Category Archives: Cinnamon Girl

This One Goes To 11 (And Counting)

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The Magister, my best friend (well, the best friend I have to whom I am NOT married), was once in my office without me. While there, he looked at my display of photos and left me the below, brief missive:


Truer words were never scrawled on a sticky note.

This one goes to 11. 


11 years of marriage to The Cinnamon Girl marked today. I am the luckiest man I know.

What can I tell you on this anniversary?

I can tell you that, if every relationship has a reacher and a settler, I am – without a doubt – the reacher.

Thank God The Cinnamon Girl was kind enough to settle.

I can tell you I out-kicked my coverage.

I got to The Cinnamon Girl before she came to her senses.

I can tell you I married up.

Thank God The Cinnamon Girl decided on me. She had other options…



11 years today.

I can say without equivocation that these have been the best 11 years of my life.

Happy Anniversary, Cinnamon Girl. By-the-way, this thing we have goes way beyond 11.


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Motherhood: All Love Begins And Ends There

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The title of this blog is a quote from Robert Browning. It is simple and it is true.

How do I know this? I know this because I live with The Cinnamon Girl.

We have three children and I can write today – with no fear of being contradicted – that each of our children has become the strong, young adult they have become because of her love for them.

For them, love begins and ends in her motherhood.

EasterI wonder what they would say about The Cinnamon Girl if you got them talking, it they could identify what really makes her so special in their lives. What might they say? I am not certain, but I do have some guesses.

HJ jr might remark about how his mother has never let him down and always, ever and forever, has his back. He might say she has been his confidante and champion. He might say she is always there for him. He might say that she has made him a stronger and better person.

He might say all of that.

Stretch, who this weekend (this very day) graduates college, might say that The Cinnamon Girl taught him not too take life too seriously. He might say she taught him the so critical gift of irreverence. He might say she showed him through humor just how much she loves him.

He might say all of that.

Sous Chef might say that The Cinnamon Girl is one of the best role models for growing up into a strong and confident woman she could have ever had. She might say that she loves it when they cook together, or talk about make up together, or talk about life together. She might say that The Cinnamon Girl helped her become the amazing young woman she is.

As for me, I would say I have learned more about parenting (and about life) from my beautiful wife and partner than I ever would have thought possible. I learned it even more as I watched her mother her mother in the last stages of my mother-in-law’s life these last few years. What love and what grace my wife showed. What love and what grace she has.

Caroline and Dora Confirmation

My wife is a wonderful mother. Our children are, truly, lucky to have her.

As am I.

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Filed under Cinnamon Girl, Family, HJ jr, Mother, Mothers, Mothers Day, Sous Chef, Stretch, The Cinnamon Girl

They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright – HAMILTON

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A funny thing happened on a trip to London… Sous Chef discover that she, The Cinnamon Girl and I could see Hamilton for a terrifically reasonable price, so reasonable, in fact, that we thought we might be being scammed as we purchased the tickets. They were ridiculously cheaper than the ones we had been looking at in the states (in New York, LA and Denver where we had opportunities, though not the cash to see the show). Adding to our suspicion was that these reasonable priced tickets were in Stall A – the first row – at the Victoria Palace Theater in the West End. It all seemed too good to be true and we did not trust our fortune until we were actually at the theater with tickets in hand.

Long story short:

So there we were, in London, seeing Hamilton for the first time from the front row.

It will not be any of our last time to see Hamilton, of that I can assure you.

Truth be told, The Cinnamon Girl was well ahead of the curve on this Alexander Hamilton business. As an AP US History teacher, she has been praising the story of Hamilton for as long as I have known her, well before the musical or Ron Chernow’s book. She was on top of this Hamilton thing way, way back and her students who pay attention have ever known who her favorite founding father is. Let us give credit where credit is due.

So I was very interested in what she would think of the show, of its staging and music, sure, but, more importantly, of its history. Would it capture the man and his story? According to The Cinnamon Girl, it did. Absolutely. While she pointed out to us the ways the show changed the story, skimped on the details and did an end-run around the facts, she could find very little problematic in the alterations.

And, as for the staging, the music, the pace and the book, well, just put us down with the millions of others who think Hamilton is an amazing, uplifting and remarkable experience. Put us down with those who want to see it again and again.

The particulars of the performance we saw: the cast was terrific and I was very taken by Giles Terera as Aaron Burr. Remember, we were in the front row and we could see every expression, every bit of sweat on the brow. Terera’s performance seemed absolutely effortless. His moves powerful, his voice insistent, his presence towering. He is, for the, the indelible memory of the show and that may not speak entirely well for Jamael Westman’s Hamilton himself, but he was terrific, too. I simply thought Terera was the outstanding part of an outstanding cast (Rachel An Go as Eliza Hamilton and Michael Jibson as King George deserve singling out, too).

We saw a wonderful performance and I will forever be moved by the idea that we got to see this quintessential American show in London! What a delight.

As for the show itself, the show that transcends the cast that puts it on and where it is performed, let us salute the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man behind Hamilton and its first star. What an amazing production he has conceived. What a testament to what America is and what it can be. What a brilliant show.

I believe (and I am likely not the first to suggest this – and I am assuming the staging of the show does not vary overly from venue-to-venue) that the brilliance of the show and the message it conveys can be summed up in one moment: the curtain call. As we rose to our feet in standing ovation for the show, I noted with some surprise that the cast was going to be recognized as one. They were going to be recognized together. They were going to be applauded as a community. We were not going to single out Washington or Jefferson or Angelica or even Hamilton himself. Rather, we were going to put our hands together – wildly – for this overtly and intentionally diverse cast of women and men who had so well entertained and informed us for the past three hours.

Diverse. Strong. Together.

Thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda for this show, for making something as complex as the American Experiment so simple, for entertaining and informing and for making our spirits rise up.

You surely did not waste your shot.

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Filed under Broadway, Cinnamon Girl, Family, Hamilton, Music, Sous Chef, The Cinnamon Girl

Love At The End… February 14, 2018

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A simple promise on Valentine’s Day… and, appropriately enough, it comes from a story The Cinnamon Girl (my Valentine) shared with me.

When the end of my days arrives, I hope to be able to speak in those final moments, to be peaceful in the approach and to tell those I love just how much I love them.

I hope to be able to tell The Cinnamon Girl just how much she has taught me love, how much she has changed my world, how much she has made me better.

But here is the promise, if I am not able to speak, if death comes too quickly, know this: just because my last words were not “I love my Cinnamon Girl” only means I did not have the time or ability to say it.

It will surely be my last thought.

Happy Valentine’s Day to my Valentine.

Cinnamon and me final

You see us together…

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Link’n’Blogs – 1.26.18: And the Singer Sings No More: Neil Diamond Retires

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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Perhaps you have already heard that Neil Diamond is retiring from touring because of his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He has cancelled the remaining dates on his 50th Anniversary tour and, while he will still write and record, he is done with life on the road. I was lucky enough to see him in concert five times, the most recent being last summer with The Cinnamon Girl and I am very happy that I did. For a man who did not embrace the life of the performer when he began his career, he surely got the hang of things. Neil Diamond, thank you for the live memories… You can click the Washington Post‘s coverage below.

Neil Live

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19 Years of Sous Chef… Photo Essay

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Sous Chef is 19 years old today.

It may seem sentimental, but I thank God for every one of those 6,935 days she has been alive. Each of those days is a blessing. Each of those days is a gift. Each of those days is a grace.

She is a wonderful young woman, as likely to be volunteering her time with a marginalized population as she is to be having a raucous time with her many good friends.

That I am reluctant to see her grow up and beyond The Cinnamon Girl and me is cliched and obvious.

That I am more proud than words can express of her is, I hope, equally obvious.

That she is one of the shining lights of my life and one of the best people I have ever known is gospel truth.

Happiest of birthdays, Sweetheart. Many, many, many happy returns.


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Filed under Birthday, Cinnamon Girl, Family, Fathers and Daughters, HJ jr, Sous Chef, Stretch, The Cinnamon Girl

You Can Do Magic – The Cinnamon Girl’s Birthday

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Spring 2017Today is The Cinnamon Girl’s birthday and it is a day to celebrate all that she is to those of us who know her and those of us who love her. One of the many ways we will do that is to give her cards and gifts and that is good. I love – LOVE – to give gifts.

However, it occurs to me as I write this post, that she is the gift. She is the present. She is so very special.

She is the most special woman I know.

I cannot imagine life without her. I do not wish to.

I know that that our children, too, cannot imagine their lives without her in them. She has given so much to us and is the connection that brings us together, the light around which we all hover.

I marvel at who she is and all she does.

She is confidant and confider.

She is humorist and storyteller.

She is shocking in every good way.

She is kind and compassionate.

She is breathtakingly smart and stunningly quick witted.

She is incisive and insightful.

She is beautiful by any definition of the word.

There are many (myself included) who wonder if she has precognitive powers – if she is tapped into some kind of font that allows her to understand the world in ways that other people do not.

Here’s the secret: my Cinnamon Girl is magic.

She is pure magic.

Happy birthday, Cinnamon Girl. Thank you for being the gift.


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