Friday, October 28, 2005

Munchkin Halloween





Monday, October 24, 2005

The journey to my heart

My journey began long before I knew I was looking for something. One night I received an email asking me if I was ready to embark on a journey. I had no idea where it would go. It started with a list. Tired of carrying the weight of my life, I packed lightly with only what would fit in my little backpack. At daybreak, I met many travelers who were ready for such a journey as this.

I found a hidden door in a tree and was whisked away by a night ride in moonlight. Mysterious gypsies drew me with a silent call in the night. Some kind of enchantment made my dreams deep and meaningful. Before long, I woke each day excited to know what would happen next. The journey to an island brought memories I didn’t know I possessed. Ancient knowledge was revealed to me. How can my life ever be the same now?

I learned to proclaim who I am. I am no longer the invisible child! See me! Hear me! Understand my words! Slowly I have come to realize my own truth. That truth is to be free. Unburdened by my own past and my parents past. Just let it go and find what’s around that next corner.

I have met celestial beings. I have met wee fairies. I have met warriors of great strength and feminine mystic. I have met talking donkeys and talking dolls. I have met known hell raisers. I have been reintroduced to friends of old who knew me long ago.

And now I have learned to be open in a completely new way. My heart feels lighter than I ever remember it being. I have let go of old cryptic ideas. I have found a new road. The Silk Road. It winds through space and time; thoughts and dreams; mystery and magic.

Somewhere along the way I met myself. The child, the girl, and the woman I want to be. I was stunned to discover that I needed to make some changes. To hold my own hand and say, “Yes! We can do this.” Brick by brick I had to tear down my own walls and find an inner world rich with ideas waiting to be discovered.

At last, I am in an distant land with no water and no road. I have finally come to the last door. The one that was hidden away for safekeeping, so no one would find that brilliant light. The key is the secret that I hid in my own heart. It was a prisoner there that I bound tight. And through my journey the ties loosened. And fell away, until I could feel an ache of joy and freedom coming close. The key that spilled from my lips opened the door and released my spirit. Away I flew with magic wings. I saw a wild fire burning. The fire of my anger, my regret, my invisibility burning, burning, gone!

Gnomes and Goosebumps

There was a good lot of squabbling out on my balcony last night. Yet, every time I was out there trying to find the source of disgruntlement I could find no one. I slept fitfully, my subconscious still trying to work out who might be jabbering out there and why.

Image Hosted by

Finally at about seven I could take no more. This time they were caught. Three unclothed gnomes with goose-bumps complaining about the night and "when are we getting those clothes we were promised anyway?" I was ten past tired and not willing to get into it right then right there. I would do something about it.

Image Hosted by

After grabbing another couple of hours of "lie down" and rest up, i grabbed the three naked gnomes and the one suited up and planted them inside where it was quite warm. Before I could paint them the goose-bumps would have to disappear.

Image Hosted by

I am in some part to blame for having ignored the balcony pretty much since the weather got colder. The continued blooming of the flowers, however kept me from thinking about impending winter. It really is quite amazing how much is still in full bloom and it is almost November.

Image Hosted by

After taking the dog for a walk I took out my paints. Gwendolyn had been the most vocal about being cold, something to the effect of "I'm freezing my tits off". In keeping with her temperament I dressed her in red. She practically jumped up and down with excitement when I held the mirror up so she could see. "Can I have red flowers in my hair? Pretty please." Well, how could I refuse, and off course shoes to match were next. Red was absolutely right for her. A white furry colour would keep her "tits" from freezing off.

Image Hosted by

Missy wanted a blue dress and purple fur trim. I was about to paint a matching set of blue shoes when she screamed at me "Stop, Aletta, mine should be red shoes too, I've always wanted red shoes." I could understand that, I've never met a girl or woman who did not want one pair of sparkling red shoes "just because". We rarely get them as little girls because red does not match enough of our daily wardrobes, it is frivolous and parents favour the sensible brown, navy or even white shoe. So Missy had her red shoes even though she hasn't any red clothes on. Her bright green hat is now trimmed in lilac fur to match the dress coat.

Image Hosted by

Paully had waited patiently for the girls to be dressed. He and Petey were enjoying the view of the two ladies dressing up. The girls seemed to appreciate the attention and it certainly wasn't rude so I kept myself to task and did not bring it up. "I like the white, could I keep the white hat?" I did my best to please and gave him what might best be described as a blend of reverse Santa and classic "commedia del arte" clowns. Looking bright eyed and warm he asked, "White shoes please." "No problem Paully."

Image Hosted by

"Ready to go back outside now?" All four replied in chorus "yes, please." Gnomes are very polite. I carried the four outside and sprayed them with a warm coat of glossy finish. "now you are rainproof as well." The little sparrows who live on my balcony chirped their admiration for the new duds. Not wanting to leave them behind in my attentions I remarked that their winter feathers were looking beautiful and extra fluffy this year.

Image Hosted by

I took another look a little while ago, their little shiny faces looked very happy and not one of them had goose bumps any more. "You won't be making noisy conversation tonight will you?" There was giggling and a resounding "No marm." So now I can contently put up my feet and know that I have not neglected those who depend on me.

Toadstools and Birches, oh my...

In all I see around me I sense another world full of delight and games I simply am too much of a grownup to see. I shall have to keep at it until I can see it too.

Image Hosted by

The tall birch stands in my sister's front yard and the toadstools in her shade, the shade of the tree, of course, and not my sister.

Image Hosted by

I am certain there are pixies giggling and making faces at me, because they can easily get away with it. Just wait, one day I shall catch them at it!

Image Hosted by

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Frozen Dreams

"to sleep, perchance to dream …"
muses the bard of yesterday,
a foreshadowing then --
but a memory now more real than tomorrow.

My aching joints and gristled brow
may dream of days of prancing youth,
and idle hours by a stream,
and entrancing verities.

But why ???
at a nonce I can conjure up then
more suredly than when,
and freeze it in form
and emotion --
relived and cherished,
for contemplation.

'tis said, "If I knew then what I know now,"
as a whimsical diversion,
when you can be then,
again and again,
for that is where wisdom comes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

A plate of zinnias

Image Hosted by



I will make some tea today,
and snuggle beneath a shedding tree,
and write a bit of pictures seen
in the scattered colors of Autumn.

There is a stretch of open space --
a place called 'Hollow' at Sakin'el,
easily scanned from the porch
where hanging chimes blend easy
with the splashing songs
of flume, ponds and ripple-fall.

I never rake this field, you see;
but let the wind play a bit each day
with new additions to the pallet
and sculpting texture of branches down
and forgotten croquet ball.

Like the herb tea steeping slow,
life here is an infusion of gifts and dreams …
and I hear m'lady Em begin to play her harp,
and the breeze sighs gentle
on my soul.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tea with the ducks and fairies

I've had a lovely afternoon at the tea room. I brought my darling grand daughter Shannon with me, and she was enchanted with everything. She ordered Persephone's cakes and Baba's tea, while I had the delicious Butternut squash soup and Kwan Yin tea. We both had scones and blackberry jam - the scones were so light I thought they were flying away, then Shannon pointed out it was just some naughty fairies.

After lunch, I sketched Shannon feeding the ducks as she sat under the willow tree. Shannon is mad about ducks and we saved some scones to share with them.

Mmmmm - maybe we'll have just one more serving of scones before we head home.

Autumn colour

At Hastings and Kamloops this amazing collection of autumn finery.

Image Hosted by

Found a Tree, Now To Read...

Image Hosted by

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Rose continued

I am back again this morning to have another cuppa and write once more. Imogen, I loved those scrumptious scones and blackberry jam.

I have a desire to pass onto my little grandchildren something of my loves, the garden and my artistic interests. I am a little reticient in finding the space for promoting and speaking of these things, however, one cannot underestimate what happens in the ordinary day to day activities.

A few months ago, I was out walking with my 4 year old grand daughter, Shani. She is an outdoors girl and loves rocks, trees and sticks. As we walked along the footpath, she was touching all the plants as we passed by. I had to show her which were the roses, so she wouldn't prick herself on the thorns. Apparently, she learnt her lesson well. Later on her Mother asked me if I had shown Shani which plants were roses, as she was pointing them out to her.

Yesterday was a gorgeous warm spring day, so Shani and I were out the front enjoying the sunshine. Imagine my delight when she squatted down in front of my Mme Meilland rose bush and said, "I really like your beautiful roses, Nanna". What an experience to treasure! My heart was almost bursting.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Rose

Mme Meilland

I was so enchanted by the new growth on my roses this morning that I promised myself that I would take a little time write.
I have popped into Tea, Tree and Quills for a quiet reflect and for the space to do a little writing.
I would like the Morrocan Mint Tea and the Scones with Blackberry Jam. My mouth is watering as I wait.

Ah, the Rose!
I liken the rose to our journeys through life.
The absolute beauty of the bloom
From the very formal
To the loose petals of the old style roses
There are those that have a rich full perfume
Others despite their beauty have none
Many have very sharp thorns
A prick can be painful
As there is poison in the thorn
Some are almost thorn free
Roses give forth blooms
for almost 6 months of the year
They love to be fed and nourished
And can survive without much water
They respond well to vigorous pruning
During the stagnant stage of their cycle
I have been in love with roses for many a year. I remember the first time I discovered the rose garden in the Sydney Botanical gardens. I also recollect wandering around acres of rose gardens at the country Victorian town of Redcliffs. I have gratitude for the rose who has shown me so much.

First Love

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Little gypsy

I have a fantasy
To be a child who
Lives in a Gypsy caravan.
My backyard is the world.
My sleeping place is a little caravan
Filled with soft down covers for warmth.
The laughing creek is my water source
The crackling fire is my heat source.
The stars are my ceiling and
The road is the story that
Weaves a new adventure
Around every corner.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lil Witches


Some of the visiting witches are nice, some are cranky. Beware this little upstart, she's looking for trouble. We just call her Little Miss Witch.

October Menu

Medusa’s Butternut Squash Spice Soup

Fresh Cucumber, Orange & Wild Mnemosyne Mint Sandwiches

Scones with Wild Blackberry Jam and Devonshire’s Faeries Cream

Persephone’s cakes and Pomegranate Pastries

Crab Apple Faerie Spiced Cider

Choice of tea:

Russian Gypsy Caravan
A smoky and exotic black tea like the Gypsy King himself

Enchantress Grey
Earl Grey tea infused with orange and spices from
The Isle of Ancestors

Black Wings of a Raven
Black currant tea with soothing properties and a
dreamy effect

Ti Kwan Yin
A delightful and refreshing Oolong tea made with
healing waters from the Fountain of Forgiveness

Moroccan Mint
A perfectly refreshing, aromatic blend of Mnemosyne mint
and green Gunpowder tea; known as “pearl” tea in China

A naturally decaffeinated relaxing drink, made with Baba
Yaga’s chamomile flowers, mint and rosehips

*All ingredients taken kindly with permission.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Guess it fits

Yesterday, I unpacked an old tea pot that had belonged to Em's mother. The newspaper wrapping is dated 1971, when Em was 17 years old. Inside was a scrap of paper, obviously saved my 'mom', and written by my wife to be.

All Things As Miracles

All my life I have tried to think of all things as being miracles. Every breath I draw; every whisper of the wind; every gentle stroke that a snowflake makes on my cheek. There is the feeling of blades of grass cushioning bare souls. And the serenity of a quiet spring amidst the woodland.

I love all miracles dearly but one wins my deepest affection above all else; concerning the senses. This is the ability of hearing; listening to and observing things that many do not hearken. And it was the gentle woodlands that taught me how to use my ears. Have you ever heard ants as they scurry through sand? Or fish breathing? Or clouds moving? Or the music of the Spheres? Or the fact that each specific sound has a multitude of layers reverberating in the vibration?

Once, the greatest ambition in my life was to hear a flower growing.

What a miracle that would be!

Yet another way to experience the magic of growth.

Feeding the ducks...

There's nothing nicer that sitting out on the deck with a cup of peppermint tea, some cucumber sandwiches and feeding the ducks on the teahouse lake.

One more


Burgundy cup and saucer


Abstract teacup


Cuppa tea


Monday, October 03, 2005

The Beauty of Tea

I was very interested to learn that tea comes
from the camellia family. The leaves of
the camellia sinensis are dried and withered
to make the tea. The real one has single petalled
white flowers with typical camellia leaves,
and a beautiful gold centre. Took this lovely
photo of a cousin of the tea camellia
from the treetops here in this peaceful
teahouse and thought I'd post the view
I'd seen here. Needless to say my cup of tea was
delicious and the conversation was just right.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tea Muse

I been sittin' in the corner for a spell,
just sippin' ice tea made in the sunnin' jar.
Its nice to see people wander in --
never in a hurry like in them coffee places;
knowing that tea takes time to brew.

Infusion is the rightful name, you understand --
any temperature water 'ceptin' boiling,
less you destroy the magic blending
of birthing water and nature's leaf or herb.
It takes a bit of time and caring to do it right.

Nope -- most people only have time for a
wham-bam sweezed crazy expresso --
than a dash back to work so they can afford
to buy the stuff -- and get all frenzied up
and need another cup of coffee all too soon.

Now tea folk have a better way of mixing pleasures --
take time to relax and meet friends old and new,
and infuse a bit of spirit and soul into conversation;
or just watchin' and thinkin' and plannin',
so that the days work will get done on time for sure.


Blackberry Memories

I bought a punnet of blackberries for $3 – there was barely a couple of handfuls, but at the prices growers have been charging recently, they were a bargain.

In terms of memories, they were priceless.

One look at the shining fruit, like clusters of tiny black pearls, and I was back in the old country, a child again, setting out with my parents on a blackberrying expedition. I wore long socks and a long sleeved cardigan to protect my legs and arms from the thorns. I carried a plastic bucket for the blackberries, but I never wore gloves. My small hands were too clumsy in gloves, and I didn’t like to squash the fruit.

We never had to walk far to find wild blackberries. We couldn’t go on private property, of course, but the blackberry bushes grew wild in hedgerows, woods and on common land. The real art was to find a patch that no one else had spotted, where the fruit grew thick and lush.

Blackberries could be tricky. The best clumps were always nearer the centre of the bush, so I’d have to clear a path by moving the outer branches out of my way.

This resulted in a good many scratches, no matter how thick my wooly cardigan.

Then, just as I was separating the large, sun warmed globules from their stems and watching in delight as my bucket filled up, the branch I had hooked out of the way would spring free again, whacking me on the back or behind the knees and trapping me until I could move it back again.
I was convinced that blackberry bushes were an intelligent life form. They moved of their own accord, and caught you just when you thought you had them under control.

After half an hour of blackberrying I was a mass of scratches, and sticky with blackberryjuice. But it was worth it. There would always be one really beautiful big blackberry in the clump, or so I always believed. This would be My Blackberry, my reward for the pain of gathering the fruit, so sweet and lush that it burst like liquid bubbles in my mouth and filled itwith flavor.

When the buckets were all full, we would head home, tired and scratched but looking forward to blackberry jam, blackberry pie and best of all, just plain blackberries with fresh clotted cream on scones.

Nature isn’t allowed to be generous and give anything away for free any more. But I’ll pay my $3 just for the memories.