Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Nipped" in the Blog

This week, the blog written by my dear friend Jen Dinoia was axed off an officially-sponsored Foreign Service blog roll.  A list in which she was asked by an online specialist to be on at it's creation.  However, the new community specialist in-charge opted to remove her blog from the list last week.  No notice given.  Evicted.

Jen, she's amazing.  In 2009, when my husband was hired with State and I officially became a trailing spouse/EFM, Jen was one of the first spouses I "met" ---  she moderates one of yahoo groups I joined and we emailed back and forth.  And then I read her blog - which I poured over, reading entry after entry and even thinking "gosh, Iceland sounds great!"  If you know me, you also know that I passionately hate snow and cold and icy weather.  But her experiences made me think that it might be worth going there someday.

Her husband was gearing up for an AIP (Afghanistan/Iraq/Pakistan) assignment just as mine was. And then, while her husband was in Iraq, she found out she had breast cancer.  Her husband flew home immediately, she went through tons and tons of treatment.  All through her ordeal, she blogged.  She blogged about her worries about how this would affect their next assignment, her husband's career (yes, medical clearances and icky stuff like that DO affect careers - since they affect where employees with families can be posted), and how their children were handling everything from the abrupt changes to Mom's cancer.  And now her husband is taking another AIP assignment, which she's also blogged about.  She's blogged about cancer, treatment, pain, healing.  She's blogged about the FS community reaction and support.

Come to think of it, Jen's a big reason why I began blogging in the first place.  The fab hubby was in Iraq and I needed a way to vent.  Her blog is so personal and so detailed - you feel you know her when you read it.  And I realized I wanted an outlet like that.  So here I am - having blogged about my experiences with an unaccompanied assignment, our subsequent assignment to Egypt, everything it took to get us here, and our experiences here in Cairo.  But I also blog about running, my family and pets, and my military service.  Not just FS stuff.  Same as Jen - not just FS stuff.

So back to the missing blog roll link.

Here's the response Jen got when she asked "Hey!  Where's my blog?":

Hopefully, you can understand that some topics covered in your blog are very personal in nature, e.g. nipple cozies, and wouldn’t necessarily resonate with the majority of potential candidates who are interested in learning about the FS life overseas. Through our years of recruitment experience, we found that FS prospects want to learn more about the work that’s conducted, the people and cultures with whom they will interact, the travel experiences, and the individual stories our employees* have to share.

Jen's blog was deemed not Foreign Service enough.  Which is complete and total BS.

Because personal stories are exactly what people are looking for when considering this lifestyle - whether it be potential employees or trailing spouses/EFMs.  I actually know this because I get contacted by people through my blog asking me questions about FS life - and I ALWAYS get the most questions whenever I post something very very personal (for instance - when I questioned my happiness here in Cairo, or when I was really struggling with my husband being in Iraq).

Jen is the epitome of the greatness of this nomadic life.  She is heavily involved in AFSA, multiple yahoo boards, and DC-area FS groups, like the Unaccompanied Tour support group.  She helped me to organize the DS Spouse's Run the World 2011 event.  Her blog is a wealth of knowledge and experience and it is downright wrong that it was removed from the blog roll.

Let's be honest here.  It wasn't removed because it's not FS enough.  It was removed because the person reading the blog and making decisions was uncomfortable with breast cancer and nipples and how it fit in with the FS life.  It's a slap in the face to Jen and everything she's been through and everything she's dedicated herself to in FS.  Haven't her boobs caused her enough pain in the past year without having this ridiculous issue come up?  Do judgements really need to be made about her blog on the basis of the word nipple?

If there's anything I've learned in my short time in the FS, it's that just about anything goes.  The FS is certainly capable of handling nipples.  It's asinine that her blog was removed in the first place.

I hope the community specialist in charge of the blog roll out there realizes how many of us support Jen, her blog, and her nipples.

Want to read more about our support for Jen?  Here are some other FS Bloggers writing their support!
Nipplegate 2012
Not FS Enough
Nipples, Nipples, Everywhere
Nippletastic: A Rant for FS Bloggers
What Makes a Blog an FS Blog
It's the Little Things
Nipples! Boobs!

UPDATE!!  As of 5/17/12, Jen's blog, was back on the official blog roll.  Take a look at her blog's posting and see how everything came together!


  1. Beautiful! Jen is everyone's hero, apparently - not just mine.

  2. Bravo. *Standing up and clapping*

  3. Making the decision to be in this lifestyle is so incredibly personal and such a big "jump". Honestly, my biggest concern was the type of people I'd be in this boat with. Had I not been able to find out by reading through personal experiences, we wouldn't be here. Personal being the key word.

  4. Thanks for sharing this... it brought tears to my eyes.