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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

by Nathaniel Philbrick

by Malcolm Gladwell
"Body Wars"
by Margo Maine, Ph.D.

February 26, 2010


I have been hearing about kankles in recent months. One definition is: “When a calf becomes a foot without taking an ankle break”. I think they used to describe thick ankles as “piano legs.” I have unfortunately been the possessor of kankles in recent weeks. Today they weren’t so bad, probably because I have been trying to cut back on sodium intake. There are those people who are born with kankles. I used to work with a lovely woman who had natural kankles. She was smart and efficient and a good person but she did have kankles. It is said that kankles are the reason that Secretary Hilary Clinton always wears pant suits. Then there are those who have beautiful, shapely legs. My mother had lovely slim ankles and so did my sister Eunice.

I love salty, spicy food. Those foods tend to give me kankles. I don’t like having kankles because it is hard to get your shoes on with kankles. Your feet and ankles and legs tend to hurt when you have kankles due to retention of water. Even though a pant leg will help disguise them, they are there and not pretty. The only cure for me is to lose weight and watch my salt intake. Sigh.

As I said, my mother was slender and limber. She would do Russian dances and stand on her head. She also worked sun up to sun down and beyond. I can’t even begin to catalog all that she did. She did the laundry for eight people on a scrub board. She ironed and mended and sewed. She canned everything: meats, vegetables, fruits. She made jams and jellies and pickles and nearly every condiment that we used. She baked bread and cakes and cookies and pastries. She always cleaned her own house. She worked in the yard and garden. She lived to be 97 years old. Perhaps if I worked as hard as she did, I would be in the good shape that she was.

But back to kankles. I am a little concerned about the next few weeks – I am going to China and I can imagine all the soy sauce and Chinese seasonings will give me kankles. But I am sure it will be worth it. Kankles will probably be the souvenir I bring back.

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