By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
New first lady Vicy Cayetano and former first lady Jean Ariyoshi
"bust up laughing" after Ariyoshi took a spill over a Washington Place
ottoman. Ariyoshi had just fixed Cayetano's hair for a photo
when she stepped back and tumbled.

Vicky surprised
the governor with flowers

“He was so embarrassed,
so I thought, ‘Oh oh, I don't think
he's ever had a woman bring him
flowers on a date.’ ”

By Nadine Kam

Vicky Liu Cayetano's first lunch date with the governor 1-1/2 years ago was unforgettable. What stood out when they met at the Hawaii Prince Hotel wasn't so much what they ate, what they said or what they wore. It's just that she handed him a bouquet of spring flowers.

She recalls, "He was so embarrassed, so I thought, 'Oh oh, I don't think he's ever had a woman bring him flowers on a date.' He just stared at it. He didn't know what to do with it."

To date, the governor has yet to return the gesture."That's what I love about him!" she said. "He isn't one to do things that are not him or be something that he's not. It's OK, we're different. He brings me much more than that.

"If you're successful in life, you come to value things beyond the material. Flowers, jewelry, they don't bring you the happiness and fulfillment that love does."

As a newly minted public persona, Vicky Cayetano is refreshing. At 5-feet tall, she is shorter, slimmer and more delicate-looking than her news photos and TV appearances suggest. Her smiles are genuine, not practiced. Her wave is a little too cheerful to be read as empty gesture. And she intends to continue being herself. "I don't know that at 41 I'm going to change," she said.

That kind of pragmatism, honed as president and chief executive officer of United Laundry Service Inc., will come in handy through her new life in the public eye.

The honeymoon, for instance, is being squeezed in with a Pacific Basin Economic Conference in Asia. "The agenda had already been planned. Already it looks like it'll be all business. But it's important for me to go along with the agenda.

"As a businesswoman I've been to conferences and seminars," she said. "I pack my day. I'm on my feet 12 hours a day. So I know what that's like."

One of the decisions the new first lady will have to make is whether she will hire a personal secretary. She doesn't have one at work, where she keeps Nikes and jeans on hand "when I get into greasy work."

"I do all my own work," she said. "I have a laptop that I carry with me. I'm actually quite accessible.

"I don't know if I'm being realistic in thinking I can carry on that way."

One day into her marriage, she managed to put in a full day at the office, field interviews with five media organizations and host a dinner party.

The new Mrs. Cayetano is already accustomed to keeping a rigorous schedule. It's no fluke that she met the governor at 4:30 a.m. while exercising at the Honolulu Club. She's started her day at 4 a.m. all her adult life, following exercise with quiet time for prayer and reflection, then preparing and sharing breakfast with her children from her first marriage, William, 10, and Marissa, 13.

"I know what all the women in this state go through in working full time and raising children," she said.

As first lady, she now has the governor's chef at her service, and Washington Place staff to take her children to school at Mid-Pacific Institute. But she said she still intends to take her children to school at least twice a week.

And she is making no new demands on her children regarding their public behavior.

"Children should be left to be children. I can teach them good manners, respect and consideration, but those (traits) come from parenting regardless of what career I have."

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