Where the heck did November go???
It's December 1st already, and despite my best intentions these last couple of months to sit down and give this blog more attention, I keep finding myself too busy to do it. Part of the reason, of course, is that old ball and chain, work.
Retail management is pure drudgery during the holidays, and preparing for them begins in earnest in October. My job, while never happy, has been particularly difficult this year. We have a couple of members of the management team that have completely gone off the rails in their personal lives, including some serious drug addiction issues. As you can imagine, that leaves the rest of us forced to cover their absenteeism and neglect of their job duties. The rest of the store team is demoralized, which has led to calling out, bad attitudes, loss of productivity, and a whole lot of turnover. The atmosphere is so negative and things are so bad that the turnover has included several of our most dependable, long-term employees. Slowly but surely they're finding other jobs without all the dysfunction. And who could blame them?
I was so hopeful at the start of this year that I'd be one of the lucky ones with a new job by the time the holidays rolled around! It was my one and only resolution for 2014, and I have to admit I'm disappointed. The local economy isn't good, and competition for the kind of job I want is high. I was very discouraged for a while, but now that I've resigned myself to the fact that it's not going to happen as quickly as I'd hoped, I'm feeling better about continuing to search. In the meantime, I'm putting in extra hours and coming home extra tired, and that's put a damper on lots of things, not just blogging. Days off have been spent doing the necessary housework, chores, and caring for our feathered and furry housemates.
I've also been trying, during odd moments, to prepare for the upcoming holiday. I'm keeping gifts simple and inexpensive this year. Homemade food items, like flavored vinegars, vanilla extract, and Christmas cookies, and homemade (but simple to make) filled candles will constitute a majority of the gifts we'll be giving this year, with a few books or small items thrown in here and there. I can't take the crowded stores, the mad rush of shopping, the feeling like nothing you buy is ever enough this year. I despise it all, including the fact that the Christmas machine starts up earlier and earlier every year, and then really kicks off with the travesty known, appropriately, as Black Friday. No thanks. This year, I want to try to take it easier and find some small portion of the holiday to enjoy.
Stay tuned for photos of the gift projects I've finished so far, as well as some knitting I've been working on. I'm also still looking for a good, traditional fruit cake recipe and deciding on what kinds of Christmas cookies to make, so if anyone has suggestions I would love to hear them! Anyone else out there making or baking gifts this year? Or finding other ways to keep the holidays simple and inexpensive? Please share!