Christine Kouwenhoven

Christine Kouwenhoven is a local freelance writer. She writes the column "Now We Are 50" every second Tuesday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.

The Things We Still Carry


When my husband and I first moved in together twenty-five years ago, we had a cobbled-together collection of furniture but no real couch for the living room of our tiny little row house. It would be the first thing we would buy together.

March in the Garden

A daffodil in the writer’s garden.

Whether it roars in like a lion, or tiptoes like a lamb, in the Mid-Atlantic, March brings Spring with it. Slowly, the earth softens, and things get green. Clumps of bulbs – snowdrops, crocus, daffodils – push up through the mulch. Evergreens relax, their leaves uncurling. Buds broaden with potential. Early bloomers burst like fireworks, presaging the months of color to come.

Now We Are 50: One Family’s Scrapbook of Immigration and Hope

The writer and her parents.

Just over a week ago, my mother and I sat on the floor in my rec room in front of a closet full of books and games and toys. The closet isn’t opened much these days as the children who used to play with its contents are long past bingo and model cars. We were gathering things for the refugee families at the center where my parents are volunteering. They’re going a couple of times a week to teach English to a group of recent immigrants from all corners of the globe. My mother discovered, on a recent visit, great success with children’s picture books.

An Old Dog Still Teaching Some New Tricks

The writer’s dog, Puck.

My old dog is deaf. Completely deaf. It is a strange thing to take care of a dog that cannot hear and we are learning together how to navigate this. We cannot be lazy with him at all. If we let him out in the back yard and he goes crazy barking at the rabbit and fox, we’ve got to be prepared to trek out to get him, positioning ourselves so that he can see us. We have to make hand signals to tell him to be quiet. Remarkably, he seems to understand these.

Finding a way to land after a turbulent election



Today, for many of us, is a difficult day. Today, as I walk around shell-shocked, exhausted, I am looking for reasons to be hopeful. I don’t know what the future holds. But I have to try to believe in something.

Core Confessions: On Vacuums and Fitness


Now We Are 50 - Fitness

I love to walk, especially with friends or one of my dogs, with music, or an audible book. But also alone with just the sounds of the city or the birds as accompaniment. Perhaps this is because of an energetic dad who always insisted that his family get up and out and walking – around the reservoir, up the mountain, into town. Somewhere, anywhere!

Stayin’ Alive


Amoeba Music.

In this month’s installment of  “Now We Are 50,” a new monthly column, writer Christine Kouwenhoven explores the markers and the music that fill the stages of our lives.

Ever since we’ve lived in our home, we’ve had a small stereo in the kitchen. Every morning the radio is turned on and stays on all day, tuned to classical music. But evenings, at dinner, it is usually switched to someone’s phone to listen to a playlist, Spotify, or Pandora.

Unplugging and plugging back in, if there’s an outlet.



Welcome to the second installment of ‘Now We Are 50’ a new monthly column about the stage in life when children are grown, careers have happened — or not — and we wonder, ‘What’s next?’

Twice this summer my younger son’s smartphone has mysteriously stopped working, and he’s had to get replacements through snail mail. As a result, he’s been without a phone for a few days at a time, most recently six in a row.

Summertime and the living’s…too easy?


Welcome to ‘Now We Are 50’ a new monthly column about the stage in life when children are grown, careers have happened — or not — and we wonder, ‘What’s next?’

Back in rainy, cool May when summer still seemed like a dream, I walked to a nearby playground with my sister-in-law and three of her five kids, in Baltimore for a visit. It had been a long time since I had spent any time near a jungle gym, slide, or monkey bars.

My eight-year-old niece pulled me into the playhouse and pointed out the real windows and the loft. “I’d like one of these in my backyard,” she said. “I could get a cat and live on my own.” My four-year-old nephew kept drawing our attention with daring feats, making it hard to have a conversation.

Roland Park Reflections On The Riots



“A riot is the language of the unheard.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

From my bedroom in my big house at the top of a hill, I can hear many things: the rush of the highway like a river, concerts at the racetrack down the hill, the marching band and cheers at high school football games. Bird song in spring, insect orchestra in autumn.

And this spring, sirens. Sirens that seemed to go on and on through the day and the night.