Weeks of May 8 & 15, 2011

No question about it, although last week was jammed pack the highlight was our 23rd anniversary hot air balloon ride.  You must put that on your bucket list.  It is so magnificently serene, romantic, spiritual and who knew Temecula was so beautiful?  Not being a wine buff the vineyards, groves, rolling hills, water, mountains and ocean were a complete surprise.  It is spectacular.

At the highest altitude Tom showered me with gifts, something we usually don’t do on specific occasions. A box of personalized M & Ms and a sterling silver Buccellati necklace. So beautiful.  Said he saw it early but intended it for our 25th.  That actually appeals to me.  He bought my 10th anniversary ring just after our 8th and gave it to me early.  

The Edwin Forrest Day celebration was pleasant but the venue hampered activities.  I offered our home for next year’s Actor’s Fund event.

The concert reading of Heifer’s BEATRICE’S GOAT was a huge success.  We’re now thinking of ways to take it to the next level.  The lunch with Pierre Ferrari, Heifer’s new CEO was energizing and enlightening.  I am more committed that ever to serving Heifer’s goal of ending hunger and poverty while protecting the earth.

BURN THE FLOOR at the Pantages was a rocking good time.  Some dances done at warp speed.  The audience was so appreciative. We sat in our chairs grooving the whole time.

Our actual anniversary, May 7th was fairly quiet. We saw THOR, which was great, and hung out.  Since we had breakfast after the balloon ride and the mini wedding cake we made for our friends, we felt we’d done enough food celebrating for one occasion.  No typical dinner out this anniversary.

Sunday I am serving as a Eucharistic Minister at the 10:30. Louise has invited us for a BBQ late afternoon so we can get Tom back home in time for us to scoot over to the Academy to see L’AMOUR FOU, the Yves Saint-Laurent doc.

Monday I’m meeting Mike Russell, the Director of Regional Development for the U of MN Foundation, for lunch.  Not sure why he wants to meet with me but time will tell.

I’m set for a long awaited facial on Tuesday. And on Wednesday the ladies are getting together to use our Groupon to buy hats.  We’ve been inspired by those British “fascinators” although I can’t fathom having one perched on my head.  Then of course, we will lunch...Dale, Cece, Mary, Mary Pat and me.

I’ll be on a 7:40 AM flight to NYC on Thursday.  Going for friends and theater.

That night I am dining with Dan and Ian, very old and cherished  friends.

Friday I visit my agents, stroll Central Park, maybe go to Lower Manhattan to the site of the World Trade Center.  Eventually I meet my dear friend George for dinner then to see MOTHER...WITH A HAT.

George will join me Saturday for the matinee of BOOK OF MORMON.  I’ll stand in line at TKTS for an evening show and grab dinner in between.

I’ll head uptown on Sunday to America House where my pal Mike Tueth, SJ will say Mass. Afterwards we’ll go for brunch before I head over to see the matinee of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST which stars my friends Brian Bedford and Jayne Houdyshell.  Another friend Jeff Hyenga is understudying.  I’ve also learned the Algernon is being played by a U of MN grad.  I mean I HAD to go see it!

Mike is then meeting me after the play to go backstage to meet everyone.  You see Mike had tickets to see it at the end of April so he skipped the chance to enjoy a house seat.  But the backstage visit is a must.

Eventually Jayne and I will head out for a long dinner and a good catch-up.

I’ll be back in LA by Noon on Monday.  Gym in the afternoon then Tom and I are going to the TV Academy event LADIES WHO MAKE US LAUGH.  Bonnie Hunt is on the panel and she is a personal friend and favorite.

Friday I will take Tom to get another epidural so he’ll be down for several days recovering if it goes as the last one did. He’s hoping he’ll feel good enough to see PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN 3D on Saturday.  We’ve asked our friend Greg to join us then come to our church festival and dinner.  No word yet from him so the whole thing is up in the air.

Earlier in the day I will chair my Visitation Chapter meeting in Pasadena.  This is the high school alumnae group I founded 22 years ago.  We only get together twice a year but it is always great, great fun.

Your name:
Week of May 1, 2011

We thoroughly enjoyed ATLAS SHRUGGED Part 1.  I don’t get the tepid reviews.  OK, I didn’t read the book but Tom did and he loved it too.  Judge for yourself.

The Gregory Peck Stamp ceremony was wonderful.  Lots of A list-ers  Sidney Poitier, Morgan Freeman, Laura Dern (among many, many others) and host Sharon Stone, who did a flawless job.  Wonderful stories were shared, laughter, tears, his kids and grandkids and the ever amazing Veronique, his wife.

I met the Pecks in the early 2000s when he was given the Humanitarian Award at the CIMA Mass and Awards.  I was at their table and thoroughly enjoyed basking in their wit and elegance and down to earth attitude.  He was a master storyteller.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? Wasn’t it lovely? So much hope for their future and that of the monarchy.  I think that institution has a chance of surviving for another 100 years with these two in the Palace.

Tom’s had a rough week as his epidural kept him in bed for most of it.  This coming week ought to be spectacular as he enjoys the benefits.

We’re set to see HOODWINKED TOO! 3D Sunday morning then FAST FIVE in the evening. 

Between those two movies we’re going over to the Westwood Memorial Park to finalize our burial plans. Yes I know most of us don’t like to think about such things but I am a planner.  When I married Tom he came with two burial sites in Charlottesville, VA.    After we drew up our will and decided we’d be buried in CA I sold those plots.  It’s now 20 years later and circumstances have brought us to this decision.

Our friend Terry had his father interned there 50 years ago.  When his Mom died 30 years ago he decided he wanted to have his Dad disinterned and buried with his Mom where he is going to be buried.

Over the last year I have facilitated what turned out to be a very complicated process.  When Terry was here this past winter we did a lot of the paperwork at which time he asked me if we wanted the plots.  Basically it was a very generous gift with the title transfer costing us a pittance. 

We discussed the idea with our former pastor, Msgr Antonio as we’d always assumed we’d be in a Catholic cemetery.  Monsignor was very familiar with Westwood Memorial Park as he’d done several services there.  He told us to have the ground blessed before internment.  So that’s how we’ve come to find our final resting place.  And how fitting that we’d end up getting it at bargain rates.  That appeals to me at my very core.  I want to leave as much cash to charity as possible.

Turns out we’ll be in very good company as Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote, Farrah Fawsett are there and eventually Ray Bradbury and Rodney Dangerfield will be too. Apparently it’s an industry hangout.

So Sunday between movies we will sign the final papers and  pick up Terry’s  father’s ashes to bring to him in June on the way to my family reunion.

Monday morning I’m getting together with Jim O’Heir, who played opposite me in WELCOME TO PARADISE.  He’s now on the sitcom hit PARKS & RECREATION.

I’m bringing him his door prize from my Heifer Fundraiser.  Speaking of which I got a final donation that brings the total to $2320.  I am thrilled!!

Tom hopes to join me at the gym on Monday.  He’s wanted to give it a go based on his physical therapists suggestion.  Fingers crossed.

Later on I am going to the Edwin Forrest Day, commemorating Shakespeare’s 447th birthday.  It is sponsored by the Actors Fund who put on an annual event for all of us who have named the Fund in our wills.

I did this many years ago to acknowledge the help they gave me in my early days in New York.  They once paid my rent and utility bills which came to about $275 total.  I recall being down to my last $500 when I asked for their help.  I’ll never forget their kindness.  MP is going with me.

Tuesday evening I am moderating a Heifer event I have been working on for two years.    Here is the official press release:

Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, award-winning writers of The Lion King, have penned a musical adaptation of Beatrice’s Goat, based upon the life of Beatrice Biira, a Ugandan girl whose family received a goat through Heifer International.  This 20-minute mini-musical features an original score by ethnomusicologist, Ric Alviso, and a goat puppet created by Michael Curry, also a Lion King talent.  Beatrice’s Goat, the play, will be presented as a concert reading Tuesday, May 3, at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.

This book, Beatrice’s Goat, by Page McBrier, tells the story of a real girl whose mother participated in a Heifer International women’s group in Uganda.  After receiving training and a goat, Beatrice’s mother was able to improve her family’s nutrition and use money from the sale of extra goat milk to change her family’s future.  Once her mother had saved enough money for a uniform, a notebook and pencils, Beatrice, then 9, was finally able to attend school. 

About 15 years have passed since Beatrice began school; now, thanks to the hard work of their community group and partnership with Heifer International, a majority of boys and girls in Beatrice’s village have adequate nutrition and attend school.  Beatrice went on to earn scholarships to attend universities in the United States.  She graduated from Connecticut College in May 2008, and in May 2010, earned her Master’s degree from the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service.

Pierre Ferrari, Heifer ‘s CEO, says the organization hopes to use the play as a tool for sharing Heifer International’s mission and message - sustainable development as a means to ending hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.  The story illustrates Heifer’s goals in terms understandable even to young children, and the music conveys the hopefulness and joy that come with physical wellness and realized opportunity.  

Plans are to make the play, including making the script, music, lyrics and choreography available to schools, community groups and theater groups globally, for little or no cost.

Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.  Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income.  Heifer is currently working in more than 50 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant.

For more information, visit www.heifer.org or call 501-907-2952

Wednesday evening Tom and I have tickets to see BURN THE FLOOR at the Pantages. All I know about the show is that it is about ballroom dancing.  That good enough for me.

The next afternoon I am going to a Heifer LA Leadership Council luncheon to be with our new CEO Pierre Ferrari.  One of the Council members has graciously offered to host it.

Friday is a long awaited day as Tom and I, along with Winnie and Scott, Mary Pat and Mary are taking a 5:30 AM hot air balloon ride in Temecula, CA!!  Yep it’s been on the schedule for months now as that is how Tom and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary, which is actually Saturday, May 7th.

Tom is surprising the group with a mini wedding cake he saw on the Food Network.  So we bought the pans, decorating tools and ingredients.  I think he’s going to start practicing his loops and leaves on Wednesday.  We’ll have it after the champagne breakfast that follows the one hour flight.

On our actual anniversary we’re going to see THOR in the late afternoon then out to dinner.

Your name:
Meme Wolff on May 11, 2011
Did I miss your take on WATER FRO ELEPHANTS? Saw it this week with my Vivette book club. The consensus was positive, but I missed the old folks home scene from the book (which would have given Hal Holbrook more screen time!) Did you enjoy it?
Margaret Bappert on May 7, 2011
I saw THOR last night with my 2 granddaughters and we loved it.