Good News Good News GOOD NEWS!

23Jan10

Mis Huevos Epilogue

I can’t leave the IVF doctor looking like a condescending ass. I mean, I could, but I won’t. Because every appointment we became more and more human to each other. He was quickly concerned about me, my hormone levels, my Alice in Wonderland follicles growing too fast, too soon. He told me to call him from the mainland, to make sure I the clinic was taking care of me properly.  You’ll get to read all about his transformation into the best doctor ever soon enough… because….

Mis Huevos Epilogue, Epilogue

Oh universe, you crack my Hee shiz up! Three days ago I posted this:

I wrote this as part of a longer piece on Sri Lanka that I queried to a publication two months ago.

And this morning I woke up to an e-mail from said publication:

We like this piece and would be happy to have it on the site.

Yeaaaaa The Smart Set! I’m not really good at emoting–wallowing is really my forte—but holy fucking shit! I looooove The Smart Set and have read their travel essays forever. I’m such a writer-nerd–I’ve been to Barnes and Nobles every other day for weeks so I could read my first Chromatic piece and see what it looks like minus cussing, which was deemed inappropriate for a fashion lifestyle magazine. Issue 2 is STILL not out, but in the meantime I’ve managed to spend more at Barnes and Nobles than I made on the article.

Mom Hee: You were doing so well controlling your book binges.

I had been clean for a few months, getting my fix at the library, but trust me, when the librarian told me I couldn’t renew Love Soup because someone else requested it, I almost snatched that shit back out of her hands and made a run for it.

Hee doesn’t like to share.

(Update: Beautiful Chromatic editor Stacey Makiya hand-delivered Issue 2 to me this afternoon.  Yippee!  The entire magazine looks fantastic!  Holy awesome graphics guy!  For my piece, I have to give photo credit and love to Ryan Scott Matsumoto, who also helped me edit and provided much inspiration… as you’ll see.)

Rehashing ’09 Forever

Montages are very manipulative. They find your emotional G-spot, over and over again, until you are at the mercy of the montage, even though you swore you would never sleep with a Republican. Montage. Ryan’s 2009 montage of our lives forced me to do what I am terrible at doing—focusing on the positive, and appreciating the music of the Black Eyed Peas. 2009 was the kind of year where I’d sign up for a race, pay for that shit, and decide the morning of the race that I’d rather sleep than run, because what’s the point of running. Or races. Or Carole Kai.

We moved home in July of ’08. Every month we were home without our own home, I felt like I had lost my family. Half of the week I was at my parent’s house, and Ryan was at his family’s house—what are we? 16? A kiss goodnight and a high five. Shit, we’re not Christian, one of us in not in Iraq, we’ve lived together for two years—regressing back to high school–nay, junior high–was So. Not. Cool. Usually I’d stay at Ryan’s house, leaving Mati in the car, which fucked with my shit, because to me this meant I had my shit so not together that my daughter/dog had to sleep in the car. It chattered in the insomnia ear of my insomnia, saying you’ll oversleep, terrified the Hawaii sun would wake up before I did. Plus, Ryan’s neighbors are the kind of people who ask you to “keep it down” on New Year’s Eve, so you can imagine how they feel about Mati’s Slavic barking. Once or 50 times, I wished the neighbors’ house would get sucked up in a magic tornado and dropped in the middle of Chennai, India. Honking all night, humans shitting on sidewalks, stray dogs fights galore, —yea, welcome to el junglo, motherfuckers.

In conclusion, when I did stay at my parents’ house, with Mati beside me, no fear of sun or assholes–I could hear Ryan’s eyes rolling all the way across the marina—because I’m so neurotic, because I was choosing to stay by a dog and not my boyfriend. I didn’t know what mattered most; I was just so tired.

It’s 2010. While I still get frustrated at not having a Jenn Hee nook, that Mati doesn’t have a yard to run and bark freely, that Ryan doesn’t have a man-space where he can be man—the size of what we do have fills me more and more. I didn’t lose my family–we found family, as adults sharing an oddly comfortable communal space, thanks to economic and psychological recessions, and the cost of living in Hawaii being more than the cost of living in somewhere cheap and imaginary, like Heaven. All our immediate family lives, incredibly, within a 4-mile radius. In our homes, there is always food, too much food. My mom will call us to tell us what she made, and halfway through dinner at Hee House, one of Ryan’s sisters will call asking where are we? There’s dinner. There is always dinner. And while no one (me) wants to hear her father (my father) telling people how he wasted his money on your education, how you’re a failure, how you make the worst decisions—and all you want to scream back is you didn’t ask to brought here, my failures are not my fault, be glad I am still alive—you don’t, because his words are just sounds for the air to carry away, and everyone’s lost something this year.

In the day-to-day, my father keeps the mechanics of my life together—changing my oil, restringing my guitar when I pop the 6th string again and again, fixing what’s fixable. He always welcomes our friends over, re-spray painting his bar decor, offering best times to all, scotch, and on special occasions, scotch. He even gave me a gas card—my whole life I’ve never had a gas card–as I’ve been looking into bikes, which he is 100% against, claiming there are “blind Japanese men” who might run me over. He’s not being racist—I think he worked out the percentages based on demographics. And ethnic stereotypes known only to him.

My mom, willing victim of the Hee-sister test kitchen, grins and bears our kale and beet green smoothies with the same support as our five year-old attempts at scrambled pancakes. That’s what mothers do. Grin and bear it all.

Ryan and I will never marry, but the Matsumoto clan has always made me feel like an extension of the family. I’ve never really been into babies—I mean, I’ll touch them and smile and stuff—they always just seem so inscrutable and unpredictable, so vulnerable as they sit in their own shit. But when you see them even just in passing every day, and you watch them go from not being able to walk or say anything, to being able to dance, poop solo, and be sarcastic—it’s beautiful. Fucking beautiful. Ryan’s niece and nephew are the same age as our relationship—a little over three years. And just about as mature.

Anyway–I’m not proud. 2009 was almost all dread and panic. I spent a year wrapping and unwrapping the gauze holding me together–incredulous that there was no wound, that I still had skin, at the birthmark where a scar should be. When I stopped looking for the source of pain, when I decided to break up with my day job and have an open employment relationship, when I bought Ryan and myself tickets to India against all logic and Ryan’s own will—suddenly I was too distracted by change and poor children to obsess about my now very hard to see boo boos. Thanks, relativity. It was like the opposite version of those really scary “Not Even Once” meth ads on TV—instead of the non-methy version of myself showering, suddenly seeing the methed-up me crouched in the corner of the tub, covered in sores and looking like death on a good day—I looked up and saw that I was healthy, surrounded by support. Gas and metaphorical gas. No meth and no metaphorical meth. Still, I can’t survive another 2009, and every time I get that creeping feeling that everything is horriblehorribleHORRIBLE, I wrestle Tucker, I hold onto Ryan, I walk Mati, I read submissions, I work on recipes, I run, I run, I run and try to keep ahead of the horrible by not really thinking about what I’m doing, if I should be doing it, if it’s what I really want, if it’s part of my nonexistent 10-year plan, if I will ever have shapely triceps, if I’ll ever finish going through puberty and have an “After” Proactiv face, who I’ll be if Ryan leaves me. I’ll just have to keep running, the rest of my life–and learn to accept the wise words of Miley Cyrus—Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose.

I just finished Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. One of my favorite all-time novels is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a book that reaffirmed my faith in books. (New Moon was not that book.) Reading What I Talk About made me realize how there are people out there (Murakami) who say to themselves one day, in their early 30s, having never written—Hey, I think I’ll write a novel. And they become one of Japan’s greatest gifts to literature. Murakami also said one day–noticing his new sedentary writing career was making him pudgy—Hey, I think I’ll take up running. And began running every day, no matter how busy or sick he was—running a marathon every year, completing some triathlons, and even an ultramarathon. Motherfucker made me realize that there are some people who just pop out of the womb and say—Hey, I think I’ll say things I’m going to do and then do them.

I wish I had that superpower.

When I can’t sleep, and I’ve logged off Facebook, I read cookbooks. Read them like they’re stories, read the notes about how to improve my well-being by making peace with food, and the importance of forming perfect proteins with legumes and grains. It’s how I try to turn my brain off, but it’s a dimmer more than a switch, sometimes turning infinitely on itself, like a clock, the hours of the night passing. I enjoy thinking about ingredients, how every step makes sense. There’s a start and a finish, no angst in between, and imagining what I could do with a kabocha soothes, rather than stokes, the coals of my latent ulcer. Baking is so exact that it takes all my not-me qualities to get it right.

Ryan and I have now been together for three years—to all my married friends with babies, three years was, like, so college, but both Ryan and I have had an equal amount of serious relationships that all ended before the two-year mark.  Every other relationship I’ve had was a really simple game, like the card game “War”—except I had all the cards, and the other person, only an open hand. (The difference is everything.) Now terror will seize me, sitting in traffic, trying to sleep alone at home—the terror that I’ll lose the first person to every understand me, because I couldn’t understand him back. Sometimes I feel the ripple as he moves away from me, like I’m swimming in this really big pool, yelling Marco Marco Marco–and his Polo is less and less audible. I want to open my eyes underwater and cheat, but I’m afraid I won’t see him there, and the Polo was just me whispering to myself. All along. The girl inside me is screaming underwater, barely breaking the surface. I try to explain, I don’t love you like anyone else, I love you like someone’s who has waited her whole life to give you this person that no one else has known. Let me call this love. From the surface, it sounds less desperate, the terror watered down by my inability to emote right at the right time. I look at most of the couples around me, I see how fucked up we are to the people we share the most of ourselves to. I see how much we demand and how little we give.  And so knowing how much hurt is possible, we start documenting 2010, imagining the next montage, treading water and looking at each other from single bodies, completely in love, and completely afraid of how how it will end.  Just like life.

I want my relationship to be like a recipe. I want to know exactly what to put in, exactly how, in which amounts.

I want my love muffins to fucking rise.

(I feel like I’ve written this before, like I’ve written all this before, but you roll around thoughts in your own head long enough, you lose track of what you’ve said to the world, and what you’ve only said to yourself. Or perhaps because I always write about the same shit.)

I had a lot to do today. But first, I took Tucker, our newest Golden Retriever Beastie Puppy (see reverse shit scene in 2009 Montage) on his first hike—Mariner’s Ridge. He cried in the car when we got there, cried when we left—those cries had nothing in common—the first because he was out of sorts, the second because he didn’t want to leave this fabulous new world, roots to leap up and stumble down. We cry when we’re not sure where we are; we cry because we don’t want to leave—because even if we don’t know where we are, we’d rather be here, as Ryan says—living, living in a world where Haiti happens.

BEST NEWS EVER!

(Look at Hee–framing my angsty waa-waa in this blog with awesome, positive shit.)

My sister and I worked together for over a year in the deli at ‘Umeke Market.  She has wanted to open her own restaurant, but in these tough times, it’s a few galaxies away from feasible. Either way, she wanted to grow—as a manager and a cook—and find a place for her ideas and passion for natural, wholesome, healing foods. Fast-forward to a surprise meeting with a natural foods store owner, and one crazy month and many meetings and experiments with beets and farro later—my sister, myself, and our friend Carolyn are re-opening the deli in Kale’s Natural Foods. (Kale = Owner’s Hawaiian name, not pronounced like the superfood kale.)  The owner has a small deli currently, but he’s been wanting to offer more than a soups and sandwiches. We’re developing our own Made-to-Order menu; working on recipes for Grab-and-Go whole grain salads, wraps, stews, soba, summer rolls, baked goods, etc., etc., ETC!!!; and going on equipment shopping sprees. So much fun, so much work, and oh my god we’re launching Hawaii Women’s Journal the same month. He says the deli was the last missing piece of his store, and is hand-building us picnic tables so customers can eat-in. None of us have been to culinary school, but Carolyn grew up on a farm in the Philippines and can kill chickens, Christina likes to do all that tedious business shit like order produce and determine food costs, and I have a million ways to make food sound as exciting as it tastes. Farmer’s Market Fruit Salad with minted agave drizzle? A selection of Made-to-Order Miso Bowls with names such as: “Miso Clean: A detoxifying miso bowl with ginger, sea vegetables, cilantro, lemon juice, watercress, green onion, and cayenne”? Oh yea, we got this.

Who: Hee Sisters and Carolyn the Filipino Chicken Killer

What: Uber-healthy wholesome CLEAN yumminess. Organic, local, seasonal, non-GMO, free-range, eco-friendly containers… yea yea yea, all that good shit.

Where: Kale’s Natural Foods Deli, next to Safeway in the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center

When: February 15th

How: I have no idea.

Don’t you dare: Come to visit us with a bag of McDonald’s fast-food death from across the street.

Last words from my Latent Ulcer: I hate you, Jenn Hee.

I wanted to post this blog before I disappear into the HWJ and Kale’s vortex. I love both of these projects with all my heart, and believe in them. Even though I wasn’t trained to be an editor or a cook, I feel that these facts are inconsequential—I’m a woman, a woman who could–with any desire–carry a human life in my invisible uterus, push it out via a little vagina hole, feed it with my own body, and then release it into the wild of its horrid adulthood. Edit a magazine and start a deli?

The mere thought lulls me into a gentle slumber.

Come visit us at Kale’s after the 15th–even if you hate healthy food, come in for my monthly newsletter.  You know it will be “special.”


All-Star Team discusses organics over vodka at The Shack.



2 Responses to “Good News Good News GOOD NEWS!”

  1. 1 LG

    who’s Filipino— carolyn or the chicken??? and. can you please show me how to beet it? i want to learn how to prepare that awesome redness.

  2. Just wanted to tell you congrats! I will have to make the trek to Hawaii Kai some time to check it out :)


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