Dark Melodies & Arcane Elixirs

The Heart's Doorway Opens at Midnight

A Visit to a Ghost Town...
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biklar
My LiveJournal has certainly been a ghost town for awhile...

I do miss posting to it regularly...a lot, as usual, has happened.

I think most people can say, for both the same and different personal reasons, that the year 2016 has been a crazy one with so many twists, turns, revelations, and so on.

I won't get into politics, though. I've been saturated enough with that for awhile...and I did pollworking services this year, which was my second time doing it.

I am hoping 2017 is an awesome year for me...and for many others...especially people I care about. A good year is well-needed and deserved.



This is me feeding a pony, while waiting for a vegan pre-Thanskgiving banquet to start, at the Have A Heart Ranch in Agoura Hills this past Saturday. He suddenly snorted on us. Lol

Well, I don't think I was sprayed but the others were...lol

Not sure if this was a Shetland pony since these were full grown and quite small, naturally. And most Shetland ponies I've seen have light manes...

Maybe it is just a miniature horse?

I'll try to post here more often...just for me...

Some posts I will make private, though, especially if they contain more intimate aspects of my life...

Monsoon
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biklar
So once in awhile, during my dreams, there will be a word that repeatedly reveals itself. It will stand out enough that I'll remember it once I wake up.

Many people will shake off emphatic dream details like this and chalk it up to nothing, but the words have always meant something to me. They are messages about what my life is going to be like very soon or what I am going through at the moment. It's a word that foreshadows what sort of stage I'll be going through emotionally.

I really desire a close confidant right now. Someone to talk to about all of the visceral things happening in my life presently. I am close to my mother, but I can't really share everything with her. Additionally, she is too emotionally biased when I am telling her about things that are hard for her to hear...or that cause me distress.

And there's quie a bit of distress going on right now that I need someone to reach out to during such a vulnerable time.

The word that thematically presented itself in one of my dreams recently was "Monsoon".

Monsoon is a term that some cultures use to describe a season marked by heavy rains and turbulent and dramatic winds.

I see that word metaphorically within the context of my dreams.

I am in a heavy monsoon right now and I don't know how long and hard this season will last...but I am desperate to get out of it. However, it seems I must go through it...

Travel...and adjustments...
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biklar
The last month (and onward) has been a difficult one. I lost Mina early last month...she was around 14 years of age...She was older and she had lost some of her hearing and sight....and her overall demeanor had become less spirited...less of th dog I knew for years during her last 2 years...but I took care of her the best I could as she kept going...she didn't die of natural causes...I wish she could have passed in a more dignified manner...

I actually don't feel like going into too many details because it's still quite painful. I have days where I am OK and I just put it out of my mind...but once in awhile, the sadness and reality of the loss creeps back in due to some trigger. It could be seeing somethnig around the house, hearing a certain song...and accidentally coming across a picture of her through older photos on my phone, my Facebook profile and so on. They are too painful to look at...so I cant and don't linger on them now...she was family...

I also have an aunt who is very sick and has been in the hospital...one of my mom's sisters. I am not good with bad news or these sorts of difficulties. On the outset, it looks like I am careless and strangely uninvolved...but I just process things differently. Grief, sadness, and fear sometimes come in layers for me...layers that I can't control...I can never know when something will hit me emotionallly. That's the bad part about all of that...and being wired that way. Everyone else deals with their grief upfront...while for me, the timing and intensitiees of the emotions are unpredictable.

I have made plan to take a trip for the coming new year. I decided that I will visit Vancouer for about a week in February. Mid-late February. I really enjoyed the city when I visited in the past and would like to go back and explore further. I will be looking up a place to stay through Airbnb. More affordable and nicer lodging options for a week-long stay. There are some good deals that will be available for round trip flights for that time, as well.

Some other plans I have for the near future are Krav Maga training and classes, participation at a local meditation center, and more travel, when I can and when it is best.

Life is Nothing but Pylons and Minerals
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biklar
Just came back from Game Ogre out in the valley. I started going back there every Tuesday for board gaming. I took a bit of a hiatus from end of Novement 2014 to May 2015. I just needed the break, plus there were some things going on at the place between various people that was way too much drama for me to be around. I certainly don't have time for that. I like to keep shit stress free as much as possible.

I've also been playing a ton of StarCraft II and Heroes of the Storm with friends, lately. We've been scheduling quaint LAN parties in differnt places, although we normally play at Alex's apartment. He's got the best internet connection. So it just works so much more efficiently. We have up to 14 people playing now. Not necessariy all at the same time when we gather, but the same 10-14 people meet up for very late night fun. I love bringing vegan cupcakes and other snacks to the gatherings.

My favorite race to play is protoss. B. loves playing as Zerg and is pretty damn good with it. I'll have to play as Zerg more to increase my skill with that race, among other things. But I am a decent player...great with defense and putting out units quickly. But I know there are other things I can certainly improve on.

As of today, I found out that I'll be owning property down south. My family has several homes down south and some of those houses are in the family but no one currently lives in them due to older relatives passing on. One of the houses I'll have placed in my name is a nice place but it also slightly a fixer upper. However, that is fine. I'll go down for visits and vacation to work on the house and put investment into it over time. Also, having the house in my name keeps it in the family.

I've been listening to a ton of great music recently, too. Well I feel I always listen to good music. Music is a huge part of my life.

I am especially in love with these three tracks:







New, New, New
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biklar
I am feeling quite transformative, lately.

Lots of changes I'm going through.

Good ones, though.

I am moving further into front end web development. In the next several months, I should be at the point that I hope to be. There are jobs leads out there that pay between 80k-100k a year, although the current job pays good enough for now to do the things I need to do.

I'll qualify for some of those leads I've been getting in my inbox when the time comes. But that's not really THE reason why I am moving into web development. Simply put, I enjoy design and technology and I get to keep using my earned current design skills as a web developer, but I also get to move into coding/programming, which is fascinating to me within a web platform.

Responsive design, mobile technology, and web presence and creation is forever changing and expanding. It's in demand, there's a lot of exciting stuff always happening and on the horizon, and I can still be creative and innovative.

Plus, at some point, when the going is smooth, I'll be able to move into freelance web development full-time. But first, I definitely want on-site experience and work.

In this industry, both during the learning and working process, people are currency. So the more I can interact with people, network, and gather dynamic resources, the better it is for my career, opportunities, and growth.

The next couple of months will be intensely busy as I have 5 web development courses (each for different languages, coming up, that I've registered for. Some of those languages are Ruby and Python, which will be very new for me.

I am very much looking forward to this challenge and finding out how much I will be learning.

I've also changed up my hair. I now sport Senegalese twists and I love my hair this way and get a lot of compliments from many people. It totally suits me and my sense of style. I've also added African cuff beads to my twists here and there as embellishment and I am looking into collecting all sorts of wooden, onyx, glass, and metal beads from different shops online that sell African accessories and clothing.



In general, I enjoy an ethnic or African-inspired look, mixed in with bohemianism, some goth, new romantic, and whimsy, basically my own recipe of style, which can't really be pegged into a single word description. I also enjoy infusing some fashion elements from other cultures, with full appreciation of those cultures, of course.

But as a black American who has no clue about the African part of my lineage and where exactly it hails from, I desire a stronger tie to African cultural traditions, which is weird to say since we're talking about a huge continent full of many countries. I would imagine that most Black Americans (and other blacks throughout the Caribbean plate, South America, Central America, etc.) have roots that hail somewhere from West Africa. So I especially seek to look into cultures from that region of Africa.

I also bought a vegan cookbook recently called Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, & Southern Flavors Remixed, which caught my eye immediately. I LOVE that Bryant Terry, the author, is exploring many ways to veganize traditional Afro-Caribbean and African cuisines.

One of my favorite soups is West African peanut soup. That stuff is yum extreme.

So I'm giddy about exploring things African and Afro-centric. Of course not exclusively, but especially, for the reasoning above.

I also want to amp up the efforts in becoming multilingual. I've have spurts of productive periods where I was headed in that path, but I figure the best way to learn other languages would be to be around those who natively speak it, and/or join language groups. Additionally, listening to podcasts, watching movies, shows, and the like would add to that learning process, in the best way I can as an immersive experience, outside of being in the native country for any non-English language.

My boyfriend already speaks another language, by way of his culture, so I can learn some things from him. I can practice with him. Hangul is not too hard to grasp when it comes to the writing system, but speaking is another thing, because my English-speaking tongue is just not used to pronouncing words a certain way.

I'll certainly go at my own pace with language learning. The process is as important as the result desired.

Ain't It Right...
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biklar
My collector's edition copy of Bloodborne arrives today. I am a bit excited about that. I won't be playing it right off the bat, though. I still have some games in my backlog that I need to finish.

Yesterday was my 2nd year anniversary with B.

We went out to one of my favorite restaurants, Shojin, which is a Japanese Vegan restaurant. It's a little pricey, but totally worth it. I've gotten non-vegans to go to this place in the past and they loved it. Plus the ambiance is great and it's in Little Tokyo.

I got him the board game Roll for the Galaxy. We both are huge fans of Race for the Galaxy, so Roll for the Galaxy is a variant of the game which incorporates more worker placement and especially dice-rolling, as the main mechanic. It's quite addictive. There are similarities to it's game predecessor, but it's its own game, for sure.

We've both played Roll for the Galaxy at the board gaming nights on Friday. A mutual friend of ours has the game and introduced us to it, although we had both heard about it.

I've been busy working a lot and studying in between social stuff and physical fitness. I am branching into web development, both front end and back end. Taking weekend courses and doing self-study, plus networking with groups I belong which revolve around chapters of women who are currently programmers/coders and/or looking to enter that branch of technology. I've already incorporated some of the newly learned skills at my job. I am lucky to have an employer who allows me to expand in this way and have my hands in many pots.

Hello Ello...
biklar
I am not sure how much I will use my Ello account, but I finally received an invite to the community. I am also able to distribute invitation codes, if I desire.

I've offered up a few already and let people know about the opportunity to receive them from me. I guess if I plan to use it, I'll use it for typing out things the way I've done here in the past...candid, lucid, and random thoughts, feelings, musings, and reflections...bits of confetti spraying out of the party favor that is my life.

I like how streamlined and simple Ello it is. That can be refreshing sometimes...

It's startling to realize how soon the year is coming to an end...so much has happened.

I look forward to Christmas...I like festivities, cheer, and atmosphere...

I have no guesses about what next year will bring. Let's hope some delightful presents are under the tree and that I receive alluring telegrams and sweet, delicate welcome cakelets from special neighbors.

Life can be so random.

I've developed friendships with very complicated characters...people with all sorts of dualities, issues, sparks, designs, and convictions. This stew is very spicy...I often wonder how my spice affects its flavor.

The White Sage Burns
biklar
A lot has happened in the last couple of months. One of those things is that I've been contracted for work to do web design for a high-end shop near UCLA on Gayley. The owners are very down-to-earth and friendly. I like them a lot.

I chose to go to Las Vegas this summer for my trip for EVO. I was looking at Montreal and New York, but I am hoping I can visit Montreal later this year. It might be too cold for either, though. But I'll see. I want to make time for like a week-long visit and to really get a lot of activities in.

I am still running a lot of social events, so I still do quite a bit of event planning, and my social network continues to grow. I've connected with so many people, businesses and groups, so far. I want the network to continue to grow. It can be overwhelming at times as a natural introvert. Introverts can be social, but they need their down time and their solitude once in awhile...it's a delicate balance and one must understand him/herself quite well in order to know what you need and when you need in terms of rejuvenation and refreshment.

I know a lot so far, but interestingly enough, still learning.

Sometimes people demand so much from you and you barely have enough for yourself. That's a challenge, too.

I've furthered my personal journey into holistic medicine and herbal studies, too. I do this for myself because I've always had an interest in these things. I feel that I am naturally someone who is a medicine woman within. That's how I define my spirituality...in the realm of high intuition, healing, self-awareness, science/nature fusion, mutualism, and personal empowerment.

I think a lot of things that are considered spiritual are really metaphorical and not literal. At least for me these days. For example I believe in "magic" but in a different sense than I used to believe in it. Magic is personal alchemy and alchemists use various natural resources and things in their environment for acts of transformation. Transformation that is used for understanding, connection, healing, and balance. That is what magic is to me. Alchemy. In a very dynamic but broad sense.

I include aromatherapy in this, too. Do scents, herbs, and/or essential oils have divine properties? I really can't be sure, but what I do accept and believe at this point more readily is that it involves how one utilizes their senses and mind to create empowering situation.

For example, I burn white sage quite often. I do it because the smell of white sage is intoxicating as a burnable and as a dry herb. It's sweet, nutty, earthy, and slightly bitter, musky and smoky when it is burned, but in a pleasant and coaxing way.

When I smell it, it calms me and I want to take in the odor more. The result is that I feel balanced by burning the white sage for it's effect, so I use that to my benefit to heal and adjust my mood. That's aromatherapy, that's "magic."

Different than what fairy tales have you believe magic is. The truth is that various smells are going to affect each and every one of us quite differently for unique reasons. Each person must find out what works for them and be creative with being able to establish emotional homeostasis and well-being by utilizing these innovative and holistic tools.

I also burn sage to "clear out" a room or area of "negative energy." This means that the smell has an evaporating effect. It overrides other "essences" in the room with it's smoky and mysterious smell. That to me is a "clearing."

I also have collected a lot of organic essential oils. I have over 40 of therm, so far, and I study the medicinal properties of each. I make my own potions, tinctures, serums, and elixirs for the hair, skin, and body overall.

Some might be insect repellents, some are my own special blends to make natural oil-based perfumes, some are my own hair serums to moisturize my hair and scalp with as leave-in treatments, some are for softening and nurturing my skin and maintaining its youthful integrity, and some are for other things.

I love being an alchemist in many ways...this also includes the kitchen. Cooking and baking are alchemy, thus "magic," too. Taste, flavor, texture, and the smell of food affect mood and certainly establish the branch of culinary medicine.

Travel and Networking
biklar
I will do a bit more travel this year...travel to some places will be minor and not really unusual.

For example, this early July, I'll be going to Vegas again for EVO. I've been to Vegas many times.

But after that, I'll be planning a trip to Montreal or Vancouver. Plan to stay up to a week. I even thought about Arizona later this year, since the drive isn't too crazy there.

I road-tripped to El Centro recently and that was very interesting. The drive is strange because you see just how quickly the landscape and natural scenery changes from where I'm coming from. It's a bit further south than San Diego, which I visited not long ago for a casino trip.

You also realize just how close San Diego is to the border of Mexico. I've never been to Mexico. But I wouldn't want to go without any proper research and preparation...

I have my hair all curly now in long ringlets and still with my purple streaks. The streaks have been re-dyed and they are vibrant and deep now in royal/electric purple. I've been getting compliments on my hair a lot, lately.

I naturally have curly/wavy hair so it is nice to wear that look more often than flat-ironing it for a straighter look. I just mist my hair with a mixture of pure aloe vera, water, and light essential oils.

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As for networking, as usual, I've been meeting a lot of people. It's really strange to think about, but people know me that I've never even met, because word spreads around about stuff, especially my events. Or sometimes I'll be surprised that someone has just mentioned me to someone else because I guess I am perceived as popular. I really don't think of myself that way and again it's bizarre to think about it. Not negative, just weird, because I always have this individualistic view of myself. Humble, down to earth, and even sometimes isolated view. Having any status of ubiquity is not something I've become used to.

However, the networking is really good for my events, my projects, and future creative plans/goals. And I am always open to the possibility of establishing good, solid friendships with people. I really value that.


Further Down the Trenches of Dark Souls
biklar
So, I am still playing Dark Souls. My gaming style is definitely as a completionist. I like to explore every nook and cranny in a game, usually. And I've been playing on and off, for the past few weeks.

Sometimes B. comes over to play with me since he's also a huge Dark Souls fan. I have DS II but of course won't be starting that until I am done with the first one.

Dark Souls is a game that makes you own your player skills, for sure. You don't just whiz through the game casually, and in some ways, it is full of surprises, at times.

Of course, I want to play Dark Souls 2 with B. once I start that. We'll both be new to it, which will be exciting. To play a game we both haven't played.

I am finally catching up on The Walking Dead and all sorts of stuff on my Netflix account. We both are watching The Walking Dead and a bunch of other stuff on my account when he comes over. I am waiting to watch the first episode of the 4th season of Game of Thrones, so that we can both see it together. I hear the first season comes in with a nice intensity.

So there's a lot to catch up on in terms of media backlog goes. Video games, movies, TV series, board games, etc.

As for board games, I've been getting quite heavily into Eminent Domain, Magic the Gathering (B. likes to build custom decks for me), and a new board game I got called A Castle for All Seasons (by the same makers of The Village and Village Inn expansion, which I both have).

Eminent Domain is like a cross between Dominion and Race for the Galaxy and RtG is a game I am quite good at and already play often both on PC and in person, but more on my PC these days.

Keldon AI is awesome for RtG fans or those who wish to practice playing the game. The bot is crazy good and well-designed.

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