I’m a “retired” high school youth group leader, but one of my youth from last year was playing with a small Jazz combo with other high school students at Jimmy Macs. I went to see him with Dana, who runs the religious education program for youth at my church.

It had been so long since I’ve been to a club I had a strange moment with the bouncer. I stepped inside and he greeted me and we engaged in small talk. He was very friendly and smiley but he seemed to want something. Eventually it came to me. Right! Cover charge! I paid it and walked in.

Dana arrived and we both enjoyed the set. I was a below average high school musician, who enjoyed the ensemble factor more than actual practice and craft. So I’m always impressed by incredibly musical talent, which Tristan has. The energy of the group was high and they all enjoyed taking solos and were excited to play. They sounded tight and brassy and vibrant and I had a lovely evening.

Flower sale. My last one.

I’m ending my tenure as a Youth Advisor at my church after seven years and this Easter was my last flower sale. I will miss some things about YRUU, but I can’t count the flower sale among them. It is usually wet and cold and in the past few years the youth don’t show up to help. All of those things were true today and I froze, while silently cursing all of the above. We didn’t even make that much money. Another thing done!

Flower Communion

Flower Communion was today at church. I love this ritual. It is simple, but moving. Everyone brings a flower and places it in a basket, the flowers are blessed and everyone takes a different flower upon leaving. It was started in the 1920s in Czechoslovakia by Norbert Capek and brought to the United States in the 1940s by his wife. Unitarian Universalists adapt many religious traditions as part of their faith; this is one of the few that was created within the church.

White Elephant Theme: Summer.

Each year for the youth group holiday party we have a white elephant gift exchange. This year we decided to go with a theme: summer. Here Sam models some of the gifts. From the top: A lovely red hat, which now is named Fernando. A fabulous sword. A quite nice swimsuit that Deborah was happy to grab for someone, but first Sam had to model it. And some lovely flip flops, sadly obscured by the couch.

Menucha. Why I love it so.

Every April, the Religious Educators at my church gather for a retreat at Menucha. Menucha is a retreat and conference center in Corbett, Oregon, right on the Columbia River Gorge. At one time Julius Meier (of Meier and Frank Department Stores) owned the land, but now the First Presbyterian Church of Portland owns the 100 acre property.

I love Menucha. It is beautiful and quiet and the food is fabulous. As in previous years, I was happy just being there.

A pictoral tour:

The main hall where all the food is served. At one time this was the Meier house.

There are all sorts of ways you can wander around Menucha. This path is opposite the main house.
View, including a tiny bit of the Columbia River Gorge.
There are many huge trees that are good for climbing.
This is Ballard Hall, where we stay.
Huge trees!
With low enough branches for climbing.
More meandering pathways.
The labyrinth. It is almost done. It has taken many years to get this far.
At a place where you can look out over the Columbia River Gorge, there is this stone fireplace and a swimming pool.
We are always there when the swimming pool is empty.
Looking over the Gorge. From here you can see Crown Point, though not in this picture.
Snow on the mountains.
This time there were poems hanging from the trees.
This tree looks to be a good place to read.
We meet in this big room.
The view while eating meals. The bread and the strawberry jam there are divine.
Meal time.
Sleeping quarters.


It started during a teacher team meeting in January. We, the adult leaders of First Unitarian Church’s YRUU, were having all sorts of ideas. “We should have brunch.” someone said.

“No, we should have ‘brUUnch‘” someone else countered. (UU for Unitarian Universalist)

“What would we eat?”

“Well, fruuit. And muustard.”

And we were off. Umlauts were suggested, food was planned and on April 6, the advisors descended on our kitchen to cook our bruunch.

Jimmy made fabulous pancakes and waffles. His secret? A dash of cinnamon.
Deborah (in lovely apron) made fruuit salad and Marcia (in red hoodie) made a lovely spinach egg dish.
I was in charge of bacons: regular, turkey and soy.
Here is why the youth constantly refer to me as “Marcia” and vice versa. This is actually Marcia, not me, removing something from the oven.
Deborah cleans. Ron, the other member of our team, served the important role of heeding the call, “Ron, can you help me with this?” He also took these pictures.
We wave and cook!
The finished spread. Jimmy, me, Marcia, Deborah and Ron pose in front of the food.
And the youth descend.

It was later remarked that we could think of our bruunch as “the first annual bruunch.”