just had to steal it from him. I see these ladies in street clothes all the time, never all sassed out as lionesses. Look how awesome they are! Randy’s blog has beautiful photos of sights we don’t get to with a four year old in tow. Have a peek…randydownunder.com…it’s great.
My Mom told me a story about how she and her parents and brother would drive down to Melbourne, Florida from Ohio once a year when she was little. When they arrived, my uncle would sing a song he made up.
“For now we are in Melbourne. So what? So what?”
I would have felt the same way upon our recent arrival to Melbourne, Australia, if it wasn’t so awesome.
Let us count the ways.
1. Melbourne is famous for its laneways. The CBD (Central Business District) is a rectangle. Within this rectangle are tiny laneways off the streets which house little shops, restaurants and various homes. These give Melbourne a European feel. Plus they are car free, so G can ride his scooter up and down them all day.
2. It’s further south which means it’s further from the equator which means it’s cooler—a plus for the two Irish boys I have down here with me.
3. Its focus is geared more towards culture: art, wine, coffee, food, an air of sophistication without snobbery. It’s like the Chicago of the Southern Hemisphere, but with no organized crime or blistering wind.
4. For example, at the end of the lane is a former printing press turned adorable coffee shop where some of the staff know the little man by name. When he walks in they say, ‘Hey mate! Can we get you your usual?’
5. Our apartment in the laneway is a converted warehouse with its pulley system still intact.
6. Access to the roof of the apartment has given Michael some serious opportunities to photograph the view of Melbourne’s central clock. It quixotically chimes every 15 minutes to keep our days on point.
7. There are bees on the roof. I swear. On our roof there are bees in a hive and they make honey…on the roof! A company aptly named, Rooftop Honey, places hives all over Melbourne and once a month they travel around to collect the honey from the bees. They came over already in their bee keeper suits and left us a jar on the counter. Trés local, non? The honey is delicious with just a hint of a disco ball overtone.
8. From inside the apartment, the views of the clock through arched windows with warped glass are lovely as well.
and the moon, lest we forget about nature too soon in our new found city life.
9. While I’m not a huge fan of the kind of sci-fi movies Ethan Hawke finds himself in from time to time, it is fun to know his most recent movie, Predestination, was filmed in this apartment. If you skip ahead to 1:23 in the preview below, you’ll see him fall through the very same floor I’m sitting on right now.
10. There is a swing inside our apartment.