Author Archives: mrsthatone

Working Student? What’s That?

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how my wife and I are Paying Our Dues while in school. The Daily Bruin, the UCLA student newspaper, ran a story yesterday about a proposal that Pres. Obama has made about cutting the Pell Grant for summer sessions in 2013. While I’m not necessarily worried about that for myself (I will hopefully be a graduate student by then), I am worried about people’s perceptions of students. I am realizing more and more that my wife and I are in the minority that have to support themselves while in school.

About a week ago, my wife went to her prof.’s office hours. When she casually mentioned that she works 24 hours per week, the professor stared at her in disbelief, “How do you get anything done?!” Two days ago, I was talking to my thesis advisor, Prof. G, about when I can see him during the week so we can set up regular meetings. “I work eight hour days Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I also work sometimes on Thursday afternoons. Are you available Tuesdays before or after class?” He raised his eyebrows at me and widened his eyes a bit. My wife has also been a bit ill the past quarter, and we both agree that it is stress related. When she told her doctor about the amount of work she is doing and her course load, her doctor said, “No wonder you keep getting sick!”

My point is that in a University setting, not very many people will make accommodations for us working students who must support ourselves from work and from grants and scholarships. While at a community college, a working student is a normal and natural thing, but not a full-time student, part-time worker usually. At this level, we are almost unheard of (and for good reason, I suppose). We depend on those Pell Grants, especially during the summer, so that we can take courses we might not otherwise have time to take during the school year. The Daily Bruin’s article quotes a first-year business/econ major who says, “People could take a larger course load during the year instead.” But honestly, my wife and I can’t. It seems physically impossible at this point, and summer appears to be our only option.

In short, I’m glad that the cut won’t happen until 2013, but I’m very sad for those students, like my wife and me, who support themselves and will not have a chance to take summer classes. We need to educate others on this issue because I know that my wife and I aren’t the only self-supporting college students out there. We also need to vote for people who will give us education reform without education cuts… Maybe I’ll run for president someday?

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Paying Our Dues

I’ve feel like I’ve been needing to take a deep breath for a while. At the end of last quarter, I thought that school couldn’t get any more stressful than it was last quarter, and I was truly looking forward to this quarter because of the classes I decided to take (History of Rome from Caesar to Constantine; Seminar on the Russian Revolution with my thesis advisor, Prof. G; Intro to Sociological Theory with my wife). Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Let me clarify, it’s not that I’m not enjoying my classes. I am loving them. I know my wife is loving her classes, too (for the most part…). I just had no idea that this much stress was possible! Both my wife and I are working 24 hours per week (her: MWF; me: MWThF) and are taking more than full time units (her: 15!; me: 13). This leaves very little time for things like sleep, cleaning, or cooking, which, ultimately puts more stress back on us (no time to cook leads to paying for meals leads to more time devoted to working to earn money leads to less time used on homework leads to less time being able to sleep leads to sleeping when we should be doing things like cooking or cleaning… repeat).

Long story short, I’m looking forward to a bit of R&R over spring break. We are visiting my wife’s family in the South, and I have never been anywhere that I consider “southern” (I went to Orlando to Disney World a couple times… not really the “south”). I’m very excited to start in Atlanta and work our way inland to Alabama. I think it’ll be a good trip, but I’m not sure how much relaxing I’ll be able to do since I’m quite nervous about meeting my wife’s family.

I have higher (farther) places I’d like to go as well. Today, as always, I got a deal in my inbox for TravelZoo. I decided to poke around the site a bit because I had a few minutes to kill. I was bombarded by deals across the Atlantic for $499 4 nights in Dublin (air and hotel included) and Paris for $1099 for a week (air and hotel included), and I couldn’t help but daydream about the future when we’ll be able to travel more…. But for now, we will continue to pay our dues as starving, working, married students trying to support ourselves and each other without going crazy. Wish us luck for our last month of class this quarter (we need it!).


More Talking = More Doing

I’ve never been one to strike up a conversation with a stranger– at least not very easily. It’s not that I’m shy, I just don’t really like talking all that much. I feel awkward and uncomfortable, and this goes double for me and professors.

Last quarter, I took a history seminar that was required for my major. As a transfer, I was told that if you want to do research, it’s especially important to find a professor who can advise you on your thesis as soon as possible or yesterday, whichever comes first. Since I want to be a professor myself, I thought it couldn’t be that hard. If/When I’m a professor I hope that students would also want to be a professor. I think that I’m one of those people who would want to help and guide them and possibly even mold the type of teacher they’ll become (how fun!). On the other hand, I could be one of those people who is really hard on their students, especially the ones who have aspirations of being a professor. Needless to say, my seminar professor last quarter was one of the latter.

It wasn’t that he was mean, but he wasn’t very approachable. Plus he is a medieval historian, which isn’t my cup of tea (BORING!). Long story short, I got a B- in that class. Yes, I am bitter about it. Not to be discouraged, I sought out a professor teaching another seminar in a subject that I am hoping to do research on (since I needed the adviser starting in the Spring, and I didn’t utilize my first quarter very well). Into my life walks Prof. G and the Russian Revolution.

I’ve been trying to impress Prof. G since starting the quarter, talking as much as I can about the readings (even keeping up with them!). But, like I said before, I’m not one to go out of my way to go to office hours, at least not unless I absolutely HAVE to. In this case, I did.

By next Tuesday, we’re supposed to have our topics picked out for the research project that will be due at the end of the quarter for Prof. G’s class. I went to talk to him yesterday, and slyly brought up the fact that I’m looking for someone to advise me on my honors thesis and wondered if he had any suggested reading (hint… hint…). To my surprise, he asked me to tell him more, and even offered to by my adviser! No questions asked!

My wife always tells me to go to office hours and ask questions, even if I already know the answer. I might just start taking her advice from now on… As I found out yesterday more talking = more doing.

-Mrs. That One


The End of the Birthday Saga

Yes, that’s right, I’m ending the birthday post saga, and I must say, it has been one of the best birthdays so far! We got to sleep in until 10 (which is actually late for us), and then my wife convinced me (which wasn’t very hard) to go to one of our favorite places in Santa Monica for breakfast, Jinky’s Cafe. If you ever get the chance, and are a fan of chili/chili omelets, you must try this place!

We then proceeded to drive to Hollywood, in the rain (which was a great birthday gift!), to get my wife’s watch strap replaced. We then had to come home for the afternoon and study (lame!), but I was almost too excited to concentrate. I was ready for Stefan’s at LA Farm, the restaurant of one of the participants on Top Chef.

We arrived  few minutes early for our reservation, and the hostess proceeded to show us to our table, which was next to a little fire pit. I had looked at the menu online many times/read all the Yelp! reviews so I pretty much already knew what I wanted. For our “small plates” (read: tapas), which were essentially a couple bites, we ordered the king crab leg (can’t go wrong with that), the PBR shrimp tempura (also easy to do, but this was special somehow; great dipping sauce!), thai crab and lobster bisque (gotta love lemongrass), and the cedar plank salmon (the waiter messed this up, we received it after our entrees, and it tasted funny so we sent it back).

So far, I was very impressed. The complimentary bread basket was also very good, but I wanted to save room for the main courses. I got the duck breast with the pretzel gallet and braised red cabbage, and my wife ordered the veal chop with fingerling potatoes. The duck breast was one of the best I’ve ever had, if not the best duck I’ve had that isn’t Peking, and I even liked the cabbage, even though I am not a fan. My wife’s veal was so tender and the fat on it was nice and crusted… Just thinking about it is making my mouth water!

For dessert, we ordered coffee and split the Nutella panna cotta and the raspberry parfait. I was ready to be rolled out of there, but not before paying two days wages for the meal… Yes, it was fantastic, and honestly, I wish that I could go back once a week, but this was definitely not in the budget for us poor college students. We’ll be eating ramen for a week, but it was worth it! All and all, I’d say that was a birthday to remember, and I’m just happy I had my wife to share it with. Mark my words, I’ll be back!

-Mrs. That One


Guess What Mom & Dad…

So, I’m very embarrassed and more than ever frustrated with myself, but I have a confession to make. Despite the fact that my parents have been nothing but supportive of my sexuality; Despite the fact that my family has embraced my wife better than I could have imagined, I have yet to tell my parents about our domestic partnership.

It’s not like I don’t want to, but it’s been so long since it happened that I feel like they’ll be offended, and worse, disappointed. “Why didn’t you tell us?” Or my sister, “Why didn’t you talk to me about it? You could have at least told me.” As my wife can tell you, I hate conflict, and for financial aid purposes, it has recently become necessary for me to tell my parents so that they can sign a form saying that they won’t claim me for 2010 taxes. I need to do it soon also as the FAFSA is due in just over a month, and the form is due way before this.

Today, I’ve been thinking up ways to do it. Should I tell my mom only and have her break the news to my dad? Should I tell them both at once to be fair? How do I start? “Mom, Dad, I got married” or “Mom, Dad, I eloped” is more proper. “Mom, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is I was afraid to tell you I got married, but the good news is I get a lot more aid starting soon!” Any suggestions?

I feel like an awful daughter and an even more awful wife. It’s not at all that I’m ashamed to have gotten married. I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. Even the fact that it wasn’t necessarily the most romantic “wedding” (standing in a Mailboxes, etc., waiting to see the notary before saying our “I Do’s,” while people flooded the office during the 4:55 PM rush to get things mailed out after work) doesn’t bother me. To be honest, I’ve never wanted a big wedding, and just having my wife by my side was perfect enough for me.

Well anyone out there, wish me luck! I’ll need it…


What is Love?

So it’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but when I was using StumbleUpon today, I came across this article written by Rowland Croucher (and others). It’s titled, “What Does Love Mean to a Four-Year-Old?” Enjoy!

“A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?”

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” Emily – age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” Cindy – age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” Clare – age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine-age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 6

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” (what an image) Karen – age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” Jessica – age 8

And the final one — Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry””

Sometimes, little kids have the most unbelievable perceptions of reality. We should all be so lucky.

-Mrs. That One


Kids and Video Games

So lately, I must admit, my wife and I have been consumed in Call of Duty. What doesn’t surprise me is the lack of any school work I’ve gotten done this week, but what does surprise me is the fact that on occasion, we’ll hear little kids playing against us! This isn’t really what disturbs me. I played video games when I was little (granted it was N64, not killing Nazis and getting blown to pieces by tanks…). What really gets me is the teenagers that play against these kids.

Today, I heard an older kid (they have headsets; we do not) say, “Hey, Jason45, does your Dad touch you? It’s ok, you can tell us if he does. It doesn’t make you a f*ggot.” Jason45 sounded about eight years old. He stopped talking after this. I can’t believe that people would use this language with such a little kid.

My wife and I have already decided that our kids will not be getting video games. Especially not any that involve blood, guts or online gameplay.

-Mrs. That One


Birthday Dinner Decisions

Bon appetit!

As my wife has been discussing lately, my 21st birthday is just around the corner. While I’ve been feeling nostalgic about my youth, I’m happy to be growing up. This is especially true since now I have my love to share it with.

I told my wife recently about my tenth birthday celebration. My parents have always let me pick whatever I wanted for my birthday, and I wanted to go to an Italian place. Well, it didn’t quite work out as the place had closed. My sweetie has been wanting to make it up to me ever since I told her this.

I’ve been looking online for almost a month now, and I still am undecided. Yes, we are still over a week away, but I’ve been wanting somewhere perfect since we actually have a little extra spending money and for the first time, I have been given the opportunity to see so many more options through Yelp!

We’ve made reservations at the Getty Museum restaurant, but today I bought several (5) gift certificates off of Restaurants.com. Yes, I know this may be a bit excessive, but I love a good meal and could hardly pass up such a bargain. TravelZoo.com is offering a promo code (SHOVEL) for 70% off the already discounted prices on the other website. So I just had to get as many as I thought looked good. We could now have Mexican or Arepas; Brazillian or Crepes! And don’t even get me started about Italian food…

While I’ve been obsessing about making the most of my newfound independence on my birthday, I can’t help but to be grateful for the girl who has given me the chance to make the most of my day.

Mrs. That One


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