The end of 2018 is upon us, and I have to say, I am more than ready to bid it farewell. There has been so much sadness and stress in our lives this year, and I’m ready for a fresh start. The new year will be busy – while I retained my job, my Division is changing a lot, with several labs moving out and more moving in, so it will take a bit of work to get the new Division functioning as a Division – and, I think, for all of us to start feeling less battered by the way the restructure has been concluded.
Outside of work… I literally have made no plans, as yet. Because I didn’t know what would be happening with my job until the Thursday before Christmas, I didn’t dare plan for any exciting holidays (and boy, do I need a holiday right now). And a big part of my is inclined to use the next year to really think about what I want to do with my life, because much as I love my scientists, I’m not sure this is where I want to be anymore. We shall see.
In the meantime, I spent most of December baking like a madwoman. I tend to get a bit overexcited about baking in December at the best of times, and it turns out that when I am stressed and low on sleep, I really lose any ability to figure out how much baking is necessary, so I just keep on doing more and more. (Those who know me are probably reading the previous sentence with a wildly suspicious eye, and wondering how this differs from how I bake when I am not stressed or low on sleep. All I can say is that it very definitely does.)
And really, it was hard to calculate this time. Because I had to bake for two Christmas parties, one fundraising bake sale, two dinner parties, Christmas Day itself, the Boxing Day BBQ, a picnic lunch to take to the cricket, a care package for a friend in Gippsland, and to make Christmas presents. Since you don’t really know how much food will get eaten at any given event, the level of baking-quantity-uncertainty increases exponentially with each added event. And if you add to that the fact that every single thing I tried to make as a gift for someone either failed or turned out tasty but ugly, you will understand the level of baking spiral I entered into.
So I made vegan Florentines, and banana-passionfruit cakes, and four kinds of gluten-free cookie, and three kinds of gluten-free cheesy biscuits, and about six attempts at pectin jellies, and olive biscotti, and a triple batch of jam thumbprint biscuits, and four batches of jam, and highly decorated gingerbread, and jam tarts, and fruit mince pies, and I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten a few things in here, but I also went to a Savour Dessert Buffet class on the Friday before Christmas and added a Concorde tree, a frozen Christmas Pudding, salted caramel chocolate truffles, biscuit bonbons and chocolate wreaths to the mix, so yes, there was enough food.
But not too much too much food, because I have actually managed to dispose of quite a bit of it, and at this stage, I have only a few pectin jellies, a quarter of a frozen pudding, a quite rational number of cheese biscuits, a handful each of mince pies and jam tarts, and yes, QUITE A LOT of jam thumbprint biscuits left.
Oh, and a bag of leftover chocolate meringue sticks from the Savour class, but those weren’t really my fault.
Anyway. One good thing that 2018 brought was my return to food blogging, and I will try to remain present in 2019. I am also celebrating the new year with a new look for Cate’s Cates – I hope you like it! It should be a little more accessible for people with vision impairments, too, I hope.
The other change I will be making to Cate’s Cates is that I am going to bring my singing website over here, too. This may seem odd, but at this point, I have four public blogs and one private one, and I also write a fair number of book reviews and other bits and pieces elsewhere, and it’s getting ridiculous. You won’t see an enormous number of posts on singing here – my main activity on that blog is an annual Musical Advent Calendar – but I might post the occasional note about an upcoming concert or a piece I’ve found that interests or amuses me.
The trick will be combining them in a way that doesn’t destroy the layout of both, so I apologise in advance if this website does a bunch of weird things over the next few days. I trust it will settle down soon.
(My politics blog will remain separate, for the simple reason that while cooking and singing are fairly non-controversial activities, politics is not, and I’d rather not bring some of my more colourful commenters over to this nice peaceful blog…)
And that, I think, is about all for now! I wish you a happy, healthy and safe 2019 – may we all end the year in a better place than we start it!