A Blog about a clever boy and a mom determined to out-smart him.

Monday, December 17, 2012


There are only so many times you can remind your husband you are sad.  Eventually he is ready to move on.  He is ready to stop being sad.  This is normal.  The baby was much more real to me.  Constant sickness and fatigue served as a daily reminder.  Those moments hugging the toilet seat, vomiting yellow bile in between blow drying your hair and rushing your son out the door to school - they are the moments that won't let you forget.

When those moments stopped I knew the baby was dead.  I started running again.  I wanted to prove that I was strong enough and I wanted to run away from some unknown darkness that sat on my shoulder. The nurse promised me I was wrong.  "Most pregnant women stop feeling sick in the middle trimester."  I doubted.  The only baby I had ever brought into this world took every inch from me.  While I was pregnant with my son I vomited.  I vomited every day, at work, behind the grocery store and at our favorite chicken place.  I gave birth and then I vomited again.

My back ached and fatigue saturated my brain. Dark thoughts clung to the edges of my conscience.  My feet pounded the treadmill and I made secret plans.  I convinced the new nurse I needed a sonogram.  I exaggerated each symptom like a Southern drawl and when I held the prescription for the sonogram in my hand I felt triumphant.

The sonogram center stood on the corner across the street from our favorite breakfast spot.  The walls were whitewashed and patches of grey concrete shown through the incomplete paint job.  Two young men with greasy hair sat behind the counter and I tried out bits of broken Nepalese with unmerited confidence.  The men laughed and passed me back to the exam room smiling at my familiarity.  I was not their usual customer and thus a unsual surprise.

Winter comes first to the buildings in Nepal.  While the sun warms the outside air the concrete buildings grow cold in the shortened days.  I lay down on the plastic bed in the dark cubbie hole room.  The doctor came in wearing a striped dress shirt with a stiff collar.  He started the exam rubbing the wand across my abdomen.  I saw the flat shadow on the screen.  Only five weeks prior this shadow jumped and ebbed with life.  Now, it was motionless - a dead thing trapped inside the deep places of my womb.

He rubbed the the wand back and forth clicking on the screen and transcribing measurements.  The silent minutes grew and I watched his shoulders tighten as he prolonged the examine not wanted to tell me the truth.  Finally he said, "I am sorry.  There is no fetal heartbeat.  There is no fetal movement."  He nodded with the characteristic Nepali sideways tilt and left.

The drive home was a sea of honking traffic and construction induced bottlenecks. Quiet tears rolled down my face.  I was alone in Nepal, trapped in the chaos and the baby was dead.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Yo K Ho?  This phrase is Nepali for  "What is this?"  As we drive around town I ask my driver this question over and over.  So many things about Nepal are mind boggling.  They are so new and strange and entirely without logic.  I have to ask "Yo K Ho."

Today 50 or so men danced down our busiest street wearing yellow t-shirts and bright red shorts. I had to ask, "Yo K Ho?"  My driver hesitated and with long broken pauses responded, "He dead."  I looked again and realized they were dancing a wrapped corpse across town to the cremation site.

This is Nepal.  Remind me to take more pictures.

Friday, June 15, 2012


The shop was smaller than a walk in closet.  Every crevice held knock off trekking gear leaving only a few feet to maneuver in the pitch dark.  My brother and I debated the merits of a lumpy sleeping bag while an eager shop owner held up a flash light.

My plan was loose and my husband was pacing worriedly.  I was taking his only child six hours away to the remote regions of Nepal armed only with a map and the promise that a guide would meet us at the tea house at our final destination.  As we left town my confidence dwindled.  The road quickly became a series of potholes tied together with slivers of pavement.

We bounced along in our over-sized SUV that we had lovingly named "The Beast" and the smog of Kathmandu began to clear.  I was reminded why this trip was worth it.  Kathmandu is every shade of brown.  Brown smog sits on the city.  Brown dirt coats brown trash lying on the brown street.  Outside of the city the landscape slowly becomes shades of deep green. Terraced hillsides grow into the massive snow topped Himalayas.

We honked a loud warning as we rounded every turn on the switchback road and narrowly missed a head on collision with a speeding bus. I stopped at our first military check point testing my novice Nepali language skills.  The guards smiled at my attempts and we passed through without incident.  As we drove through tiny mountain villages young men laughed at a girl driving - a sight rarely seen in Nepal.

At the mountain town of Sarabu Besi we unloaded our car.  A slight woman in a long dress greeted us at the tea house.  She had dark hair and distinctly Tibetan features.  We inspected our gear and looked up at the Mountain.  In the morning we would begin a three day uphill climb to reach the glaciers at nearly 15,000 feet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A List

I have not written a post in a long time.  I had writing fatigue.  The Connelly House is in a state of change and we are enjoying every minute of it.  Here is a quick list of what is happening here in Kathmandu.

1. Summer has settled on our valley.  The dust and heat permeate every inch of the valley and we are taking refuge every afternoon at the pool.

2. We have two new fluffy members of our family.  On in impulse I bought two white baby bunnies.  They were crammed into a tiny wire cage and sold on a busy street corner.  They looked desperately hot and I purchased the pair without thinking twice.  Now they alternate between hopping around our yard gorging themselves on my flowers and hiding in sheer panic from my dog.

3. We have just bid farewell to our first round of post Spring visitors.  My brother and sister-in-law stopped by and we spent 6 days backpacking the remote regions of Nepal.  We are sad they have left but are looking forward to a steady stream of visitors until Christmas.

4. Finally, I got a job.  I am a party planner, event organizer, potluck coordinator, report writer, volunteer coordinator and general promoter of happiness.  So far I love the job and it was a great excuse to buy some new clothes.

I promise to write more very soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Small Town Rodeo

 The rodeo is deeply appreciated Texas tradition and indoctrinating my son as a Texan remains one of my mother's highest priorities.  I am not a Texan.  I was raised in the high desert plains of New Mexico and feel the pulse of the Rockies in my blood.  But on a slow day in West Texas I am willing to concede that the rodeo, even a small college rodeo is good entertainment.

The wind swept wildly over the West Texas grasslands and the clumps of dark green juniper bushes spotting the yellow landscape did little to halt it.  The wrought iron stadium stood just outside the small town of Cisco and a collection of pickup trucks had begun to gather.  A few beleaguered horses backed slowly out of rusting horse trailers led by slim cowboys wearing narrow blue jeans.

The "cowgirls" had abandoned the traditional tight jeans and snap shirts that have long been associated with the profession and instead wore the trappings of the even older occupation of harlotry. They sported tiny denim shorts barely covering their buttocks and bits of fat escaped from the edges.  These shorts were paired with cowboy boots and the ensemble finished with a bikini top.

The cowboys were somewhat flabby young men in need of a shave, wearing cut off t shirts.  The college football team recruited from urban settings stood hesitantly in the distance and seemed mostly wary of the cattle.

The main even was shoot dogging.  Half grown bulls were placed in a metal shoot.  These bulls lacked any form of beauty and shared no resemblance to the grazing cattle in picturesque landscape paintings.  They were awkwardly arranged, covered in spotted hides and adorned with rough little horns.

The cowboys stood in the shoot anxiously fidgeting while the tiny professor announced their names and made other important proclamations to include, "STOP SAYING THE F WORD! MY DAUGHTER IS IN THE CROWD."

A bull was released and rushed from the shoot with a young man holding desperately to its horns.  The bull spun in reckless circles and the young man finally relinquished his hold after being repeatedly stepped on.  The dance continued for ten iterations of ill fated cowboys.  The bulls stumbled triumphantly from the arena while cowboys dusted their pants off and attempted to regain pride lost in the dust.

Trey Rey a male member the the Cisco College Cheer leading squad jumped into the shoot.  He was a short young man with broad shoulders and an unproven swagger.  His compatriots lined the shoot sitting high on the metal fence and cheered wildly.  The bull lilted back in forth eager to escape the noise and confinement of its metal prison.  Trey Rey practiced his grip on the bull's stubby horns and gave the signal.  The shoot door swung open and the bull raced into the dirty arena dragging Trey Rey who tightly clung to the bull's horns.  Trey Rey fought to regain is footing and the bull snorted in protest. Trey Rey dug his heels into the deep dirt pulling his weight backwards.  The unexpected shift in momentum caught the bull off guard and Trey Rey flipped it head first into the dirt.  The crowd went wild and the dazed bull stood up giving the victorious Trey Rey an extra kick before exiting the ring and Trey Rey was the hero of the college rodeo.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


We are stuck in the airport waiting. Stormy West Texas weather has us festooned in Washington D.C.  In the last few weeks we have spent an entire day waiting in airports.  We have created airport games.  We have had long discussions about airport fashion and set up camp with blankets, airline pillows and portable movies.  Mostly, we have waited.

The airport in D.C is sterile and gray.  The floors are cold granite speckled with bits of embedded shiny rocks.  Passengers walk slowly to their gates anticipating a delay or race wildly across the hallway hoping to catch a flight, trailed by out of control rolling luggage.  Each seem inherently annoyed with the other.  In D.C we eat.  We eat pretzels soaked in butter, and covered with sugar.  We eat platter sized cheeseburgers and frenchfries so greezy that they discolor the paper bag with glossy oil marks.  Finally, we walk.  We walk up and down the airport corridors shopping for things we don't need.

The Doha airport is dirty but not overtly.  Secret bits of dirt hide in un-dusted corners and wedge between the gaps of off white tile.  Passengers arrive from all over the world.  Arab women seem like moving shadows.  The are covered head to toe in black, and move noiselessly past.  Only their eyes speak through the a rectangular window cut in the dark cloth.  A family or tired women disembark in brightly covered saris and reapply makeup in the airport restroom.  We drink coffee and then purchase more coffee.  We take turns chasing our son around the play place and we groan when they announce yet another flight delay.

Pigeons are roosting in the Kathmandu airport.  They are occupying a space purposed for humans and raising their young in the rafters.  We are herded into narrow rooms with shabby plastic chairs and fight for a space together to wait.  I roll my pants legs up before I go to the toilets.  The floors are perpetually wet and I squat awkwardly over a pit toilet.  There are no delay announcements but the time for our flight has long since passed.  We trade bits of information with the other passengers - some of it fact and other bits of fiction.  When the gates opens we rush the doors and I hold tightly to my son's hand.  We elbow our way up a movable staircase and onto the plane.  We join the other passengers in ignoring the flight attendant led safety briefing and wait to depart.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter in D.C

Yesterday I bought an Easter dress.  Actually it was an Easter skirt paired with new Easter heels, and a Madmen inspired blouse.  The Easter dress is a time honored tradition in the South.  Most years my mom hand crafted coordinating outfits for my sister and me.  Her hard work often went under-appreciated, but the pictures still bare witness to her handiwork.  Somewhere buried in a stack of fading snapshots in an awkward photo of us in matching cow jumper dresses and who could forget the year of large puffy hats with handmade rosettes?

Since I have no little girls to dress in frilly dresses I instead forced my husband and son into matching green checked shirts.  I was of course deeply proud of my little family and my son spent the morning trying to take his pants off during church.

Yesterday the Easter bunny showed up at our barbecue.  The dads hid plastic eggs across the terrace and seven small children raced around screaming in excitement.  As the largest kid in the group JAC dominated the egg hunt only to find his stash raided by the little kids when he left it unprotected to use the potty. 

I love Easter church service.  The building is packed.  The singing is beautiful.  After service we ate ham, mash potatoes, and mac-n-cheese.  Good food makes for a great holiday.  I told my son he would be more likely to find his Easter basket if he hopped everywhere - so he did.  He hopped and hopped and hopped.  And when we finally arrived back at our hotel he was exhausted and fell asleep in two minutes.