From the Archives: Kiss me, Laura! Kiss me!

I stumbled across this story in my files today and laughed at the memory. This happened in my frequent flier days several years ago and I still remember what that guy looked like. Enjoy!

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I turned around to catch a quick glance at the man who was making all the ruckus down the aircraft aisle. At first I thought he was speaking a foreign language but then realized that he was speaking the rapid-fire Irish dialect. He settled in the aisle seat directly across from me. Noticing my curious glance he looked directly at me and began a conversation.

“What’s your name, bonny?”

I smiled. “Laura.”

He continued his questions in a voice more appropriate for a noisy, crowded Irish pub than for the quiet cabin of the Boeing 767. Filled with weary travelers on a Friday evening, the aircraft was as quiet as a nursery at naptime and the Irishman’s voice was as out of place as an ambulance siren. I attempted to answer quietly so he would follow suit … ahhh … the attempts were all in vain.

As the aircraft rumbled down the runway for takeoff, the Irishman snatched my hand from across the aisle and yelled, “Hold my hand, Laura! Hold my hand! I’m scared! Kiss me! Kiss me, Laura!”

My arm stretched across the aisle as he enclosed my hand in both of his close and held it to his chest.

Oh my goodness! What … ummm … oh … my face is burning so I am sure I am as red as a cherry! Oh! How embarrassing. Please! Not so loud! How do I get out of this?

It seemed the heads of every single person in the cabin turned to our direction. Even the flight attendant leaned forward in her jumpseat to see what the fuss was all about. I tried to don a casual face as if having my name shouted in a silent aircraft and my arm pulled out of socket was something I experienced every day.

The aircraft lifted off and his yelling quieted down. I managed to pull my hand from his grasp and I patted his hands.

“Oh … you’re just fine.”

“I was scared, Laura. I needed you.”

I smiled. I tried to turn back to my book. He took no hint and continued his conversation and questions. In his same louder-than-comfortable tenor, he barked out questions about every taboo topic – religion, politics and sex. For 55 minutes we continued this game – he barking questions and I demurely answering in a soft tone. All the while, neighboring passengers stole curious glances, shot irritating looks and occasionally provided sympathetic expressions my way.

As we deplaned, the Irishman gave me his business card – [Name withheld for privacy] Family Butchers. I still have that card to this day. No … I never called and never will but it’s a good memento of a funny story.

A Jewel of an Experience: Davis Jewelers

Me, the watch and Mr. Hank Davis of Davis Jewelers

Me, the watch and Mr. Hank Davis of Davis Jewelers

I walked into Davis Jewelers in Louisville, Kentucky to get a tiny little hidden diamond on wedding ring fixed (actually it’s my engagement ring but I liked it so much I didn’t want to clutter it with another ring after the hubby and I got hitched). My sister had helped my husband get my ring so I actually had never been in Davis Jewelers before. Of course, I was impressed with classy-but-not-over-the-top building and the refined interior (and certainly appreciated the kids play area even though I didn’t bring along my little tikes) but it was the people that won me over.

After I left my ring with the lovely lady arranging the repair, I casually meandered over to the watches section just out of curiosity. My husband has this uber-expensive watch he laments not being able to wear because the band needs to be replaced but the cost is … well … utterly ridiculous. I wondered what the prices were on other nice timepieces. Well … as I was taking a quick peek the nicest gentleman ever approached me and asked me if he could help me with something. I did see a watch that caught my fancy so I figured why not at least see it up close. Well … the man was none other than Mr. Hank Davis himself, President & CEO.

At first I was surprised that the CEO would be assisting customers instead of holing up in an office; then I was flattered that he was the one helping me; and then I was just completely won over with his gentle professionalism, kindness and amazing knowledge of every product. The result: I walked out with a gorgeous Longines watch for my husband for Father’s Day and to reward him for endearing a rough year.

Now … I had NO INTENTION of getting anything other than a repaired wedding ring but the amazing service sold me something I didn’t even think I wanted. It is so true that personal attention and non-pushy service will win sales … I am living proof.

So … I highly recommend Davis Jewelers to anyone in the Louisville, Kentucky area not only for their flawless service but also because they are homegrown, family business. The family business started ages ago and then young Hank decided to check out the jewelry industry (I admire the courageous risk, Hank). He started modest in downtown Louisville but evolved Davis Jewelers into a respected and beloved jewelry source for fine fashion jewelry, bridal jewelry and Swiss watches. Now his daughter, Ashley, is in the business as VP and other associates seem like family, too. And the fact that Davis Jewelers is the Official Fine Jeweler of the Kentucky Derby Festival is just plain warm-fuzzy for me who gets all sentimental wherever I am in the world on the first Saturday in May.

If you can’t go in person, check out their online store at www.davisjewelers.com. I am sure their service is just as grand there.

STRAWBERRY CAKE MIX DONUTS a.k.a. “Pink Donuts”

I came across this easy donut recipe from onsugarmountain.com and instantly put it on deck to make with Adelaide. So … we did this Saturday when we finally had a lazy morning while Daddy was out golfing and Oliver was taking an amazing God-knew-I-needed-it long nap.

These donuts were super easy to make and really good. We ate them plain and then had to stop ourselves so we would have some to eat with frosting. I have a donut baking pan so that’s what I used but a mini donut maker would work fine, too.  You’ll also see my substitutions. Since I live in Tobago, I often don’t have all ingredients but I always find a workaround.

Adelaide calls these “Pink Donuts.”

  • 1 box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted with what I had: milk and a bit of vinegar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp melted (and slightly cooled) butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat with electric hand mixer until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour donut batter into a ziploc bag, then cut the corner to pipe donut batter into your pan. I fill it a little less than half full to get a good donut shape (and it’s easier to come out of the pan).
  4. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on wire rack while you make the frosting

Glaze/frosting:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp heavy cream (I substituted with what I had one hand: skim milk and a bit of cooled melted butter)
  1. Whisk together sugar and cream/milk until a thick glaze forms. You can adjust the amount of heavy cream to get the right consistency.
  2. Dip half of donut into frosting, then cover with sprinkles and let sit until dry.

Thanks to Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain

Top 10 Benefits of Having a High-Pressure Career before Having Kids

  1. I can look as cool as a single girl lounging at the pool when my kids are tearing in two separate directions at the playground.laura OPM 29mar2012_v2
    Though I may not feel so calm on the inside.
  2. I can negotiate like a beast with my four-year old
    Adelaide was born with the negotiation skills of steel.
  3. I can tune out almost any noise thanks to my early careers days working in a cubicle.
    Those pesky toys with sound? Don’t even hear ‘em.
  4. Multitasking? Not a problem.
    As I am writing this I’m brushing Adelaide’s My Little Pony hair at her request, planning dinner, and making sure Oliver doesn’t escape out of the doors he just figured out how to open.
  5. My difficult bosses and clients were a great warm-up to the most demanding bosses ever – 18-month-old Oliver and four-year old Adelaide.
    And demanding is an understatement.
  6. After making big decisions affecting the fate of thousands of people, picking out names and schools doesn’t seem so intimidating
    Though that daily what-to-make-for-dinner decision is a killer.
  7. I’m comfortable being resourceful and solving problems in a pinch.
    It is amazing what you can find in your bag that can double as a toy.
  8. Efficiency? Got that down.
    I only have 30 minutes to bathe both kids, myself, dress all three, pack snacks and necessities in a bag, send off three important emails and make that phone call? Consider it done!
  9. I’ve been primed to live on little sleep and meals.
    Wait?! It’s been 10 hours since I last ate and I’m still on the road? Gimme a few Goldfish and I’m good.
  10. I understand non-stop from morning ‘til night.
    That crazy stressful job when I woke up at 4 a.m. to attack the to-do list before people started to blow up my phone? That was a perfect indoctrination to the world of babies and toddlers and the on-the-clock-round-the-clock life of motherhood.

Anniversary of The Airport Chat: The start of Tony & Laura

Today is the anniversary of “The Airport Chat.” That’s what I consider to be the starting point of Tony and Laura.

On June 1, 2010 I was in the A.N.R. Robinson International Airport in Tobago trying to work magic to get Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago (FWTT) committee members on the full flights back to Trinidad in time for events the next morning. Sitting in a corner seat in the Caribbean Airlines ticket office I noticed Tony walk in and vaguely recognized his handsome face. He saw me, sauntered over and greeted me with a big warm smile.

Tony reminded me he met me two nights before at the FWTT Launch event and turned on his famous charm. After speaking for a few minutes, I closed my laptop and invited him to sit down in the seat occupied by my workbag and luggage. We chatted about this and that for a good bit when I was called over to the check-in counter across the road. Knowing how fast you have to move to get seats on full CAL flights, I hurriedly asked him to watch my stuff and left the office.

At least 25 minutes passed when I thought “Oh my! I should really go back and get my stuff.” So I quickly walked in the ticket office.

“Hey, thanks for watching my bags. Sorry I took so long.” I said and picked up my bags and promptly walked out.

I headed back to my circle of colleagues gathered at the check-in area and felt a tap on my shoulder.

“Do you have a card?” Tony asked. “So I can contact you if I get any business leads.”

I fished for one out of my bag and gave it to him.

“When are you going to be back in Tobago?”

“Oh, I will probably come back to cool off after Fashion Week. I will definitely need it.”

“Well call me when you do so I can take you out to dinner or something.”

“OK,” I said just wanting to get back to my FWTT colleagues to discuss the latest crisis.

He leaned in to give me what I thought was the common kiss on the cheek for a goodbye.

Whaaaat? He looks like he is heading straight in. Surely he isn’t aiming for my lips. I just met this guy! And in front of everyone?

At the last second when I realized he wasn’t deterring from his straight course to my glossed-up lips, I turned my head. He caught the very edge of my mouth and cheek.

I pulled back with wide eyes.

 Maybe I imagined that. Surely he isn’t that bold.

Within the hour he sent me a text expressing how nice it was to chat with me. I responded … eight hours later. He texted again. I responded … eight hours later. (Hey … I was a busy girl.) And the cycle continued.

Now here we are five years later … married with two kids. In the simplest terms it’s been a head-spinning whirlwind.

I did ask him later if I was imagining the whole going-in-for-the-lips thing. He smiled.

“I just felt like kissing you. You should have seen your face!”

“But you JUST met me!”

“Ahhh … but I knew I loved you from the start.”

Oh darling Tony. You won my heart and gave me the every-girl dream of a guy falling in love with her at first sight.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart. I love you.