Deck the Ute (an Aussie Christmas song)

Christmas Roast

Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating today. I hope you’re having a wonderful day with family and friends, wherever you are in the world.

I had a quiet day with my parents today; it was just us as most of our family live overseas and we don’t see our Australian relatives that often. We had a lovely roast for dinner, then opened a few gifts afterwards. It was actually the first time we’ve had a roast in about ten years as we normally have a salad instead; it was delicious but typically we picked the hottest Christmas day in years to have it on. Must be Murphy’s law.

In any case we had a nice day and I thought I’d post another of my Aussie Christmas songs to celebrate. This is the fourth song I’ve written now after The Aussie 12 Days of Christmas, Aussie Jingle Bells and We Wish You an Aussie Christmas, so I guess it’s becoming something of an annual tradition!

This year I did an Aussie version of Deck the Halls. Originally I wanted to do Frosty the Snowman or Silver Bells but they were hard to translate to Australia. I think Deck the Halls works better and it’s also easy to sing along to as everyone knows the tune.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Deck the Ute

Deck the ute with lights and wattle
Fa la la la la la la la la
We’ll take it for a drive and go full throttle
Fa la la la la la la la la
Kids are singing in the back seat
Fa la la la la la la la la
Spreading Christmas cheer to all we meet
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon we’re pulling up at the rellies
Fa la la la la la la la la
And getting ready to open the pressies
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hope it’s not more socks from Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la
Oh well guess I can sell them on eBay
Fa la la la la la la la la

Come one o’clock and we’re by the pool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Drinking beer and trying to stay cool
Fa la la la la la la la la
Jamie’s pulling on Susie’s hair
Fa la la la la la la la la
While Dad’s nodding off in his chair
Fa la la la la la la la la

We say g’day to the neighbours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hear all about their yearly labours
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tom and Amy are getting married
Fa la la la la la la la la
No wonder they all look so harried
Fa la la la la la la la la

Everyone gathers around the table
Fa la la la la la la la la
Eats as much as they are able
Fa la la la la la la la la
Aunt May’s brought a giant fruit cake
Fa la la la la la la la la
Tastes just like Grandma used to make
Fa la la la la la la la la

Soon it’s time for everyone to go
Fa la la la la la la la la
We say our goodbyes and Ho Ho Hos
Fa la la la la la la la la
Pull out of the drive and speed away
Fa la la la la la la la la
Waving behind us to Aunt May
Fa la la la la la la la la

Back home and the kids are fast asleep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Carry them to their beds without a peep
Fa la la la la la la la la
Quietly we turn off all the lights
Fa la la la la la la la la
And sleep away another Aussie Christmas night
Fa la la la la la la la la

Christmas in Randwick

Randwick Town Hall, decorated for Christmas

As it’s Christmas Eve I thought I’d post some of the Christmas photos I’ve taken near where I live. Randwick comes alive at this time of year, with lots of houses and businesses putting up decorations and it’s a lot of fun walking around and seeing what’s new. These are some of my favourites from this year.

Most of the houses are from Frederick Street, which is known for its Christmas displays and has won awards in the past; there are a few photos from Bondi Junction as well which I took while shopping. There are about 20 photos so I’ve split them after the jump; you can click on any of them to see larger versions as well.

I’m just finishing my annual Christmas song now as well… will have it posted sometime tomorrow. This year’s is an Aussie version of “Deck the Halls”. Should be fun! 🙂

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Christmas Rose

A single rose
Its fragile beauty,
Slowly dying:
All things must end

I took this photo a couple of nights ago while looking at some of the Christmas lights around Randwick. This was taken outside one of the more brightly decorated houses in Frederick Street; the rose really stood out against all of the lights and decorations and I thought the way the colours reflected off it was interesting.

The lights were excellent this year; I’ll post some photos once I’ve finished editing them. I enjoy seeing the light displays going up each year… they’re much more widespread now than they used to be and the displays seem to get better and better each year. I am glad I don’t live next to any of them though… I think it’d all drive me nuts after a while!

Photo and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Another Christmas

Westfield Reindeer

Another Christmas
A time of mirth and laughter:
My heart misses you

Listening to carols
Thinking of old friends:
Must be Christmas

Sphere and Reindeer

I took these photos on Thursday night in Bondi Junction. Every year the two Westfield centres are beautifully decorated for Christmas and this reindeer display is my favourite; it hangs down across all six levels and is exquisite when the light catches it just right.

It always amazes me how quickly the season seems to come around each year… it hardly feels like more than a few months since last Christmas. Time goes by so quickly these days.

I enjoy the time of year but it always feels a little bittersweet to me as well as I often think about family and friends overseas and others who are no longer in our lives. I guess that’s what was on my mind when I wrote the haiku, the mixed feelings the season often brings.

Photos and haiku © CJ Levinson 2011

Some Updates

Image: Old Typewriter ~ motionstil

So this is my first update in a little while. I’ve been concentrating on writing my novel for the last few months and I haven’t had much time for blogging unfortunately. I meant to start again a few weeks ago but after the floods in Queensland and the earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan, I haven’t felt like blogging much. A few people have been asking if I’m okay though, so I thought I’d post a quick update now.

I’m okay for the most part. The main thing on my mind at the moment is that we can’t seem to get hold of one of my mother’s old friends after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Miyoko was maid of honour at my parents’ wedding and is a pastor at the Hatano Christian Centre in Kanagawa, which we think was hit by the earthquake. We’d fallen out of touch and it may just be that our numbers and email are out of date but nothing seems to be getting through. I’m hoping someone from the centre may stumble across this post on Google and can let us know if she’s okay… we’re getting quite worried and not sure what else to do.

Apart from that, personally I’m okay. My health has been a bit up and down lately; I’m having some treatment on my neck on Wednesday and my insomnia’s come back again as well, but I’m doing pretty well on the whole. I’ve mainly been reading, writing and listening to a lot of Angus & Julia Stone and The Audreys lately, so things could be worse!

My writing’s also going pretty well. February-March is usually when I get a lot of writing done and I feel like I’ve really started to get somewhere with my novel now… I’m about 2/3 of the way through the first draft/outline and should be ready to tackle the main part of the novel in a few weeks. I’m also working on a couple of short stories which I should have finished soon. One of them ties in with the novel and I like what I’ve written so far. The other story is a bit of a character piece about life and death and I’m really excited about that. It feels different to anything I’ve written before and I might even be able to turn it into a novel one day if it goes well.

I’m also still working on Sleepless, my micronovel, although I haven’t updated it in a while. I know a few people have been wondering what’s been going on with it but basically, it just wasn’t working so I’ve had to scrap a lot of it. The idea was that it was supposed to be a novel written specifically for Twitter and Facebook but it never really felt like that and I kept running in to too many problems. I’ve had a rethink about how to approach it and basically I’m going to scale it back a bit and start from the beginning again, so if you’re interested, now’s actually a good time to start following the story. I’ll be posting updates again from Sunday and if you want to follow along, you can follow it on Twitter and the Facebook page.

I’m still looking to get back to studying again later this year as well if I can and I’ve been doing some research into that… the prices aren’t too bad on the whole and I’m still looking at library studies at the moment, which would allow me to teach or do a few other things later as well, or maybe just teaching now if I have the prerequisites. Psychology’s a possibility as well although I’m not sure I’d make a good shrink. I think I’m a little too crazy myself for that!

Apart from that, I haven’t really been up to that much. My writing’s been keeping me pretty busy and I’ve been thinking about moving again as well but I doubt I can afford it at the moment. Unfortunately there’s a huge construction project going on just opposite us which is making a lot of noise at the moment, so I may have to if it keeps up. The rents are so expensive in Sydney at the moment though that I’ll probably have to move out a bit if I do.

I’ve also been thinking about starting my old SF book group again. I loved doing it a couple of years ago but we never really had enough people for it to last, so I think I’d need to know it was more sustainable this time before trying again. I’ve spoken to a few people who sound interested but I’m wary of starting something new if I’m going to be moving as well, so I’m still not sure yet. I might even end up doing something online instead. We’ll see.

Anyway that’s pretty much everything that’s been going on. I’ll probably be offline for a few days after Wednesday but after that I’ll be back blogging again more regularly… I always find I really miss it when I have a break. I plan to start posting more of my photography and I’ve just started experimenting with my video camera as well, so you might see some videos pop up soon. Should be fun!

As I mentioned The Audreys earlier, I thought I’d share this video quickly as well. It’s called Sometimes the Stars and I’ve had it in my head ever since I heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It’s a beautiful song and it just seems to capture the mood at the moment, at least for me.

Take care, wherever you are in the world. And to Miyoko and everyone in Japan, we’re thinking of you. ~ CJ.

Update: Just got some good news. My mother just got an email from Miyoko. She’s okay. She’s a bit away from where the earthquake hit; there’s some radiation there but it’s not too serious at the moment. Very relieved.