Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Great News!

I just found out that I've been accepted to law school at St. Mary's in San Antonio, TX!! This is after receiving two rejection letters (a rude one from UC Davis and a polite one from Hastings). I still have several schools left that I haven't heard from, but it's such a relief that, regardless of what happens with the other schools, I'm going somewhere. When I found out, I cried. I'm not usually a crier, but I was just so overcome with relief and gratitude. I'm going to get it right this time around. I'm a little nervous about the possibility of picking up and leaving the Bay Area for Texas. I'll be flying out next week to check out the area; the only time I've been to Texas was a layover at the Dallas airport coming home from my mission.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Sisterhood of the Slacks

This won't be a post about the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, although I did enjoy it. Over at Adventures in Mormonism, bfwebster posted about The Brotherhood of the Beard, talking about what it's like at church being a man with a beard. This got me thinking about what it's like at church being a woman in slacks.

I've never really cared for wearing skirts. I've always found them to be more trouble than they're worth, and they tend to get in the way. However, every Sunday I dutifully put on a skirt for church. I discovered dress slacks when I entered the workforce at age 18. I noticed that I was one of the only women wearing a skirt, and I decided that since everyone else was wearing pants, I could, too. I still dutifully put my skirt on for church, though.

Shortly after I discovered slacks, my stake had a women's conference on a Saturday afternoon. It was being held in the chapel, so I decided that jeans weren't proper. I threw on slacks and a sweater and off I went. There were a few hundred people there, and only about 10 of us were wearing pants. None of us were struck by lightning.

My mission (southern US) was a real eye-opener as to how much of a cultural rebel this makes me. In most of my areas, I was on bicycle. It's extremely difficult to ride a bike in a skirt. I mentioned to a few other people that it would be safer, more practical, and more modest if sisters on bikes could wear slacks. They all acted as if that suggestion was one step away from apostasy or something. There was a woman in my last area who regularly wore slacks to church. The RS president told me that she wanted to call her to a position in RS, but was hesitant because she thought that wearing slacks was setting a bad example. (Lest you think that this is merely a southern attitude, the RS pres in question had moved there recently from the SF Bay Area - my home.)

I have only gotten up the nerve to wear slacks to sacrament meeting once (while I was traveling), but I wear slacks to stake and general conference and to non-Sunday meetings more often than not. In my ward, there is one woman who wears slacks to church regularly, and there are several in the branch that shares the building with my ward. The woman in my ward is a bit defensive about it (she has some medical reason for it), which leads me to believe that she has experienced either overt or covert hassling for it.

The anti-slacks rhetoric has always confused me. A woman is much more dressed up in a smart pantsuit or slacks and sweater set than someone in a denim skirt with a babydoll tee. Yet the latter outfit is par for the course at church, especially among teenagers and young adults.

I live in a very culturally diverse area - there are people from all over the world here in Fremont. Someone was talking about pants at church, and her opinion was that the only time it was ok was for women from India to wear their pants/tunic outfit (the name escapes me at the moment) because it's dressy and part of their culture. I didn't say anything at the time because it was clear that this was a rant and not a discussion.

My culture (western US, CA specifically) also says it's dressy and appropriate for women to wear pants. Why can't that be respected?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Things My Cat Taught Me About God

I've had a soft spot for animals ever since I was a kid. When I was three, I convinced my mom, against her better judgment, to adopt a stray cat that was mewing at our door for food. We kept the cat until we moved to California. I wanted to get another cat, but my parents wouldn't let me. They said that when I got my own place, I could get any pet my landlord would allow, but as long as I lived at their house, no animals.

Well, I got my own place a few years ago. I had a roommate who loved dogs but hated cats. I love cats, but I'm not too crazy about dogs, so we agreed not to have pets. She moved a year later and I found a new roommate. My current roommate has a cat, so for a while, my desire for a pet was taken care of. Then, over the summer, a stray cat showed up on my doorstep mewing for food. Of course, I had to feed her.

A funny thing happened. My cat was so excited about this newfound source of food that she went and rounded up all the neighborhood strays. I suddenly found myself feeding five cats (just counting the ones I know about) instead of the one I signed up for. This is the first lesson my cat taught me. She had found a good thing in her life - a benevolent being that provided her with her daily sustenance. Instead of keeping this to herself, she shared it and brought her friends so they could experience the same blessing.

Some of the strays were friendly, but most of them were afraid of humans. There was one particular kitten who would watch me fill the bowl, gingerly eat from it if I was far enough away, but would run if I tried to approach. It hurt my feelings that I was feeding this kitten, but he would run if I tried to have a relationship with him. I'm sure we similarly wound God's heart when we run from Him in fear, even knowing the good He does for us.

Last week, I finally convinced my roommate that bringing another cat into the apartment would be a good plan. My cat finally got to move in! I took her to the vet to get a checkup and to get her shots. When I put her in the carrier, she tried to scratch me. As I drove to the vet's office, she meowed loudly, voicing her clear displeasure at the situation. When we got there, she whimpered as she got her shots. When I brought her home, she ignored me the rest of the day because she was mad at me. This is the third lesson. Sometimes we have to go through painful things in life. It looks to us as if God is mistreating us. However, we lack the big picture, and we don't fully understand the reasons behind our suffering.

I'm sure my cat will continue to teach me important lessons. Do any of you have lessons or parables learned from your pets?

=^. .^=