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When the party ends – A San Francisco Irish Exit

31 Jul

It’s been strangely muggy this summer. The fog, is of course, a cloud full of water, but usually the air in July has quite a chill, especially when like clockwork, the sea breeze picks up as the sun sets everyday. But as I look out my window today the trees are standing dead still, and sweat is gathering behind my neck.

When I first moved here from Boston seven years ago, I cursed the lack of seasons. Gone were my familiar markers of time, and the days faded into one another. Sun, Fog, Wind. Sun, Fog, Wind. Eventually, I learned to pick up on the subtleties. The freshness of the air in December, not unlike an early fall day in New England. The piles of leaves that gather in the sidewalks between the rainy months, never enough to jump in, or look pretty, but enough to run through with your feet and hear the comforting “Sch, Sch”. Or, the dark mornings of summer, when Karl the Fog hugs the city so tightly that we all want to stay wrapped in our blankets, for just five more minutes.

But now, it seems, that not only is the weather changing, but my life is too.

In a few weeks, I will be packing up our little family and moving to Saint Louis. Yes, you heard that right. Saint Louis, Missouri. Flyover country. The Midwest. A borderline red state. Thousands of miles from an ocean. And the craziest part? I couldn’t be happier about it.

The nitty gritty: We can’t afford SF.



Double Vision

8 Nov

In late August of this year, I found out I was pregnant. This was something both myself and Conor were hoping for, but it still came as some surprise. Since I’m over 30 and well, we’d never actually tried to get pregnant before, we figured it might take awhile, maybe even a year. Nope. No way. We’re talking weeks. Days, not months.  I have never been so excited/scared/proud in my life. Finally! I felt like I had been waiting ten years to be a mom, and now it was finally here!

A few days later however, I had some mild bleeding. I was slightly concerned, but hoped it was just what’s called implantation bleeding. I went to see my physician just in case. She also agreed that it was probably implantation but was concerned that I seemed to be “having a lot of symptoms early”. My doctor ordered an ultrasound at a nearby hospital, and after a week of scheduling mishaps, they finally saw me.

The day of my scan, it was incredibly cold and windy. The hospital’s campus sits on one of the biggest hills in San Francisco and from the waiting room I watched the fog rapidly push in across the city, neighborhood by neighborhood. Conor met me there from his work and we waited, and waited, and waited for my appointment. An hour went by, and I still hadn’t been seen. Conor left to go to a work meeting. I tried to keep myself distracted with my phone. Finally, I got in.

After the usual medical paperwork, my technician asked me about my symptoms and confirmed this was my first ultrasound. We chatted for a few moments while she applied the goop to my stomach and adjusted her screen. She moved the wand around for a few minutes, and then – she paused.

“This is your first scan, isn’t it?”

My heart was in my throat. No, it wasn’t even there, it was on the floor, flopping around, a lost goldfish.

“Yes. Yes, it’s my first scan.”

And then, she grinned.

“Girlllll, you are having TWINS.”

I laugh hysterically. I laugh so hard I almost pee and cry at the same time, but thankfully, avoid both.

I shout, “I f*cking knew it!” (more on why I f-ing knew it later)

So there I was, in a radiology room, goo on my stomach, with brand new pictures of the TWO BABIES I was pregnant with. But Conor wasn’t there! How was I going to tell him? My lab tech slyly suggested that I simply show him the ultrasound pictures when he got home from work. I decided to roll with it.

Conor got home around dinner time and we decided we’d go out to eat at our local, Fly Bar. Before I knew it, my husband had already put his coat back on and was halfway out the door.

“Wait, wait!” I protested. “Don’t you want to see the ultrasound photos first?”

“Oh, yes, sorry, yes, let me see them.”

So he’s standing there, in his coat, staring at the scans. Seconds tick by. He rotates the photos around, as if they might make more sense that way. He hands them back.

I purse my lips, as I far too often do when I’m both anxious and happy.

“Did you notice that there’s two there?”

His eyes, looked, I have to say, a bit wild.

“Yes. I did. Is it doubled up or something? Like a reverse image?”

“No. There are two babies there. We are having twins.”

“Twins. Ok. Twins.”

Long pause. An even longer pause.

“Ok. Twins. Ok. I’m going to need to sit down and have a cup of tea.”


After a few days of soaking it all in (at times we’d just look at each other and say, “TWINS”, while shaking our heads) we came to terms with our huge blessing and equally huge challenge. By the end of April we are going to be in charge of not one but TWO new human beings. In a small one-bedroom apartment. In one of the most expensive cities in the US. Ready or not, here it all comes!



The photos were taken at one of our favorite places in San Francisco, a photo booth place in Japantown called Pika Pika.

All the booths are themed, and once you put the money in you have a set amount of time to take the pictures and then decorate them on screen.

It’s cheesy, for sure, but it’s so us. I love it.

Anyway, I hope I haven’t bored you to tears with our story, and since you’ve made it to the end, here is the Twin FAQ!


1) Yes, Twins.
2) Twins run in Julie’s Family (Hi, mom). 
3) They are fraternal.
4) Yes, we are staying in SF.

Down by the River Charles

15 Apr

boston skyline 1997


I took this photo fifteen years ago the first time I walked across the Charles. In many ways,  Boston is still a home to me, and by the way my feeds look today, most of the people in my life. Very thankful that everyone I know is safe, and I was so happy when Conor came home from work today, so I could hug him.

Lots of hugs to you and yours,