Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Celebrations of Life

I recently attended two very special events that were remarkably life affirming in two very different and wonderful ways.  Last Saturday, I attended a very dear friend's wedding.  Linda Gregory and Jim Hollenberg exchanged vows at 6pm on June 12, 2010 at the First Baptist Church of Redlands.  Friends and family were in attendance.  I sat on the bride's side of the church and witnessed one of the happiest days of my friend's life.  She was a vision in her pale champagne colored off the shoulder taffeta gown, which she made herself in less than a year.  Her hair is curls around her face and crowned with gold beaded hair bands, she radiated joy and love in her face as she proceeded up the aisle to her waiting Jim.  Finding love a little later in life, but well worth waiting for, Linda and Jim were about to exchange vows for the first time in either of their lives in their 40's.  But when you find the right person to spend your life with, all the time up to that point, waiting and looking, just seems to melt away.  I've never seen two people so perfect for each other.  So completely in love and devoted.  I spoke to Linda a couple of days before the ceremony and she said that as much hard work and some frustration planning the wedding was, the best part about it was that Jim had just been an absolute prince through the whole process and had been so supportive.  If you can plan a wedding and even with all the stress surrounding it, you still find complete solace in the support of your impending spouse, then you know that you are marrying the right person.  Maggie, the maid of honor, and another dear friend, looked absolutely lovely in her royal blue gown and deep plunging neckline (she looked HOT!). I took pictures from my prime seat on the aisle, but due to my shaky camera work (probably also due to the couple of drinks I had right before the ceremony) most of my picture came out a little blurred.  Even through the blurriness, I think you can still see the joy on everyone's faces.  I also want to formally thank my escort to the wedding, who made the day and evening absolutely perfect for me.  Thank you dear sir (you know who you are) for being both a solid rock and wildly fun all at the same time.   














My other recent life affirming event was a couple of weeks ago on May 30th, I had the honor of attending the Memorial Service for Ronnie James Dio, former lead singer of Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and most recently Heaven and Hell.  Wendy Dio, his wife and manager, generously sent me wristbands so that I could sit inside the Hall of Liberty, the site of the ceremony at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills.  Outside of the Hall of Liberty, a large screen was set up with additional chairs for mourners.  It was a public memorial and many, many of Ronnie's fans attended.  It was a very warm day, but people braved the sun and gave up part of their Memorial Day Holiday weekend to attend. I must say that I was painfully uneducated about Ronnie's career and life up until this day, but the celebration of his life put on by his family and dear friends in the music industry was a complete enlightenment about what an amazing person Ronnie was and for which he will continued to be remembered.  Ronnie was a slight man in stature, standing only around 5', but based on the countless personal stories about how he had touched other people's lives, it was clear that Ronnie's heart and personality were much greater that his physical body.  Among the musical luminaries that spoke and sang at the ceremony were Rudy Sarzo, John Payne, Glenn Hughes, Joey Belladonna & Dio/Heaven & Hell keyboard player Scott Warren.  The love that poured out these men for Ronnie was so incredibly touching.  They spoke of Ronnie as a father figure and as someone who was always there for them, no matter what.  Ronnie was also incredibly fun and mischievous.  They spoke of Ronnie being a lifelong Yankee fan and an incredible heavy metal vocalist, maybe the best who ever lived.  It was such an honor and privilege to have been invited into this Memorial and to listen to each and every person who spoke.  It just goes to prove that one person can make a difference and touch so many people's lives.  Thank you Wendy for allowing me to hear such incredible words about your husband, who clearly was as greatly loved as he loved others.  I was truly moved by the whole event. I just wish I got to spend more time with Ronnie, than the one time I met him.  But even in death, Ronnie has made an impact on my life.  God rest his soul. 


Copyright 2010 Romy Schneider.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Wizard of Westwood Will Live Forever

God bless us with John Wooden for 99 years (1910-2010).  He will always be the greatest coach of all time.  He embodied the definitions of class, grace, strength, success and what it means to be a UCLA Bruin.  Coach Wooden will forever be tattooed on my and every Bruin's heart.  Long live the Wizard of Westwood.  You can listen to him describe his philosophy of success below.