So you might have gleaned that I was in D.C. for a few days. One reason I went, as many of you guessed, is for more Red Scarf/Orphan Foundation fun.
What can I say about this organization and association that I haven't already said? I just can't stop enthusing. How I stumbled upon this and got involved in it I can hardly remember, but now it just seems like it's a part of me -- a part of my family, a part of my being. Gah, now I'm getting sappy. All right, Norma. Focus.
*stopping to pull myself together*
Doug Sprei couldn't ferry me around personally because his daughter had a basketball tournament, but that did not stop him from hooking me up, big-time. Lynn Davis, Manager of Partnership Development and a perfect match for me (a real pistol), took over the job. Did we have FUN! She picked me up at my hotel and brought me to Georgetown where we met up with five Ohio teens in the program. They are spending the summer in internships on Capitol Hill, and they are fantastic!
Laura Adkins, who is the Ohio shepherd (Her official title is the
Ohio ETV Coordinator. I don't know what ETV means, so I'm going to
call her "
Shepherd Queen Laura") for the interns and
the aged-out-of-the-system foster kids, was on hand to take us all out
to lunch at a French restaurant she knew from her days going to college
in Georgetown. What a wonderful, fun, and engaging woman she is! Such
a force! And her daughter and son-in-law joined us, as well.
Total.wonderful.fun. Keep in mind that I hate kids. Really.
But when Laura introduced me to the interns, she said, "And this is Norma. She is the blogger who..." and several of them interrupted and said, "The scarves?! Wow!" They of course had me in the palms of their hands from that point forward. Come on: I can only hate kids to a point, ya know.
None of the interns had ever been to a French restaurant before. After we got seated, Laura said to them, "Now, I want to hear what you are going to order for an appetizer."
Several of them protested, "Appetizers! But it's so expensive!"
Laura said, "No. I want to hear how many of you are going to join me for escargot. This is the day when you don't restrict yourself to living like you used to live. Today you live like you are going to live in the future. Now, think about your appetizers. How many are ordering escargot?"
I could have plotzed. She was frickin' awesome!
I overheard in the conversation that Laura was responsible for having sent them all to an etiquette course before their internships so presumably they would know how to conduct themselves properly with the hoity-toity Capitol Hill folks. Of course, as we all know, and as a couple of the interns pointed out, nobody has any manners anymore, even those who were raised with all the advantages in life. A couple of the interns were savvy enough to have observed that in many of the situations they'd been in where they were following all the rules of etiquette, the very hoity-toities that they were meant to impress were breaking all the rules. Don't you just love it?!
This is Ralph, who sat opposite me, taking his first bite of escargot.
William is next to him, going, "Dude!" when he takes a bite. Actually, he didn't say "Dude," but I could tell he wanted to. I love Will. He apologized to me for wearing his do-cap. Love.him.
Ralph asked me to help him choose what to order, and he wanted me to make sure he ordered things that were authentically French. He wanted me to describe quiche to him. (He ordered it. He said it was delicious, but not what he expected.)
I ordered brie and apples for my appetizer.
All the interns tried some and loved it. We all tried stuff off each other's plates. "Like a family," as Ralph observed. *sniff* (hatekids, hatekids, hatekids)
Then Laura urged that we all order dessert. Who could pass that up? I mean, really, in a French restaurant? You nuts?
Then something interesting happened. The dessert was served to the five interns with candles lit, and Happy Birthday was being played in a recording in the background. Laura said, "I never get to actually celebrate your birthdays with you, so this is my chance to be able to say happy birthday to you all."
The smiles and genuine glee were so sweet.
This is Samuel Jackson. No, really, it is. With his "birthday" dessert:
That's Laura next to him (sorry it's blurry), and Laura's lovely daughter Megan, farther down the table.
Across the table from Samuel is his biological sister, Candace.
Both amazingly high achievers, gorgeous kids.
Devon is behind her.
After we parted from the rest of the folks -- the boys were heading out to a kayak trip and the girls were heading back to their places of abode, Lynn and I later went on a fun shopping trip for makeup with Devon. She needed to find a MAC cosmetics shop, and we found one for her nearby. She bought her stuff. Then next door was a Sephora, so I had to drag everyone in there. They sell Philosophy cosmetics, my usual since Sandy turned me on to it, and it's always good to save on shipping charges, since there is no Sephora in Vermont. That's where I bought my Hope In A Jar. I explained to them that since I started using it, I have not needed to bother with foundation makeup, and I reminded them I'm staring 49 in the face. Lynn cracked me up. She said, "Like that famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, 'I'll have what she's having!'" and Devon followed suit as well.
As we were walking down the street to Lynn's car, Devon said, "And any time I feel a bit down, I'll remember that I have a little hope -- right in this jar."
Excuse me. I need a moment.
Bye-bye, Cafe La Ruche! (That's Lynn Davis on the left with the bigggg orange bag. See? Told you she was a perfect match for me.)
P.S. Doug informs me that our little Red Scarf Fund and the Network for Good initiative have raised nearly $40,000. Our little fund that we started last August. I could burst with happiness.
Maybe we can even do better than that; what do you think?
More about the Red Scarf timetable to come very soon.