Rhinebeck disappointment

I was all set to take Portuguese knitting with at Rhinebeck this October, but it turns out, I won’t be able to make it this year. It’s too late for me to get any kind of refund for the sold-out class, so if you know anyone who may be interested in the all day Friday class, I’d like to sell it to someone so I’m not out my $135.

I’ve done a workshop every Friday since I learned about the existence of this festival, this was to be my fourth year in a row (steeking, spinning, pattern alteration and customization, now Portuguese knitting). But I’m rapidly approaching the end of my PhD in genetics, and the friends that have come up and loved the festival in the past and stayed at the KOA Kamping Kabin with me are all super busy with graduate work as well. Not my year.

I’d just find other people to crash with, the sleeping arrangements wouldn’t be the end of the world, something would work out because fiber people are awesome; however, there’s a group at Yale that organizes an annual-ish “field trip” to DC to meet with science PhDs who work in science policy and learn more about career options, make some connections, etc. This year it’s the Thursday/Friday of the Rhinebeck weekend. I registered months ago for a Friday workshop, I first saw a poster with the trip dates a little more than a week ago.

I was in denial for like a week, trying to convince myself to ignore the impending changes in my life and go to Rhinebeck, but then my advisor and I had the career talk for the bajillionth time last Wednesday during a marathon 80 minute meeting, and I sat at a friend’s defense the next day realizing we started our PhDs together, he’s done, I’m going to be standing there answering questions about a thesis talk in the next year or so…I’ve got to get my act together in terms of future plans because apparently waiting til you’re writing is bordering on too late.

Since policy has been an option I’ve considered for years, it would be foolish as a sixth year grad student not to go meet as many people as I can and learn as much as I can about their experiences. Skipping out as a junior student wasn’t as big of a deal (and after all, could be considered research for that dream back up career of alpaca farming that got me and my ribosomal biogenesis partners in crime through every ”I’m going to fail out/I can’t do this” panic the first few years), but since it looks like I’m actually going to publish my little corner of cancer research and finish this PhD, I should probably do the responsible thing and work on figuring out how I’m going to continue to make the world a better place with all that hard-fought awesomeness.

I think everyone who has met me at least twice knows that the third weekend in October is my favorite weekend of the entire year, that weekend I go to the happiest place on earth, if I could go there every October for the rest of my life I don’t understand why I would even DESIRE Disneyworld.

I listen to the pan flute band (espiritu andino) on YouTube when I’m up in the middle of the night working on lab meetings and keep a bump of llama fiber I bought last year on my desk to pet when the pressure of grad school just gets overwhelming and I need to mentally go to my happy place for a few minutes.

I may still make it up on Sunday just to soak it all in (and get enough pan flute during daylight hours to last me a good year or so), pet some yarn, pet some sheep, pet some camelids, try some wine, but the workshops really are something entirely different and they mean a lot to me as a time to connect with the fiber community and that facet of my personality, which gets totally ignored on the planet where science me reigns.

It breaks my heart to cancel what I’ve set up a dashboard countdown to since last November, but I’ve promised myself next year (Sarah ought to come and get me hooked on the wheel) and keep reminding myself that being happy in my career is far more important than being disappointed for a bit. I think that’s the problem with having two great loves – science and fiber. Until I find ways to make them intersect, I’m always going to be a bit disappointed in one because I’m not with the other while I’m doing it.

About Kristy Lamb

I recently finished my PhD in genetics at Yale and am currently a postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University in NYC. I love science, people, and the fiber arts. We'll call it my muse. I taught myself to knit over Christmas break in 2002, when I was home from my sophomore year in college and was terribly bored. Despite starting with three big mistakes (very long aluminum needles, a very bad Coats & Clark how to knit book, and Lion Brand Homespun), I kept at knitting, even after that first 1/2 hour trying to tie a slipknot. Science...seems to be much the same process as the above.
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