Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Midterm, quitting and a bit of philosphizing February 11, 2009

I got the only A+ in my class. I am really excited about that. I got a 100% but to be fair, the test was WAAAAAY easy like Herr Trost said.

We are working on more grammar stuff and it is really throwing my classmates for a loop. I wonder what they expected when they signed up for this class. One of the guys today got really angry at Herr Trost and was muttering about how this was a “fucking stupid class.” Another guy asked the same question he asked a week ago and, again, Herr Trost had to spend five minutes explaining it. I heard one of the guys mention he had to get a C in this class or else Tuition Assistance (the Air Force program to pay for college courses you take while enlisted) wouldn’t pay for it and he’d have to pay for it out of pocket. Language courses are hard. Very hard. Especially if you don’t know the grammar of your native tongue. I’m guessing there are probably four or five people who are going to fail this course, or at least get lower than a C. And I wonder what they will blame it on. Will they blame it on Herr Trost? The Air Force? The book? Themselves? Will they think they should have studied more? Will this be an enlightening experience for them in which they realize foreign language is not for them? Or will they simply decide that higher education is not for them?

I don’t know. I just wonder. I do not deal well with failure. I don’t know if I would continue to take this class if I were really struggling. One of the things I am really looking forward to about pursuing my degree is challenging myself. I am looking forward to the class that pushes me to my limit. When I left home and moved to Cedar Rapids, I took some classes at Kirkwood. I took some horse training classes and a photography class. I also took a writing class.

One of our first papers was supposed to be about an important event in our lives. I shared my testimony, or at least one significant part (though I can’t remember what it was). I got a C. I didn’t think I deserved a C. Grammatically the paper was perfect but the professor said I didn’t know my audience. I didn’t write to the audience; I assumed they would know what I was talking about. I didn’t explain who God was or what sin was; I assumed the people reading my paper had grown up in Western Christianity and spoke fluent Christianese.

At the time, I couldn’t see any of this and I thought he just didn’t like me because I was a Christian. Now, as someone who no longer calls herself a Christian and as someone who has learned to see things from others points of view, I can see that he was right. But at the time, I simply saw that I was “failing,” or simply not exceeding which to me felt like failure. I didn’t get an A. I didn’t even get a B. I got a C and I didn’t know how to fix it. So instead of going to my teacher and talking with him about it and finding out what I needed to do to improve, I dropped the class.

I quit.

And I didn’t take another college class until this German class. Why? Why was I so afraid of failure that I couldn’t handle a “C” paper, which in all honesty, was probably a “C” paper. I couldn’t handle it. I was distraught and broken.

What will I do when it happens again, as I am sure it will? Will I be able to work through it? Will I be able to humble myself and ask for help? Will I be able to take the constructive criticism and make it work for me or will I give up and cry? Will I be strong or will I be weak?

I just don’t know but I want to find out. I want to find out what my limit is. What if there is a brilliant geologist hiding in my brain? What if there’s a biochemist trapped in there? What if an archeologist or a war reporter or a talented artist is beneath the layers of complacency and safety I’ve wrapped around myself? What if I peel back the layers and it’s just me, with no layers? Will I be okay with that, too?

I don’t know.

But I aim to find out. Yay for me and my amazing brain!


Mein erste Blog auf Deutsch January 26, 2009

Filed under: Anecdotal,deutsch,educational,germany,writing — Addicted to Yarn @ 4:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

Das ist mein erste Blog auf Deutsh. Ich vorsetelle meine familie und mir. Ich heiße Becky Walker. Mein Mann ist Israel und meine Tochter heißt Jael. Wir wohnen in Deutschland. Ich komme aus Iowa, USA. Israel kommt auch aus Iowa, USA. Jael kommt aus Missouri. Mein älterer Bruder ist auch aus Missouri. Mein jünger Bruder, Mutter, und ältere Schwester kommen aus Iowa. Mein Vater kommt aus Kansas.

Ich arbeite zu Hause. Ich bin eine Hausfrau von Beruf. Mein Mann arbeite auf dem Flugplatz Spangdahlem. Er ist Mechaniker von Beruf. Meine Tochter ist Studierin zu Hause. Sie ist fünf Jahre alt. Sie ist im Kindergarten.

Ich lerne Deutsch im Klassenzimmer und kunst zu Hause. Israel lernt Wirtshaftswissenschaften an die Universität. Wir sind Studentin.

Meine Mutter arbeitet im Büro. Mein Vater arbeitet Außenseite, washt Fenster. Mein Schwager auch washt Fenster. Mein Schwester arbeitet im Krankenhaus. Mein älterer Bruder arbeitet im Fabrik und mein jünger Bruder arbeitet im Rock and Roll Band.

Deutsch ist Spaß.

This is my first blog in German. I am introducing my family and myself. I am Becky Walker. My husband is Israel and my daughter is named Jael. We live in Germany. I am from Iowa, USA. Israel is also from Iowa, USA. Jael is from Missouri. My older brother is also from Missouri. My younger brother, mother, and older sister are from Iowa. My father is from Kansas.

I work at home. I am a housewife. My husband works at the Spangdahlem Air Base. He is a mechanic. My daughter is a student at home. She is five years old. She is in kindergarten.

I am learning German in a classroom and art at home. Israel is learning economics at the University. We are students.

My mother works in an office. My father works outside, washing windows. My brother-in-law also washes windows. My sister works in a hospital. My older brother works in a factory and my younger brother works in a Rock-and-Roll band.

German is fun.


HHG Shipment November 4, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,military — Addicted to Yarn @ 5:43 am
Tags: , , , , ,

For you non-military members out there, you might not know what HHG means. Well, let me assure you, it means a lot to us. It stands for “HouseHold Goods” and the shipment part means they are on their way here. As in, in two days they will be unloading all of our crap out of a truck and into our home. YAY!!

We are very excited. And a little nervous. Our house has been very hard to keep clean because we don’t have any furniture. So now more stuff is coming but not much of it is furniture. (Before we moved, we got rid of 75% of our stuff – including most the furniture because it was junk we didn’t like and didn’t want to have to get rid of over here.) So while we have plans of making a large purchase from Ikea, we haven’t actually done that yet and so we will have more stuff and still, no where to put it. We may have to keep some boxes just to contain the madness for a while.

But our stuff is coming which is great since I have one mixing bowl and it’s too shallow. I have almost no tupperware type things. We have silverware for four. Do you have any idea how many things you use silverware for besides eating? And our silverware was one of the few things we actually liked. Oh, and our vacuum. I love our vacuum! I am soooooo ready to have it. It’s wonderful and fun and has cool features and we have cobwebs on our ceiling that we’ve not brushed down because we have no vacuum and I am READY for them to come down.

So many reasons to be excited.

I’ll let you know later how it goes. And hopefully I’ll report that they didn’t destroy anything. Oh, and our computer. As much as this little laptop has been a lifesaver, I am ready to have Ubuntu back. And I’m hoping Rosetta Stone will work better with Ubuntu than with Limpus. It won’t recognize my keyboard or the microphone so no writing and no speaking for me. 😦 Oh, and music! I’ve missed the five solid day worth of music our computer has on it. Thanks, Alex!

I think German door to door evangelists from some religion just knocked on my door. They were dressed in suits and started to tell me about this flier they were handing out. I said, “Ich verstehe ein bischen Deutsch,” and one said he spoke English. He said they were handing out information to German and English people but they only had German fliers. Someone would be by later to give us an English one. Then he asked if the upstairs neighbors where German. I said yes and instantly felt like a traitor. Maybe it’s not the “ARGH! WEIRDO’S AT THE DOOR! FREAK OUT!” that it is in the States. Maybe they will be glad these men in suits stopped by. Tweed suits by the way and not black. They didn’t give me the Jehovah Witness vibe. As much because they were older. The one who spoke English was my father’s age and the other was at least ten or fifteen years older.

Anyway. I’m off to Spangdahlem to see if I can find a fan for Israel. Have you ever tried to sleep in the same house as an awake Jael? My in-laws know what I’m talking about. It’s insanity. But at least we have doors we can close.


Character Flaws and What to Do About Them March 4, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,parenting,Weight — Addicted to Yarn @ 12:49 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I would like to write but I’m having a hard time nailing down a certain thing to write about. I’ve been researching home birth and have stumbled across a nest of rabid anti-homebirthers. You think homebirthers are crazy? Check out the opposition. They are crazy, too. I mean, they’re really out to get DEM (Direct Entry Midwives). Calling names, slandering, bickering, skewing of statistics, commenting on every article regarding homebirth on a blogsite. Yeah, they’re nuts, too. That’d make a fun blog but it would take a lot of researching and I just don’t have the time.

I talked on the phone with a friend for about an hour about discipline and spanking and general parenting. I would like to write about theory of parenting; each family must find the methods that work for them; consistency is always good; spanking vs. not spanking; how much do you let the expectations of others affect your parenting style, etc. But I only know what’s worked for us and I don’t really feel ready to back up anything. All I can do is spout about what I think. I don’t really know anything.

I’m also reading this interesting book called “Odd Girl Out.” It explores the bullying and cruelty of girls. It’s horrible scary. I’m realizing, first of all, that I really didn’t have, and still don’t have, any idea what’s going on in other females’ heads. It’s made some things I’ve gone through make more sense and has made the way I parent a little different. But I’ve not finished it and so don’t feel like blogging about it yet.

I’d like to write fiction again but I don’t have any stories fighting to get out. I’d kind of like to explore Mystique‘s mind again and maybe even continue the story I started with her. I think, if I do, I’m going to have to do Chapter 2 over again. I don’t like where I was taking the story and I don’t think it really worked.

Oh, I thought of something I might blog about. Israel helped me come to a revelation about myself. I want the end result, right now, and am unwilling to do the work to get to the result. Example: I started studying German and thought, seriously, that I would master it within about nine months. Certainly by the time we got onto a transAtlantic flight. So, when I hit a spot where learning German was no longer easy, I quit. I wasn’t going to be a German linguist in less than a year and so I gave up. That’s not cool.

Another example: I want to write. I want to be a good writer. I bought a book and started working through it. I never said this but in my heart, I thought that by the time I worked through the book, I would have a completed novel ready for publication. Naturally, that wasn’t going to happen. But I didn’t understand that so when I got to a chapter that was hard for me, I shut the book and haven’t opened it or my writing notebook since. Again, that’s not cool.

There have been a few things that I did master quickly. And grew bored with them just as quickly. Embroidery was easy. I made a beautiful Christmas quilt. I embroidered nine different Christmas pictures onto remnants from my wedding dress (Windsor satin) and then framed them with some Christmas material and sewed them into a quilt. I did it in about two months. The last three or so pictures I did were done so well and the stitches so small and perfect that it did not look as though it had been done by hand, by someone who had only learned the skill two months previously. And after I finished the quilt, I’ve never picked up an embroidery hoop since. I have no interest what so ever. I’ve mastered it and so I’m bored.

I can’t think of a single thing that I’ve really strived for that I’ve not given up on because I wasn’t an expert immediately. I wanted to train horses and when I got bucked off, I quit. I wanted to crochet and when I couldn’t make a mitten, I quit. I wanted to be a photographer and when I didn’t blow my teacher away with my innate talent, I never took another class.

So, what do I do? How do I change a character flaw that has plagued me for as long as I can remember?

I think the first thing for me to do, is to admit that I am not a prodigy. I must decide that something is worth the work of working. I need to put my nose to the grindstone and tough it out instead of taking the easy way out and quitting.

I’ve made a plan with weight loss. I’ve set a series of goals for myself. I’ve got about eighty pounds to lose. I’ve made a chart with fifteen pound increments marked and at each goal, I am rewarded with the noted reward. The first goal is 230 and I’ve only another five pounds to go before I meet it. When I meet it, I am going to get my lip pierced. When I hit 215, my eyebrow; 200, hair cut; 185, tattoo; 170, two piece swimsuit; 160, belly button piercing. I know that losing about a pound a week is the ideal amount for long term results so that’ where I’m aiming. This means I’ve a little over a month to save up for the first piercing and another fifteen before the next. Then I’ve got over six months before the tattoo, which will be expensive. So, by setting these goals, not only have I spelled it out for myself that I’m not going to be wearing a size 6 at Christmas, I’ve also set up goals that encourage me to keep working even when the going gets tough.

Unfortunately, learning German is not so quantifiable as weight loss. It’s not like I can say, “When I’ve learned 10% of the German language, I get a day at a spa. When I’ve learned 20% of German I will get a manicure. It just doesn’t work. It’s not measurable.

My quest right now is to figure out how to stay on task even when it’s not fun in order to have the fun of mastering a hard thing. I believe it is very important to enjoy life and live life to it’s fullest. I don’t believe it’s good to do thing you don’t want to do. It’s important that you reap happiness or joy from the things you spend time on. Time is one of those things you can never get back and it’s paramount that you love as much of your time on earth as possible. That said, it’s also important, at least for me, that I have more to show for my life than a bunch of immediate and temporary pleasures. I will really enjoy knowing another language. I will reap many, many rewards and benefits and warm fuzzies from being being able to converse with German’s in their native tongue. I will gain much pleasure from reading Wolfgang Simson’s Houses that Change the World in the original German. I think I will enjoy knowing German more than I would enjoy goofing off for four years but when I am presented with the choice of playing or studying, playing seems so much more valuable.

I don’t think I’m going to come to any conclusions today about all this. As Israel likes to say, “There’s nothing to do but to do it,” and I think he’s right. I must remind myself of the ultimate goal and acknowledge that it will be a process to get there and not an instantaneous transformation.