Michaeline: Being of Good Cheer

According to a Merriam-Webster post, “cheer” comes from the Greek cara meaning “face”. It originally could mean a happy face or a sad face, or any kind of face, but it gradually came to mean happiness and a certain rah-rah spirit.

I’m certainly feeling cheerful this year, in spite of all the crap going on in the world at large (the pandemic being a big piece of crap). I started an anti-depressant about a year ago, and it’s helped my outlook considerably. Things don’t seem as overwhelming as they did in, say, August 2019. I’ve been able to start and finish more little projects around the house, and the voice that tells me, “That’s HOUSEWORK. That’s not important or interesting. That’s NOTHING” – you know that voice – that voice doesn’t seem to hold as much conviction and persuasiveness as it used to.

A young girl welcoming a boy on a sleigh pulled by a giant pig. The boy has a Christmas tree in back. The card says, God Jul.
What a cheerful winter scene! Reminds me of Terry Pratchett’s The Hogfather, without the teeth. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve managed to finish my Christmas shopping, wrap my presents as they come in, and decorate the house – and not go overboard with wild schemes to have The Best Perfect Christmas Ever! I’m shooting for a nice Christmas; a comfy New Year; a cozy rest-of-winter-until-Valentine’s-Day 2021. My husband helped me tape up an outdoor Christmas tree made of three trellis and three strings of solar lights, and I made a Christmas tree out of cuttings for the front entrance, and a kitty tree for the porch. It actually sounds like a lot when I put it this way, but believe me, it was less than three hours of work, and that was spread out over different days.


When I feel like it, I make little paper decorations for the kitty tree, and I have a pretty red ribbon to tease the cats with. It’s less like work and more like therapy. (The decorations are shuriken made of origami – aka, Japanese throwing knives. For some reason,

A shuri ken or Japanese Ninja star throwing knife in white paper. Four points
The shuriken, or Japanese Ninja Star. Photo by Speeddemon92 via Wikimedia Commons. What a cheerful thing to hang on a tree!

I find it ridiculous and hilarious that my kitty tree is covered with little sharp weapons . . . much like my kittens are equipped with tiny knife-like claws. But, that’s just one reading. Shuriken look like stars, and since they are made of white paper, they seem rather demure and pristine.)


I wish I could funnel my creativity into the paths my forebrain would like to explore; it’s quite pitiful really. My forebrain has GREAT ideas for marketing and suitability and getting things done, but it’s my backbrain that comes up with the content and juice. And my backbrain is more interested in Christmas decorating and playing music.


Still, at least some creativity is a win. I was talking with a friend on LINE, and we fell into making a song. It was a very nice Winter Song, with each of us contributing lyrics (she did a the music, but I helped a little bit). One of the main images was her idea . . . “playing around in a snowman’s globe”.



I love this the more I think about it. It seems like a perfect metaphor for cheerful winter celebrations in 2020. Yes, we are encapsulated (some would say trapped) in a bubble. Danger is outside. But inside, it’s rather enchanting, if we make it so. Snow is falling, there are snow angels on the ground, and maybe a cozy cabin surrounded by perfect little evergreens.


“Peace and love and harmonies

“Cover the trees like symphonies.”


You know, I might get a story out of this and make my forebrain happy after all. After all, Christmas comes but once a year, so might as well make the best of it.



Cover of Mrs. Budlong's Christmas Presents by Rupert Hughes. White paper packages tied up with red ribbons, with a large cauldron-like pot (for flowers? also beribboned) and a large lamp. Much holly.
Pretty paper packages, tied up with ribbons and bows! I’ve never heard of Mrs. Budlong before, but she’s got great taste in wrapping presents. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Oh, the kittens are in the Christmas spirit! Attacking a red ribbon, attacking a package, and attacking Japanese Ninja Stars on the Christmas tree. NOT a one-minute meditation. Pure chaos! Mama Tabby is unruffled. E. M. Duskova 2020 12 12

6 thoughts on “Michaeline: Being of Good Cheer

  1. You are determined to put me in the Christmas spirit, aren’t you?

    I’d already decided to forego putting up a tree (which takes approx 4 hours to decorate and another 4 to dismantle), substituting a low-key wreath on the front porch.

    And I’d talked myself out of baking/making candy because my HGA1C has been on a too positive trajectory for the past couple of years.

    Now you have me feeling like a grinch!

    • NO! Please, LOL. Don’t do a bunch of stuff you don’t want to do . . . just do a couple of things that you want to do. Like the wreath. Maybe a cheese ball instead of sugar/flour goodies? Maybe another wreath on the inside of the door?

      I got battery powered lights for my inside-the-door tree, and I’m glad I spent the nine bucks. They are very cute and cheerful this time of year!

  2. I love the throwing star holiday ornaments! They’re cute, but they also have a “don’t tread on me” vibe I like. Congratulations on coming to grips with Christmas! I wish I could say the same. Is my tree up? No (and I have a pre-lit one sitting in my closet as we speak). Cards written? Last gifts acquired? I’m not answering those questions. Although I did make some banana bread the other day, and I have stollen on my counter. So all is right in my fruit bread world!

  3. Loved your video, Michaeline, and how the mama cat completely ignored the kids.

    Christmas spirit is slowly appearing at my house—lights are up outside the house; there is a ridiculously tall tree in the house. Not ALL THE DECORATIONS that normally appear are up, but it feels festive enough. Normally there would have been a massive amount of holiday baking this week and a holiday open house this weekend, but not this year. The pandemic and a kitchen flood have seem to that.

    Ah well. At least working from home means that I can actually enjoy the decorations. Always a bright side. Now here’s hoping Santa brings that “creativity booster” I asked for.

    • I’m glad you liked it! Mama Tabby is such a chill cat. But she’s still paying attention, and seems to have eyes in the back of her head. When a hawk flew over during one of my filming sessions, she meowed just right at the kittens and SWOOSH! They were all under a tree in no time flat.

      More over at the E.M. Duskova video channel if you need another hit of kittens (just click on the icon, and feel free to share with friends who need some kitten energy). I particularly recommend this 30 sec or so video of opening the window first thing in the morning and surprise! Kitties! It’s got an “unboxing video” vibe . . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UV68ndWarU&list=PLIUWMixpmOMJnhRO5s_J4j38weRVrbzaL&index=19

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