The photo is from one of their Christmas cards sent during their service in Serbia.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This past Monday was a big day . . .
. . . for my cousin Hallie and her husband, Mike. The one and only Hillary R. Clinton, Secretary of State, swore-in Mike as the new U.S. ambassador to Estonia. He's a 30-year career diplomat and the two of them make a phenomenal team. They've served under every imaginable condition from being shot at in Panama to befriending Serbian royalty. Thankfully, they remain my lovely, loving cousin Hallie and charming, incredibly smart and jovial Mike. Family from Illinois, Pennsylvania and Tennessee came for it. Originally scheduled for the Monday before, the Senate was too busy with healthcare reform to take the final steps in confirming Mike and other appointees. Many of his family members from Tennessee planned to be there on the original date but could not come this time. Mom, Janet and Zach drove up from Southern Maryland and brought Patty, Tom and their son Mike who'd flown in from Chicago. We gathered here and slogged over together through the rain and wind. [Even though Spouse and I live catty-corner to State, there weren't enough umbrellas to go around, so some of us were not quite as polished as we would have liked to be walking into the grand atmosphere of the 8th floor.] Even though I've been there before, the stateliness [pun intended] and sparkle still impress me. [I can't imagine how the huge crystal chandeliers -- of which there are many -- are kept so clean!] Being that Madam Secretary was still meeting at the White House when our event was to begin, we wandered out onto the terrace to enjoy the view. There are several more rooms elegantly decorated with priceless paintings, china, silver, oriental rugs and antique furniture, so we were not bored. [Though standing around for so long took a toll on some of the older guests.] When Mike, Hallie and their children Lindsay and Nicholas arrived, followed by Mrs. Clinton, we all applauded. She made some very complimentary remarks about Mike and Hallie both. [Mike had been one of the people who helped her prepare for her confirmation hearings. It was nice that she mentioned that in addition to his career highlights.] During Mike's comments, she looked around the room, impressed by the turn-out. A long grip and grin followed and we family members waited around. [The Secretary departed shortly after Mike's remarks because a dignitary from New Zealand (?) was visiting. I didn't get a good look at the flags on the limos because I was fumbling with an umbrella and trying to get out of the way.] Anyway, we then headed to Red Hot and Blue on Wilson Blvd. for a gang lunch where we could finally let loose and enjoy each others' company. Mike and Hallie were our always gracious hosts even though they leave for Estonia on Sunday! We're all so proud of them but hate to see them go. . .