Category Archives: Family

Number 98 – Drew Taylor

Drew is the oldest of the next generation of my family. My sister Jen had Drew almost 4 years ago and it’s been so much fun to see how our family has changed since his arrival.  Steve and mom changed from being parents to being grandparents – Jen and Kyle were all of a sudden parents – the rest of us became aunties and uncles.  We have since added 3 more little people to our family, and it continues to amaze me how our relationships and identities are able to bend and grow so gracefully.

Drew is a goof.  He is a silly little man with a snappy sense of humor.  He can have an attitude at times, but I think it’s fun to watch him try on some adult-like mannerisms and see where they take him (I’m sure his parents feel a bit differently about this).  Drew is a wonderful big brother (when he’s not trying to blame his mistakes on Logan) and quite a delightful nephew.

I often wonder what the rest of Drew’s childhood will be like – I’ve never seen someone grow up being the first of their family.  He’s the first son, first boy, first cousin, first grandchild.  It will be so interesting to see him take on the roles of protector, antagonizer, trail blazer, rule breaker…



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Number 97 – Jesse Robert Williams

So, new year.  Love it.  I wanted to let you know that I haven’t given up on this 365 Days Until 30 project.  I’m just going to change it a bit.  I really want to complete this, but know that it will be very difficult to get it done before my birthday, so I’m changing it to 365 Days Until of 30.  So, during my 30th and 31st year I will write about 365 people and things that have affected me and brought me to where I am today.  Revised goal, still a goal, still achievable.
Without further ado…

Jesse Robert Williams

Jesse has been my husband for 5 years, but we have been a couple for almost 10 (!).  When I first met Jesse I was drawn to his humor and his zest.  He is still one of the funniest and zestiest people I know.  We don’t lack laughing and zestiness in our relationship, let me tell you.

The summer we started dating (2001). Gotta love the hair, Jesse.

Jesse is perfect for me.  He is supportive, generous, tidy, loving, amazingly affectionate, wonderful.  I can’t imagine spending the amount of time we spend together with anyone else.  Even during Peace Corps when we were together almost 20 hours a day, I never got sick of him.  I don’t think I would have made it through that experience without him.  Actually, I know I wouldn’t have made it through without him.

Everyday I love Jesse more and more.  We have our moments, but I’m always proud of how gracefully and gently we are able to handle each other during those times.

Jesse is now in his 30th year as well, so I figured it would be a good way to get back into the blog.


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Number 92 – Teaser Firecat Frosaker

Teaser was my first dog and she was the best darn soccer player who ever lived.  She would run full steam round and round our backyard dribbling the soccer ball with her nose.  She was truly amazing.  She was a  Welsh terrier and she was a good little dog.  She could bark and jump with the best of them.  Teaser loved our backyard on Ridgeway (but not our garage on Spyglass).  When I was in middle school she ran away to become a TV commercial star and to live in the lap of luxury.

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Number 86 – Debbie Grable

This is my auntie Debbie.  She is Steve’s sister (which actually makes her my step-aunt, but who’s counting?) and she lives in a wonderful house in Spokane (although she’s also working on renovating a ‘cabin’ out in the woods on a river).  Debbie is an amazing woman who often inspires me to live a better life.

I was inspired during a visit to Spokane to start baking my own bread.  In all of 2009 I never bought a loaf of bread because I baked my own.  That was a lovely year of toast and sandwiches.  I still bake the bread, but not as often.  I have, though, started making her granola recipe for my lunches.  It’s amazing with yogurt and blueberries.

The Debbies

Debbie Grable was the original Debbie Gibson and whenever there’s a wedding or other such event, for some reason all the Debbies get together in this pose for a photo.  I do like their cute shoes and I love my auntie Debbie.

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Number 80 – Nina Comiskey


Nina is (for all intents and purposes) my sister-in-law.  She is my brother Dan’s girlfriend, but they have been together for 5 years and have lived on three continents together, so I think she deserves a better description than just my brother’s girlfriend.

Nina and Dan in Malaysia

I think Granny summed it up when she said, “Nina doesn’t really let the grass grow under her feet.”  In the 5 years I’ve know her she has either lived (Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, Portland) or travelled (SE Asia, Africa, Europe, South America) in all the continents (I don’t count Antarctica since it’s hard to get to and bad for the ecosystem to go there).  She and Dan met during culinary school and after she graduated (a year before Dan), she moved to Scotland for some time (successfully missing my wedding…).


She came back, lived in Portland and went on a trip to Argentina then to Africa and Italy (missing my sister Heather’s wedding…hmmm).  Then after a while in Portland, she and Dan decided that it was time to move away again.  The Fall after Jesse and I left for Azerbaijan, Dan and Nina moved to New Zealand.

New Zealand

After a year in New Zealand, it was time for Australia where they also spent a year (successfully missing my brother Ben’s wedding… notice a trend?).


But really, I love Nina.  She’s a wonderful addition to our family and I have really enjoyed all the time I’ve spent with her.  She’s artistic and creative.  She’s witty and smart.  She’s clever and funny.  I’m so glad that she is in my brother’s life and their love for each other is so apparent and strong.  I love that she and Dan have had so many wonderfully amazing adventures in their 5 years together.  It’s really quite astonishing.  And now, she’s back in Oregon, so she shouldn’t be able to miss anymore weddings… especially now that we’re all mostly married off…

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Number 79 – Chet Olcott

Chet, Dad and Me in Newport

If you were to ask who my hero is I would answer, My Uncle Chet.  What can I say about Chet?  Where do I start?  Chet was my Granny’s cousin.  They grew up together in Northwest Portland about 2 blocks from each other.

I remember vague stories of the neighborhood gang playing together in the olden days.  Chet always is the mischievous bad influence in those stories.

Chet was always a huge sports fan.  Chet played football for Stanford and even played in the Rose Bowl.  When I was little I would love when he and Aunt Helen would come over from the beach to go to an Oregon football game or track meet.  I have very strong, clear memories of Chet sitting in the stands at Hayward Field with a huge grin on his face, eating potato chips.

Chet (3rd from left)

Before World War II Chet went to officer’s training school for the Navy and was sent to Wake Island.  On Christmas Eve, 1941, Japanese troops took over the island and took Chet as a Prisoner of War.  He spent the remainder of the war in various POW camps in Japan.  Just think about that… he was a prisoner from December 1981 until September 1945.  Chet never really spoke of his experiences in the camps, but after he died we found journals, letters, artwork and other remembrances of his time as a prisoner.  I had always looked up to Chet, but reading his journal solidified his place as my hero.

After the war, he met and married my Granny’s sister-in-law, Helen McHugh (Granny married my grandfather, Frank McHugh during the war).  They lived together with an unbelievable view of the ocean for the rest of their lives.  Helen and Chet were a third set of grandparents to me.  I learned so much from them:  never to trust a guarantee, to enjoy and celebrate nature, The Lord’s Prayer, how to have a sense of humor, how to fly a kite and so much more.

I loved my Uncle Chet dearly and still think of him often and miss him at track meets, when I see a fishing net and whenever I see the ocean.

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Number 77 – Heather Gibson Daron

Heather is my sister who lives far far away (only Houston, but it might at well be Sumqayıt, which is oddly enough Houston’s sister city).  She’s a great woman whom I love dearly.  She loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, her children, the outdoors, her dog, riding her bike, the outdoors, her family, Portland, the outdoors, hiking and the outdoors.  I’m sure I’m forgetting something… oh yeah… the outdoors.  The above photo is on a hike we did about 10 years ago (!) that ended in a parking lot… Thanks, Heather. 😉

Heather and me gazing into the distance... thanks for the photo bomb, Ben

She hiked the entire Pyrenees mountain range from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean with her friend Erica during one summer.  I don’t remember how long it took her or how far it was, but it is quite amazing if you ask me.  I see it as one of those things that can change a person’s life.

She met her husband Erik around the same time I met Jesse.  I’ve always liked that.  We also got married within 5 months of each other.

We’ve had lots of fun together over the years.  She taught me a few things about growing up and was always a wonderfully fun role model.

Sisters in Venezuela (is Heather eating a tequeno?!?)

I love Heather very much and can’t wait to see her again!  Heather recently gave birth to my first niece, so I’m really looking forward to the Darons visiting in a couple months for the holidays!


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