Fancy That

CNN: “Survey: Americans Switching Faiths or Dropping Out”

My favorite chunk of the article:

“The Roman Catholic Church has lost more members than any faith tradition because of affiliation swapping, the survey found. While nearly one in three Americans were raised Catholic, fewer than one in four say they’re Catholic today. That means roughly 10 percent of all Americans are ex-Catholics.

The share of the population that identifies as Catholic, however, has remained fairly stable in recent decades thanks to an influx of immigrant Catholics, mostly from Latin America. Nearly half of all Catholics under 30 are Hispanic, the survey found.

On the Protestant side, changes in affiliation are swelling the ranks of nondenominational churches, while Baptist and Methodist traditions are showing net losses.”

Hey! That ten percent prefers to be called “recovering Catholic.” Or so my friends tell me. :-D

How completely unsurprising that “dropping confidence in organized religion” was cited as a key factor. As for me, the spiritual jury is still indefinitely out. When it comes to kids, mine can go with their friends once in a while when they are older if they want, but I think no extensive church exposure prior to high school is a good idea for us. Based solely on my own experience (not yours or anyone else’s), I feel it is too limiting to go through one’s formative years in a church group. Ahh…now that I’ve gotten that out, let the flame wars begin!

Portland Memory Scrapbook

(Credit for the idea and format goes to Mighty Girl)

The local rock station, WCYY, is moving into a new station and in cleaning their stuff, they are resurrecting the music from their “vault” that hasn’t had much airplay since the station first debuted. So the majority of their tracks for the last two weeks have been circa 1994-1999. Days of the New, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarten, good Pearl Jam–it’s been awesome.

People in Portland have a specific walk. Hands in pockets, coat zipped to the top, leaning into the wind or leaning back depending on which way it’s blowing and if they are walking uphill or downhill. Couples try to incorporate some minor snuggling into the walk but are not often successful.

There is no way to sneak up behind someone on a deserted side street. The crunch of sand, salt, and cracking ice is just too noisy.

The Waterfront smells fishy, but like cooked or fried seafood and not like rotting nastiness. There’s a difference and it’s a subtle one, but it’s there.

The tobacco/head shop up the street sells salvia divinorum to anyone over 18. Maine is pretty lax on that one. They also have a pretty incredible selection of bongs for being less than a mile from an elementary school, as this is a pretty suburbanized part of Portland.

There are very few post office branches in Portland, comparable to the size and population of the city. I can think of two off the top of my head and they are less than five minutes away from one another.

Interstate 295 is REALLY poorly lit.

Portland Public Works will pay for your tire repair if you have a blowout going over a pothole. This is really useful information because the roads are horrific. They are also running low on their salt supply for the year and each snowstorm makes for increasingly slippery driving.

Snow Night

Terrible roads ruined my plans for night riding at Shawnee Peak. Actually, in my case it would have been “night falling-on-face”-ing since I’ve never snowboarded, but dare to dream. However, I must say that the combination of this, this, and these make for a LOVELY night in. Yes, those are traveling (“roaming”) gnomes. No, you cannot have them, they are mine and I love them. You may pet them if you like. Or re-enact Tim Curry’s summary of the murders at Hill Mansion. Either or.

Apartment and Eco-Living

Dispatches from Tom: pictures of our new apartment in Mililani are up! So far, it seems as though Tom can ride his bike to town, which he did for the caucus. It also seems like there’s a decent amount of sunlight coming in that big living room window in the afternoon, so I can hang plants from the ceiling and we can grow some of our own basil, which, woo! Fresh basil that doesn’t cost the earth and sky is hard to find, and it’s such an easy plant to tend as long as it gets sunlight.

I’m hoping that since Natalie Norton was kind enough to link to my other blog, I might maybe possibly have some readers based out of Oahu who can give me some tips: are there “community gardens” in Hawaii? Our apartment complex in DC had a community garden but a) the neighborhood was full of little pint-sized vandals and b) the air around a city has to be pure poison, so I felt a little squicky about growing edible things there. Also, where is a good place to get organic groceries? Trader Joe’s, my all time favorite grocery chain, hasn’t made it out there and Whole Foods is just so horrifyingly expensive.

As you may have guessed, my ecological views are born from a laziness and cheapness that are bone-deep. Cost-wise, it makes sense to use a straight razor instead of buying cartridges; that I’m not throwing away those blade cartridges is just icing on the cake. It is cheaper to use a paste made of baking soda and a squirt of castile soap to clean the bath tub, and no chemical headaches aside, than it is to buy harsh sprays and scrubs. It also smells nicer. Going green isn’t always cheaper (see: buying an organic mattress instead of the horribly toxic regular alternatives) but it often is, and I am cheap. At some point I’ll do a post on the cost breakdown of the things I have replaced around the house with a green alternative.

But in the meantime, if a plant in the window doesn’t work, I’d love to find that community garden…

Photos!!

Starting here, all new shots of Owen. Baby photos!

And starting here, all new shots–courtesy of Tom–of our new home. Hawaii photos!

A few people have asked me how I can split myself the way I have, half here living in Portland and taking care of a baby while on the other hand my husband sets up my new life in Hawaii. Do I mind living like that, do I like taking care of a baby, and can’t I wait to get to Hawaii? Those are always the three questions asked.

I don’t know, I think that given this

and then the imminent prospect of this

makes the answers no, yes and yes. I have love and beauty all over the world. How lucky am I?

Self Evident

Tim Sandlin writes many funny things in funny books. His latest, Rowdy In Paris, is out on Amazon right now and you should totally pick up a copy. He published the last page on his MySpace blog, a list of the main character’s Self Evident Truths, “statements so pure they cannot be questioned by sane men or women.”

1. The world over, cowboys are the envy of honest men and heart’s desire of adventuresome women.
2. You can’t tell a virgin by her face.
3. Foreplay changes the nature of interesting.
4. You can’t hit every asshole you run into.
5. If you don’t stretch regular, the falls will break you.
6. You can never knock on wood too often in a tunnel.
7. Sleeping-next-to is at least as intimate as banging.
8. The only thing worse than finding out you were wrong when you pre-judged a person’s character is to find out you were right.
9. If you sleep with enough people, sooner or later, you’ll fall for one of them.”
10 You only get a certain number of knockouts in life, before you go away and don’t make it all the way back.
11. Love is more important than saving your culture.
12. Never make assumptions about foreign women.

So, you’ve read it? Go buy it. Really.