Episode 22: Cupcakes and Love Hugs

bakedwiredMonday, December 22nd at 7:23am:
Location: Diane and Chris at Reagan National Airport
Scene: Lots of people everywhere and moving in different directions.  Bags and luggage are strewn all over the floor.

“Oh my, are you ok!?” Chris was carrying my bag into National Airport and trying to hold my hands at the same time.  Go figure, it was kind of awkward and boyfriend/girlfriend-ish but I went along.  His masculine hands on mine provided the comfort and warmth of a pair of cashmere gloves. You could say I was literally warming up to him. My thoughts of other guys slowly drifted away on the wings of the cold wind as we walked through the doorway of the airport.  Upon entering we both stopped abruptly as if crazy glued to the floor. There were people everywhere like sheep in a pasture without a shepherd. As we looked on at the crowd, we heard a loud thud and sound of metal gliding across the floor. It seems like our unexpected stop literally threw a woman running from one end of the airport to the next for a loop. After her fall I helped her stand up while Chris searched for her glasses orienteering based on the direction of the earlier sound it made.

“This is not going to be a good day.” She started crying and slouched over like a teddy bear unable to sit up straight.  “My flight leaves in half an hour and I still have to wait in line to check my bag. My flight yesterday was cancelled. And now I am bruised all over.” At that moment Chris handed her glasses to her unscratched and with another apology. I was able to gather from her morning tribulation recounting how not to maneuver the checking-in process amid the gathering hoard.  Fortunately, Chris using his charisma to the utmost was able to get her to the front of the line. Thank goodness I had no bags to check or this was would have indeed turned into the longest day.

“Diane, here I got this for you.” As I completed checking-in at the kiosk, Chris handed me a white paper bag containing cupcakes from Baked and Wired in Georgetown and a venti Chai latte from the nearby Starbucks.

“So, that’s what was in the bag you took from the car. When did you have time to grab these cupcakes? They are my favorites.”

“I know. Grabbed them yesterday while you were packing and I had that quick ‘errand’ to take care of for the restaurant.” He said with a knowing grin.

“Well thank you. These will be much appreciated by me and the family.”

We walked together towards the security check point and as I entered the line we hugged and kissed goodbye.  Maybe I should go out of town more often.

Monday, December 22nd at 8:55am:
Location: Diane at her dad’s house in Boston, Massachusetts
Scene: Diane arriving home to her stepbrothers, father and stepmother. Ice and snow blanket the ground.

“Hey Dad, I am finally here!” I called from the driveway after my over priced cab ride home from the airport an unwelcome side effect of the ice storm.

“How did you get here so quickly? We were just about to leave for the airport”.

“The plane landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule and so I decided that I would save you a trip. Plus the charge on my phone is low. I’m outside so can you or one of the boys help with my bag?”

“No prob. Do you have enough money for the fare”?

“Yes, I do.” I looked up to see him coming down the driveway with Sam one of my stepbrothers. Both bundled up in their goose down jackets, sweats and boots. It was clear as they moved in robotic fashion down the stairs and towards the driveway, that they had recently gotten out of bed.  They each grabbed one end of my bag trudging through the snow as I made a beeline to the house and a speedy trail to the fireplace enjoying the warm embrace of the emanating heat. I was surprised the room was so fully decorated with both a Christmas/holiday tree and a Jewish Menorah.  I then said hello to Carmela, my stepmother.  As usual she was bent over the stove. I noticed the flavorful smell of her ropa vieja bubbling through the room. We hugged and although she was all of 5 feet and I had to stoop a little to fully get my arms around her torso she gave the feeling of home that had been missing from our lives since the death of my mom.

“It smells good in here! I like the tree.”

“Yeah. Your dad and I decided to be more traditional this year even though we won’t actually go into the religious celebrations.” I opened wide as she placed a spoonful of sauce and meat in my mouth.

“That’s really yummy.”

“Buzz, Buzz.” That must be my phone, probably Cindi or Jaz.  We were all heading to our respective family homes for the holidays.  Whoa! It was actually Chris.

“Hey! How’s it going? I just arrived home.”

“Glad to hear that. Gee Diane thanks for calling and letting me know.”

“Darling, I’m so sorry. I was so focused on making it home safe and fast since there was ice everywhere that I did not even tell my dad until I pulled into the driveway.” I was not used to hearing him so concerned.

“Well I am happy you are ok. I just wanted to make sure that you arrived safely. The meteorologist mentioned that that ice storm should be getting a little worse.  Well, take care. Let’s talk later.”  As we hung up I turned to see Carmela staring at me.

“So, who was that?  Sounds like he is really worried about you, missy.”

“Ummm, maybe.”

“Well, go change into something more comfortable and come back down so we can talk.”

“By the way, here are some cupcakes my friend gave me this morning. You will really like them.”  I left the bag on the counter top and ran upstairs thankful to have some time away to clear my mind of all that happened this morning.  I was still afraid to let my guard down with Chris. Getting hurt was never fun.

Next Episode – December 29th, 2008

Hi Loyal Readers of ADWN:

I want to wish you a happy holiday! Thank you for continuing to follow to story of Diane, Jaz and Cindi. I hope you have a wonderful time with friends and family.  As I will be away on vacation with limited access to internet, the next episode will be on Monday, December 29th.  Take care and all the best.



Episode 21: Show Me Who You Are…

A Study of 24th and M Street
A Study of 24th and M Street



Sunday, December 7th at 12:23pm:

Location: Blue Duck Tavern, 24th and M Street, NW

Scene: Diane and Chris have arrived at the restaurant early for their brunch date with Jaz and Cindi. They are sipping on Mimosas.


“Darling, I pass this hotel on the way to my physician all the time and I’ve never noticed this restaurant before.” I noted looking around at the modern yet traditionally decorated restaurant spotting the artisan bread laid out in the kitchen below the lounge where we sat.

 “I think you will like the brunch offerings here. It might not be your usual fare but it will nonetheless be a delightful treat for your taste buds.  Next summer, we should come here together. One night a week they roast an entire pig, believe it or not and it’s absolutely delicious.” Chris noted while drinking the last of his mimosa. I took a moment to admire the delicate connection of a small fuzz of hair from his wrist peaking through his blue stripped shirt sleeve while touching his hands adding to the nerve ridged and sinew bulged masculinity, a contrast to his delicate grasp of the glass while he drank. My eyes wondered to his well groomed finger nails.  He was always well polished.  I’d never dated a guy so well groomed.  It made me nervous that he would be appalled if he noticed any of my out of place eyebrow hairs or week overdue bikini wax. He says he does not care but that is left to be believed as we have not moved beyond being just occasional daters.

 I thought to myself, did he just say next summer, as in he is planning ahead. Breathe in…wait a minute this is Chris, I almost forgot he talks a lot and gets excited about things like restaurants and food and he may say things that end with no follow through. Umm, think I will go into my Missouri state, and wait till he shows me he is really planning ahead with me and as a result wants to have a serious relationship.

“Hey you two how are you doing?” Jaz proclaimed as she walked into the restaurant with Cindi. They were being led to where we were lounging by the hostess.

Chris stood up almost instantly and I began to make the introductions. Since we started dating he had never met Jaz.  Cindi and I met him together but that was late one night at his restaurant so it was like she was seeing him for the first time. After the introductions, we were then led to our table.

“So, mister food know-it-all what is good on the menu?” I asked noticing unlikely brunch items like whiskey cured Coho Gravlax.  The choice of where to eat was Chris’s as usual, he would have it no other way.

“You’d be surprised to hear me say this but the grits here are really nice and creamy with a thick consistency due to the cheddar cheese folded into the sauce. They are actually better than the ones at the Georgia Browns brunch buffet.” He also noted for good measure highlighting his broad knowledge of Washington restaurants. He continued “actually everything here tastes good and is fresh so feel free to try something new. I am going to get the Irish breakfast and the grits.” He said continuing to examine the menu.

Sunday, December 7th at 2:48pm:

Location: M Street Georgetown

Scene: Diane, Jaz and Cindi walking from store to store.

We expected to be assaulted by absentminded cab drivers while driving down M Street but instead we had to contend with throngs of tourists either just visiting or commencing their early holiday shopping. We finally found parking outside of the MAC store on M Street. 

“Ladies thanks for coming with me to take care of these quick wedding related errands. Glad you are both here because I wanted to talk about Aidan and work without Chris overhearing.” Cindi noted. As her sister’s maid of honor, she was slowly descending into full wedding planner mode.

“I understand. It was good hanging out with Chris but sometimes I think all he wants is someone to show off his restaurant knowledge to.  To be honest, he is great but I am going to start looking for another guy.” I thought out loud. 

“Whatever Diane, I see the way you look at him and how he looks intently at you when you are just saying ‘pass the butter please’. There is more between the two of you so just give it time. I think sometimes we just need to be patient at the start of a relationship.” Cindi noted sounding like she has been seeking advice from her soon to be married sister. Without fail expertise comes with the engagement ring. “At least you don’t have to worry about fooling around with your co-worker only to realize that he does not respect you and that he went ahead and told someone your same year at the firm that you are sleeping with him.” She revealed.

“You’re sleeping with him? Are you out of your mind!” Jaz stated while pausing and changing her mind about entering the MAC store for a quick look around. “A few weeks ago you were annoyed that he was too forward but you are still moving on with a relationship with him. I am so confused Cindi.  This could ruin your professional reputation.”

“We’re not sleeping together he is lying and/or delusional! All we’ve done is kiss at the office and I’ve been avoiding him for the past week or so. My friend at work told me what he said and I pretended to not know what she was talking about.” Cindi exclaimed as Jaz became quiet and we started walking to the Restoration Hardware store. I did not think we would get much bridal registry work done at all.

“You have to sit him down and make it clear that there is nothing between the two of you and avoid him like the plague. Pretend you did not even kiss him when you are both in public and find some other guy to go to the firm Christmas party with to send the message to everyone especially him.” I responded after quickly reflecting on what was going on.









Episode 20: Rice, Tea and a New Start

Delightful trio.

Delightful trio.

Monday, December 1st at 11:23am:

Location: Diane’s car, Tyson’s Corner

Scene: Diane in her car on a three-way call with Cindi and Jaz

“Hey Jaz, I have Cindi on the other line.” Diane started the conversation once the connection was made. “Darlings, I just found out that I got the job as a consultant on 15th and K St.! I am so excited!” She shrieked into the phone.

“Awesome news! Do you know what this means? We can do mani-pedis at lunch or just plain old eat together.”  Cindi said happy at the new turn of events.

“Or we can work out together at lunch!  You never get to come to the lunch time Zumba class at the gym. The instructor is way more fabulous than the one scheduled for the after work crowd.” Jaz noted with elation.

“Well, how about we meet tonight for dinner at Rice to celebrate?” Cindi suggested.

“Sounds great!” Diane and Jaz responded in unison.

Monday, December 1st at 6:44pm:

Location: Rice Restaurant, Dupont Circle

Scene: Cindi and Jaz are seated waiting for Diane to show up

“Hey Darlings,” Diane called out as she spotted the ladies at a table against the wall on the right of the restaurant, “I had the worst time getting here. That accident on 395 was bad but the rubberneckers were worst.  I hate having to crawl along bumper to bumper for over an hour expecting bloodied dead bodies and mayhem only to see a fender bender, one cop car and cars speeding down the highway when they pass the quote-unquote scene after having slowed their cars to a turtle’s pace. I cannot wait to not have to make this drive on a daily basis anymore. Hugs, Hugs.” They all greeted as she finished her tale.

“Cheers to that! Grab your water for the toast.” Jaz proclaimed raising her Thai iced tea as their glasses touched.

“I gave Jerry my two week notice today. I did not want to wait a second more. I am so looking forward to my new consulting job.” I said turning to the now present waitress to order my own Thai iced tea.

“So, what did he say?” Cindi wondered looking up at Diane and no longer at her menu.

“What did he say? You mean what did he do?” Diane said as she began her story.  “I walked into his office with my quickly drafted resignation letter.  As usual he was yelling at his secretary Alice…something about his coffee. I waited for her to walk out of his office and walked in. He snapped, ‘I hope you are here to tell me you have the report I asked you for yesterday!’ Granted there is no way that report would be ready as it would take a team of three and probably over 50 pages. I told him ‘I resign. This is my two-week notice’. He grunted and just said ‘Please get me a list of your outstanding projects by tomorrow and close my door on the way out’.  And with that he just went back to reviewing the other reports on his desk and never looked up at me again.” Diane said while she nibbled on the scrumptious sweet potato empanadas the ladies had ordered before she arrived.

“Wow! What an awful man.” Jaz looked saddened by the story.

“Don’t get me wrong. It was great place to work as far as money went but just too stressful and too much drama – more than even I could create.” Diane reflected.

“Cheers to new beginnings!” With that they all raised their glasses once more.

Monday, December 1st at 6:54pm:

Location: Rice Restaurant, Dupont Circle

Scene: Cindi, Diane and Jaz are ready to order

“What type of Rice are you getting Diane?” Jaz asked, “Can I tell you I could not wait to come here all day. I am definitely getting food to go.” Jaz finished with a giggle.

“The last time we were here you wanted to try the green tea.” Cindi noted as she was always good at remembering small details.

“Green tea it is.” Diane concurred.









Episode 19: Straightened Hair and Sticky Fingers

Capitol Hill - A Study of 2nd and D St., NE

Capitol Hill - A Study of 2nd and D St., NE

Saturday, November 22nd at 3:14pm:

Location: Bubbles Hair Salon, Capitol Hill

Scene: Jaz and Diane are getting their hair washed and blown out.


Cindi and I decided that she would take over the logistics of Jaz’s surprise birthday party and I would handle keeping Jaz distracted throughout the day. We had decided to hold the event tonight at Station 9 on 15th and U St., NW.


“So, birthday girl do you want curls or do you want your hair blown out straight?” Rogers the hairstylist asked Jaz while leaning over her from behind playing with her freshly washed hair, red lollipop as usual firmly stuck in his mouth.


“Hmmm…actually I haven’t worn it straight in awhile. Let’s try that.” Jaz hesitated for awhile before making up her mind.


Looking over from the nearby chair of my stylist, I noted “hey lady, I think that’s a good choice.”  I walked over to watch Rogers in action grabbing a Tootsie Roll from his permanently stocked candy bowl. For months Jaz had been talking about wearing her hair straight for a change of pace, however, although she thought her curly do was a bit boring, she usually kept the same look because it was more wash and go and did not entail having to take time out of her schedule to go to the hair salon.


“I was thinking a straight look would go well with the v-neck Nina mini dress I just bought from the Unsung Designers online boutique. I can’t wait to go to the concert tonight. It’s the perfect birthday gift. I just hope Cindi having to go to work today will not mean that she might have to cancel tonight.  I haven’t been able to reach her all day.” she explained as Rogers started applying the styling lotion.

 Bubbles in the rain.

“Honey, how old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?” Rogers asked grabbing another candy from the jar.


“Hmmm…well. I will be thirty years old on Monday.” Jaz said in what seemed like a self affirmation evident in the deep breath she took half-way through her response.


“Only thirty…you don’t look a day over twenty-five and I mean it,” Rogers complimented her right before he started blow drying her hair.


“Thanks Rogers! You keep talking to me like that and I just might become a regular client.” Jaz proclaimed while unexpectedly leaning over to grab a red lollipop.


In a whirlwind, Rogers swiftly smacked her on the wrist, admonishing “the red ones are mine love, but you are welcome to any of the other colors, thank you!” And with that he continued working and she looked at me in shock while I laughed uncontrollably. I could so see Rogers do the same to his two children. I think Jaz will see this as a reason to never stray from her healthy diet again!


Saturday, November 22nd at 6:14pm:

Location: Diane’s apartment, Capitol Hill

Scene: Jaz and Diane getting ready for a night out. Jaz still does not know what is happening.


“Cindi just sent me a text saying she is running late. Do you want to meet her at Station 9 before the concert to grab a drink and some appetizers before heading to the show?” I was still trying to play it cool. Jaz was still in the dark about the birthday events…and come to think of it, so was I.  Hmmm… Cindi is known to go overboard while party planning so it will be interesting to see how things turn out. Hopefully, there won’t be any piñatas! Jaz’s mom, dad and brother were also in town for the party and had been helping Cindi all day long.

 I saw the sign.

“Sounds like a plan. I love their appetizers. What time is the concert again?” she asked admiring her hair in the full length mirror in my bedroom.


“It should start at 10pm. You should wear your hair straight more often! It looks absolutely divine on you and brings out your bone structure,” I said noticing how she looked amazingly polished. “Crap! I can’t believe this!” I spilled the strawberry jam on my new shirt!


Giggling, Jaz noted, “it never ceases to amaze me how without fail you are either causing an accident or stepping into one.”


“Hmmm!” was all I could muster in response as I tried to remove the sticky and quickly settling stain.


Saturday, November 22nd at 8:15pm:

Location: Station 9, 15th and U St.

Scene: Party goers already assembled and waiting for Jaz’s appearance at her surprise party.


“Diane, I can’t believe you were intent on stopping at the gas station for gum. You know how Cindi is a stickler for time!” Jaz was annoyed at how long it took me to get the gum from the store, but unbeknownst to her I had to stall for a minute. Cindi needed some extra time because unfortunately Jaz’s mom had taken too long getting ready. Oh the irony.


“Sorry Darling…well we are here now and it’s your birthday so you’ve got to cheer up!” I said trying to sound chipper. “Oh, since we are just here for appetizers and drinks Cindi mentioned that she would just wait for us upstairs where it’s more lounge-like.”  I inhaled.


“Ok.” She followed me up the stairs.


“Surprise!!!” The entire room of about 50 friends and family erupted as we walked in the room.


Jaz’s hands went up to her mouth in genuine shock and delight as she ran over and hugged her mom and dad and then Cindi and me. Mission accomplished and more importantly lots of streamers, balloons, party favors, a yummy looking chocolate cake from the Sticky Fingers vegan bakery and thankfully no piñatas!