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.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lift the Spirits of Children Experiencing an  Unaccompanied     Tour

Children of employees experiencing an unaccompanied tour (UT) deserve to be recognized! If you work for the Department of State, USAID, Commerce, Agriculture or Broadcasting Board of Governors and are serving at a UT designated post for at least six months, your children are eligible to receive a medal and certificate of recognition. Children must be an employee’s daughter/son/stepchild up to age 21. For more information, visit FLO’s UT Medals and Certificates of Recognition Program webpage. To nominate your child, email FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Did you know that Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 15-21, 2016?

As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador in support of Hurricane Preparedness Week, the Office of Emergency Management in the Bureau of Administration (A/OEM) offers the following daily tips to guide preparedness for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane.

Monday, May 16 Develop an Evacuation Plan
The first thing to do is find out if you live or work in a hurricane storm surge or flood evacuation zone, or in a home or office that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you would go and how you would get there if told to evacuate.

Tuesday, May 17 Secure an Insurance Check-Up
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to ensure you have insurance to cover flood and wind damage or even to replace your home.

Wednesday, May 18 Assemble Disaster Supplies
You may need to stay where you are for an extended time until flooding recedes and roadways are restored and will need enough non-perishable food, water, and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days and up to a week or more.

Thursday, May 19 Strengthen Your Home
Make sure your home is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Whether you stay or evacuate, be sure to utilize flood-proofing measures such as using water sealer in basements, sandbagging, elevating utilities, and moving furniture to the second floor. Click here for more information on strengthening your home against strong winds.

Friday, May 20 Notification Sources
NOAA's National Hurricane Center is your official source for hurricane watches and warnings. Your local NOAA National Weather Service forecast office provides information regarding the expected impacts from the storm for your area. Emergency managers will make the decisions regarding evacuations. 

For more information about tornadoes, visit our ePrepare site and NOAA website .

Also, please visit FLO’s Crisis Management's Personal Preparedness website to download your Personal Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Guide.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

FSYF Summer Film Making Challenge

The Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) is looking for Washington, D.C. area Foreign Service youth in grades 7 to 12 (individuals or teams with at least one member belonging to FSYF) to make an 8 to 12 minute narrated video highlighting its schools, shopping, dining, transportation, and community life in their city or county. The video should orient and assist Foreign Service youth returning to the area after living abroad. The application deadline is June 27, 2016 and the videos must be submitted by September 5, 2016. 

Visit FSYF’s website for more information and to apply.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pre-Deployment Preparation for High Stress Assignments (MQ940)

This course   has the goal of empowering employees and couples to be more psychologically prepared for an extended assignment to a high stress post. Part of the course will focus on practical considerations in preparing for and sustaining an unaccompanied assignment. Both employees and family members who attend will better understand the challenges of maintaining the health and well-being of relationships with spouses, children, siblings and others who will await the return of the officer. The Department is asking officers to go to posts that are known to be difficult and appreciates the sense of service and courage of those officers willing to serve. No one wants an officer's sustaining personal relationships to be sacrificed along the way. This course will share and examine the successful strategies of Foreign Service couples who managed to find a way to survive an unaccompanied assignment and to strengthen their relationships.

Course Dates and Times:
25 May 2016     6:00 PM–9:00 PM
15 June 2016     6:00 PM–9:00 PM
13 July 2016     6:00 PM–9:00 PM

This is a non-tuition course.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Employment Opportunity in FLO—Program Assistant


Family members returning to Washington, D.C. may be interested in applying for the        full-time Program Assistant (GS-7) position in FLO. The incumbent is responsible for front desk receptionist services, serves as back-up to the Executive Assistant, and provides part-time program assistance.

The position is a full time, two-year limited appointments, with potential to be extended up to a maximum of five years and is not in the Competitive Service. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET, May 16, 2016. See the vacancy announcement for details.


Monday, May 2, 2016

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month ….Let's Get Moving

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challengesPosted  by Radhika Mathur

1. I don’t have enough time to exercise
Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.
·  Squeeze in short walks throughout the day. If you don’t have time for a full workout, don’t sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise, such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day, offer benefits too.
·  Get up earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you’ve adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.
·  Drive less, walk more. Park in the back row of the parking lot or even a few blocks away and walk to your destination.
·  Revamp your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.

2. I think exercise is boring.
It’s natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you’re going it alone. But exercise doesn’t have to be boring.
·  Choose activities you enjoy. You’ll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
·  Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
·  Join forces. Exercise with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. You’ll enjoy the camaraderie and the encouragement of the group.
·  Explore new options. Learn new skills while getting in a workout. Check out exercise classes or sports leagues at a recreation center or health club.

3. I’m self-conscious about how I look
Don’t get down on yourself! Remind yourself what a great favor you’re doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout.
·  Avoid the crowd. If you’re uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment.
·  Focus on the future. Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

4. I’m too tired to exercise after work
No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.
·  Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
·  Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
·  Be prepared. Make sure you have comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes for exercising. Take them with you to the mall or when you travel.

5. I’m too lazy to exercise
If the mere thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:
·  Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don’t give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you’ll no longer feel worn out.
·  Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
·  Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important appointment. Block off times for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their encouragement and support.

6. I’m not athletic
Natural athletic ability isn’t a prerequisite to physical activity. Even if you’ve been sedentary for some time, it’s not too late to get more active.
·  Keep it simple. Try something basic, such as a daily walk. Start slowly and give your body a chance to get used to the increased activity.
·  Find company. Pick an activity you like, such as dancing or gardening, and invite friends to join in. You’ll have fun while helping each other work out.
·  Forget the competition. Don’t worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the fitness club. Simply focus on the positive changes you’re making to your body and mind.

7. I’ve tried to exercise in the past and failed
Don’t throw in the towel. You can’t see it when you lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing yourself a great favor. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.
·  Pace yourself. Start small and build up to more-intense workouts later, when your body is ready.
·  Set realistic goals. Don’t promise yourself you’re going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
·  Remember why you’re exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

8. I can’t afford health club fees
You don’t need a membership at an elite gym to get a great workout. Consider common-sense alternatives.
·  Do strengthening exercises at home. Use inexpensive resistance bands — lengths of elastic tubing that come in varying strengths — in place of weights. Do pushups or squats using your body weight.
·  Start a walking group. Round up friends, neighbors or co-workers for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood or near your workplace, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
·  Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. Better yet, make climbing stairs a workout in itself.
·  Try your community center. Exercise classes offered through a local recreation department or community education group might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.

9. I’m afraid I’ll hurt myself if I exercise
If you’re nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot.
·  Take it slow. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.
·  Try an exercise class for beginners. You’ll learn the basics by starting from scratch.
·  Get professional help. Get a fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction. If you’ve had a previous injury, you may want to first see a sports medicine physician, who can evaluate you and recommend specific treatment, such as physical therapy.

10. My family doesn’t support my efforts
Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise — and then bring them along for the ride.
·  Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Splash with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.
·  Propose a new adventure. Instead of suggesting a workout at the gym, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle for the weekend.
·  Do double duty. Volunteer to drive your teens to the mall, and then walk laps inside while you wait for the shoppers. Try the same trick at your child’s school during lessons, practices or rehearsals.
·  If necessary, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones. If they don’t share your fitness ambitions, ask them to at least respect your desire to get fit.

By Mayo Clinic Staff
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved.