Category Archives: 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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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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Only Three of Us Are Lucky Enough… Father’s Day 2017



The older I get and the more people I encounter in my life, the more I understand that I am one of the lucky ones. Not everyone enjoys a terrific relationship with their father for reasons of all kinds and I am sorry for those who do not.

But I am blessed enough to have had a great father and I will speak for my two sisters here: we were blessed to have Dad as our dad.

Whatever I try to be as a father, I learned from how my father fathered me. When I think of the memories I would like my children to have of me when they are adults parenting kids on their own, I want them to have memories similar to the ones I have of my dad.

  • Walking across the campus of my college alma mater, Catholic University, last week, I said to The Cinnamon Girl “That’s where the bank was where I opened my first adult account. Dad and I did that one afternoon my first week on campus.” He was taking care of me as he ever did.
  • Just yesterday, the hashtag #FirstComics was making the electronic rounds and I tweeted a picture of the first comic books in my collection (comics which are framed on the wall of my office). Dad bought them for me.
  • I think of dad each time I strap on my twelve string guitar. It has a hole in it that dad fixed.
  • We bought a new car in the spring and the impulse to check in with dad on what he thought was so very strong. He always had car advice even if it was not always good advice.
  • When my mother-in-law passed away last week, one of the first thoughts I had was how would Dad respond? What would Dad do?

I could share many more memories but I will conclude with this: I love my father. I always will.

I am one of the lucky three who can call him my dad.

Family 1989

Me, my sisters, our mother and father in London in 1989. Lucky family to have Dad as our dad…

 

 

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Best Combination, 10 Times Over


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Tin. Tin is the traditional gift for one’s 10th anniversary. The modern gift, by-the-way, is diamonds but no diamonds will be proffered to The Cinnamon Girl today.

Frankly, no tin will be, either. We have decided to treat ourselves to a lovely vacation in lieu of exchanging presents this year and it is killing me (but her birthday is in just over a month and I’ll make up for it, then!).

For reasons known only to her (and, I suspect, to God), The Cinnamon Girl married me and I married her 10 years ago today. And, while I could do some clever math adding up to 10 concerning the past decade –

Oh, hell, I have to do it now that I’ve thought of it!

1 purchased home +

3 graduations from high school +

2 new cats +

2 parents passing +

1 major job change +

1 perfect wife = 10!

Um, as I was saying, I could do some clever math, but I will resist the impulse. Instead I want to write about tin.

There is nothing particularly special about this metal. It is soft. My brave wife is the strongest woman I know. It is malleable. My incredible wife is the most confident and convicted a person as I know. It is not particularly shiny or attractive. My beautiful wife is absolutely dazzling.

What it has going for it is that it combines with other metals incredibly well and it makes them new, different, better. It changes and revitalizes them. That is what tin does.

Without question, that is what The Cinnamon Girl did for me when I met her over a decade ago. She did it when she and I married on a June 9 in 2007. She made me new, different and better.

With sincere apologies to all of my wonderful friends who are not her, The Cinnamon Girl is the person with whom I want to spend my time, free and otherwise. She is the first thing I think about in the mornings, the last thing I pray about when I fall to sleep. She is the best friend I have ever had and she is the wisest person I know.

She is my wife and the combination is all but perfect.

Happy Anniversary, Cinnamon Girl. I love you more today than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow.

2017-03-03 18.48.23

 

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The Passing of My Mother-in-Law


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In the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 6, my mother-in-law, Dora Thornton Durham, passed away in her sleep.

She was 84 years old.

Dora was a character in every sense of the word and her larger-than-life personality was in complete and delightful contrast to almost incomprehensibly small frame. Dora suffered from COPD and the disease took its toll on her, to be sure, but the twinkle in her eye and the edge in her wit remained until the end.

Dora and LBC

Dora Thornton Durham and Little Black Cat, April 2015.

Compassionate, intelligent and engaged, Dora had a saying for almost any occasion and many of them were wise, indeed. She was a life-long educator (her most important student being HJ jr who she taught to read) who valued knowledge and character development and she shared many, many stories about the children she had taught throughout her career. Dora married a man whom she first dated because she thought he was Don Meredith, believed in flying saucers and tried to always see the positive in negative situations. She became more liberal in her thought and politics the older she got. She was funny as hell.

There are so many things about my mother-in-law I will miss, but I will always associate Dora with how much she loved animals.

As she lay in our home in during the last days of her life, Dora was not alone. The incredible Cinnamon Girl cared for her night and day, ably assisted by first year nursing student Sous ChefHJ jr and I were around as well, and her son was by her side, too.

But I am not talking about the company she had from any of us. I am talking about our animals. We have cats and a dog and Dora loved them very, very much.

Dora shared many lovely “last words” with us when it was her time to go, but perhaps none were as precious as two directed at our animals.

As she was losing strength one afternoon, Dora saw our dog and lit up with a bright “Hi!” The wagging of the dog’s tail spoke for everyone.

Later that same day, our lovely Siamese cat Lulu crawled onto Dora’s bed. Dora looked down and said to her “soft.”

At that point, these words were an effort for her to form and they must have felt important to her.

I will cherish many memories of Dora, but, in particular, I’ll hold on to these two.

I did not have the luck to know Dora for a very long time , but I am blessed to have had 10 years with her.

I love her and I will miss her.

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