Monthly Archives: March 2011

interview with jaime

So…this is a strange interview for me. I haven’t actually “met” Jaime in real life yet. We became Facebook friends because we have a mutual friend in common Sarah. We were commenting on the same thread when we realized, “WE HAVE THE SAME NAME!!!” Our given names are nearly identical, middle name too; we just spell each name differently. We were born in the same city, in the same hospital, about two weeks apart. And it took us this long to find each other-crazy!

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

JC: I am thirty two years old, which still somehow surprises me – it is hard to think of myself older than twenty six maybe, but at the same time I have really been enjoying my thirties! I am the oldest of four – two sisters and a brother. Actually, I have three more sisters, but I have not met them yet; we have been in contact the last almost ten years now. My mom and my biological father split before I was born and when my mom and my dad married, he adopted me – so I have always had a dad. I have not met my biological father yet either, but I think I am more interested in meeting my sisters, I don’t know what he would be to me exactly.

My brother was born with Cystic Fibrosis and died almost twelve years ago, he was fifteen and a half. Ian and I were pretty close so losing him was very difficult but the pain is less sharp with the passing of time. He was very funny and compassionate and a gross boy through and through – I miss him a lot! J

I went to college in Indiana, Anderson University for two years then transferred out to a school in California, Azusa Pacific. I have a year left of school, basically what the degree is in is what I need to finish. I do not know what I want the degree to be so I just stopped. I would like to finish but at the same time, I haven’t had a need for it and my free time is valuable!

My sister that is just younger than me, Alyssa, is married and has a two year old daughter. Natalia is the only grandbaby in the family, so she gets a lot of attention. She is just perfect, that is a fact and not a biased opinion either! J I love taking her for the weekend and just having some munchkin time but then am able to give her back! Being an aunt is the best!!

I bought a house a few years ago in central Phoenix. I am a native, which also surprises me that I still live here. I like Phoenix but never thought it would be where I ended up. I enjoy my life here though.

I do not have any children… exactly… I have a boxer named Shelby. She is my baby – she was actually the first grandbaby in the family. She is ten years old. She has more personality than most people I know.

I work in the construction industry – commercial mechanical contracting. I really like it. I have a fantastic boss and the company is brand new and I am in on the ground floor – good opportunity and I am learning a lot, even though it is overwhelming some days because much of it is brand new!

I go to church in Scottsdale, Grace Chapel. I have been there almost fifteen years. They have been with me through some very difficult times in my life, and I learn so much from the people there and have grown a lot as a person, as well as spiritually.

I like MOST kinds of music – pretty much everything except 80’s. I think that is a terrible era for music and fashion and avoid it like the plague that it is. I get a lot of flak for this too, but facts are facts! Ha! 🙂

JM: You don’t have to answer this question, but I would like to ask a little more about your brother Ian. Do you mind telling us more about his life? I don’t want to pry, but I want to give you an opportunity to say whatever you’d like.

JC: Of course! 🙂 My brother was born with Cystic Fibrosis (genetic illness – terminal). He was the only boy in the family but liked the attention and was just “one of the girls” on the occasions he chose to play with us growing up lol (oh, we dressed him up as often as he would let us!! My dad was NOT amused! lol). He was your typical boy: gross, silly, rough, gross… he was also very compassionate. He seemed to find all the kids that were the outcasts in school and church and was their friend. He also always had a bunch of girlfriends in grade school. He was the only boy allowed to go to the girls’ sleepovers… till they used him to learn how to French kiss.. then that stopped real quick! 🙂 Ian died when he was fifteen and a half, May 24 – it will be twelve years this year since he has been gone. It doesn’t seem like it could be anywhere near that long but a lifetime ago at the same time. It is hard to describe.

JM: Thanks for sharing that about your brother. Love the French kiss story! What were you studying in college? What made you move from California to Arizona?

JC: In college, I was studying Christian Ministries, but looking at the possibility of other majors as well – never was really sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I have never really had that “thing” I always wanted to do. I have a million things I am interested in and that I can do but nothing pointing one direction really. I transferred from Anderson University (IN) after my sophomore year to Azusa Pacific (CA). Actually, when I got home from school in Indiana, my brother died a couple weeks later. I took first semester off from school and went to California in the spring. There was a major mix up with the school and my financial aid for the following fall (and I didn’t have $18K) so I stayed home in Arizona and went to community college for a semester instead.

JM: How did you get into the construction industry?

JC: I started in the construction industry JUST before the big boom that happened here a handful of years ago. The guy I was dating at the time, I interviewed for a job with his cousin who was the manager at a grading company (residential construction in Maricopa and Queen Creek). I worked there for a while, then interviewed at a commercial mechanical company and got that job. The boss from that company started his own company last year and tracked me down and I work for him again. He is a really good boss and I am in on the ground floor now and can do anything/everything… I do a bit of everything right now, I am learning a lot!!

JM: So, we were born with the same name, but different spellings. My mom was watching television in the hospital and named me after Jaime the character in the Bionic Woman although I got a different spelling. My older sister gave me my middle name. How did your parents pick your name?

JC: Mom’s name is Jenny and my aunt’s is Amy. When they were younger, my grandfather would yell for them to come inside, and Jenny and Amy blended into Jaime. My mom used the French spelling for my first and middle names Jaime Michele. I like that my name was created from yelling ha! 🙂

JM: Okay, another interview question: what are your hobbies and interests?

JC: I don’t really have too many hobbies that I can think of. I think my interests surround people more than activities. I like spending time with people, family, my niece… I worked with my youth group at church for a while. I loved that!! My kids are amazing!! I bought my house and moved and I just wasn’t able to do that anymore… I still go to church there on Sunday’s but not midweek – just too far and I can’t get there on time lol.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

JC: One of my favorite sites is – this site brings much joy – AND they have postcards you can put in the mail as well. I love these!

Thanks Jaime for participating in the interview series! Ask her your questions in the comments below!

It’s strange to find someone with the same name, yet a mix of similarities and differences. We share birth names, hospitals, and physical characteristics, but she’s a feeler; I’m a thinker. She’s an extrovert; I’m an introvert. And hey-neither one of us seems to really know what that one thing we want to do when we grow up is!

interview with chris

Chris is someone I met when I was in college. I interviewed his brother Dan earlier in my series. Some of the best memories I had in the college church group was with Dan and Chris laughing and telling pickle jokes. Dan and Chris play off each other’s humor really well-they make each other laugh with their distinct comedic timing.

One day, Chris just disappeared to Colorado, and now we all know why…

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

CH: I am 5’11” tall.  I wear size 12.5 shoes except for chucks, I wear 11’s.  Chucks have always made me feel bad about myself in that way.  If there weren’t so friggin cool I would boycott on principle.

I will be married to my first wife 10 years this July.  We have two darling children, Emily (five going on 18), and Evan (three going on ninja).  I know a lot of people are biased and say their family is the best, and their kids are the best looking, etc, but truth be told, they are lying.  When I say it, I am not.  My wife and kids are amazing.  I had no idea how good it could be to have a wonderful wife, crack up kids, and get them all at the same time.  I know plenty of people that cannot say the same of their life, and I am in no way trying to brag because it is all through the grace of God that I have been this blessed.

I have a bad habit of new hobbies.  The good news is, I can do a lot of different things.  The bad news is, I am not very good at most of them.  Here are some things I like to do: Fly Fishing, Fly Tying, Play/Coach Volleyball, Video Games (xbl gamertag: nakedjed), play the ukulele, shoot archery, shoot pistols, shoot pool, shoot craps (not really), I love making digital art via illustrator and photoshop and I design and create shirts, stickers, decals etc..  I love doing new things.  But I can get a little obsessive about getting proficient at doing new stuff, maybe a character flaw of mine…

JM: How did you end up in Colorado?

CH: I ended up in Colorado after I met my wife for the second time… It actually sounds much creepier than it was at the time. I was living in the mighty PHX and just living the bachelor’s dream: work, come home, eat ramen, play computer games, sleep, repeat.  I would mix in church a couple of times a week as well as swing dancing on Tuesday nights…… Something was missing…like, A LIFE.  Anyway, I had dated my wife, Kim, in college very, very briefly.  Like 3 weeks brief.  I hadn’t talked to her in years.  I always wondered what had happened to her, so I decided to find out. I, like any interested friend (or skilled stalker), called the alumni association at our school and told them I was trying to get a hold of her.  They gave me the last address they had on file, which was her parents, and I sent a letter.  She had just returned from living in Venezuela for almost a year and just happened to be living at her parents when the letter got there.  She called me the next week, we played the whole AOL chat game for a while and then I came out here (CO) for a visit.  I made up my mind that I wanted to move out and pursue Kim.  It worked out for me…..  🙂

JM: Tell us a pickle joke.

CH: What’s big and green and always blurry?

Pickle Foot -or- Big Pickle (which might sound bad.. or be taken the wrong way… that’s what she said kind of thing…) -or- the abominable snow pickle?  -or- the abominable pickle man -or- the pickleable snow man.  Take your pick.  The point of a good pickle joke isn’t the joke itself, its more about being up for like 30 hours straight and inducing some kind of sleep-deprived, caffeine and sugar fueled hallucination.  Hard to describe unless you’ve been there.

JM: You’re a P.E. teacher, yes? How’d you find yourself on that path?

CH: I was sitting in Pre-Calculus my sophomore year of high school hating the class.  I remember thinking, “You know what?  I really hate math.  What could I do that would require me to do as little math as possible…hmmm….Oh, yeah, I could be a p.e. teacher! yay!”

Then I found out how much work it actually is.  Which is fine, because at the end of the day, I am still teaching and playing games, sports, activities, etc.  But more than anything the thing I love about my job is the ability to talk to high school students about their lives, choices, struggles, etc.  There is something about making a high school kid feel normal in such a world of awkwardness.  I don’t just teach “gym” though, I teach a rhythm and dance class, an adventure education class, sports medicine and strength and conditioning class.  I love my job.  I honestly never want to do anything else ever again.  I would be fine working until I die at this school.

I have a whole other laundry list of reasons I enjoy p.e. and how it benefits kids, but most of it kinda goes without saying.  I do not have my students play dodge ball. Or pick teams themselves.  Or go shirts and skins.  It is not how we all grew up, its evolved into keeping kids interested in activity for life, so they won’t suffer the fate of their grandparents, parents, etc.

I actually took two cracks at it too.  I dropped out my first trip through college, then went back and got my Bachelors.  I was hired after my first interview, and a few years later got my masters in P.E.

JM: Tell us more about Rhythm & Dance class and Outdoor Education Class.

CH: Rhythm and Dance was a new class for me this year.  I was the only male teacher who had taught a dance unit in a regular p.e. class, so somehow that qualified me to teach an entire year of it.  Imagine me, in all of my fat oldness trying to teach hip hop dance to a bunch of high school girls who would rather make fun of me than actually dance.  EVERY DAY.  Actually, it works out, I teach jump rope, tinikleing, yoga, swing dance and some line dance.  I really enjoy dance class, but in all honesty, without boys in the class, it nearly eliminates or at least makes hard teaching dances that are lead-follow based.  Like swing, waltz, salsa, etc.  At the end of the day, we have a good time though, and as long as they are learning, we are good.

Outdoor education is where my passion lies, however.  I teach all types of “alternative” sport activities.  Things like, archery, disc golf, geocacheing, fishing, hiking, orienteering, etc.  It’s all the stuff that “regular” p.e. classes don’t typically teach.  Fortunately, it is all the stuff I love to do.  My favorite thing is that it’s an evolving class; we keep adding more stuff to do, like wall climbing, paintball, horseback riding, etc.  It is, in my opinion, where p.e. is headed.  The era of sports based p.e. curriculums are coming to an end.  Teaching kids how to stay active after their high school years is becoming the focus.  Finding ways to keep people moving after they have given up on becoming the next Michael Vick is no longer on the horizon.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

CH: Wow, there is a lot out there… maybe a couple… youtube classic.  I almost snot every time I watch it.

Anything these guys do is worth watching… An interwebs sleeper.  Sick cheap one time offered shirts.  I own several. In fact, I went to verify the address for this interview and ended up buying a shirt. <3 Look this one up.  It is probably the best way to mess with someone on the internet.  It’s been around a while, but if you can find someone who doesn’t know about it, It can be simply epic.  You may want to google how it works first, as there is a trick to it.. but holy crap is it fun to jack with people….

Thanks Chris for participating in my interview series! Ask him your questions in the comments below!

Follow him on Twitter @nakedjed

in the garden march 2011

brussel sprouts: these grow along the inner stalk. they are fantastic roasted or steamed then fried. never boiled.

fennel sits on top of the earth. i like to roast mine and eat it with salt and pepper.

this is a type of cauliflower called romanesco. it’s florets are fractal shaped. hands down best when roasted till it has browned edges. it also has a sweet taste when fresh. and when i say fresh, i mean in season or from the garden. store cauliflower that has sat for awhile has a bitter bite to it.

interview with ash

This latest interview is with my friend Ash with whom I went to high school. I think he was a year younger than me, and we didn’t hang out much ourselves back then, although we ran in the same circles-we had friends in common, we both were in theatre classes and plays, and we both worked at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. We once drove to Colorado together.

I recently spent a day hanging out with Ash and his fiancée Kendra at the Renaissance Festival. (I decided to work/volunteer on President’s Day). We had a lot of fun, and I was reminded that people always surprise you. Ash turned out to show a super sensitive side when he encouraged a young love struck girl to forget the dumb boy that was ignoring her.

(aaaaaawwwwwwwwwww! so sweet!)

JM: Tell us a little about yourself.

AR: Oh man, where to even start?  I’m currently thirty-one.  Sorta.  I think that on some levels I’m a very crotchety eighty five or so (if I had a lawn I would sit in a chair on it with a hose so I could yell at kids to stay off of it).  On other levels, I’m about five.  Given the chance and lack of supervision, I will absolutely eat chocolate until I’m sick and I think pretty much all vegetables are gross.  Then again, I’ll always be seventeen or so . . . because boobs are AWESOME.

I live in Mesa, Arizona, which is somewhat embarrassing to me because it is the town I was born and raised in.  I always swore I’d get the hell out of here, and I did, I traveled and lived all over, but I ended up right back here and when you encounter people from high school and they say “oh, you’re living in Mesa, huh?” it’s really hard to get out “but no!  I’ve lived in California!  And Tucson!  And Denver!  And I traveled the country!  And I have a Master’s degree in obscure historical minutiae which I got while living in Scotland!  I just moved back here because I was fucking COLD!!!” before they have turned and walked away.  *breathe*  Whooo.  Sorry.  Got a little worked up.

The rest.  OK, well I work in the Internet field for a relatively large company which you’ve probably heard of (which is why I usually can’t mention it online).  Yeah, you noticed that, huh?  Get my degree in history, go to work on the Internet.  Welcome to the 21st Century.  Hey, at least there are benefits.  I also work at the Arizona Renaissance Festival and have for the better part of two decades (other than the 3 years I took off for the whole getting educated abroad bit).  Out there I am a street entertainer and an occasional part time photographer.  I also managed to meet and wrangle myself a fiancée out of the gig, so it’s really not all bad!  Like I mentioned, I also take the odd photo, but that is unfortunately rarer than I would prefer.  And that is me.  I work, I sleep, I eat things I shouldn’t, and then I repeat.  It’s not a lot, but it’s a life!

(this is me and ash, photo credit goes to David Rubinstein)

JM: What’s the name of your renaissance festival character and what is he like?

AR: Ahh, that chap would be Lord Archibald Agincourt, the Earl of Bath.  Or just Archie to his friends and his . . . friends.  He is the eldest child of the Duke of Somerset and is therefore set to be one of the wealthiest men in Britain.  Likely richer than the King (which honestly is hardly difficult these days, now is it my dear?).  Archie is only vaguely interested in all of that . . . drivel.  He is much more fascinated in what you are up to tonight.  Honestly, how are you, my sweet?  Still taking those lovely little photos everywhere?  You know, there are so many wonderful uses which you and he could put that camera to . . .
Soooooo . . . in short Archie is a professional perv.  But just a bit of one.  OK, a lot of one.  But he really is harmless.  OK, he’s not at all harmless.  But for REALS, at least he’s a lot of fun.

JM: When you were younger, your parents had you attend etiquette lessons. Can you describe what that was like and how it affected the rest of your life?

AR: I can only apologize entirely too late to those poor instructors.  It must have been frightening.  We were all thirteen and fourteen mind, so the air was thick with too much cheap cologne/perfume and barely repressed hormones, and yet all of us were (sometimes literally) scared stiff of the opposite sex.  Were the lessons still going on now (they’ve been canceled due to a lack of interest after having been run for decades), I have no doubt that things would be quite different, but back then there was an invisible dividing line between the boys’ and girls’ seats and nobody even dreamt of sitting on the other side of that line.  The classes themselves were amazing though.  Surreal if you think about it.  We had lessons on how to dance, how to ASK a girl to dance, how to eat properly in a formal setting . . . all the skills that are hardly even missed anymore but were once vital to a young person’s education.

The entire thing definitely gave me a certain perspective on life.  For one thing, it dispelled certain teenage romantic comedy myths before they were firmly rooted in my brain.  Let me assure you all, when the “ugly duckling” girl blossoms and becomes a swan later in life?  Yeah, she definitely doesn’t remember the one boy who always made sure he had time for her.  I always asked a girl (we’ll call her EH) to dance.  She was . . . large.  After about sophomore year, she suddenly became one of the major hotties at school.  Our shared laughs at Junior Assembly did nothing to make her even acknowledge me after that.  *sigh*  John Hughes, you’ve lied to us once again.

Really though, I’d say that the main thing I took away from those lessons is a really healthy respect for, well, respect.  That’s partially how I was raised (obviously, I was sent to etiquette lessons!), but we never got anything without a “please” and a “thank you,” and it drives me a little insane when it goes unsaid in the day-to-day world.  I’m not so silly as to think it would solve the world’s problems if everyone showed those small kindnesses, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt either.

JM: How did you develop an interest in photography?

AR: This one’s easy.  I was engaged to the first ex-Mrs. Rhodes (happily there’s only been one ex-Mrs. so far, but you never know) and she was a rather accomplished artist of all sorts.  She could write, paint, draw, draft, and had even had a comic strip which she did with a friend in high school.  I however was limited to stick figures.  Lopsided ones.  I was always fascinated by art in all of its forms however, and photography was no exception.  Watching her create beauty out of nothing made me want so badly to be able to find my niche.  Out of a certain naiveté, I thought that since I didn’t have to hold the actual brush/pencil, photography would be easy to pick up.  *sigh*  I got my first camera of my very own (a Nikon N75) for Christmas that year.  I probably took 10,000+ images (I don’t want to think of the development cost) before I upgraded to a digital SLR three years later using what was left of a student loan check.  I’ve been inflicting my photos on the world ever since.

So SO hard to pick one or two.  If I absolutely HAD to, I would say it would be one of them in my “Dark Portrait” series which I had to take for my first photography class ( .  The first four are the originals.  They’re the four generations of women on my maternal side and then a group shot.  I continued the process for a while and still take photos whenever I get a chance.  Always the same method (black backdrop, natural light only, same camera, same lens, same after effects once I’m done).  In fact I would LOVE to shoot you some time.  Just a nice simple shot of you looking somewhat serious (if you can manage it) wearing a black top.  You’d look gorgeous.

Anyway, of those four, I especially love the one of my grandmother (this one).  I think she looks so beautiful.  I also like the one of the four together (der, this one).  That was the original inspiration.  There was once a picture of my great grandma, my gran, my mom, and my baby sister which hung on our fridge (just a snapshot), and I wanted to do an artistic recreation of that.

So there you have it.  I have loads of others, much more colourful, which I really enjoy.  In fact, that’s rather my thing.  I tend to bump the vibrancy and occasionally nudge the saturation up a bit to really make the colours pop.  Lovely.  And yet my favs are these desaturated photos.  I’m weird.

Thanks so much for this fun experience!  Let me know if you’d be willing to sit for a quick snap or two.

JM: Would you like to share an internet link?

AR: Really, I think the thing I’d like to share most is  If you value your free time at ALL however, you will not install that on your browser.

Thanks so much, Ash, for participating in my interview series! Please feel free to ask him any questions in the comments!

Follow Ash on twitter! (he’s fallen off the wagon a bit, so perhaps this will be the nudge he needs!)

His photography website can be found here.