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Where I am. (jenn)

November 9th, 2008 · 28 Comments

San Francisco : Menopausal

(a) Mati: Ennui
(b) Jenn : FAT
(c) Ryan : Ryan
(d) (c) but not (a) and occasionally (b)
(e) I hate the GRE.

It’s really amazing how much a person can travel when s/he is completely broke. All it requires is amazing credit, a lot of alcohol to quell the panic attacks, and a pocket chloroform kit to get you through those days you, you know, really don’t want to be conscious.

Sidebar: 101 Things to Do with a Credit Card Bill Besides Pay It

1. Write SUCKER on it, put it in a glass bottle, chuck the bottle out to sea, and let fate run its course.

2. Fold it into a paper airplane and set it on fire while humming taps.

3. Can you say bedazzler?

4. That’s all I got.

The good thing about being poor is that you have less to lose, when, say, the world goes all to shit. (Cue CNN.)

Fuck.  I’m so behind.

At the beginning of OCTOBER, I flew to SF to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of my Nonsexual Lifetime Partner Lacy–the woman who, next to the gypsy orphans, was the main subject of my memoirettes home throughout our time in Peace Corps. She’s seen me at my most vulnerable–when I was putting the Bulge in Bulgaria, wearing three layers of fleece and wool socks, waddling around in her arctic living room shrieking TELL ME I’VE STILL GOT IT!

Most of our almost two years together involved us running, watching Arrested Development on her laptop, trying to figure out why Bulgaria made us obese, and Yahoo Messaging about the next time I would take the 30 minute exhaust-filled bus over to Blagoevgrad to run, watch Arrested Development, and intelligently discuss the size of our asses and consequent level of suicidality. Over biskviti. And nutella.

It was a beautiful relationship, and when she left me for America, I wore her fleece polka dot pajama bottoms every single night in memoriam. But Bulgaria was never the same without Lacy.

She married the man who lived a few gray blocs away from mine in Dupnitza, the TEFL who I shared many a beer and bad vegetarian pizza with at our one town pizzeria, one eye out each for mafia, bitching about… well, about everything. I was always afraid I’d have to be responsible for Ned’s life—he’s allergic to meat and fish. He could sense if food was “dirty”—i.e. having been prepared in the same vicinity as his veggie dinner—by the slow swelling of all his internal organs. I dunno, if I were Ned, I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything but chocolate, just to be safe.

Oh Lacy and Ned, we have shared way too much.

SF was my first trip without Ryan.

I don’t fit in with his friends and he doesn’t always fit with mine. We’re Peace Corps. We’re recycling. We’re Obama bumper stickets. We’re vegan on a good day, vegetarian on a bad. I used to worry that the closer I get to Ryan, the further I was getting from the Old Me That Gave a Shit. But New Me has little to do with Ryan. It has to do with my own apathy. No matter how hard I try, I cannot care. No matter how much I used to save every spare scrap of paper to re-use, now I think the world is fucked and I buy bottled water by the Costco platform-full. No matter how much I used to… vote… I am in survival mode and all I care about is my life today, not an abstract better future. I’m in fuck it mode. Fuck education. Fuck health care. Fuck animal rights. You’re on your own, Buffy.

(BTW–I did vote, but only to not be dumped by 99% of my friends.)

The other weekend post-best climbing session EVER, my poet-songstress-turned-climber-buddy said, “A true environmentalist would kill himself.” I thought that was the smartest thing I’d heard in a long fucking time. I mean, completely unlikely to happen, but so true. There’s nothing you can truly do to save the world than remove yourself from it. I’d like to see that campaign–“Die today for a better tomorrow.”

Everyone who gives me dirty looks for my plastic bags, just remember you aren’t doing the earth any favors by continuing to live.


These days I volunteer for Girl Fest because theoretically I know female empowerment is something I once upon a time cared so much about. My three favorite words used to be “Patriarchy,” “Suffrage” and “Underground Railroad.” I continue to volunteer even when I am all out of passion for volunteering (which is merely a subcategory of “Everything”), because it keeps me connected to women who are passionate and brilliant—who still care.

It’s part of my attempt to participate in life, because I’m here, so what the fuck else am I going to do.

Where was I.


My Lacy and Ned, my Harmonie and Chad, two Peace Corps couples—as comforting as it is to be around people who eat, run, and travel like you—what really binds us is how we experience the world. We have the same eyes. The same hearts. And that is the pulse keeps our friendship alive.

The only thing I really wanted to do in SF besides go to MY Lacy’s wedding, was go the pirate supply store. If you know me, you’ll know I’m obsessed with the following:

Ryan Matsumoto
Obsession in general

So checking out the pirate supply store at McSweeney’s 826 Valencia, whose profits support writing programs for kids, was my number one SF travel destination. Chad and I set out for the Mission first thing in the morning, but apparently pirate stores don’t open until noon. Fortunately, the Mission is known for its high concentration of bookstores, and I coped with aisle after aisle of used and new literature.

Yea, it was real tough.

(I’ll know I’m dead for sure when I stop caring about words.)

Polar bears come and go, but paperbacks are forever!

In the Mission, I found my gem. A little title-less yellow book with two women drawn hitchhiking on the cover. Inside, I flipped to the title page—off the map—with the handwritten message:

The adventurer gives in to tides of chaos, trusts the world to support her—and in doing so turns her back on the fear and obedience she has been taught. She rejects the indoctrination of impossibility.

My adventure is a struggle for freedom.

And I was hooked, to this tiny book, a collection of writing by two women who wandered Europe and handmade ‘zines, Xeroxed papers which took on a life of their own, eventually compiled into this travelogue, eventually finding its way into my tired hands in the Mission, another place I could belong better than where I am now.

I’m always belonging somewhere better than I am.

I’m always a body away from the size that fits.

I feel like if I just act like other people do, I can pass as alive–a 29 year-old woman who’s living, living just like everyone else.

To do:

Work no matter what
Shower no matter what
Walk no matter what
Eat my superfoods

I do everything everyone else does and I still hate it here.

I was hysterically sad on my birthday.  One thought kept squeezing itself between my temples–Why am I still here?  

There is an idea that kills me.  I experience intolerable pain almost ever day, when relatively my life is hardly worth wallowing over–I live in Hawaii Kai.  I have Ryan, who’s there the second I feel that wrenching claustrophobia of everything collapsing on top of me.  Of being buried alive.  Of being unburied dead.  I have a great family, a great bitch, and am surrounded by incredible people.  All I can think about is that should something truly devastating happen–Ryan dies, or someone in my family, or Mati, or I get cancer, or lose my arms in a freak dance off accident–I know that my level of pain would explode.  An epicenter the size of infinity.

This idea kills me.

People ask why we don’t blog anymore, and it’s because we used to be going somewhere. I miss my Ryan that would be up at 5am hoarding free La Quinta Inn breakfast, already having written four pages of genius on the Badlands, eating Thanksgiving ramen and freestyling in Montana. And he misses the Jenn who would wake up when it was still dark—still dark!—to write to him. Who would ditch orphans, and write to him. Who no. Matter. What. Would write to him. We miss our words, our hope, a room of our own.

Cut to: Jenn trying to sleep on couch while nephew Kyann tries to instigate a Power Ranger sword fight with poor Mati. Hi. This is my bedroom.

We started this blog one year ago, and its trajectory is like a stone thrown into the air off a bridge, that proceeds to fall into a bottomless pit of existential despair.

That’s all.

It’s just gravity, really.

Everyone should watch The Bridge.  It’s holy-shit-crazy.  These filmmakers taped footage of the Golden Gate Bridge for a year–taped the people jumping off, taped their tumble through the air, their splash, their instant nothing.  Then the filmmakers interviewed the family and friends of the people who had died.  Tried to tell us stories of why.

Why not.

We should write again. We should make music. We should dance and play and make videos likening ourselves to inanimate objects. We should. We still laugh at our ideas, have Koko Marina Starbucks conversations that make us believe, almost, what we used to believe.

But we’re kind of fucked at the moment. That’s all. We’re a little fucked cupcake with no icing whatsoever.

I can’t get my shit together when my books, my boyfriend, my bitch mutt are scattered, boxed in, holed up, separated by more than just a marina. I am tired of sleeping on my parents’ couch. I am thankful for the existence of said couch in lovely Hawaii Kai, but I want to unpack my boxes sent from four different addresses—Philly, Seattle, Maryland– because I realized the car was overloaded and I had to send more shit from Maryland, and San Francisco because I sent four massive boxes to LACY because once upon a time I thought we were moving to San Francisco.

I am woman, hear me nest.

Fat Sister, Ryan, Ryan’s family and I are doing a master cleanse in a week.  We haven’t given up.  We’re shitting out the shit, starting with fresh colons and hopefully a renewed desire to exist.  Starving yourself has that effect.

Okay.  I gave you my words.  My words that ramble down and down.  I’m ending with a chapter from off the map.  It reminds me of an older, younger me.

as much as i can hold.

When I find myself in this place of incontrovertible aliveness, when the world is on fire and I am with it—I think, I won’t forget this, I won’t be lost in the pettiness of the day-to-day, my own turmoil, I won’t succumb to sorrow or inertia or fall prey to fear. None of it matters nearly as much as this joy, this knowing the beauty of each thing exactly as it is.

Recently I have begun to think, more realistically, I probably will forget this; I will be caught up in the stuckness and I will be afraid, I will be numbed by the horror of everything around me and I will feel small and tired and lost. But this time I will try to remember a space beyond it. I will try to remember the boundless hope and consuming joy and know that it’s still there, somewhere. Holding out behind a curtain of uncontainable bliss waiting to be unleashed again in my heart and the world.

And I go on making small promises to myself in the meanwhile: I will walk every day in between the trees, I will make some celebration, I will love without fear, I will create beautiful things, I will be unafraid to fly, I will move and speak and live deliberately… My promises stretch out and out sometimes past the horizon of possibility, and often at the end of the day it seems I’ve never walked as far as I thought I could. I get discouraged and wake up tired in the morning. But I go on making promises, because the sunrise is so beautiful, and those three stars are still shining so brightly, and the birds are beginning to sing, you can hear them even over the whine of the highway. In spite of myself I feel the embers of hope and I think, well maybe I could make it just to the end of the road, after all. And I make myself some more promises, I call them dreams, and when night comes I don’t let go of them, I congratulate myself on the ones that walked through the length of the day with me and tuck the rest of them in to carry me through tomorrow.

Occasionally I get disgusted with the whole process, I think Ugh, Dreams and Promises and Possibilities, where have you gotten me? Full of you but I’m still getting nowhere. Maybe you’re only extra weight after all and reality is just about as much as I can hold. I vow to leave them all by the wayside and pretend I don’t notice it’s only another promise I’m making. I try to drag myself through the rows of days, not getting distracted, not floating away. But what I notice (after a while of not noticing anything) is that I can’t see much except dreams, and promises, and possibilities—only they’re not mine, they’re everyone else’s, everyone who never bother to get burdened by Reality in the first place. Everything I see is made out of somebody’s dream, and if I’m gonna be living in dreams they might as well be my own.

So right then and there I start making promises: I will wear wings at all hours of the night. I will laugh so loud the leaves fall all around me, I will walk with giant steps and swing my arms in enormous circles, I will take off my shoes when I come into the house and I will never, never leave my hopes to dry on the drainboard. I won’t sleep in except when I do, I’ll take walks in the woods and in the loud polluted city, I’ll sing off pitch when I’m not alone. I will take off my masks and wear love unabashedly. I will keep making promises.

And I will not stop dreaming.


I know why I should write. Because our words string us together like a chain of paper dolls.

We are one snip away from losing everyone.

We are strangers helping each other through life.

I should write.

I should drink green tea instead of coffee.

I should run instead of coffee.

I should play Transformers with Kyann instead of telling him to go to hell, devil’s spawn.

I should [Censored.]

I should stop eating chocolate for breakfast.

I should eat kale for breakfast.

Yea. Kale. That’s good.

I should spend some time in the sun.

I should get another dog so I can name it Little Miss Hitler.

I should go to the doctor and have my AIDS checked out.


Good news: It’s not AIDS!

Bad news: You’re going to live a long, healthy life.

I should call people back.

I should update my Myspace dot com movies. (Forgetting Sarah Marshall!! In Search of a Midnight Kiss!! Dirty Hands—The Life and Times of David Choe!!!)

I should sell my eggs again.

I should study for the GRE and go to graduate school and then all my life’s problems will be solved.

I should make Ryan laugh more.

I should hang out with people.

I should go see some art.

I should stop missing what’s still here.

San Francisco Trip:

ACKH! Ally Sheedy bad hair day haircut! ACKH!

Hey, remember that time we had to drive to the airport all day to pick up friends and family flying in from all over the world–from Japan, from Denmark, and even places like Arkansas? Remember how the car broke down in the most dangerous part of SF on the first airport trip? Yea. That was rad times. Rad times.

“Ned honey, is this a sign?”

Wedding, Peace Corps style.

I hate it when Harmonie’s tardive dyskinesia kicks in when I’m trying to take a photo and I have to use my all-purpose Harmonie Head to cover up the blurry exorcist Harmonie Head.

“You can’t polish a turd.”

Aw, rehearsal love.

SW Bulgaria in da house! Woot! Woot!


“Um, Bus Driver, I don’t think the wedding is this way. Call it a hunch.”

Vegan Wedding Cake = Bliss.

Going to the chapel and we’re… going to get out of the shuttle bus because the driver’s retarded and we’re going to have to find a cab to take us to the wedding…

Ah, the lovely bride ponders her future doom.

Pretty in Truffle.

Skinny bitch. I’d do anything for those arms.


Bulgaria High School Reunion.


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On walking to my car from the gym after kickboxing via Macy’s. (jenn)

September 25th, 2008 · 28 Comments

Start with what you know.

Start with the alphabet.

(The alphabet is full of secrets.)

Start with counting.

(Counting goes and goes.)

Or punctuation.

(A comma is just a period with less confidence.)

Start with what you learned first:

Time, colors, the earth is not at the center.

(These are the greatest of complexities.)

Just start.

Start with something.

Start with who you are.

You are your reflection against glass.

There and not at all there.

You are one foot in front of the other.

You are still rise and shining.

Knock knock.

Who’s there.

Used To.

Used to who.

Used to be here.

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ouch [ryan]

September 10th, 2008 · 24 Comments

→ 24 CommentsTags: ryan matsumoto · videos

A Kindred Demented Soul

September 1st, 2008 · 13 Comments

Click here.  And then here.

Still want more?


→ 13 CommentsTags: Uncategorized


August 24th, 2008 · 16 Comments

Some people get wallet-sized photos in which their boyfriend makes them look like they have a touch of Down.

Other radass mamasitas are on the cover.

Kimi, you are AMAZING. Congratulations times choke planny.

→ 16 CommentsTags: jennifer hee · ryan matsumoto

Return to the Moke. (jenn)

August 20th, 2008 · 14 Comments

This past weekend I returned to my favorite place in the world (next to all my other favorite places in the world)–Mokuleia.

I managed to convinced four trusting, lovely ladies to join me, by promising them it would be a day filled with physical agony, indescribable terror, and maybe even a little death. Four ladies who knew me in varying degrees of not-at-all to almost-not-at-all. Ladies who have read me more than they’ve heard me, and still wanted to put their lives in my hands. Literally. Who were willing to go ovs out (that short for OVARIES)–to challenge themselves. To conquer their fears of height, of less-than-flattering harnesses, and of shrimp trucks (me).

And now, introducing… Team Estrogen!





(They were pretty amazing for first timers.)

Seriously though–they rocked the rock. Licked the crack. Touched the triangle.

They might have been ASTOUNDED by my ability to power up to the top–but hello? I’ve done that exact route 100 times back in my glory days. This was their first time! And they still managed to get to third base on a 5.8 climb with minimal leg quivering, cursing, and yelping involved.

I’ve never rounded third with such grace.

Spending Saturday with new friends has been one of my favorite Hawaii days since Ryan and I moved home one month ago. Saturday was pure kindred awesomeness. It reminded me there are a few places here, on earth, where I am okay. Where the sun is on your back, out of your eyes; where the sky matches the water, and the endlessness matches you. Where the rock is solid and immutable; where I feel grounded when there is no ground, safe where there is no safety except for a rope and some stranger’s old anchors. It’s everything else that’s dangerous.

Waking and living.

Waking and trying.

Waking and waking.

I am back home four summers after I left.

We took the freeway home as far as the freeway could take us. People never know where we are. I never know where we are.





Home is where you harness is.

And your dog. In quarantine.

And your boyfriend’s childhood bedroom that you live in for free because you poor.

I love climbing because there are so many routes with goals I can see and touch. And the really hard routes–well. I accept that they are not for me.

Which is my life route?

I am no closer to touching the anchor than I was four years ago.

I think the mountains are growing.

And on that note–enjoy our photos–badass and gorgeous allatonce.

(All photos were taken by Christy Werner.)

What’s more fun than ascending 5,000 feet in 15 minutes?

I’m such a supportive team leader.

View from the site.

Don’t laugh, newbie.


Nice form, newbie.

First timer, my ass.

Notice barefeet. BADASS!

Last words to a first-time belayer–”Don’t let go, bitch.”

Get ready to check out my mad skills, yo.

You can never have enough photos of your butt.

“Go ovs out, or go home!”

For more climbing madness:

My 2003 column on chicks climbing.

Climb Aloha, for all your rock climbing needs. And so much more.

→ 14 CommentsTags: jennifer hee

I Hate Roaches - Live at First Thursdays

August 14th, 2008 · 12 Comments

Hawaiian Hut

→ 12 CommentsTags: jennifer hee · ryan matsumoto


August 12th, 2008 · 8 Comments

Hi stranger-friends.

I know you want to know what the COOL kids (oh, that’s us) are doing this week.

Nothing brings us more joy than random people who whisper in our ear, I love your blog, before running away, laughing maniacally.

We love running away, laughing maniacally.

Where we at:

Tuesday, 8.12


What: The Wedding Cafe & Divas Doing Good present Green is the New Black
Where: Waterfront at Aloha Tower
When: 5:30pm
For more info: 808.591.1005

Thursday, 8.14


If you like Shakespeare and women…

An all-women production of Henry V
Where: The ARTS at Marks Garage
When: 7:30pm on Thursday

(See other showtimes here.)

Saturday, 8.16

What: Jenn & Ryan perform “I Hate Roaches” at a lesbian wedding!!! Holy shit!!! It’s on Jenn’s “30 before 30″ list!

#23 - Perform “I Hate Roaches” at a lesbian wedding.

Sorry, you’re not invited.

Happy Monday!

→ 8 CommentsTags: jennifer hee · ryan matsumoto


August 9th, 2008 · 13 Comments

Ryan will be emceeing Leofest tonight!!!

Location: Ohana Waikiki West Hotel

Time: 8:00pm-2:ooam

Midnight Fashion Show featuring Bswim, Honey Girl Water Wear, and The Street Society.

Entertainment by Perfect Median and DJ Rayne

Produced by Stephanie Matsumoto Productions


Oh yea.

Jenn will be at Umeke Market bright and early tomorrow morning!  Come have a Sunday morning Acai Bowl.  Mmm.

→ 13 CommentsTags: ryan matsumoto

Weekly Dose of RYAN. (and jenn)

August 4th, 2008 · 9 Comments

Don’t you miss this face?


Ryan is guest hosting Bringing Back Kerouac this week Tuesday.

AND First Thursdays–yes, you guessed it–this week Thursday. (Featuring Makana!!!)

Jenn is, um, working at Umeke Market.


A bitch needs to eat.

Come on in. I can make you a smoooothie. Or a tall cup o’ hatorate. Your choice!

Bringing Back Kerouac
Date: August 5th, 2008
Location: 2440 S. Beretania Street by Puck’s Alley.
Bar open till 2am.
Admission is FREEBIES!!!

First Thursdays
Date: August 7th, 2008
Location: Hawaiian Hut
410 Atkinson Drive (ground level in the Ala Moana Hotel)
Doors & Poet Sign-Ups at 7:45pm
Show starts at 8:30pm
Admission is $3 before 8:30pm, $5 after
All ages (parental consent required for under 18’s)

Umeke Market
Across da street from Kahala mall.

→ 9 CommentsTags: jennifer hee · ryan matsumoto

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