Probably, until yesterday, all you knew about us was that we live in the Boston area and work in Admissions for the Fletcher School.  Today, learn something new about Laurie, Peter, Roxana, and me, all in answer to the application essay topic:  Share something about yourself to help the Admissions Committee develop a more complete picture of who you are.

Like many members of the Fletcher community, I love wine!  I discovered my love for wine right after college.  I began by tasting, and then became interested in other aspects, such as grape growing, wine production, wine and food pairing, wine regions and history, wine laws, and the business of wine.   After years of tasting and learning on my own, I decided to go to wine school in Boston.  I recently completed an Advanced Certificate in Wine and Spirits through the U.K.-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust.  While I am not enrolled in any wine classes right now, I do participate in a wine club with my former classmates.  We meet monthly to taste (everyone brings a bottle that costs less $15) and discuss wine topics.  In September we will be tasting and comparing Rieslings from the Alsace region in France, Germany, New York State, Canada and New Zealand.  Later this fall we will be discussing the book Wine and War: The French, the Nazis and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure.

Reading countless application essays has somehow had a paralyzing effect on me when the tables were suddenly turned.  How can I write about my interest in live music in Boston, in experimenting with new pulled-pork recipes for my slow-cooker, or in my strange cultural fascination with all things Southern (U.S.) and Eastern (Europe), when I’ve read so many essays from prospective students about really important things?  That said, I have to choose something or risk getting on Jessica’s bad side.  So, I’ll touch on one hobby that I have participated in since I was a small child:  Though I’ve never been one to enjoy exercise for the sake of exercise, I’ve always played soccer — from early recreational leagues, through middle school, high school, and college intramural leagues, until now, where I play on two different teams:  a Sunday morning men’s team and a Monday evening co-ed team.  The latter is a source of amusement for my colleagues as it involves a half-hour drive out of town to play games that sometimes don’t finish until after midnight.  When I walk (sometimes limp) into the office on Tuesday mornings, a bit groggy and searching for my second cup of coffee, Jessica never fails to ask how my game went, and shakes her head when I tell her that I didn’t get to bed until after 1:00 a.m.  So, while I haven’t built orphanages in Southeast Asia or biked across the country, I do enjoy a good late-night soccer game.

Through junior high and high school I played a variety of sports, and I was very good at all of them.  I played softball, baseball, and basketball, was a sprinter on the track team and played varsity volleyball, becoming the only freshman on the team that year and team captain in my senior year.  Being athletic and competitive helped shape the person I am today, as it pushed me to excel and strive for the top of anything I tried out for in life. Playing sports made me assertive, and gave me a healthy level of competitiveness and discipline, as practice was held almost every day after school, and forced me to balance homework, socializing, and family time.  It has impacted my professional life by teaching me teamwork and leadership and to take losses in stride.  I miss playing sports but have taken those skills and applied them to other aspects of my life.

And, last, me.  (I can’t be the only one to ignore my own assignment, though it’s hard to think of anything I haven’t already shared via the blog.)
As a trailing edge baby-boomer, my taste in music is more rooted in hippie than hip-hop, but Josh and Kayla (my son and daughter) have exposed me to, and educated me about, their music — and I have come to enjoy it.  My initial objective was only to learn enough to hold up my end of the conversation, but they frequently quiz me to make sure I’m paying attention.  I’m familiar with hip-hop’s most legendary, as well as current, performers — and I stopped by the campus with Kayla to hear Ludacris when he played Spring Fling at Tufts last spring.  I pick and choose what I listen to, and I trust that my kids will know when to filter the message from the music.  Meanwhile, their success in bringing my musical taste into the modern era makes them proud.  Yes, yes y’all and you don’t stop.  To the beat y’all and ya don’t stop…


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