Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Full Nest

By the time parents near their mid-50s, empty nest syndrome is often on their minds. For us, as life would have it, we are getting to experience the opposite. I have yet to come across a name for it - full nest syndrome just doesn't have the same zing - but we somehow have ended up with more kids living in our home than with which we began.

Our daughter, her boyfriend and our grandson currently share our home with us. Baby accoutrements fill our small living room. Containers of formula, accompanied by gallons of water take up the kitchen table. Four people now share one bathroom, the washer and dryer... Even the cars. In addition (but not people-related) a large rabbit lives in the dining room, and an aging cat occupies any available space.

I often wonder if I should send out cards to friends: "We humbly apologize for not having invited you over for dinner in ages. We just can't fit any more bodies in our small house. Please forgive our social lapse."

When will this end? To be honest, a large part of me isn't in any hurry. I've often heard others morn over not getting to see their grandchildren as they grow, and how they feel like they miss out on fostering a relationship with these precious little beings. Parents of grown kids complain how they feel out-of-touch, and don't hear from their children nearly enough.

We, on the other hand, get to see, play with and frequently babysit our adorable grandson. We get to share in daily milestones, big and small. Walking through the living room, we can catch a smile. His sweet babbling voice entertains us when we're sitting in the kitchen.

I won't regale you with the downside list, though there are many issues to deal with, on a daily basis. For in all honesty, our little multi-generational household comes with many pleasures. I would indeed like to have an empty nest, but for now, our house is a heartful home.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fox Valley faith communities join for Day of Peace

by Rachel Baruch Yackley Daily Herald (post) 9/13/2011
A network of Fox Valley faith communities invites you to a communitywide celebration of the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. The first “Peace Day” was celebrated in September 1982 after being established by a United Nations resolution to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The International Day of Peace provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. The local celebration of the International Day of Peace will kick off with a gathering at 10 a.m. for the dedication of the recently installed Peace Pole at Fox Valley Jewish Neighbors, 121 S. Third St., in Geneva, across from the old Kane County courthouse. This Peace Pole is part of the international Peace Pole Project. It bears a phrase, “May peace prevail on earth,” in Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Algonquin-Native American language indigenous to the area and Swedish, along with “May peace be in our homes and communities” in English. Activities will continue a block east at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, 110 S. 2nd St., Geneva. At 10:30 a.m., attend an interactive program titled “Have you heard the one about: How to respond to hate language,” presented by nonviolent communications trainer Thom Thomas. Ask questions of religious leaders in a panel on Building Bridges from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. with representatives from the Islam, Unitarian, Jewish and Christian faiths. A panel discussion with young adults will follow at 1 p.m. Children of all ages will be treated to puppet shows about diversity, craft projects, along with the opportunity to meet and greet children from other religions and ethnicities from 1 to 2 p.m. Additionally, the UUSG sanctuary will be open throughout the Day of Peace event for meditation and reflection. Preceding Saturday’s event will be a free public screening of “Divided We Fall” at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at the UUSG. This award-winning documentary features stories of Sikhs, Muslims and Arabs in America, and interviews with scholars, lawyers and legislators about race, religion and security in post-9/11 America. This local celebration of the International Day of Peace is a secular event, open to everyone of all ages and faiths. For a complete schedule of this event, visit or, or call (630) 232-2350. Information on the International Day of Peace is available at

Folk Fest fun for everyone returns to Fox Valley

by Rachel Baruch Yackley Daily Herald 8/31/2011
Considering a staycation for Labor Day weekend? Then check out the 35th annual Fox Valley Folk Music and Storytelling Festival, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Sept. 4-5, at Island Park in Geneva. Bring a blanket or folding chairs, and pack a picnic basket or purchase food from vendors in the park. Sit on the grass or under the big tent near the beautiful Fox River, and spend either or both days soaking in the sounds of traditional and roots folk music on eight concert and workshop stages, with more than 36 top folk music and storytelling acts from the Midwest and around the country. Traditional and roots folk music “is basically the purest form of the old ballads, from 300 to 500 years ago,” said Juel Ulven, the organizer of this annual event. “They're songs that were preserved by people who couldn't read and write, so they were passed on from neighbor to neighbor, or in families.” Each stage offers something different, from the likes of the captivating Chicago Sacred Harp Singers, to the Dulcimer Society of Illinois, and more. Hands-on teaching will be offered (so bring your instruments), as well as dancing and topical workshops, which explore music and story themes. On Sunday evening, join in a barn dance at 6 p.m., and take the kids along to hear spooky ghost stories, starting at 7:30 p.m. For the first time in its history, the Folk Festival will kick off with a local live 98.7 WFMT radio show from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. Previous years' festival preview shows have taken place in the radio station's studio in Chicago, while this one will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, located at Second and James streets in Geneva. Eight festival artists, who will also perform onstage during the festival, will perform live at the radio show: Cathy Barton and Dave Para, Andrew Calhoun, Andy Cohen, Tracy Grammer, Anne Hills, David Massengill, and Sanctified Grumblers. This festival preshow is open to the public and tickets are still available in advance: $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, teens and college students, with ticket prices an additional $5 at the door. For advance tickets, call 630-897-3655. “With the city (of Geneva) behind us, they identified three places we could do this,” said Ulven. “It's a unique opportunity. Normally, live shows are only for (WFMT) Arts Circle members, who pay an initial $250 membership and an additional $250 each year.” Local support for this festival has grown by leaps and bounds, over the years. The city of Geneva “does so much for us,” Ulven said. “They're co-sponsoring the radio show to the tune of $500, and they gave us another $500 for advertising. They've really stepped up to the plate. The Geneva Park District (of which Island Park is a part) is always a good friend to us, every year.” Festival goers are charged a reasonable requested donation for each day. “All donations go to pay the performers and directly related artist costs. Performers from all over the world work the festival for a fraction of what they usually command, because of the incredible Chicago area and Midwest exposure. And the extensive CD and media sales nicely supplement the festival pay,” Ulven said. About 120 people, some who come from other states for the weekend, voluntarily work the festival. No one is paid, including Ulven, who works hard all year long to make this event happen. Although one of several annual folk music festivals in Illinois, this one, presented by the Fox Valley Folklore Society and the Geneva Park District, is considered to be the biggest in the state. Admission to the Folk Festival is a suggested donation of $15 per day for adults, and $10 per day for teens and seniors. Children ages 12 and younger get in for free. For more information and a complete schedule, visit or call (630) 897-3655. Island Park is located just south of Route 38 between Route 25 and the Fox River. Plenty of free parking is available behind the Kane County Government Center, 719 S. Batavia Ave., at the south end of Third Street. Another option is to come by train, as the park is only three blocks from Geneva's Metra station.