Tuesday, January 01, 2008

That's three L's!

I tend to set goals twice a year: around my birthday (the end of September) and at New Years. Both events are new beginnings of a sort--a chance to look back at a year at a time and evaluate where I've been and where I'm going. It works out pretty well for me because New Years comes just a few months after my birthday, just in time to reinforce the goals I'm not living up to. It's my backup new beginning. (When you're as lazy as I am it's always a good idea to have a backup.) No pressure or anything, just time to really get on the ball.

I was thinking about my goal-setting habits the other day, and I realized that my cousin, Gertrude Schlollum*, whose birthday is New Years Day, must feel doubly pressured to get on the ball each January 1st. She's got no backup holiday; I mean, who ever heard of St. Patrick's Day resolutions? Of course, Gertrude probably doesn't need that extra celebratory reminder to get on the ball. She's already one of the most on-the-ball people I know.

Gertrude is a woman of many talents. She's always been a great example to me that people don't have to be just one thing. She's an artist, an athlete, and an entrepreneur; a mother, a comedian, and a volunteer. She's refined yet hip, cool yet approachable, and as kind and gracious as human beings come. And she works hard. She sets a goal for herself and does whatever it takes to make it happen -- even when it isn't glamorous. Like when we were in college and she worked in the cafeteria dish room. She had to get up early, she missed mealtimes with friends, and the work was gross, but she wore that hairnet with style and a smile. And when she was done with the dishes, she studied. While most freshmen were out losing scholarships (myself included) she was earning them.

But don't just take my word for it. Coach and I knew a couple in Iowa who happened to serve in the same mission at the same time as Gertrude. They'd never been in the same area (they were in Lithuania, she was in Estonia), but Gertrude's work ethic was legendary. They told me missionaries in the mission called her "Sister Contact," because she was so good at opening her mouth to talk to people everywhere she went. No one else met and connected with as many people as she did.

And I think that sums Gertrude up pretty well. As hard as she works and as smart as she is, she still knows how to connect with people. I consider myself ridiculously blessed to be a lifelong connectee.

It's been too long since Gertrude and I have had a chance to stay up late and tell secrets. And way too long since our last bigwheel adventure. But despite the years and miles, I know that if geography allowed it, we could sit down and laugh the night away. And I don't think we'd even notice that we aren't 18 anymore.

Happy Birthday Gertrude! I love you!

*Names have been changed.


Princess Gerty said...

Dear, sweet, Princess Di, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Wood just told me to check out your blog and I am glad I did. I really miss our late night talks and big wheel adventures. I didn't even know I was called that in my mission. Thanks for telling me what people say behind my back! It's nice to hear.

Taffy said...

I sure do love Gerty! What a great tribute you give to an awsome princess. I love you both and Happy Birthday Gertrude!!!!