Those of us who crawl, grumbling, out of bed early in the morning or come home, grumbling, late in the afternoon to do a workout talk a lot about motivation and inspiration. They're happy words, motivation and inspiration, which means I don't use them much. Because I'm sort of grumpy.

I do, however, have an inspiration. It's a real person, and it's a person I've known since before I was born.

Who is this person, you ask? Well, I'll tell you:

It's my Beloved Sister.

Beloved Sister was the first woman I ever knew who lifted weights. Because she's seven (or eight, depending on the calendar) years older than I am, I was still pretty young when she started working out hard. Because of that, I grew up with an alternate idea of what a female human could look like, could accomplish, could *do*. She wasn't skin-and-bones, she wasn't particularly concerned with being a size 2; instead, she wanted to be strong and fit and healthy. That was *huge* for me growing up--to see that strong was good, and that healthy could come in all sizes, not just eenteeninesy.

She's also an inspiration because, frankly, we share the exact same DNA on the Clumsy Chromosome. (You don't know that chromosome? It's the one with the amino acids that go like this: G A C T G OW OW OW OW T C C G.) For all the times I've bonked myself in the head with a weight, fallen off a step, sprained an ankle on the recumbent bike, Beloved Sister has done me one better. Yet she keeps going, amazingly, and now is able to calf-press a grizzly bear. Whether or not she would grab the grizzly bear in the right spot to avoid injury while calf-pressing him is a different matter, though.

She also inspires me by being very, very smart and very, very patient. Patience is a virtue that I was ahint the door when they handed out; she reminds me every few days that things sometimes take *time* (like getting strong or losing ten pounds). She's the master of redirection when things require redirection, and master of the crushing comment when that's warranted. Mostly, I just stand around with my mouth open when people do something unbelieveable: Beloved Sis either shuts them down or hands them a glass of wine.

So Happy Birthday, Beloved Sister. May your calves stay muscular and your wind never grow short. Have a glass of wine.

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