Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Declutter your mind a little...

Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
-Dalai Lama
Check out this article about simple "zen habits" to declutter your mind and your life: click here to read.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How sweet...

I love fun facts so I found this website: didyouknow.org and pulled a few fun things about sweet products...just like the amazing donuts featured below (which are found only in El Salvador---totally worth the trip)...

In the Middle Ages, sugar was a treasured luxury costing 9 times as much as milk.  Ironically, now that sugar is plentiful, sugar-free products are more popular than ever before. Every year, more than $40 billion are spent on imitation fats and sugar substitutes and a further $80 billion are spent on diet programs.

The servants of Queen Isabeau (the wife of King Charles VI who ruled France from 1380 to 1422) may have appreciated diet products. Because the queen decreed that the waistline of her ladies-in-waiting should not exceed 13 inches, causing a few of them to starve to death.

To make 2 lb of honey bees have to visit 4 million flowers, traveling a distance equal to 4 times around the earth.  WHAT!?

Just some thoughts to get your mind off the fact that is Monday.  Also, these are always good back-up conversation starters to remember for those awkward silences at cocktail parties! 

Anyone have any other fun facts? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Have you recently taken a class at FSI?

I recently learned some interesting facts about our friendly feathered guests that live on the campus, the geese, if you wondering what I mean.  Many of the geese suffer from "Angel Wing” which I learned from reading on Wikipedia can be caused by the geese eating too much human food like bread and popcorn...

Angel Wing also known as Slipped Wing, crooked wing, or drooped wing is a disease that affects waterfowl, primarily geese and ducks, in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of laying against the body.  Males develop it more than females.  

The disease manifests as an incurable anatomical condition which is acquired in young birds.  Due to a high-calorie diet, especially one high in proteins and/or low in vitamin D, vitamin E and manganese, one or both (wrist) joints are retarded in their development relative to the rest of the wing; for reasons unknown, if only one wing is affected it is usually the left one.  The result is a wrist which is twisted outwards and unable to perform its usual function. 
The only wild waterfowl populations known to be affected are those fed by man.   So, as tempted as you may be to share, save your chips for yourself, you will need them to get you through class!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Hillary's Angels"

While browsing A Daring Adventure's blog I couldn't help but steal the great idea for posting this fun article about the Secretary of State's female security detail and post it on here.  The article was published in Elle magazine this month.  Check it out by clicking here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Do you know about MHN?

Our office has a contract with a behavioral health care provider, MHN, to enhance access to support services for Department of State employees and their families during unaccompanied tours.  Those eligible include direct-hire employees on permanent change of station assignment and long-term TDYers to unaccompanied posts and their family members.  The program includes a customized website, online training, 24/7 call-center support with licensed clinicians  (this particular service for USAID and State employees only), and face-to-face counseling for State employees only.  

It is free and strictly confidential

Anyone can log on to the website, which includes tons of useful articles on a variety of emotional health topics, including coping with separation, maintaining bonds with children, and communicating at a distance.  The website also contains online multimedia programs with self-assessment and self-help tools for dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.

How to use MHN:

To call:   (800) 213-5811,  TDD: (800) 327-0801
To use the website:  members.mhn.com, company code: unaccompaniedtour

If you have any questions, please email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Be inspired to turn obstacles into opportunities...

Last week some of us in our office had the opportunity to attend a lecture “Obstacles or Opportunity:  The John Robinson Story” and we all agreed it was very special.  Part of the lecture included a short video, providing a look into John’s day to day life as a congenital amputee--- and as a successful businessman, husband and father.  

He has an amazing and truly inspiring story.  Click here to watch the eleven minute video about John.  Learn more here.  

.Make a wish.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Change your mind, change your life!"

Martin Seligman founded the field of positive psychology in 2000, and has devoted his career since then to furthering the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. It's a fascinating field of study that had few empirical, scientific measures -- traditional clinical psychology focusing more on the repair of unhappy states than the propagation and nurturing of happy ones.

Check out this link to a short video lecture by Seligman on positive psychology.