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.

Friday, October 28, 2011

If someone asked you...

Would you be able to come up with a list of "life lessons?"  What would they be?  I found the essay, 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years, and thought it had some really interesting points.  I've just pasted the first five, and will add another five next week, but if you can't wait click here to see all thirty. 

1. We must love. You know the saying, “tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” right? I know, such statements sound so banal and vapid on the surface that we often dismiss them with a waive of the hand. But it’s the cold truth, a truth so profound that perhaps we can only discuss it with little clichéd statements. But we must love, even if it breaks our hearts. Because unless we love, our lives will flash by.

2. Love isn’t enough. Although we must love, love is not enough to survive. We must take action to show others that we care, to show them that we love them.

3. Happiness is not for sale in any store. We can’t buy happiness. It sounds cliché to even say that, and yet we search the aisles and shelves and pages on eBay in search of something more, something to fill the void. But we can’t fill the void with stuff. It doesn’t work that way, no matter how hard we try or how much stuff we buy, because that stuff won’t make us happy. At best it will pacify us momentarily.

4. Success is perspectival. I used to think I was successful because I had a six-figure job that my friends and family could be proud of. I thought the house with too many bedrooms would make me look even more successful, and so would the luxury car and the tailored suits and the nice watch and the big screen TV and all of the trappings of the material world. But I got all of that and I sure didn’t feel successful. Instead, I felt depressed. So what did I do? I bought more stuff. And when that didn’t work I figured out that I had to do something else with my life, that I had to stop living a lie and start living my dreams.

5. You must make changemust. I knew that I wanted to change my life for the longest time. I knew I was unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled. I knew I didn’t have freedom. Not real freedom. The problem was that I knew these things intellectually but not emotionally. I didn’t have the feeling in my gut that things must change. I knew they should change, but the change wasn’t a must for me, and thus it didn’t happen. Anthony Robbins has a good aphorism to describe all these shoulds in your life: he says “after a while you end up shoulding all over yourself.” But once you understand these things on an emotional level you are able to turn your shoulds into musts. I believe that that is the pivotal point, that is when you get leverage, that is when you are compelled to take action. Thus, a decision is not a real decision until it is a must for you, until you feel it on your nerve-endings, until you are compelled to take action. Once your shoulds have turned into musts, then you have made a real decision.

                           What are some lessons you've learned so far?  Please share...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holiday Party at the State Department

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, will host Diplomacy at Home for the Holidays, a reception for family members of unaccompanied tour employees this December at the Department of State. This is a wonderful opportunity for family members in the Washington D.C. area to get into the holiday spirit and to honor the work, service and sacrifice of State Department men and women that are currently on unaccompanied tours.

In order to receive an official invitation, please contact FLOaskUT@state.gov for details within the next week.  Please note that ‘Family’ is defined broadly to include spouse, partner, fiancé, parent, sibling, and children of anyone under Chief of Mission at an unaccompanied tour posting.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are you in the D.C. area on November 30th from 6pm-9pm?

Learn how to nurture and strengthen relationships during unaccompanied tours with FSI's Long Distance Relatioships class, MQ801.  This class is open to all foreign affairs agency employees and adult EFMs.  To register, email FLOaskUT@state.gov to find out how to register.  I took the class last year and thought it was well worth it!

Enjoy the weekend! 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Use these quick techniques whenever you feel
stressed at work or home:

1.  Count 10 slow, deep breaths.
2.  Do five slow, small circles with your head,
stretching out your neck muscles.
3.  Stop what you are doing and get up. Walk
around your office or go to another room for
just a few minutes.
4.  Picture yourself in a place you find relaxing

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kerri's Corner

Apples, apples, come get your apples!  Fall is my favorite season.  My number one reason for loving Fall is because Honeycrisp apples are out.  Every Sunday we go to the local neighborhood market and buy no less than 3 pounds of apples for the week.  A relatively new variety, Honeycrisps have a sweet, mellow flavor. They're very juicy and full of flavor.  You can eat them raw or make an apple crisp with them.  Some people enjoy their Honeycrisp with a dollop of yogurt.  There is no wrong way to eat a Honeycrisp.  Go get one!

Try Honeycrisp Apple Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sour milk (add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to fresh milk)
1 teaspoon soda
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped Honeycrisp apples
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix together all ingredients. Divide batter between 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (at times I have to bake the loaves for 10 or 15 minutes more until they feel set when tapped).  Note: Batter will be stiff. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Employees headed to hooches...

Items you might want to include in your consumables shipment...

Soup mixes/cans
Any speciality food items you like, Thai Mexican, Indian...
Tea, coffee, coffee filter
Crackers and snack food
Laundry soap, dryer sheets, bleach, spot remover
Towels and washclothes
Bedding (beds are twin size), pillows
Small pastic container with drawers
Clorox wipes
Bath soap
Swiffer wet/dry ones (for the kitchen floors)
Small pastic bags (for the wastebaskets)
Dust cloths (it is very dusty and dirty)
Good quality air purifier and humidifier
Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, hair color
Cosmetics you like...very little available, even the basics like mascara
Toothpaste, mouthwash
Contacts and lens cleaners, Visine
Calendars, family photos
Holiday decorations, birthday candles
Greeting cards
Any hobby items that you want to work on (in moments you have some free time)
Toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, napkins
220 Volt Coffee Pot, Tea Kettle
Bed risers to maximize storage under the bed (you can buy these at Bed, Bath and Beyond)
Dishes (if you don't want to eat off paper plates), flatware, glasses, mugs, plastic storage bowls with lids
Adaptors, batteries
Small stereo system
Hooches are provided with TV/DVD, microwave, small refrigerators, telephone and shower curtain