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94. READ.LOOK.THINK.

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READ: A strange, beautiful, romantic book: Love is Where it Falls. | For a few months, the New Yorker’s archive is open, free. | People in Places. My favourite short story, and the most shocking, is ‘Wanda is in nature.’ | Virginia Woolf’s idea of privacy. | “The women around him do the heavy labour of making relationships honest and tender, because that’s their position culturally: they’re the ‘immigrant labourers’ in the business of love.”

LOOK: Virginia Woolf at the National Portrait Gallery. | Mrs Dalloway, In Our Time on BBC Radio 4. If you’re not in the UK you can still find the ep on iTunes. (Caution: Melvyn Bragg is ghastly.) | New (to me) parenting podcast: The Longest Shortest Time. | I used to listen to podcasts on the horrible iTunes pod app. Now I use Overcast: beautiful. | Two cooking blogs: Shake Guac and Roll and Mostly Saturdays. | Two perfect photos: 10.45 and Glenridding.

THINK:  “…bludgeoning the joy that is friendship into the unrecognizable “friendzone” – a place where it’s actually humiliating to be friends with a woman.” | “It’s such a comfortable pose, gathering around women and deciding what we think of them—hot or not, alluring or tragic, moral or immoral, responsible or irresponsible, capable of consent or incapable of consent, maternal or neglectful.” | How to photograph your kids without revealing their identity.

93. READ.LOOK.THINK.

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READ: James‘s Australian Subdistrict Rugby Haikus. | I’m finally reading Knausgaard as he should be read: on my phone while very, very slowly pushing a pram. The best secondary sources: Ben Lerner in the LRB / The Paris Review / The Millions. | Trying to recapture the high of The Examined Life; planning an Adam Phillips binge after his Paris Review interview. | “… the primacy of simple opinion in Rush’s work.” | David Sedaris: Living the Fitbit life. | A brief note about my mother the Comeback Queen.

LOOK: Excited for Serial. | A collection of satisfying plant-based main meals. | I made and loved these caramellos! The “caramel” in particular is insane, but look what it’s made of. | Storing away for the change of seasons: natural health remedies for winter healing. | London’s best park cafés. | My photos from Italy sucked. I’ve completely lost the knack of using my camera.

THINK: “There exists a myth that motherhood isn’t a creative phase. Yet, in reality, you may feel alive with ideas, desire and ambition. It is just that you won’t be able to get anything done.” | Turia Pitt was badly burnt. Her Australian Women’s Weekly cover is ground breaking. I’m trying to be more conscious of my fear and aversion to facial difference; it’s discriminatory and cruel. I admire her very much.

PS: My blog went offline this week after some upgrade thing happened. Thank you so much to Diana for fixing it in about one second! Heart emoji!

Comeback Queen.

Mum

Just before my wedding in 2012, my mum found out her colorectal cancer had returned. Could it be operated on a second time, or would palliative chemotherapy be the only option?

Everyone she spoke to said “Sorry, it can’t be treated.” But my mum was a triathlete, and as fit and strong as it was possible for a 60+ woman to be. She regularly trained to be able to complete the 3.8km swim, 180km cycle, and 42.2km marathon of her favourite endurance event: the Ironman. She has finished Ironman seven times, and four of those have been in Hawaii, the greatest race in the world. So based on that alone, one doctor was willing to take the chance.

The operation, in February 2013, was a success – but also a lot bigger than they’d expected. The cancer had spread so it was complicated, and they had to remove a kidney too. After that, chemo was mandatory. It was a long course and made her feel very weak.

October 2013 marked her one year anniversary from the last Ironman she raced in Hawaii. It was also when her doctors pronounced her fit to “resume normal life.” Her goal was to compete once again in the sport she loved. She started, after her chemo, from the absolute bottom. She couldn’t swim 200 metres or jog for half an hour. She set a goal: to compete in a half Ironman, back in Hawaii. And she started a blog to monitor her progress.

Well, the reason I’m telling this whole story is that she did it. And here is her race report from beautiful Hawaii, where she completed the Ironman 70.3.

Oh dear.

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RIP almost all the photos from our holiday! The film got stuck in my camera and despite the best efforts of some old Italian photography shop guy, not much could be salvaged. Woe!