I got an email from a friend today asking the question I often ask myself:
What next? Once the spouse and kid issue is decided (to have or have not) and
the career chosen, what kind of life lies ahead? I read recently that most
people spend more time writing out a grocery list than mapping out their goals.
I've misplaced my list – I suspect it's in a notebook that was happily
transformed into a fairy diary by my 8-year-old. What I keep reminding myself is
to have patience – to plan with passion without being attached to plans. If
people can launch second
careers in their 60s, surely that means I have many fruitful years
ahead. With all the mundane chores of everyday life (who invented laundry,
anyway?) it's easy to forget to dream. I want my kids to dream and to dream big
– which means I have to do the same.
Cathy Bowman, Feb. 15, 2008
Ah, another Valentine's Day has come and gone. Flowers, chocolates, office
flings – so many ways to make your heart skip a beat. I'm not a big
fan of those perfect, scent-free roses – they look suspiciously like they came
off an assembly line in some far away factory. What I love best about V-Day are
the simple things. I got a card and a beautiful spring bouquet from my husband
(thanks, honey) and a tissue paper creation, still dripping with glue, from my
2-year-old. My 8-year-old and I made valentines with scraps of origami paper –
then we picked out our favorites and gave them to each other. My friend Leslie,
who sends valentine goodies every year, managed to arrange for the Royal Mail
office near my house to forget to lock its doors at closing time – enabling me
to pick up my box from a very surprised clerk. I didn't eat too much chocolate
and I had time to work on a book project. My husband, who injured his knee a few
months ago, is off his crutches. What could be better than that?
Cathy Bowman, Feb. 9, 2008
Acupuncture is getting a boost – hooray! A
study says those magic needles might help a woman get pregnant under
certain conditions. Being pregnant is such a roller coaster ride anyway –
doesn't every woman deserve an hour here and there for rest and rejuvenation? I
have several friends in their 40s who are certain that acupuncture helped them
conceive. I know the needles helped me stay calm and healthy during my two
pregnancies. Over the years I've suggested acupuncture to friends suffering from
back injuries, insomnia, depression – you name it. I've learned, though, that
all of us come to things when we're ready, and for some people, acupuncture is
too far out there. I guess it's an act of faith. I've learned to trust my gut
instincts, and I've been to enough acupuncturists to know that the best ones
also follow their intuition. For me, alternative practices like acupuncture fill
in the blanks in the rational world of Western medicine. As with any doctor, it
pays to poke around to find a practitioner that “feels right.” The needles
pinch a bit, but they don't hurt.
Cathy Bowman, January 30, 2008
confidence is down, which means we're buying fewer cappuccinos. These
may be trying times, but do we really need more coffee bars selling $3 lattes? I
know – temporary treats for temporary comfort. The same goes for eating out.
Sure, it's fun. But don't you hate paying a bundle for a restaurant meal when
you can make a better one at home? I do. Here in London, it costs a lot to eat
out. In an effort to please my daughters, I've had enough lukewarm pizza to last
a lifetime. In my next life I will never eat at a restaurant with the word
“express” in its name. Lately, we've been making our own pizza, and it's not
that hard. Tastes better, too. I've also discovered a fabulous food
blog that provides a great way to enjoy French cooking without having to
hop on a plane. The chocolate and zucchini cake is a slice of heaven. It may not
fix the economy, but it certainly keeps my spirits up.
Cathy Bowman, January 23, 2008
The foreclosure rate is soaring, and US lawmakers
are trying to find ways to help people keep their homes. But what makes a house a home? What does that mean? It means choosing a place you love and being willing to ride out the economic
storm. I've lived in a lot of places – some big, some small. I remember
pinching myself with happiness when we got the house of our dreams in California.
Then another dream came along in England. Someone now rents that sunny
California house with its spacious, open floor plan. Here in England we rent a
flat comprised of tiny, teacup-sized rooms. It's a different dream – not
better or worse, just different. I was reading some Beatrix Potter stories the
other day and noticed how much the illustrations reflect the cozy English
cottages I've seen. Would Peter Rabbit be as appealing if he lived in a gigantic
split-level burrow in the vast California wilderness? Could Steinbeck have
written his stories if he'd come from Oxford? I don't think so. We are shaped by
the places we live. Every home has something to teach us. The challenge is to
Cathy Bowman, January 16, 2008
FDA says meat and milk from cloned
cows is as safe as what we eat from animals born naturally. As a mother,
I beg to differ. I don't think there's nearly enough information about this.
What's wrong with the cows we have? The FDA said it was alright to give DES to
pregnant women in the 1950s – and look how well that turned out. As with
genetically modified foods, the choice should be up to the consumer. The
problem, of course, is that it's impossible to trace where every bite comes
from. Here in England, most food labels say what country the product comes from.
Lucky for me, English cows make fabulous cheese and milk. Real cows that breathe
and moo. What a concept! Food has energy – a life force – just like
everything else. Think of how you feel after eating a meal cooked by a friend
(if you tasted my mother's cooking, you'd know what love is). Think of how
different home grown lettuce tastes from store-bought greens. Why change what
Mother Nature does so well?
John McGowan, January 12, 2008
My daughter has a poster on her bedroom wall that
features a smiling Marion Jones with her signature scrawled across it.
We met Marion at a University of North Carolina women’s basketball game
about 10 years ago, a year or two after she played point guard on a team that
won the national championship, but before the Olympics that made her nationally
Here was a woman who seemingly had the world on a string:
intelligent, beautiful, and with an energy and enthusiasm that just radiated. My
daughter, just 8 at the time, was dazzled.I
don’t have anything original to say about steroids.
I can only observe how they have contributed to making sports tawdry.
Stricter policing doesn’t seem the answer, because we know how
the cheaters always stay one step ahead of the testers.
Maybe the only deterrent is the
sad picture of what Marion Jones has become, someone my daughter no