A Day In The Life – Val Mondor

Photos courtesy of Val Mondor
Photos courtesy of Val Mondor

Where did you grow up?

Before high school, I grew up in many places – WY, CO, LA, Germany, Duluth. Then when Dad retired from the Air Force, we settled in White Bear Lake, MN.

Where do you live?

Little Canada, MN which harkens back to my Québécois roots

Who do you live with?

A whole bunch of plants…yes, they’re Who, not What.

What is your occupation?

Retired PBS video editor, voice talent

When did you come out?

Age 45

How’d that go?

I regret hurting the man with whom I was living for many years. I wish I would have known myself better and come out sooner. When I was a young woman back in the 1970s, most lesbians around me were androgynous and I didn’t see where I fit in. So I was a lesbian-wannabe for a long time. I was the token-het in my extended family, the Vivian Vance Memorial Card Collective (VVMCC), a small group of gay men and lesbians who are fabulous social gamers. I love that we’ve stayed connected.

When do you wake up?

Usually between 5 and 6 a.m.

Phone alarm or old school alarm?

Phone alarm – only used a few times a week to guarantee I don’t miss my early morning weight training at Bravo Fitness.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

Drink a cup of coffee with milk, play Scrabble online with my long-distance (Canada) girlfriend. Often early in the morning, I “pray” with yoga.



What do you nerd out for (gaming, music, history, etc.)?

I love games – virtual and otherwise. Cards, Scrabble, Mexican Train and my almost daily passion of pickleball.

What music have you been digging lately?

Rory Block, JJ Cale, Susan Werner

Is your work space tidy or a hot mess?

Mostly tidy. Moon in Libra, y’know.

What’s been your favorite job?

For over 40 years at Twin Cities Public TV, I worked as a video editor with some of the best storytellers in the industry. I miss that challenging collaboration. I was also a union steward there. My next fav jobs were radio DJing and driving cab.

Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in?

Take out. I enjoy cooking for special occasions.

On a usual weeknight, you are doing what?

Varies widely. Correspondence, films, reading, conjuring world peace


Now that I’ve learned of its importance, I try to get to sleep by 10 p.m.

Favorite weekend activity?

For decades, I’ve enjoyed two-stepping and line dancing with my queer TwinCitiesCountryDancers.org. Lessons are always included and I love that we’re now attracting a younger crowd.

Of what are you most proud and why?

In two words: Building Community … whether through hosting barn dances, teaching dance at MichFest, helping organize Out in the Valley, or volunteering at Radio Talking Book.

• When I was a rural landowner, I hosted 23 barn dances which were quite popular. I also shared my love of dance by teaching at the Michigan Women’s Music Festival; the fest continues in a smaller format these days and I taught there the last few years.

• Out in the Valley is a social network of LGBTQ+ folks in the St. Croix River Valley which is where I used to live. Pre-pandemic, we used to meet regularly; but now our main connectivity is through our monthly newsletter which I edit.

• I was a volunteer reader for 25 years at the Radio Talking Book which is a free news and information service. Now that I’ve retired, I’ve resumed reading there with a program called Rated R, an hour of politics, culture and sex. Check out the vast array of content at: https://apps.deed.state.mn.us/ssb/rtb/  Rated R is archived under Saturday 11 p.m. Bonus is that LGBTQ+ News is the next program which follows Sunday 12 a.m.

Words of wisdom to share:

Little 12-year-old Val came across these words of Victor Hugo which still have a big impact on me:

Be like the bird
Who halting in flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath her
Yet sings
Knowing she has wings.

In other words, just do it.

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