Is “sisteren” a totally-made-up Joss Whedon word? I got it from “Firefly,” of course – as spoken by the (at the time) demure Saffron, casting her big, dewy eyes downward submissively, the better to draw handsome Mal into her net.

Wait. What was I talking about?


I was in Balance Class today at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA. (I’ve decided to go with initial caps on Balance Class. Could be balance class, but I think it’s earned initial caps if only because of the cursing I subject it to every Thursday between 10 and 11am.) (Or do I prefer “11 AM?” Space? No space? Caps? Lower case? Have to work that out.)

I was in Balance Class today. (Easily distracted.)

Barbara had us down on all fours on mats. We were to put left elbow to right knee and then straighten both out to the opposite walls (without, of course, letting the back arch). That wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t just been through a series of what felt like boot camp exercises. (Maybe that should be initial caps; Boot Camp. Huh.)

Karen was at my shoulder, matching me move for move. I gasped out, “Who would do this to themselves? Why are we DOING this?”

Karen’s reply? “Well, YOU got me into this class. THIS IS YOUR FAULT!”

And I snorted with exhausted laughter. It’s amazing how often I find I’m laughing my way through the agony of Balance Class, and I thought – Karen, you are my sister.

Not ten minutes before that, Barbara had stretched out a large rope ladder on the floor and told us we should do a plank with our hands at one end of the ladder. Then, moving one foot at a time and one hand at a time, we were to crab sideways down the length of the ladder, still in the plank. “Go ahead – what are you waiting for?”

What indeed? Special dispensation from the pope, perhaps. A note from my mother. Lightning to strike and take me out of this damned class.

Off I went, gritting my teeth. At my side, Beth followed. We went down twice, and then Barbara made us reverse the direction, to make the muscles on the other side cramp, too. When I finally got to my feet – and the dizziness passed – Beth and I shook hands. In our sweat and agony and determination, we were sisters. We did it. We made it.

What am I going to get my new sisters for Christmas? Will they help with Mom? Do we have to swap kidneys if needed?

And they aren’t the only ones. Marty is the sister of longest standing in balance class – or maybe it’s Callie. Barb is a regular, too; we all greet each other at the beginning of class like lost relatives. Really what we’re saying to each other is “Couldn’t come up for a reason for ditching either, huh?”

Marusha was trying the class today; will that new sister be back? I feel like today’s class was pretty intense. I hope she knows how much we all secretly enjoy being able to survive the class – tease Barbara – exaggerate our complaints (or maybe that’s just me!); I hope she comes back.

(Both Steve and Bob – the two male regulars – are honorary sisteren, even though neither were in class today. THEY came up with good excuses!)

Marty, Beth, and I were regaining our normal heart rates after class, commiserating and boasting (mostly me boasting because I am subtle as a brick to the head), and we decided that we would probably ache a lot less if we didn’t exercise… but we’d go back to dreading what the blood tests showed when we finally gave in and went to the doctor.

And when I’m 85, I don’t want to find I’m cursing myself for not taking care of my health while it was still a reasonably easy thing to do.

Since I’m going to Balance Class and trotting up and down the stairs and working out with Barbara and Grace and Chip and Chad, I expect that when I’m 85, I’ll be able to look left and right at the rest of my sisteren and be glad we all made the effort that got us well into old age with our health intact.

That’s the plan, anyway!

Room for more in the sisteren house; come on to Balance Class with us!

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 4.03.20 PM

This is what we look like in Balance Class. Mostly.

2 thoughts on “Sisteren

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