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About Talisman

  • Rank
    Ugly bag of mostly water
  • Birthday 06/21/1965

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  • Reading now?
    Before Night Falls: Reinaldo Arenas
  • Gender
  • Location:
    leafy Surrey
  • Interests
    Reading, writing, walking, photography and eating Icelandic chocolate.

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  1. How Did 2017 Treat You?

    Good for you Noll - its good to know that things are looking up both you and your Mum.
  2. What's the weather like?

    Defiantly. It was actually warmer today in Reykjavik (1 degree) than it was here (minus 3 when I left for work). It is really strange how little snow we have had at work just a few miles from where I live, but here the car park is like a skating rink. I had to get Coran to help me park after I got home as the wheels were spinning everywhere. I felt like a bit of an idiot to be honest, but I knew I would never get out in the morning if I didn't reverse in tonight. Having said that, it is supposed to rain tonight, so hopefully it might wash a lot of it away.
  3. What's the weather like?

    That's a lot of snow Little Pixie. The village I live in, which is the second highest point in Surrey has its own microclimate. It was snowing pretty hard when I left for work this morning just after 7am but by the time I got halfway down the hill it had turned to rain. We had rain and sleet throughout the day at work, but driving back home again about an hour ago it was obvious from the amount of snow on the ground as I got back towards the village that the rain had continued as snow on the higher ground. I expect from the look of the sky there will be a lot more during the night. Getting to work tomorrow morning might be interesting then! It is set to be very cold tomorrow as well - a chilly minus 3. It will be good practise for when I get to Iceland I suppose as it has been even colder there.
  4. Free Ebook Sites

    Definitely not.
  5. Hygge

    I have heard of hygge but don't know an awful lot about it other than what you already say. The best way I have found personally to live my life is through the practise of mindfulness, which by the sound of it incorporates components of hygge, or maybe it's the other way around? A lot of people get confused about the difference between mindfulness and meditation seeming to think they are the same thing, and although it is true that mindfulness can be practised as a form of meditation, there is more to it than just this. It is a whole way of seeing and viewing the world. Where mediation is designed to switch off the mind, mindfulness is more about expanding the mind to take in everything around you and see it and yourself as it really is without judgment. It is really about being present to everything and just observing it all. This can show you an awful lot about yourself, but also about others, some of which you might not always like. I tend to eat really quickly for example, as for years I had jobs where all I had was maybe a 15 minute break which really wasn't good for my digestion. I started to slow down then when I ate so that I could experience and observe everything about the eating process - the feeling of the food of in my mouth, all the different flavours and so, how it feels when I swallow. You can do this with anything in your life - it doesn't mean that you have to do everything slowly, but it does mean that you nave to mentally observe yourself and everything around you as you do whatever it is. Walking across the garden for example, feel the cold and the damp in the air, and breathe in all the smells of the rotting leaves, the dew on the grass etc., the crispness in the air and see how that makes you feel. Even with mundane things like washing the dishes, or brushing your teeth. I guarantee you it will be very difficult not to smile and you won't ever at these things in the same way again! You can use mindfulness as well to examine as why do you things in a certain way and how you relate to others by observing yourself in interactions with other people and also by observing them. You get to the point sometimes when you can almost watch the different emotions coming to the surface as you react to certain things and change that emotion in mid flow so that you react differently. That takes an awful lot of practise mind you. Mindfulness has been a complete game changer for me that has taught and shown me an inordinate amount about myself and how and why I behave like I do and sometimes how stupid and pointless it all is. I find myself laughing about a lot of it!
  6. What's Up in December 2017

    There are a few like that I must admit and it's true that a lot of them do seem to spend a lot of time sitting on their brains and not thinking about how their behaviour impacts how others do their jobs, but I guess that's par for the course. The tables were arranged so that everyone was pretty much sitting with others from their own department, most of whom in my case are men renowned for shall we say their forthrightness. I must admit this can be entertaining at times. It has certainly given me an insight into how men talk about and view women as they don't hold back just because I and the other woman in our department are there! It's all good humoured though and I find myself laughing at a lot of it as I recognise myself in a lot of what they say about their wives and girlfriends. It sounds like you had another busy day though. I had a nice quiet one pottering around at home - we finally got round to putting our Christmas tree up. We are going out to lunch today though, as Coran has a hearing appointment at 1pm.
  7. June's Around the World Book Challenge

    A few more countries (and books) to add to the list: The Girl Who Beat Isis by Farida Khalaf for Iraq 3096 Days by Natascha Kampuch for Austria A Lullaby for No One`s Vuk by Ksenija Popovich for Montenegro (strongly recommend this one) Vouces: Short Stories from the Seychelles Islands by Glynn Burridge for Seychelles The Good People by Hannah Kent for Ireland The Doves Necklace by Raja Alem for Saudi Arabia
  8. What's Up in December 2017

    It was good fun. I didn't stay late though. Coran picked me at 11pm which was about the right time for me. Neither of us are night owls and I was tired from a busy week. I managed to have a bit of a dance though. It is always good to see people outside of work.
  9. How many books have you read this year?

    I finished my 89th book on Thursday and will start the 90th today. My target for the year was 90 so by the end of this weekend I will have achieved that already. I should comfortably reach at least 95 then by the end of the year.
  10. What's Up in December 2017

    It was another busy day at work for me - I managed to clock up almost 13,000 steps - 4.7 miles. It was freezing cold but that doesn't bother me as I was well wrapped up in a nice padded jacket and warm trousers. They are forecasting heavy snowfall for Monday which should be interesting. Still, it's a lot warmer here than in Iceland where I shall be visiting just after Christmas. It was minus 3 in Reykjavik today and minus 8 in the north of the country - I hope it stays that way as I love Icelandic winters - it's a good excuse to have plenty of hot chocolate laced with vodka - lovely jubbly! Talking of alcohol I have my work Christmas party later on tonight. The fun kicks off around 7.30 with dinner at 8pm and dancing until 1am. I won't be staying late though - Coran is picking me up at 11pm. I won't be boozing either (just one or two maybe) as despite my words I hate that woozy feeling that it gives you. It will be good though to see everyone outside of work and having a good time.
  11. How Did 2017 Treat You?

    There you go then willoyd we have two great things in common. I have been a fan of Sigur Ros for years and a fan of Iceland for even longer! I first went to Iceland in 1984 and first heard of Sigur Ros in 2001, when I wandered into a Reykjavik record store and asked them if they had some Icelandic music to recommend. They handed me a copy of Aegetis Byrjun and I have never looked back. I took it home, played it and was hooked. I have bought pretty much everything they have done both before that album and since. I have seen them twice in London - for the first time in 2013 just before Kveikur was released and for the second time just recently. I have always though wanted to see them in Iceland, so when I heard via their mailing list that they were doing some concerts out there I jumped at the chance. I was straight online the moment the booking opened as I knew they were bound to be a sell out as of course they are. It's a small venue with just 1500 seats and I am in the 10th row so it should be brilliant. It has since been announced that this is more than just concerts but a four day music festival featuring all their favourite artists who are flying in from literally all over the world. The tickets for this are being sold separately, and sadly I won't be able to go to this, as I have to be back at work before the four days are up. It was tempting to change my flight and come back a day later than I had planned so that I could stay for one extra day until 29th December, but most of the artists I am interested in are performing on the last day of the festival - 30th December and I definitely have to be back by then. I just have to keep reminding myself then that it is Sigur Ros I wanted to see and that is the reason I wanted to go, rather than all this other stuff, which nice as it would have been is not the reason why I wanted to go. You would no doubt have fit if I told you how much I am paying for the privilege but happily I have just learnt that I am getting a rather nice tax refund which will pay for most of the trip anyway. It will be a great way to end the year that's for sure.
  12. Amazon...what do you make of this?

    I don't dispute that and yes sure they deserve credit for their success, but this undeniably comes at a price for authors. Take my own experience and something I am communicating about with them at the moment. Ten years ago maybe slightly more I published a book - that book was duly put on Amazon for sale where it did reasonably well for a self published book at least at that time. Then Kindle came along and so I uploaded a Kindle version as well so that there were 2 ways to buy and read it. Paper sales started to dwindle and so I took the print version out of circulation. You can only now buy this book on Kindle or of course get a used paper version. Despite the fact that this book has been out of print for at least five years, Amazon are claiming to still be able to sell brand new ones and are selling these at a knockdown price. This would ordinarily not be a problem were it not for their price match policy which means that they have reduced the price of the Kindle version in line with these paper copies that do not actually exist, at the same time leaving me out of pocket. I did not ask them to do this, they did it of their own accord without even consulting me. I didn't even know they had done this until I looked at the books page one day and noticed it. I have explained to them that they are selling books that don't exist and they are looking into this. If they insist that these paper books do in fact exist (which I know they don't) I will try ordering one and see what happens! Then I can go back to them and say told you so! As for their taxes or lack of them, there are plenty of companies that do this and Amazon are far from isolated - they are all at it - BT, Vodafone, Boots, Google and plenty more besides. Don't get me wrong, I buy from Amazon like we all do, but that doesn't make what they and others do right. If you don't believe what I say then feel free to Google it - there is heaps of information about this sort of thing out there. It has been all over the news for years and isn't exclusive to our country either - it happens everywhere.
  13. What's Up in December 2017

    It was lovely actually - the maintenance team kept pulling faces at us every time they walked past, but they were just jealous because they weren't sitting in there with us! Most people here at least are clued in enough to realise that most ordinary Americans are nothing like your President Virginia - to be honest I don't care much for our Government either with the way their austerity measures (most of which imo are completely unnecessary and don't work) are hammering the poor and disabled. Don't even get me started on Brexit! As for my travels, I am really lucky in that I get a very generous annual leave allowance (26 days - 27 next year, plus 2 compulsory days for Christmas and 8 Bank Holidays). I have always loved to travel and now I have the time and a bit more money I intend to do just that. I know it is more difficult for Americans though, as you don't get nearly so much holiday time as we do, plus your country is so vast - I mean the state of Texas alone must be at least 50 times bigger than our entire country. You have other responsibilities too that make it more difficult, whereas I only have Coran to think about. She has never been interested in travel like I am, but doesn't mind me going away on my own at all - in fact the absence brings us even closer together.
  14. How Did 2017 Treat You?

    It has been a pretty exciting year all told for me and I expect (and hope) that next year will be the same. This time last year I had a big and somewhat unexpected promotion at work which although challenging to begin with has also led to a huge increase in my self confidence. I have had to deal with a few challenges along the way, not least because I inherited some pretty heavyweight staff issues that had not been dealt with, but I rolled my sleeves up and got on with it (with the help and support of my own Manager and our HR department) and when the dust finally settled I found myself in a much better position, as I was free to hand pick a brand new team. The three people I ended up with are brilliant and I couldn't wish for anything better. We also changed our supplier about 6 months ago, so that has also been a learning curve, getting used to their way of doing things, and of course new products and a brand new sales rep. As soon as I started getting to know him he left, but we now have another new one whom I met for the first time yesterday. On a personal level, my relationship with Coran just gets better and better. I really do feel blessed to be married to someone like her, and am so grateful for all that she is and for the fact that I chose to stick around when she told me all those years ago about her need to change gender. It was looking back on it, and I never thought I would say this, the best thing that could have happened to us. We have some had some great times together this year going out and about and doing different things - we had a lovely weekend in Glastonbury in May and 2 weeks in the Channel Islands in June where Coran was invited to speak at the local Guernsey Trans group - we have kept in touch with the organiser, a young trans man. We also went to see one of my (ours really, although I am a bigger fan then she is) favourite bands Sigur Ros in London in September, which was brilliant - but very loud. I am off to Iceland on Boxing Day to see them there as well - something I have been waiting a long time for. Since seeing my first live opera in Prague in October 2016 I have become somewhat of a fan and I have seen plenty more of these this year as well - mostly live cinema screenings, although I did go to a live one in Malta as well. I have had some great solo trips as well this year - to Malta in February, and Croatia in September/October, both of which I loved. I have trips to Spain and Montenegro to look forward to next hear and am thinking about some of the Baltic states as well for the summer. I have been a lot more politically active this year as well - Coran and I joined the Lib Dems after the 2015 election and have become quite active locally, helping to promote their message on social media, delivering leaflets and so on. We also went to their Southeast Regional Conference last month, which was more interesting than it sounds. We have been on a few protest marches this year mostly to do with Brexit, which I have enjoyed actually. Trans Pride Brighton at the end of July was good fun as well. Then of course there are all the books I have read - 88 and counting!
  15. Free Ebook Sites

    Here in the UK books stay in copyright for 70 years after the authors death. I am not sure about the US - I think it depends on when the book was published. Much as we all like to get things for free, we need to remember that copyright is there for a reason - to protect the rights of the creator who has a right to be compensated for their work. When people ask me for free books (unless of course they are a reviewer) I ask them if they would be prepared to work for free, and if not, why are they expecting me to? Most of them soon change their tune when I put it that way.