Episodes

  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Don't be in such a hurry, she heard the whisper. Where do you think you are going? Sit, relax, listen. Today, Death Rattles.

    You seem to be in such a hurry there. Where are you going? Where are you off to in such a rush? You seem so sure it is going to happen. You even seem to know when it is going to happen. We all know it will, to all of us. Why are you so sure it is going to happen now? If recent history has anything to say, you have to admit, you are still here. You were wrong, and for you, I am still there. So what are you so worried about? Why worry about something when there is nothing to be done? There is nothing we can do.

    Pity, you are trying to accelerate things. You can’t run into the sun. Fixate as much as you like. You act as if you could will the life out of yourself. Being scared is natural, and a resistance. Perhaps you are placing too much resistance between you and the other side of life. What is the use of that? Although natural, fear will only suck the air out of the room, not your lungs.

    Wouldn’t it be better to stomp around a few more times, as much as your body allows? Stomp, make the earth tremble at your command. Stomp and send waves up into your legs and belly. Quiver with the earth you stomp on. What’s the use of giving this up? Why not make a list of things you most love and do them? Everyday. You are allowed to. You are meant to. Smell that coffee, lather up that soap, enjoy the water on your face. Give yourself a good cry a day a good laugh and play the music you most love. You resist living any longer and you are going to regret it. That is what you should be resisting, regrets. Goddamnit. Death rattles regardless of our plans and has its calendar on a need-to-know basis. Death rattles with maracas, rainmakers, heavy rains, and deafening thunder.

    There is so much we can do while we are alive and there is so much we can do while we are alive. Fear is one of the great time absorbers and puts itself between you and surrender. Face it, don’t let it control and define what is left. Whatever is left. Why not surrender to the love and magnificence of what is there, right in front of you? Why not surrender to life? If only to amass the moments that are in your choosing. What if that were an option? Surrender to the moments you know are full of pleasure, the ones that for an instant make you forget the current state of things. If the option is available.

    If it isn’t. If there really isn’t any enjoyment left. No hidden pleasure in the shower, no surprisingly soft pillow to cradle your head, no voice, no caress, no nothing… just the shadows of a life that for some reason keeps holding on to you. Then call me, and we can go over the list again. We can brainstorm. And yes, I will listen in your darkness, with my eyes closed. In the place we exist when our voices are together. If I cannot bring light, I will sit in the darkness with you and wait and will death beside you. I’m not scared anymore. For you, I am brave. If I cannot convince you to seize the day, then I will sit by your side and provoke and harass death. I own those words and my rage is intact (Fito Paez, Todo Se Olvida). Eyes closed, willing in the darkness. For you.

    Thank you for listening.

    Where do we go when we die? Is there soul? How do you deal with depression? Don’t forget to talk to a professional. They are listening. For all the other answers, I’m listening.

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. I want to get this one right. I’m not so sure I will. This is going to be open, touchy-feely, and really unfiltered mushiness. Today, Little Basement Dwellers.

    I’ve heard you can never go home again. To them I say, oh yeah, watch me.

    I am reminded some things are made with the heart and not the hands. Some of the most beautiful things my mind has been able to appreciate have been made with the heart. Families and communities are an example. They are some of the souls’ passion projects.

    I wanted to start at the beginning, but that means I have to wonder if I wasn’t dropped on my head, on the imagination button. Perhaps it got stuck. When I was a very young child, probably between the ages of 5 and 6, I felt I didn’t belong. Oh boo hoo. But it is true. I am a Latina-American woman who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. As a child, my Spanish was atrocious, a true testament to my parent’s inability to teach. I kid! However! The whole not feeling from here nor there makes you nice and strong. Things that make you nice and strong potentially make interesting people. There is a subset of that group who have raging imaginations. Playing games with our imagination is great fun as it is a haven and planning area.

    When we were children our job was to play. That is also how we became who we are. The people that happens with have very specific knowledge about you, how you think, your sense of humor, deepest dreams, first shared aches, nightmares and your honest reaction to sharing your toys, among other very honest reactions. My God! They were there for inception of your sense of humor! I can hear their voices in my memories, saying key words, I can hear how we would say our names, the way the wind would carry our voices when playing outdoors. Our squabbles and pleads for 30 more min, ok ok, fifteen more minutes. My friend’s parents’ voices when they meant business or when it was still ok to play a little while longer. My dad’s voice saying, well, you just have to play fast.

    And play fast we did.

    When we moved away I felt I left behind a huge part of myself and my security. The other side of some games. The missing elements to the magic only we could make when we played. Putting on shows for our parents, making up dances, playing cars and Atari and Nintendo, riding bikes, having sleepovers, playing house, playing barbies. Playing in the backyard. Playing. Laughing. Fighting. Getting hurt. Making it better. Getting excited over movies, watching them over and over on a loop. Annie. Batman. The New Kids on the Block. Playing Candy Land. The parents ordering pizza. The parents giving us ideas for games. For fun, but also to get us out of their hair. Going down to the basement to play. Basement dwellers. Our parents made their plans and we got the best part. It all starts with a - you wanna play? The last time for me was almost 31 years ago. The games I played after, were different. Teenager and adult games. Some more serious than others. Most with real consequences.

    I used to feel my friends were taken away from me. And with them, the games and worlds we created. This week I learned I was taken away from them too. I hadn’t realized that. They were always special to me. This week I found out we were special. We. I revisited places I used to know. Places I used to live. When I went back to where some of the best memories happened, with the people who held magic in their hands, it all came back to me. I was 10 years old again. Ten plus thirty years. Continue reading

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, In Times Of Seduction.

    This is a special episode going out to my friends who are in the process of seducing, courting, flirting, or wooing, and who have fallen in love, putting it all on the line for a promised surrender and peace. In search for the antidote to desire, which is in someone else's hands. I hope you take this in the spirit it is written.

    But first, a brief preamble... The concept of seduction has had a bad rep. You just have to trace back to the laws written surrounding seduction to see who was or has been protected. In the US in 1873, a 16-year-old girl could be accused of seducing an adult man, if said man invoked the law, thus letting him off the hook of any paternal responsibilities. Laws tell us a lot about the people of a place, their values, and hierarchies. A lot of laws were created to protect men’s privileges, and to shirk responsibilities incurred naturally with sex, including those imposed by society. A woman’s virtue was as good as what people collectively believed of her. That is still true in many cases. Social rules existed for a reason, and hierarchies were set into place and violently enforced. Feminism has come a long way in this sense. Now we question the who and how violence is defined and the protection of people in power who abuse their positions.

    Additionally, seduction is generally understood as a process in which a false promise is made. And enticement. I’ve spoken against the use of strategies to simulate and stimulate desire. Especially through the abuse of fear of abandonment and the need for validation. I stand by that. This is a different side. For some, this process is the gateway to partnership. A part of the process. For others it is a maneuver to gain leverage and achieve a more shortlived outcome. This is for the former case.

    Seduction is also more commonly defined as tempting or attracting. A process in which we naturally negotiate the meeting of body and mind in the biblical sense. You know what I’m saying. This process needs to be fed by both parties involved, which requires consent and implies the development of a deep understanding of the other’s love language, the balance between space and time to process, and the concrete acts. Processing is as important as the acts of seduction in which admiration and desire are articulated. A sex-drive in its purest form. A process that makes no promises.

    In the words of George Harrison, ‘It is gonna take time, a whole lotta precious time, patience and time, to do it right.”

    About the acts… well that is entirely up to you and your capacity to understand the other person and how you stimulate their intellect and imagination. You could use the strategies of dating coaches… which I don’t recommend. Generic seduction will get you a generic relationship. You could use your capacity to get to know the other. Observation and questions are part of it. You’ll figure out what is best. Just be reflective. You’ll know you are on the right track if you feel awe. And butterflies.

    Dear friend, don’t forget that the space between acts is crucial. Imagine you plant a seed that must be watered and it needs to exist in the wild. You can’t overwater it, you’ll kill it. Enclosure and close proximity will stifle growth. You don’t want that, do you friend? It feels like a risk, but the space between you both becomes a forcefield. Distance and time will be entirely up to you and your gauging the situation. Listening to what the other needs. Act. Time. Space. Growth. Continue Reading

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, Don’t Tell Me What To Do, Mr. Project!

    Let’s disregard the almost two-minute intro that has its own name, ‘Sirius’. It deserves its own name. The song within the song. The whole thing is kind of self-aggrandizing. It is like playing up your kid a little too much in hopes your kid will live up to their potential. My child is the best child. There is no other child! This sucks for the other siblings, as many of us can attest to. Then again, ‘Sirius’ becomes the perfect segue into the song ‘Eye In The Sky’. It really does deserve its own name.

    My beef is actually with Mr. Projet and his trying to tell me what to do. I’m talking about Mr. Allan Parsons' Project, of course. If you weren’t aware of his whole name, you now know it. Mr. Project decided to make a song that deserves its own podcast. I will dedicate an episode of Musing Interruptus to it.

    While I listen to this song, I can hear two stories happening at the same time, and the cover story. The cover story is that this song was inspired by the idea of constant surveillance by Big Brother, like George Orwell’s 1984. It is like when artists prefer not to disclose their true inspiration. After listening to the song a couple of times, I can see why. I’ve discovered the true story. Here it goes.

    The second story is a conversation between Mr. Project and a partner during a breakup. I’m positive! Hear me out. Mr. Project, or Allan, is telling this person, that the situation is complex, it seems like something unforgivable has happened. When he says, ‘Don’t think sorry’s easily said’ it seems like a recrimination, either to himself or his partner. What is unforgivable is the repetition of the act! I’m guessing your run-of-the-mill infidelity. Progressive rock doesn’t strike me as a genre that would inspire much impetuosity or passion. Then again, the content of this song tells me there is madness and obsession running through Mr. Project. These feelings are passion’s dumb and ugly brothers. Bottom line, he is not going to give any more chances. He tells his partner, look, you can’t be my spouse anymore because you are a drunk. Your stories were fun for a while, but I just can’t go on. I got this from the phrase about the sun in your eyes… that can mean somebody is drunk. So we are dealing with someone who makes promises or says things and does not come through. Plus there is this whole thing about turning tables, which means, reversing the situation. Allan or Mr. Project is telling this person, “I acknowledge you are trying to manipulate me and it is not going to work.”

    And then he tries taking control of the situation by telling the other person what to do… issuing a warning as if he were anticipating their poor judgment and guilt! Basically, he is saying, think before you speak, put in your filters because you are just going to make this worse. As if his interlocutor was a child. I don’t think he thinks much of that person.

    But that’s not all! There is a menacing warning that follows, it is intrusive. Mr. Parsons says he knows what you are thinking, he can read your mind, just by looking at you. What is he, Santa Clause? Seriously, red flags all over the place. He says he is the maker of rules and can cheat you blind. This guy is bad news. I don’t know what the other person did or didn’t do, but this seems a little over the top. I think you need to take a step back Mr. Project. We should reconsider our whole relationship.

    Then, to top, it seems like he is convincing himself, in an inner dialogue, that he should ... continue reading

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, The Halloween Special!!!

    This is exciting. I’ve been waiting for this all year. And now. I have no idea what a Halloween Special on Musing Interruptus should look like. Like, Boo! Grrrr! Or Look, here comes a zombie?! Turn around! No, run! But ok, you probably really want to look. Also, there should be vampires, sexy nurses, Ramones, 'I Wanna Be Sedated', and 'Pet Sematary'. The B52s have to play, the White Strips, Soda Stereo has a few songs I need at this Halloween Special!

    Ok, so now what? Who would be the special returning guest? I mean, we could get Raúl back here. But in costume. Raúl Zombie. The friends that speak in songs are very annoying, but they should make an appearance, as Lorena and her grandmother should too. I know who else, how about that lady that was in the field with a strange type of paralysis, she has to come to this special, she was a disturbing character. The monster under the bed has got to be the guest of honor at this Halloween Special. And how about casket woman?? She’s already done two episodes, she definitely deserves an invitation to Musing Interruput’s Halloween Special. Epileptic Dog, Box dogs, and dogs on a walk, dressed as pumpkins, of course. We could have a special interview focused on their perception of smells after the rain and if they can see ghosts. Elvis Priestly, no doubt, Might Mouse (I’m almost positive he has been in at least one episode), and stuck in Traffic Guy, the whole of the Tang Dynasty, and Paula Cole, The Fish and the Bird!! and toilet. I think this Halloween Special is really taking off. Now we just need a story less evident than taking this a step too far, even for my standards.

    So there they all are, on a train, racing down the tracks. The wind howling as the engine sliced through, relentlessly and without any compassion at all. They are all strangers, brought together by a common cause… their destination. The train just keeps gaining speed, tearing down the tracks. Never coming back… that is how the song goes. So then all of a sudden we hear the narrator change her tone and sing here he comes to save the day, and Mighty Mouse presents himself, assesses the situation, and tells everyone — Hey look, I’ve got an update. And all of a sudden, the zombies and vampires pop up behind Might Mouse. Which tells you the size of these creatures. People on the train laughed for a moment, surprised by their shared reaction, indicative that they were all thinking the same thing at the same time. Which is when, my dear listeners. They turned to each other and started thinking the same thing at the same time, again. Now, we all know how difficult it is to focus on just one idea or none at all when you are supposed to be meditating. Anyway, all the other passengers on the train realized this shared consciousness and started thinking the exact same thing.

    And wouldn’t you know it, in less than 30 minutes, pizzas arrived, via super fast drones.

    I think that would be the Halloween Special. I’m not sure if I get it myself. Maybe, just maybe, I should have written down my original idea. Happy Halloween and Thank you for listening.

    If you had a Halloween Special for your life, who would you invite and what costume would they wear? What pizza toppings would you have ordered? How bold am I? Do you dress up? When was your last train ride? I’m listening.

    Read on Google Docs

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, Chicken Soup And Other Remedies.

    Hey there, ho there, nice to see you. Come on in, take a load off, and relax. We all need to go somewhere everybody knows our name. You know why? Because life is hard and sometimes we need a break. We need remedies for our heavy souls when things are not going our way. One of the best remedies I know, is a space that feels just for you. Friends create this in a remarkable way. It is amazing what a friend can do. Even if it is just for an afternoon, hell, it has even happened to me over the phone. It is like a force field that makes the bad time a little easier. I don’t know if it is just talking about the problem, inappropriate jokes and laughing, or the consolation of sharing the burden, if only for just that moment.

    I can remember the best conversations as if they were magnificent events. Because they were. Like word parties. Can you imagine a word party? What would the invitations look like? Would all the letters of the alphabet get invited? If you didn’t invite a letter, which one would it be? In Spanish, I would totally avoid inviting the double “L”. It is not longer in the alphabet, they dropped it. But still, it might expect an invite. That double L gives me the hardest time in Spanish. If you meet it in English, it won’t give you any trouble at all, it is like just one L, you can barely tell there are two.

    Imagine all the music we will listen to at this party. You know what happens when letters get together! Wa chica wow they totally get it on and make words. That is when the party happens.

    Imagination is another really great remedy for the soul.

    If you are like me, you might have a playlist you are not allowed to listen to and a playlist that will do you good. Get you in a good mood or even give you courage. Again, if you are like me, you probably listen to all of it, anyway. Ultimately, a good song and dancing it out is a great way to nurse yourself back to health.

    I have a confession to make. I’ve never made homemade chicken soup. I have made it 40 years and I’ve had the blessing to have received homemade soup. I’m sure that feeling better has had more to do with receiving such a wonderful homemade remedy, made with love than with the actual ingredients. It is true, there is nothing quite like receiving something homemade. This is a great remedy.

    I think holding your breath can also be a good way to reset things. It is a special type of remedy. If you get the hiccups, hold your breath! I also think you can die that way. So be careful. Don’t hold your breath too long. This is going to make for some fun dreams.

    Essential oils are also good. I am into them. Lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, mandarine, incense, mint, geranium, oregano, sage, sandalwood…

    You know who knows about lots of remedies? Witches. They will tell you what to do or take for all sorts of maladies and crappy situations. Black magic, white magic. Hogwarts magic! I love that. I will always remember with so much love each time I’ve had magic in my life. That is good healing power.

    Doctors say that the best remedy is preventive. Drink lots of water, don’t eat too much, and when you do, eat healthy. Get enough sleep, and get exercise. Get friends. Get help when you need it. Take care of all of that and you probably won’t need half of the remedies I shared with you today, except for the magic. We can all use some of that, every once in a while. Thank you for listening. Continue reading

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, Under the Influence.

    I’m feeling supersonic, give me a gin and tonic. Let’s have a round on me. That means I am paying for this order of drinks. Barkeep! A round of your finest gin with your wettest tonic. I’m paying for all my friends today. In other words, the drinks are on me… it does not mean I spilled the drinks on me. Although, if you have ever been out with me, you know that is not out of the question. I spill. Sometimes. Others you see my rapid feline-like reflexes. I am not always faster than a speeding bullet. Do you remember who flew faster than a speeding bullet? I’ll give you a hint, he wore his underwear outside of his clothing. And it wasn’t because he was shitfaced, plastered, or drunk. You might think that a guy who thinks he can fly around the world and fight evil must be under the influence of something… alcohol, drugs… hell, maybe even lust or --- love--. No, this is a super man from another planet. Superman, I said it. Ok. I’m always bad at guessing games. I either can’t guess or I give the answer. Whatever. We are talking about drinking. My glass is empty. Let’s have another round, this time the bartender has said, it is on the house. This means that we don’t have to pay for the drinks in this order. Here here! Let’s raise a glass and toast the bartender.

    Speaking of bartenders, I had to stop going to therapy because my therapist kept on insisting I had an unhealthy relationship with my bartender. I told her it was a reciprocal relationship. I give he gives. I feel like I get the best part. Really, it is him who should reconsider our relationship. Anyway, it is my therapist who I am leaving. I don’t need that level of negativity in my life. I have to drink just to get through the rest of the week after a session with her. She brings up the worst topics you can imagine. It is not good for my mental health.

    I’m kidding! Oh my God, I’m just kidding. Mom, stop making that face. Speaking of which, I spent my birthday with my best friend. I drank him under the table. This means that I drank more than he did. He had to stop drinking. I don’t really know why. He can’t hold his drink. This doesn’t mean that he can’t keep his beverage in his hands. This means that when he drinks, he appears drunk. If a person can hold their drink, that means that they drink and don’t appear drunk. I not only drank him under the table, I held all the drinks. I’m kidding. I don’t do those things. It isn’t like I am some common barfly. I’m no drunk. I just wet my whistle every now and then. That sounds very sexual, but it isn’t. It means to have a taste of something, to have a drink. In Mexico, you can get your beverages to-go, in a bag with a straw. I don’t know why more people don’t do that with booze. Or maybe they do. When you ask for one for the road it is meant to keep your buzz going for a while.

    After all this drinking, you must be drunk as a skunk. You might want to get some courage up to do something. The thing is, no matter what you do when you are drunk, it doesn’t count. Yeah, no, that isn’t true either. I’ve lied about a lot in this episode. Do you know who never tells lies??? Children and drunks, that's who. Unless the guy calls you at 2:00 am professing undying love. That’s not love. I promise. Continue reading

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  • A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation.

    Hello. Welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. Today, Tricks Are For Kids!

    We’ve all been there. We’ve all confused our deepest, darkest, desires for our crush with the certainty that the other person, the object of our desire, lust, and affection, must absolutely be feeling the same thing. That isn’t love. However, it is so strong, overpowering, and promising. What exactly do we think is being promised? And, Who is doing this promising? Nothing and nobody! That’s what!

    What possesses us to say, ah I’ll just give in to this feeling. I might as well just let it happen. The thing is, it is only you surrendering to that feeling. You want to think that what you are feeling is like a channel that connects you to the object of your affection. Maddening thoughts invade your every waking hour. What if I say this? What if I do that? Can I make him/her love me? Madonna is convinced if you 'open your heart to her' you will 'see the desire burning inside of her'. You can make this discomfort go away if you just realize that what she feels is enough for both of you. If she feels it, it must be true. It’s like the internet. Dude, she tells him in the song, 'don’t try to run, I can keep up with you'… I have one thing to say, if he’s running away, and it is not towards you, it might be towards somebody else. Also, is she running with sharp objects in her hands?

    Somebody once told me they were running away from me. Vaya con Dios mijo! You don’t have to run. I won’t follow. Despite the daddy issues. Believe it or not.

    Mr. Big in 1991 thinks that there is a line. He is standing in line to be the next boyfriend, because, 'he is the one who really loves her'. A line!!! Is she a prostitute?! Are you waiting to be serviced, Mr. Big?! Give me a fucking break. Also, the whole calling her a little girl gives me the creeps. Do you need to think of her as a little girl?? Don’t get me wrong, if the right guy calls me nena with the right voice, well, alright. I’m not immune. Ok?! But still, immortalizing the whole 'hold on little girl'… I don’t get it. The Beatles do that shit too. There is a big difference between -babe- and -little girl-. Also, babe is more consolidated.

    Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me. Taylor Taylor Taylor… feels like this is the definition of the friendzone. A concept which I think objectifies the person you are singing about. 'You belong with me?' So, what does that mean? They are in a relationship because they are stupid? Is that what you think? They are so stupid that they think they are in love with their girlfriend, who is totally hot and fun. Nobody but you understands… Why does this happen? Why do feelings feel so convincing? Convincing of reality. She tells herself that if only he could see how special her love is, he would choose her. Because that is what happens, we choose love. It is like choosing your favorite color. Try it. Choose a favorite color that isn’t your favorite color. Conversion therapy has been banned for a reason. The underlying violence behind these songs astounds me. How unpopular of me. That reminds me of Cat Steven’s Whole Wild World, he is basically saying, if you leave, people are going to hurt you because you are so feeble that you cannot be on your own. The lack of recognition of the other person’s autonomy, agency, and intellect is astounding. That is not love. I don’t think that will ever become love. That is wishing someone you claim to love, a really, really bad time. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Give Me Perfection, Give Me Phil!

    Knowing where you are going is as important as knowing how to get there. In music and in life, you need to have a road map, a storyboard, and if you are Phil Spector, a gun because his “wall of sound” was not always enough. And that is saying a lot.

    What do Ronnie Specter, from the Ronettes, Joey Ramone, from Ramones, and Brian Wilson, from the Beach Boys have in common? If you heard the title, you know it. Phil Spector’s “wall of sound”. The fullness of the music is created by using several instruments, one over the other. Why have one guitar when you can have three? Why have one piano if you can have an organ and a harpsichord too?

    Fullness, reverberation, integration… enough to create the finest neurological reactions. Musical frisson or getting the tingles when listening to music.

    There are geniuses that come up with the most amazing things. Phil Spector is one of them. What he did to the bands he was producing and his family, now that is another part of the story. I don’t intend to glamourize his violence, by any means, I just want to give a little context to the album “The End Of The Century”. When I hear Joey’s voice in “Baby I Love You”, my fantasies have switched from being on the dance floor of my next wedding to being in the studio, held at gunpoint, while Joey recorded vocals. I listen to the song over and over again listening for the stress in his voice, the exasperation from recording multiple times a song his heart wasn’t in. You couldn’t tell that if you didn’t know the story. Ramones loved performing covers, however, this is not their style. This is not their speed. Literally. In general, the album is like dressing the Ramones in preppy clothing and giving them crew cuts. Their sound was corrupted. Which also makes it pretty remarkable. I like it. Joey’s New York crackly punk voice, imploring in contrast with the honey-laced strings in the song make it so memorable. Was the gun necessary? From what I’ve read, he probably wouldn’t have done it. There is no way we can really know. This is not a justification for the use of violence. This is just how it happened.

    Ramones were geniuses before Spector and inspired Bono to sing. But I’ve told you that story before. I think. This is just something on the way. A story of creation.

    Ronni Benette, later Ronnie Spector, and her career were held hostage in her home, by Phil Spector. The music she made with Phil Spector put her on the map, with Cher and Sonny Bono singing “Baby I Love You” with her on the album “Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes”. This song has been recorded, covered, and obsessed over. The “wall of sound” bolsters Ronnie’s vocals, beautiful, full, and inviting to fall in love. There are so many instruments. A producer with a dream and a motherload of instruments: pianos, horns, guitars, and maracas. It feels like a musical; operatic and deadly romantic. You know if you let it in, you won’t ever recover.

    Now, I’ve told you how Brian Wilson wrote a song for Ronnie Spector, answering her pleas in another song… “Be My Baby”. I didn’t tell you that he was obsessed with the song. Obsessed with Spector after he dismissed him from the recording of another song he had written. The vocals here overpower the instruments. Reverberating, like in a church, the instruments are merely supporting actors in the ahs and oos that make “Don’t Worry Baby” so magnificent. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, About the Rats.

    When I was a child, such a long, long time ago I enjoyed stories about anthropomorphic mice. Fivel Mouscowitz is probably my favorite. I easily related to the Mouscowitz family because my parents were also migrant mice who came to America, following a dream of education, riches beyond their wildest imaginations, freedom, and cheese. I might be embellishing a bit or confusing things. It is actually I who have a thing for cheese. In any case, the mice. I have wondered long and hard about mice because they are not welcome in our homes. I admit, I would not share my cheese with them. I would not like to discover their colonies in my pantry. They belong in my imagination and movies and songs.


    Another famous mouse that emigrated from the Old World to the United States is Ringo Star’s Scouse the Mouse!!! He clearly says he is an extraordinary mouse, like none you’ve ever seen!!! I can imagine Scouse the Mouse and Fivel becoming friends. Singing and cavorting, a story of two migrant mice out to make something of themselves. I can see the video sequence of the mice going to night school to learn a new trade, burning the midnight oil, learning by night, and working as taxi drivers by day. One has to work the pedals and the other the steering wheel. After night school, they hit the town and enjoy the clubs and museums after dark. There is a take in which we can see the mice laughing at each other because they reached for the same piece of cheese at the same time, the camera follows their gaze from the piece of cheese to them gazing into each other’s beady eyes. This is precisely when Scouse and Fivel fall in love. That is when the music and mood change. Even the color pallet changes. There is light bouncing everywhere. They graduate from night school, get jobs in the city. Scouse is interested in real estate and Fivel decides to become a painter. He paints dairy farms across the country, inspired by country-American nostalgia. Never actually painting his true desire, cheese, he would just paint the place where it is made. As the years went by, the mouse couple felt something was missing, so they adopted a dog. Unfortunately, the dog was not clear that the two mice were family, as he did not grow up watching the Disney Rat and his pet Pluto. An untimely end for our friends Fivel and Scouse. The sadness in this story is replicated in several migrant stories. I myself, a migrant cheese-eating mouse have found myself in sticky tricky situations. The dog that the pair adopted sat on their home, chewed their things up, and urinated over everything. The relationship was strained. To say the least. Luckily, Scouse activated the migrant network to contact, a dog whisperer. Mr. Cesar Millán put everything in order, taught the mice to care for their pet and sooner, rather than later, they were able to buy another home, larger and more adequate for their pet. Not a sad ending. It was just a sad ending for their first home. What did you think the dog had eaten Fivel? Come one. However! This does remind me of another song about a rat. This is a sad one. I don’t even have to exaggerate it. The mouse is killed by the writer’s parents. Real life tends to be more difficult and sadder than art. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, A Two-Horse Town.

    Here’s the thing, we need to sell this anxiety medication and you’ve got to come up with and idea and pitch it. All we know is that horses are involved. Turn it in ASAP.

    Ok. so anxiety. This is a topic I have recently tackled. I’ve made anxiety my bitch, at least for now. Let’s see. Anxiety happens when my imagination runs wild, in the worst possible direction, in a possible or plausible future in which I sink into despair and lack complete control of my thoughts, I sink into darkness, pain, anguish, and punishment. However, there is also the case in which my imagination runs wild in a fantastic direction. A fun, adventurous, sexy, odd, or even romantic and loving direction. First step, take the medicine and see how it works. What better way to sell a product than by testing it out?

    I’m just going to pop this pill here with a little water and let it do its thing. Mmm, now that I think of it, maybe I should have waited to have the symptoms before taking this, what if it sends me into an extra passive place, the anti-anxiety place, maybe it will demolecularize me. What if the last bit of anxiety that I had in my body was actually keeping me together? Oh well, I bet this pill is going to help me make sense of all of this, I just have to wait a few more moments for this to get into my blood stream. Meanwhile, I’ll start thinking about the story with the horses. I think we should start in a town, in the old west. I can see it, the saloon and general store, and the funeral parlor, next to each other and across from the bank. Poor bank, it gets held up all the time. There is only the main street, it is dusty and at the end of the road, there is a building with a clock tower. The only clock in town. Perfectly located, next to the two only horses the town has. Clocks are important in these towns. As you may know, shootouts have rules and one of the rules is to have them at the strike of - an hour- on the nose! You have to pull out your guns, not before, not after, but right at the moment the clock strikes twelve. The best slots are high noon. That is when you get the best ratings. I mean, everyone is doing something around town at that time.
    There is a whole economy around showdowns. You’ve got the saloons that serve the liquor diminishing common sense and activating or letting loose the more animalistic instincts that result from throwing back shots. If the amygdala and prefrontal cortex go unchecked, you’ve got yourself a booming economy. It only takes one funny look, rubbing someone the wrong way… and someone might suggest you take it outside, if they are a gentleman, if not, you might get a bar stool cracked over your head, and that will be that. Bartenders need to be vigilant about these things, because they are part of the economic system. The man at the gun store needs to be ready to supply the bullets, and paraphernalia in general for the shootout. You can’t just buy a gun, you need a holster to keep the gun from pulling your pants down, you can’t just stick it in your pocket, less you want to blow off your winky, if you are a winky holder. I guess women could just put a gun in their pocket, however, as we all know too well, women’s pockets are either nonexistent or can’t hold anything. It is a patriarchal move, like high heels. Anyway, You’ve got yourself the gun salesperson, and you need someone to preside over the event, to establish the rules of the duel are properly observed. For the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why that matters… Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Anticipation

    I’ve been waiting for this moment for three years. She whispered. I’ve been waiting my whole life, he responded with a sigh of relief, and they fell into each other, acquiring pieces from the other, all secondhand, all lived in, perfectly lovable. A transformative peace fell over them.

    What a great scene. I’d start the movie there, cut through the time and complications. I’d just make a movie of the moments in which there is resolution, cutting anticipation and resistance to zero. However, only those characters and the writer would be able to appreciate everything that had to happen for that moment to take place. That is the difference between pornography and a romantic movie. Throw in Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, and a sandwich shop and you’ve made it. What is Casablanca without the resistance, WWII, and only two letters of transit? I don’t know, but the answer is in the movie, it doesn’t amount to a molehill of beans. Ultimately, who would be satisfied with the last minutes of that movie? Another question that comes to mind is, who is satisfied with the resolution of that movie?! I know I’m not.

    The more I think about it, the worse the idea of just cutting to the last scene. The immediacy of it all reminds me of 30-second videos, elevator pitches, and non-committal relationships. Most are easily forgotten and provide less gratification than soggy broccoli. Anticipation prolonged by the hurdles faced by the characters in a story determines how much more we appreciate the ending. The road might lead to ruin or glory, the only way you will find out is if you walk it.

    I love how you can trace empires, beautiful works of art, and scientific and technological advances to brilliant ideas that seem like anybody could have had them. What sets us apart? Why is there only one Madam Curie?

    I like stories that have happy endings, in which triumph tastes sweeter because the protagonist had to overcome inner demons and build through sheer will. I like my triumphs. Anticipation can be an essential element. It is the preview, the free sample, and the accelerant. Anticipation is key. You know you are on the right track if you feel anticipation and peace. When you are caught off guard by thoughts of what is to come. It is the looking forward. The feeling of es muss sein or as it should be like electricity coursing through your veins chased by a sensation of ease. This is what I want and I will have it. If only it were as easy as just feeling it. We all know it takes more. Building empires, creating works of art, solving complicated problems, takes time, and talent, and know-how, and determination. Add in a pinch of luck, and a liter of anticipation, and you might make history.

    Making dreams come true generally is a group effort. You have to start with the idea. That might seem like the most complicated part. Was it the conception or inception of the dream? I remember reading that the best ideas can come to you when you stop thinking about needing an idea. Idea-making is a group effort as well. How exciting to be motivated by a new idea. It can make the brain come alive again. Woe is me if I get stuck in the frustration of not knowing what the next step is. It is a group effort. Ice cream comes to mind. Do we owe it all to the Tang Dynasty? Their idea spurred through time and space, experiences, ingredients, and technological advances, have culminated into Cherry García, the sweet creamy frozen dessert many of us love. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Now That’s Dark!

    I am willing to bet that most everyone has dark thoughts out of fear or sheer joy. Dark thoughts make me nervous and laugh, especially when I say them out loud. Traveling with a black dress, stockings, and high heels in case somebody dies, just in case. Creating a box with important documents and instructions just before I go bungee jumping. Telling myself, I can always get a divorce, 15 minutes before I get married.

    There is a tendency to think that dark thoughts are not good for us. However, bear with me for a moment, I’m going somewhere with this. Dark thoughts can result in very healthy outcomes. They become an escape valve for tension, fear, and resistance. Dark thoughts are necessary. They are natural and they may be sublimated into art or a different types of products. Just because you think it doesn’t make it true or mean it will come true. The dark thoughts can become a catalyst of feelings and a bridge to creation.

    Dark thoughts are healthy. Whoever came up with dark chocolate had an extraordinarily healthy dark thought. There is an analogy waiting to happen. The darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Think about it, dark chocolate comes in different concentrations of cacao. The more cacao the healthier, is has less sugar, at least, that is what Lindt does. The less amount of sugar, the more cacao, the better an antioxidant it is for your body. Someone thought I, a chocolate lover, would appreciate 95% cacao chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Not the best surprise. I know now, that the person’s intention was to extend my life. If you ask me, I prefer unhealthy and sweet milk chocolate.

    Antioxidants are supposed to help ward off the materialization of one of a big dark thought. I’ll give you a hint, it starts with C and ends in ancer! That is a dark thought, a looming fear. However, the thought of the big C word has led people to change their diets, and habits, to even enjoy their lives and the people around them more profoundly. It didn’t stem from sheer joy, it came from a dark place, motivated by the possibility of loss and the certainty of impermanence…

    Marriage is like dark chocolate. 95% cacao, it isn’t sweet, it doesn’t taste that great, the package is prettier than the contents, but it is healthy for you, so you live longer. You can either buy 95% dark chocolate or get married. The effect is the same.

    Marriage is a dark endeavor. You get to know the most intimate side of a human. Their darkest thoughts, the healthy ones that are vents and the ones that take you into a vortex of pain and anguish. Marriage is dark. You can tell your spouse, careful, that is a poisonous animal and your spouse will get bitten or stung and have the gall to say, I had no idea! Meanwhile, the other spouse thinks it will make a difference to say BUT I JUST TOLD YOU THAT IT WAS DANGEROUS. Only to hear in return, what? You never said that. Knowing your spouse you can anticipate what they are going to do and still be useless in stopping something horrible from happening because it is like your voice becomes inaudible. That is a part of being a witness to someone else’s, like a sociological experiment, you are not to intervene, not out of ethics, but because you are invisible. We protect our spouses as best we can knowing that it is terminal. Everything is terminal. Now that is dark. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, The Matter Of The Heart .

    It is all about the heart, that is the most important thing. Listen to your heart, Roxette says it, she was right. The heart is connected to everything, it pumps blood, it keeps us going, and brings oxygen to our body. Our heart can tell us a lot about ourselves and the decisions we need or want to make. Listen to your heart, it communicates the truths that are most basic to us. Remember, the heart is the percussion in the music of our life, it sets our rhythm. The beating, pounding, and thumping of our hearts alerts us, to danger, and to love. What a feeling when you see the person you love and your heart explodes! Love flows with each beat, through every pore of your body. The Drifters (the band) sing about “This Magic Moment”. It is magic, how someone else can elicit or bring out such a strong and warm feeling. Listen to your heart and you will find love. Once you fall in love you run the risk of getting your heart broken. That sucks! So you might try to steal someone’s heart. If you succeed, you will be in love and it will be reciprocated. If you don’t, you will get your heart broken. But that is the price we pay. There is no free lunch. When you get your heart broken, it is as if the feeling of love goes in reverse, even though love is still there, there is no hope for reciprocation. The heart breaks. How do you explain to your heart this basic life lesson, just because you feel it doesn’t mean it is there. The object of your affection does not feel the same way about you. Heartbreak. You had your heart set on something happening, that relationship, for instance. You might have your heart set on something else, like getting a job, going on a trip, or buying something at the store. When we were children, we might have had our hearts set on Santa bringing a particular toy. A heart might sink if you get a sweater instead of a toy. If our parents taught us correctly to repress our feelings, we smiled and said, thank you, this is great. I will enjoy playing with this sweater so much more than with a Barbie Dream House. Listen to your heart, it tells us things! It gives us clues or even strong messages about what we need and want, and where we should be going. The brain is there to work out how to get it done in an ethical and legal way. Well, at least that is my expectation. You might be on a path on your way to building something, on a project when you have a change of heart. That means you changed what you wanted and realized you wanted something else. I had a change of heart I no longer want to swim across the ocean. Or maybe, you lost heart. This means you no longer feel capable of crossing the whole entire ocean. I kinda like the fact that you thought you could cross the ocean swimming in the first place. Kudos to you.

    Ahhh the fact of the matter is some projects cannot be left half-done. Sometimes you have to finish, like when you decide to swim across the ocean. You get the metaphor.


    Things can change in a heartbeat that means it changes from one moment to the next. In an instant. I think a New York Minute is the same amount of time. It lasts just as long. The phrase, in a heartbeat, is a great answer. Would you marry me? In a heartbeat. Would you buy me an ice cream? In a heartbeat. Would you write a story with me? In a heartbeat. There is no hesitation in that answer, that is how clear and true the answer is.
    Your heart skipped a beat when you saw the person you fell in love with it can also skip a beat when you get bad... Continue Reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Big Picture Stuff.

    The big picture refers to everything that comprises or makes up a situation. The biggest picture might be life itself. The opposite or its antonym is a little picture or when you have a limited perspective of something.

    Perspective is important. It can make or break your capacity to cope, find a solution, or even get up in the morning, depending on what you are going through. Getting perspective can help a lot. You get perspective or things are put into perspective with information, evidence, and events. For example, when your priorities change because something has become evidently more important. Having children or caring for beings that depend on you. That provides a decent perspective of what matters. When your health has been compromised because you haven’t taken care of yourself, you might be motivated to make changes to get healthy. Sometimes it is not in your hands. That sucks. That royally sucks. It might be a pivotal moment, when you change how you fundamentally make decisions or do things. Things change and plans change. Dancing is so symbolic of life in this sense. You cannot stay in one place, you need to engage your whole body and mind to move, and if you want it to look effortless, learn to control your facial expressions. This also avoids wrinkling your face in the wrong way. The right way to wrinkle your face is by smiling and laughing. I’ve avoided the other types of wrinkles. At least, that is what I like to say.

    You might hear yourself saying —if only I had known then what I know today! I would have made a different decision. And someone might answer, hindsight is 20/20. This phrase means when you have more or all the information (who really knows if we ever have all the information??), information regarding the consequences of your decisions. Lots of movies deal with this topic, if you know what is going to happen, you might get into a time machine and go back to tell your past self or someone else in the past to make a different decision. This is a great fantasy.

    Hindsight is 20/20… but you know what? If you stick around long enough, you get answers to certain questions, the value of a certain variable in an equation. Thinking that something is meant to be and then having that fall through, like a job opportunity, a scholarship, or a relationship can be devastating. Thinking to yourself — this was a sure thing, and not getting it can be confusing and painful. There are times we are lucky enough to get a glimpse into what we avoid by not getting what we want, maybe a hardship or a bad experience. Sometimes, not getting what you want is a blessing in disguise. It might be you’ve dodged a bullet. Like when you don’t get the job you thought you were perfect for and you find something that is even better, more fulfilling, and hopefully, better paid. I know I’ve wondered about certain events, like leaving the house 5 minutes later than I had planned only to see that I avoided a car accident. It has also been the case that I don’t avoid it. Was it fate? A bad combination of factors? Did those factors come together to make my own personal perfect storm? In the words of my father: shit happens. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, I’m Jealous

    Once upon a time, there was a young, scratch that…. Let’s not go full out toilet immediately .

    Let’s start in bed. I bet that is where most of you started out, especially those who have unadventurous parents. Actually, we should go further back. Gordon Mathew Thomas Sumner, a.k.a Sting reminds us we need a space to imagine when he describes the inspiration for the song Why Should I Cry For You. Believing in the importance of, what some call procrastination, which I think is better known by those whose creative process requires space, the space for imagination. Believing in the importance of this space is fundamental and crucial. The space for thoughts and wandering down paths. This can happen in many places, in bed, letting the mind wander, in my case, atop my bicycle, taking a walk, or just sitting in my thoughts, surrounded by silence or music. I call it the planning stage and much like Sting, for me it is the place where stories gestate, up to the moment when I just can’t stand it, and I have to write or create something, anything. Like a pressure cooker. I notice how as soon as I have that space, more pressure builds up. The creative energy builds up. The more space there is, the more time I have, the more ideas I get. Dave Chappelle describes feeling like he is getting into the trunk of a car and the idea is driving. That sounds like a fun roadtrip. Not all ideas are good or do us good. Imagination can take us to very good and pleasant places, and other times, it can take us to dark, scary, catastrophic places.


    Jealousy is a sour little sphincter, retaining, and holding in. Rotten feeling, isn’t it? Then again, it is probably the stuff that was being retained, the insecurities, projected on the other, of course, the feeling of being unloved, overlooked, discarded, dejected, and forgotten. Retention only keeps those feelings in, inside and in a vicious cycle, increasing the yucky feeling. And it is not just those feelings, for instance, imagine being jealous of the object of your affection loving someone else. Jealous of how they discover all the wonderful things you want them to discover in you. The mental images you won’t utter out loud for fear that saying them out loud could make them real, if they aren’t already. You are of course, certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are real. You feel it and that feeling is so strong, wretched, and painful, it must be real. Say it and, like some masochistic incantation, make it real. Funny how you might believe that, and you won’t believe in how you could use your magic to your own benefit. That is another Musing Interruputs. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Don’t Die That Way!

    I hope you are sitting down and paying close attention. This might save your life. I can be good that way. Let’s call this, me paying it forward as someone else has helped me avoid death. So settle in… are you ready?

    The wind is changing direction, erratically. I can feel it pulling me in opposite directions, blowing my hair across my face. The mist in the air is quickly becoming drops of water, getting fatter and fatter with each passing gust of wind. Frankly, I’m happy to be tossed around by the wind for a while.

    Just before the peaceful sky was interrupted by the thunder, rolling in, I could feel my chest tighten in anticipation. Of what, I couldn’t tell you just yet.

    I’m no stranger to facing storms on my own. Blackouts and shuttering windows. The deafening relentless beating of rain on the protective shell I call a home. What a thing to lie on my back, under the skylight wondering if the hail will find it way through the glass, I’m reassured it won’t—this time. My e-reader is my best friend on long nights when the power is out. The howling wind is no match for the stories and worlds that open up after a few lines.

    There is music in the storm. Sometimes louder, menacing even. Others, it is softer. It brings back memories of my father yelling and the calm once the scolding was over. A storm is coming, and the anticipation is mounting. The rumbling of clouds rolling in, is like waiting for a concert to start.
    Storms bring change, destruction, growth. It’s nature's laundering process. Speaking of laundry, I’m reminded of what a special place the laundry room is. The thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, of the dryer. The swishing of the washing machine. Repetitive noises you can count on, like a familiar song. Oh, a great many stories have occurred in laundry rooms. Generally, a secluded part of the house. Not far enough you cannot hear the thunk thunk thunk or swish swish swish. I like cleaning it. Other people like murdering in it… I just watched the Candy Montgomery story, and boy oh boy, what an impact that made. I can imagine the wa chi ca wow version, that is not an ax coming at you.

    Which brings me to, please, don’t die that way! I was reading an article by Lauren Gray and she has a lot to say about this. Did you know, that 73% of lightning deaths occur during the summer months. She indicates, “there are three key conditions needed to create a thunderstorm: Excessive moisture in the air, atmospheric instability, and a trigger that gets the atmosphere moving.” According to this article I’m reading, there are things we shouldn’t do during a storm: for instance, go near water, because water conducts electricity. So stay stinky, and stay germy. Stay alive. Unplug electronics. This is a no-brainer, you don’t want to kill your appliances and modern technology. Do not, I repeat, do not go near your fireplace. I do not have one of these, so I will build one and subsequently stay away from it and stay alive.

    Stay alive, do not stay outside. The outside is a peculiar place. So if it thunders, do not stay outside, stay alive just far away from the shower, or any faucet and the fireplace. Oh, and, concrete can conduct electricity too… so, be prepared to play the floor is lava if you have concrete floors or concrete walls, don’t touch. The house is becoming an electrified maze of pain and possible death! Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, The Other Woman.

    She’s brighter, lighter, more creative, more sensual, in it for herself. I met her the other day. Man, she is beautiful. Those lips and the curvatures in her face and body. What about her mind? A push for authenticity and freedom. You can hear it in her words. A warrior of light, life, honesty and acceptance of her own skin. She’s everything I ever thought a woman should be. Herself.

    I mention the other woman. But, what about the other man? What about the man in the mirror? What about those guys? The other woman, indeed. Woman is always other. That is another story.

    We are a great many things and even different people, to ourselves and the people around us throughout our lives. There are parts we carry. In the words of Bono, all that we can’t leave behind. That is what we bring along, pull or push through the journey. What we’ve learned, the good and the bad. They useful teachings and those that hinder our development and self perception. Hopefully, you learned to be loved and to make your dreams come true, if not, the load gets all the more heavy. You might have learned to put yourself second or even last. You might have learned that making dreams come true is not for you. Those cases can take longer to unlearn. Not impossible, all the contrary, it is very possible to change that. As a teacher, I am in the business of learning, discovering, and teaching. A revolutionary by design. I believe in change. And not hocus pocus, wait for the stars to align, I mean change by pushing the envelope, creating awareness, motivation, and understanding processes and events from different points of view, in different lights, the use of the Socratic Method, and when all else fails, pontificating on possible realities.

    Change happens inside and out. What we believe to be true about ourselves is true or can be, if we have evidence to that effect. For instance, if you believe you can bring joy to yourself and others, is is possible inasmuch as your actions have that result. There are no special invitations to be who you really want to be. There is no Harry Potter owl about to visit you, to tell you what you know is possible. If you are a wizard, then make a spell, make magic everyday. If you are committed to justice and basic human decency, your actions will speak to that. Elvis Prestly was not wrong when he sang a little less conversation, a little more action.
    Do you ever wonder about those people, the ones that changed their lives? The singers, the entrepreneurs, the artists. They may not have had an owl bring them a special invitation either. We shouldn’t count on it. I think we need a planning stage, first and foremost, in which we clearly articulate what we want to be. The step after that is storyboarding, how do we get from who we are today to who we want to be. Identify the habits we need, the attitudes, the motivation that will get us through each day. Posing the questions. Is it about developing a talent? Changing your career? Learning a new language? Traveling? Dancing? Painting? Setting up a business? Finding love? Becoming the person who tells the stories? I’m sorry if the owl hasn’t visited you. You might have to start the journey without it.

    Becoming the other woman is not hard. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not talking about an affair. Which is the common acceptation or meaning of that phrase. Sorry, maybe next week I’ll tell you a story in that vein. Continue reading

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, It’s Not That Simple.

    It is not that simple. It never is. Unless you are on the outside of the issue or problem. In that case, it is not only simple, the solution is probably the bridge between a person and their happiness, hell, why not… bliss. So, if you are on the inside of a problem, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sorry that you are going through these tough times. We’ve all been there or maybe, we are there. When some unfeeling dumb ass comes around and dishes out solutions, I just want to say, shut up. Quiet! I know the real deal, and it is not that simple. So shut up. Be quiet. Even if they are right, even if the solution is the right way to go. Even if their solution makes the most sense or at least more sense than feeling bad, and hiding away. Life is not a company you are running, your 360 evaluation is not welcome here. No siree Bob. No thank you. Be quiet. Shut up.

    You see, people will tell you want they need, if you are sensitive enough to listen to them. That person telling you tu shut up probably really needs to be listened to. Compassion can go a long way. Hey, we all need to lick our wounds some times. I play sad music and let the sad times roll down my cheeks. Today I was reminded that sometimes you need a good cry. I’m going to pencil it in… I’m a little busy today, but I’ll make time.

    Then again, there does come a time when licking wounds becomes more a sport than an act of preservation. Putting on those grown-up pants and facing the person in the mirror can be daunting. The first time, you might say, yeah, that is too much! Back to the bed, back to living under the covers. But try again. Try again. Try again. You'll get it, you will move forward, until that unsummoned opinion from that nosey person or busybody who is just not minding their business; until what they said makes sense. It is timing. That is why it is not that simple. Timing makes all the difference.
    I curse my bad timing! CURSES! And shut up, I know what your are thinking… it isn’t bad timing, it takes as long as it takes. I was thinking about how long it has taken me to do certain things or say certain things out loud. It took as long as it took. In the words of Gustavo Cerati “It takes time for it to arrive, in the end, in the end, there are rewards.” So best keep those eyes peeled for the end, there might be treasure or at least chocolate, maybe ice cream.

    I don’t know. A trip to Bali, a trip through your wires or maybe your most quiet and desired dream. These types of rewards are normally - healthy- it is probably a learning experience that makes you wiser. Wisdom after the point! Well, ok, it isn’t a complete waste, I’ve learned what not to do, what to avoid… or so you would think. I’d rather have the chocolate, thank you. How about that treasure? Does it come in a chest? I really like boxes. I like organizing things. Sometimes the treasure is the box in which you keep things, like memories and love. Memories of my family when I was a child, the good times, not the bad times. Or the good times after the family crying times. Simpler memories like going to the coat store, picking out a rain jacket, it was pink, I imagined it a perfect pink trench coat. I couldn’t wait for the cool autumn weather and rain. Years later, I still get excited about a new umbrella. Ah, there is that umbrella again. Waiting for the rain to use my umbrella was worth every moment that built up to it. I have a lot of those memories, ancient and recent. Continue listening

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  • Hello and welcome, I’m Renée Valentina and this is Musing Interruptus. A podcast meant for sharing thoughts, stories, enjoying idiomatic phrases and words in general. You can read along; the transcription is in the description of this episode. The idiomatic expressions are in italics. Try to get the meaning from the context and then look them up to see if you were right. If you like it, share it, but more importantly, continue the conversation. Today, Goodbye, Jane.

    I’m from a generation that learned about the Birkin bag before learning about Birken herself. The compilation of her best takes from the movies revolve around her eyes and those looks that implied someone had just said something idiotic and should feel deeply ashamed for breathing in the vicinity. I’m intrigued if that is actually in line with the parts she played or it is just what I projected on her.

    The first time I became aware of Jane Birkin, I was sixteen or seventeen. I heard her over the speakers of my father’s car, singing J’taime, J’taime, oui J’taime. I blushed, I always blush. I blushed and my imagination was set ablaze. I was in the back seat, looking out the window and she came throught the sound waves and unscrambled a subset or category called what I’m allowed to be. Mind you, I was a young, sheltered teenager. Her breathy rendition of the song with Serge Gainsbourg was enough to propel images of what I wanted my love and sex life to look like. Of course, that was my ruin.

    Over the years I would listen to a song here and there. Her rendition of ‘Harvest Moon’ never disappoints. What can we say about ‘Orang Outang’, the expression of preference for a toothless stuffed animal over a human relationships. We cannot overlook ‘Le canari est sur le balcon’, an act of preserving life while casting off her own. On the same album, we can hear ‘Les Soucettes’, we may have learned the word for lollipop in French, but my dear, that is no lollipop. 1969 was lucky to start with Jane’s voice and I was lucky to meet her, over the airwaves, when I did.

    I’ve never watched her movies. I probably will. I might not ever have my own Birkin bag. Although, at this point in my life, I’m more for the woven purse she carried around, did you know her third important partner ran it over… can you believe it? I’ve never felt so passionately about a handbag, nor have I ever been with someone who would run something of mine over with their car. What a thing.

    Well, Now that I know, and not that I needed it now, but, I realize that this bombshell of a woman, was publicly multidimensional, she had different causes, one we share, clearly she loved Paris, that we share too. Her voice, that once inadvertently informed a piece of my puzzle, has now revealed another part. Confirming what I have know all along, we are not just one thing. You might listen my voice but I promise there is more to me, there are eyes, and nose, and mouth, and ears, hands and arms, legs and feet, breasts and a bum, genitals, organs, cartilage, bones, blood, and saliva, pride and regret intertwined with desire, love, anger, hate, tenderness, and curiosity, and neurotransmitters and thoughts, pleasant, funny, terrifying, and educational, quizzical, all pieces that make me. The wonderful thing about Jane Birkin is that her pieces can be enjoyed on the silver screen, through her 20 albums, through the eyes of those who admired her, like me, today. We may never know the whole of her, her most important pieces, only known to her ears. I wonder if she had a narrator and what she felt the first time she crossed a bridge in Paris or felt the cold autumn wind on her cheeks. Maybe she was more for spring or summer. I’ve enjoyed her voice, deep, breathy, sensual. A piece of my own identity puzzle. Now I enjoy knowing other things about her, the purse she preferred and her politics.

    Goodbye Jane, Je t’aime… moi non plus…

    Thank you for listening.

    Continue reading

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