Monday, June 16, 2014

Embittered...or thanks, for nothing, meetup.

Warning: Ranty post ahead. Close your browser now or take your judgy hat off. Last time I checked, this was MY blog.

So, I came to this country, just over four years ago now, knowing no one except my new husband and a couple of cousins who didn't even live in the same city. None of my friends lived here. It was a lonely place to start a new life, hidden in the anonymity of a building with over four hundred apartments and no friendly faces. That was, until a few months later, I found and started a group for stay at home wives and mothers.

Over the next four years I met close to a hundred people. Some were destined to be no more than acquaintances, some I thought were friends and one of two I outright did not get along with. There were a lot of new moms at the beginning who I had little in common with since diapers, shots and baby gap did not form any part of my life. However, slowly, the group dynamic changed and suddenly there were all these girls (so many younger than me), mostly in the same boat; recent immigrants with no jobs, no work permits or green cards and no kids. That's a lot of stuff to bond over by the way. Misery does love company and we all had job related existential angst to fuel several coffee and lunch dates.

Fast forward to a very brutal winter and 16 canceled meetups later. I was becoming very jaded about the whole meetup experience. The people had mostly lost interest, moved on, or worse, formed little cliques which (mostly) excluded me. Any attempt to rouse interest for meetups was met with apathy. Any attempt to adhere to the group rules was met with discontent. Worst of all, people would RSVP for meetups and then cancel last minute, leaving me to awkwardly cancel reservations and outings.

See the trouble with most of us desis (I include myself) is that we're masters of passive aggression. And we're very thin skinned. We take everything personally, even the gentlest of rebukes or reminders becomes an attack because our minds are just wierd that way. We think nothing of taking our time and making others wait. We think nothing of walking out with colds, fevers or other illnesses, regardless of how they might affect those we interact with. We think nothing of airing our opinions, without bothering to listen to anyone else's. We don't (and here I like to think I differ from the flock) ever come out in the open about our issues, instead whispering our grievances to someone else, an unending tale of Chinese whispers.

Last month, after a lot of soul searching and agonizing, I not only closed the meetup group, I also left meetup permanently. I was tired of the apathy, tired of receiving only dumb forwarded texts on the whatsapp group, tired of the fact that, in a group of over 80 members, only about ten or so were actually even active.

And of those ten, guess how many have so much as contacted me via text or Facebook in the past month?


Out of which one of them isn't even a meetup friend. She only joined the group because I ran it.

I hear tell of someone who told someone else how they disliked my 'attitude' and 'tone' in my group emails- asking people not to be more than 15 minutes late, make us miss trains or to come to meetups with the flu! So its entirely ok for you to come and cough and sneeze all over me (you'd never deign to think your germs could be passed on, right?) but its not ok for me to expect that I won't get sick from meeting you? Its ok for you to linger over phone calls or missing your train or whatever but its not ok for me to be annoyed about waiting outside in freezing temperatures because the restaurant wouldn't seat incomplete parties? Without even bothering to let me know you'd be late??

Oh wait. I'm like meetup's employee, right?

Sadly, no. Meetup never paid me a dime. Lets not even mention that I paid a sizable fee to remain an organizer over the last few years.

Ok- your solution is to ask members to pay for the group? Lets do a show of hands. Yup, no one wants to do that. And honestly, it isn't about the money. Its the apathy. The feeling of ....whatever...

Like my time's not valuable and yours is. I don't care what you do in your time, but if I gave up my free time to attend a meetup that you RSVP'd for, I expect you to be there on time.

You don't like the meetup? Here's a thought...why not schedule one that you do like? Wait. That's like too much work.

So I am pretty glad all that's over. I don't need this sort of tension in my life. I started the group to make friends, not act as everyone's unpaid and unappreciated social secretary.

However, you know what makes me bitter? Most of you wouldn't know anyone in this frigging country if it hadn't been for me and my stupid group. You'd still be sitting alone in the boonies or in your little high rise apartment, twiddling your thumbs. But you think its ok to form your own cozy clique without me (unpaid social secretary remember?) AND then to post pictures of your fun times on Facebook. That's seriously rubbing my face in something dirty and I did not do anything to deserve that! You think its ok to completely ignore me and go about life as if I never existed. Whatever I did to you, I don't deserve that.

I'm not saying I want to be everyone's best friend. Of course I can't. But it hurts to be ignored, after years of chasing everyone and encouraging them to attend more meetups, it hurts that you meet people behind my back and don't so much as ask me if I want to be a part of your evening out or afternoon tea.

It hurts to be so completely ignored.

Damn you, meetup.

At least I was happy in my solitude before you happened.

ETA: As I mentioned earlier, take your judge hats and wigs off and leave your snide remarks to yourselves. I've had years of listening to you rant and rave about what you don't like. Here's what I hate. At least I have the nerve to be open about it. Without you hearing ab out my discontent in another round of Chinese Whispers.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Standing on my soapbox

Very rarely does an article infuriate me. Even more rarely does this happen at f*cking stupid o'clock on a Saturday morning, when I'm really at my most zen and too sleepy to be easily angered or aroused.

Oh boy am I mad.

I saw a link to this article on my Facebook feed and it sounded like the kind of article I would be interested in, so I hopped over to the website and I read it.

I started out agreeing with the author (and believe me, I do agree with her main point overall), but I found certain statements extremely annoying and well either just stupid or extremely condescending. I still have not made up my mind about which adjective fits the bill better.

Firstly-- full disclosure: I am not a mother. My husband and I feel we aren't ready for a family yet and if and when we do decide to have a baby is our own private concern. I am however, an Indian woman, a daughter, an often-harassed daughter in law, and this subject is particularly relevant to me.

In the fourth paragraph of the article, hyperlinked above, the author compares the decision to become parents to going on a high altitude trek or swimming the Amazon! Really? Yes, of course, at least swimming (and surviving the piranhas) the Amazon is indeed a life changing experience. But come on, the comparison is hardly apt. In fact its not only feeble, its a slap in the face to every couple who has been trying, whether for weeks, months or years, to conceive a child. I wonder if the author has ever tried any of these life altering experiences? I've tried the high altitude trekking, then come back home and life has gone on as usual. No change. Hardly an apt comparison to motherhood.

Then the attack on mommy bloggers. But the fundamental reality is (and I speak as a blogger myself), we all want to show our good side on the web, because we never know who might be reading and/or looking. Of course, they want to upload good shots of their kids as they play and grow. Isn't that the point? Because why would a bunch of random strangers on the internet want to see blurry pictures #epicfail?

As I mentioned earlier, I'm an Indian woman. A 30-something Indian woman. The thought of never seeing their grandkids gives my husband's relations panic attacks and we've developed a brain filter that automatically shuts our brains off when the 'when are you going to have a baby' monologue starts. It probably gives my parents panic attacks too but I've bullied them into silence. Yes, it is going to be hard, probably the most excruciatingly painful thing we will ever do, but I don't think we will regret it. I know for a fact that our parents do not regret having had us, and believe me, we were little hellions! I live in the United States where hired help comes at a super steep price, family support is often non-existent, and mothers live sleep deprived, baby-centric lives till their toddlers well, toddle off to school. Do these moms regret their kids? Hell no.

Now here are the lines that really annoyed me.

" At the end of the day, parenting is merely foisting the responsibility of finding your life’s meaning on to someone else. It’s the reason why parents — especially mothers — have to continue with the narrative of “this is the best thing I’ve ever done.” Besides giving them an excuse to do nothing else with their lives, it also gives them a lofty platform from which to preach."

Oh yeah?

My dear lady, while there are no doubt, several mothers and fathers who try to live vicariously through their children, your article is aimed at my generation. People who aren't getting around to having kids yet or whose kids are still young. We as a generation are holding off having kids for several reasons-- and yes, one of those is that we are not as 'self sacrificing' as our parents were and don't want to give up any experience life has in store for us. We've paraglided, trekked, iPadded, jetsetted and maybe even swum the Amazon to be where we are. We're the women who fought with our families for the right to advanced education. The right to work. The right to marry who we choose. Do you really think we are going to want to 'find our live's meaning' through a defenseless little diapered baby?!

And yes. 'Excuse to do nothing else with their lives?"

You have just slapped the face of every single woman who has had to give up her career for her child. And maybe every woman in general. Who exactly are you to judge that a stay at home mom does nothing with her life? Boy are you one biased person. What about your own mom? Did she give up her career to raise you? What about your mother in law? Would you say that to their faces?

Just because you are a mother who chooses to work does in no way mean you can sit and 'preach' that the rest of the moms out there are useless because all they do is raise their kids! Yes-- all, because raising a child, ensuring it gets adequate nutrition, a good education, good morals, a happy childhood, are nothing. Shunting a kid from school to soccer, from soccer to ballet, from ballet to piano are nothing. Because any old nanny would do that right? Or do you think kids raise themselves, just add water and leave out in the sun?

I think you have a few good points and some good writing in there. Just don't let your biases get the better of you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Works in progress everywhere I look

Dear readers,

I have decided to focus my blog solely on my crafting ventures and as such, will be moving to a more suitable URL. Its not that I don't like eating healthy or developing recipes any more. I just don't have the mental bandwidth for it at present, and there are too many--and dare I say better-- recipes out there for me to be competitive and draw in readership.

However, my knitting does seem to get me compliments wherever I go and it keeps me calm-- I could really do with some zen right now-- so I will continue to craft and write about it. Maybe this summer I will finally design something again, or actually write a pattern down so I or someone else can use it again.

So many of my friends and acquaintances are having babies-- are wrote about my friend S last week. This week, I am working on a baby blanket for T, who is possibly one of my closest friends ever. Sadly, she is moving away soon, so I am working on a deadline. She hasn't found out the sex of her child yet, but since I have under a month to go (will be traveling for ten of those days) I cast on for the blanket using a pale yellow yarn.

It is a bias knit fabric, worked diagonally in garter stitch. The border is knit at the same time. I plan to thread some ribbon through the eyelets, but not sure about that yet. This was the fastest design I could work in the limited time I have, so although its a pretty basic design I do feel like jazzing it up a bit. Maybe I will crochet a small scallop border at the end. Or crochet a few flowers to one corner.

I'm aiming for at least a 30 x 30 inch square blanket, more if I can possibly keep at it. I had about 19" when I took the picture so we'll see.

This post goes to WIP Wednesday. I hope to debut my new blog URL soon-- that too is a WIP right now! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's and FO day!

DH and I don't normally celebrate Valentine's day. It's a huge consumer nightmare in India as well as here in the US, and well, we were never together for Valentine's anyway. One of the pitfalls of a several year-long long distance relationship. Our wedding anniversary is literally four days after Valentine's, so we just merge the celebrations.

Today I'm so happy to show off this little cardigan I made for a friend who is expecting a baby girl in a few months time. She's my oldest friend from the States (since I've only been here four years that isn't saying a lot!) and she has been there for me through tough times and good, a sounding board and we've had many happy times together. Now that she's moved further away we don't see as much of each other but I think of her almost every day and am thrilled that she and her husband are moving on to the next stage in their lives.

I don't often feel compelled to reknit a pattern but this really is going to be my go to pattern for baby cardis! It is cute, easy, and the color combinations are endless.

Color came out wonky in these :(

I've made this in the smallest size, sizing down a needles size so the little one can wear it before the heat of the summer.

I hope mommy-to-be likes it! I will be giving this to her at her baby shower next month.

Pattern: Little Coffee Bean Cardigan
Yarn: Vanna's Choice in Rose and Silver Grey
Needles: 4.00 mm (US 6) and 4.50 mm (US 7)

Happy Valentine's day everyone. My anniversary is a day after President's Day so it's going to be a fun long weekend for us. As long as it doesn't snow again...

Linking up with FO Friday, Fiber Arts Friday and Creative Friday

Friday, February 7, 2014

FO Friday: Calorimetry times two

I don't know about you but I adore headbands and head wraps of all sorts. They're cute and girly, and practical too. however, I can't wear them much in winter, because woolly head wraps aren't enough to keep my head warm. I need hats (preferably berets), or my sinuses start complaining.

I've had Calorimetry (the very popular knitted headband from knitty) on my Ravelry queue for ages, but never got around to knitting it for the same reason. however, I recently promised headbands to two friends, and this seemed a good pattern to use.

I tried wrapping my short rows for the headbands because I didn't like the holes in the fabric. I also used buttonhole stitch to tidy up the two buttonholes. Since my yarn for both headbands was solid (stash yarn) I embellished them with crocheted Irish roses.

Quite proud of the crocheted roses actually. Crochet is not my strong point!

My friends were quite pleased :)

Headband 1:

Yarn: Knit Picks Brava worsted (dove colorway)
Needles: US 7, 4.5 mm
Hook: 4 mm

Headband 2:

Yarn: Cascade Eco+ (grey purple)
Needles: US 9, 5.5 mm
Hook: 5 mm

Sending today's post to FO Friday, Fiber Arts Friday and for the first time, Creative Friday

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WIP Wednesday

The past few weeks have been grim for our little family, but I won't talk about it. Lets just say that we are trying to get back to normal-- or whatever passes for normal around here. Its been a very cold and snowy winter, and I think knitting for once has not helped me stay sane. Still, it keeps me busy, because long walks just aren't an option right now.

Some of my friends are expecting babies this spring and I'm making a cardigan for each baby. I've started on the one that's due first, in April, and its a girl, so I'm doing another Coffee Bean cardigan in pink and grey. I know babies are supposed to be swaddled in pastels but I'm sure they'll be given pastels enough by their families and friends. I wanted to be a bit different.

I'm making very slow progress on this. Because its for a wee little one, I don't want to work on it when I'm sad. Only positive thoughts go into every stitch.

Using easy care acrylic so that the new (probably overwhelmed mommy) doesn't have to bother about washing-- it can be tossed into the washer and dryer.

Sending this post to WIP Wednesday

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Life, how many more? How many challenges must we face,
Before you'll allow us a crumb, a glimpse of what could be?
How many more facades must we paint on us
Before you're pleased with the papier mache we?

Too many deaths you've strewn in my path,
Too much hemlock in my almost empty cup.
'After the blow falls, it gets better, they say'--
But how many blows must you send my way?

Can we allow ourselves a moment of joy?
A second of bliss before you come our way?
Before you knock our plans to the ground
And turn every-damn-thing upside down.

You're cruel life, you're a bitch!
You're a heartless, soulless, witch!
And while you can break me--
Only I can remake me.

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