And climb the stairs to the beach...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Holy Cannoli! It's an Anole!

I could hardly keep my eyes open after Downton Abbey was over last night. I do love that show. One might say I am a little obsessed with it, but not in an unhealthy way.

Poor Edith
Struggling to stay awake, I finally gave in and headed off to bed at a normal hour, about 10:30, and fell asleep promptly like most other people who sleep well will do. Maggie was nestled beside me, hadn't moved since we settled into a mutually acceptable position, her tail just brushing my jaw and her head about level with my hip, stretched out like a barrier to stop me from toppling over the edge; her dead weight, as usual, trapping me under the sheet with no hope of escaping without disturbing her.

And she somehow knows I would never dare disturb her. It's something I've written about before, but to refresh your memories, I grew up in a house with 3 siblings and only one or two cats at any given time. If you were lucky enough for the cat to choose your bed that night, you never moved, not a muscle, lest you disturb the little feline and run the risk of her removing herself to someone else's bed. Cats are masters at playing hard to get. But back to last night.

Suddenly, I awoke, tortured because of that blasted mosquito bite on the front of my ankle that had been troubling me for the last two days. The driveway party on Friday night was fun, but one nasty bugger got me and it has been driving me crazy ever since.

The heck with Maggie, I shoved her off the bed and she landed with a thump on the floor. I made my way to the bathroom and tried to be quiet so as not to waken the sleeping giant on the other side of my bed. I turned on the light and squinted into the cabinet looking for the anti-itch cream that hadn't been working, but was my only hope for sleep. Having applied way too much of it to slide back under the sheets, I made my way to my laptop in the other room, checking the clock glowing in the kitchen on my way. 2:42. Hmmm.

I played a couple of games on line to take my mind off of the persistent itching, giving in to scratching a couple of times. Now, fully awake my mind started wandering. I had time to write a blog post, I thought. Sometimes I do my best thinking at 3 AM. But not always. Instead, I started to do some Google searches. I had been told earlier in the day that the little lizards I have been calling geckos were actually called anoles (Rhymes with cannolis.) so I Googled them.
Sure enough, all this time I've been telling Maggie these little things were geckos. "Maggie, Get the gecko!" spoken in an excited whisper will bring her immediately to the screen of the lanai looking for the little things. She can't get to them, of course, but she does like to fantasize. I can't believe it after two plus years and I just found this out! But whispering "Maggie, get the anole!" just doesn't sound as exciting and I will probably continue to let her think that they're geckos.
This is an anole.
This is a Florida House Gecko. They both eat mosquitoes.

But reading about these lizards that often end up in our lanais, made me start wondering about the word 'lanai'. This is how my brain works lately. Hopping from one thing to another, usually there is some logic to how I get from one topic to the next, but not always. Last night there was a logical leap. But there I go, leaping again. Back to the lanai. Ed likes to say it's a porch until you hit the Florida border and then it's called a lanai. It sounds normal to me now, but my son thinks it's quite strange when I refer to it that way.
Maggie on our lanai.

When I was 15 my grandmother took me to Hawaii. That was the first time I ever heard the word Lanai. Lana'i is one of the islands we hopped to over a 10 day excursion, that didn't include going to the beach at all, except when the tour bus stopped there.

My grandmother wouldn't have been caught dead in a bathing suit and I was way too self-conscious to go to the beach alone. So I am probably the only person living who went to Hawaii and never went to the beach. Be that as it may, we went to Lanai for just one day and night. It was there at the Dole plantation that we tasted pineapple, so fresh, just cut, white and dripping with juice so sweet they told us to put salt on it. Boy was that good.  That's all I remember about Lanai. We weren't there long. But I did find out more when I Googled it.
My grandmother and I get ready to leave on the plane. My little sister Becky there to see us off. Everyone dressed this way to travel back then. Gram even wore gloves! And we wore corsages!

On nearby Maui, legend has it, there lived a king named Kaka'alaneo. His son, Kaulua'au was a wild teenager and was pulling up all the breadfruit trees on the island.

Breadfruit Tree
 Because the king couldn't get his kid under control, he banished him to nearby Lana'i which was supposed to be haunted by evil spirits, ghosts and goblins.
I think he expected his son to be killed for pulling up all those breadfruit trees. Each night the king saw the prince's fire on the shore of Lana'i and after many nights he realized his son had conquered the evil spirits and chased them from the island. He forgave his son and invited him home. But his son liked it there and soon people began to move there. It is still one of the least populated islands in Hawaii, but one of the largest. Curiously, there are no breadfruit growing there now, the only island without them. I guess the prince pulled them up while he was chasing away all those evil spirits.

James Drummond Dole from Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts who moved to Hawaii in 1899 to start farming after studying agriculture at Harvard. His cousin Sanford Dole was the governor of Hawaii at the time. He decided to grow pineapples after experimenting with various native fruits.

Dole purchased the whole island of Lanai in 1922 and dedicated some 20,000 acres to growing pineapple.  It is no longer a plantation today but there is a museum there that includes his home.

The word Lana'i literally translates to "the day of conquest". Maybe it refers to Prince Kaulua'au's conquest over the evil spirits that had been inhabiting the island. I don't really know. And how it became a term for a porch I don't know either.

All I know for sure is that if the anoles had been doing their job at the driveway party or had it been a lanai party instead last Friday night, that mosquito would never have bitten my ankle,  I would never have been up in the middle of the night trying to ignore the never-ending itching by Googling anoles and lanais and you wouldn't be reading this blog!

Have a great day everyone! I am going to take a nap.

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