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The Massads Passion for Food and Family

Skin Deep Lisa Montag helping others feel good

Scrap Shack A crafter’s dream for Jean Gansen

Minnesota State Parks Nature at it’s best!


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FEATURES 6  Family Franchise With five local restaurants to date, the Massad family has made its name with food – specifically, the schwarma.

10  Skin Deep Feeling good often starts with looking good – which starts with your skin and help from Lisa Montag.


12  Crafter’s Paradise Jean Gansen has a whole house in which she – and anyone else – can spread out their supplies and create.

15  Speaking of Health Start the new year off right with these tips for a successful wellness plan.



4  Publisher’s Note 17  Book Reviews 20  Travel: Minnesota State Parks

Explore Minnesota this year, one state park at a time.

22  Community Calender Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 3 

publisher’s notes

Welcome to the winter edition of Mature Lifestyle…


hen we started brainstorming ideas for this issue of Mature, we tended to gravitate toward the theme of “a new year...a new you... living your passion.” And somehow, we were able to find a full slate of feature stories centered around that theme to fill this issue. One of Jean Gansen’s passions is crafting. But most of us who do craft projects know that it’s hard to completely unleash your creativity if you don’t have enough space in which to spread out and work. Jean no longer has to worry about that – and neither do the people who visit “My Scrap Shack,” just outside of St. Peter. Jean has turned her grandparents’ home into the perfect space for stamping, scrapbooking, quilting or whatever other projects you might be interested in. Read more about how Jean uses the space, and her hopes for how others might use it as well. Most everyone in the area will recognize our cover man, John Massad. I certainly do. He and his wife Najwa hired me as a young college student – I was one of the first servers at Meray’s restaurant when it opened. It has been wonderful to watch their success over the past 30 years (Gee, did I actually write 30 years? How could that be?) Meray and Karla were very young at the time, and the four of them lived above the restaurant. They opened their arms to young students like myself, even though I was only working part-time, and they still do! I still have images seared in my mind of those days: John, carving the schwarma and sharpening his knife, same spot, every day; the pastry case when you first walked in the door; the cook who 4  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles

always called me “Tabouli” (which to this day confuses me, because it was a salad on their menu); the stairs going to the second level and the food elevator we used. The list goes on and on. Meray’s was a great restaurant and a great job for me. And the Massads are a wonderful, close-knit family who have made food and service their passion. Be sure to stop in at the new Massad’s Grille on Monks Avenue, near Minnesota State University, Mankato. I certainly can’t wait to see their dream expand to a franchise. I envy John. He spends a lot of time creating in front of his spice rack. I too, like to dabble in the kitchen (see photo) – but I’m not as creative as John. I always have to follow a recipe, and he seems to create things intuitively. But still, my favorite time is Sunday afternoon, when I put on my “Minnesota Hot Dish” apron and make pasta dishes or sweets for my family. You will also enjoy the story of Lisa Montag and her business, Skin Essentials, which is now a part of the Mankato Clinic. Lisa is a gem. She’s always concerned about her patients, and she always strives to help them look their best. I first met Lisa a few years ago, when I made an appointment to talk about a scar on my face. As a little girl, I was bitten in the face by our family dog. Our family doctor did an awesome job of

stitching me up and most of the scars where unnoticeable, but there was one, by my lip, that was getting really deep as I was aging. Lisa worked on the scar tissue, and now the deep groove that had been so much a part of my life has disappeared. I no longer feel self conscious as I shake someone’s hand and watch their eyes move to my mouth. I no longer see their expression change to “I wonder what happened there...” She boosted my self-esteem, as she has done with so many others. Finally, check out our travel feature about visiting Minnesota’s State Parks. The almost 80 parks throughout the state await your presence this summer. Hook up your camper and boat to enjoy our state’s finest natural resources. Start with a few and put the rest on your “bucket list.” You’ll see a lot of the state, and it may be just what you need to become a “new you.” Finding a new year...a new you...a new passion will not be hard in 2014. My goal is to make this the year of self-discovery through the pages of Mature Lifestyle. I will then challenge you to take that desire and share what you’ve found to help others find the same. It may be navigating hardship with optimism and grace. It may be showing others an avenue to health. It may be finding your own personal space to do the things you love. Or it may be serving the community with a taste of what you love. Whatever your passion...make it a statement about you. Keep warm and watch for the spring edition of Mature, it is right around the corner!

Kelly Hulke, Publisher

Mature Lifestyle is a Quarterly Publication of the Home Magazine, Mankato, MN. A Property of Community First Holdings, Inc.

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On the cover: John Massad featured in his new restaurant, Massad’s Grille


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Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 5 

John Massad

Chef John Massad stands at the entrance of the new Massad’s Grille on Monk’s Ave. His motto is proudly written on the wall behind him, ”Your journey starts here...We take pride in what we do, especially when it comes to our food. From our family to yours, enjoy!” 6  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles

Family Franchise By Joe Tougas


hen John Massad cooks up a new creation at a family gathering or event, one relative is known to tell all who are praising it: “You better like it now, because he doesn’t make the same dish twice.” Improvisation in the kitchen is one feature that has kept the Massad family synonymous with consistent, creative and definitely-going-back-there cuisine in Mankato for 30 years. So, too, is an aroma that sneaks up and introduces itself in warm spices that underscore John’s insistence that nearly every salad, soup, entrée and dessert be made from scratch. “I create things, you know?” John says at the new Massad’s Grille, the family’s fifth local restaurant venture. It’s freezing out and mid-afternoon, so the place, located near Minnesota State University, Mankato, is quiet. That makes it a little easier to catch John’s thick Lebanese accent. “I put things together. When I see it and touch it, it has to talk to me. I have a conversation, me and my meal.” Shaped not by tablespoons and measuring cups but pinches, splashes and dashes, the family business that began as Meray’s restaurant is now poised to enter a new world that would seem at odds with creative flourishes and invention: franchising.

Starting from Scratch When Meray’s opened on Mankato’s Hickory Street in 1984, John Massad was already a trained chef with international credentials. He’d grown up in Zahle, Lebanon, and learned his trade in Massad family bakeries and restaurants serving Mediterranean, French and American fare. It was in Lebanon that he met Najwa Chalhoub, a Mankatoan who was visiting her relatives. The two were married and eventually settled back in Mankato with hopes of opening a white-tablecloth restaurant that would offer ethnic cuisine alongside American favorites.

John Massad (center) and his family, (l-r), wife Najwa, daughters Karla Njoku and Meray Rahme.

Fast food was grabbing much of Mankato’s restaurant business in the early 80s and “ethnic” was more a college seminar topic than a dining option. Into this opened Meray’s, named after the couple’s daughter and featuring steaks, salads and one particular jewel, the chicken schwarma: marinated, mildly spicy chicken meat roasted on a spit and served in pocket bread with lettuce, tomato, pickle and a creamy sauce. Hours to make, three minutes to eat.

Photo by Elite Portrait Design, Mankato

“It was nice to have an additional kind of flavor in Mankato restaurants,” recalls former Minnesota State Senator John Hottinger, whose work office was a block from Meray’s and who retained a connection with the family throughout their growth. “They provided employment for my kids and schwarmas for me to eat.” The two-level restaurant thrived for years with particularly strong lunch crowds keeping John busy carving at the schwarma grill. “I had a menu – and a good menu – for lunch,” John laughs today. “And people would come in ‘No, no menu. I need the schwarma.’ That’s how it started.”

Stepping Out

John standing in the balcony of Meray’s restaurant in 1984, the beginning days of his legacy.

In the mid-1990s, the management of Mankato’s Civic Center invited Meray’s to be the caterer for the new facility. That invitation was the result of polling executives and business owners in the area about (continued on next page) Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 7 

John Massad

(continued from previous page)

Into it he went again in 2007 when he what local restaurant they’d like to see agreed to open and operate a new restauhandle the facility’s food service. rant for the Hilton Garden Inn in down“Of course, I panicked,” says Najwa. town Mankato. This was his chance to “John said, ‘Yes, we’d be honored to get back in a full kitchen and, he do it.’” recalls thinking, to make the That launched Najwa’s John old Meray’s one step better.. Catering, now in its 19th insists that “We learned: no tableyear. From rock ‘n’ roll cloth. Be casual, be stylish, road crews at the Civic every salad, be whatever, but don’t be Center to company soup, entrée and scared to come in with picnics in Iowa, Najwa dessert be made jeans.” says she prides herself on Far from letting compethe flexible nature of the from scratch. tition worry him, he seems business and how Meray’s to invite it. Better for everycuisine got to live on even one, he says. after the restaurant closed “I always hold true to my in 1997. base,” John says. “I do my homework They closed Meray’s to put more and build the team to be behind me, lead attention into catering and their experithem to do a good job and let the people mental stand called Massad’s at the River Hills Mall food court. Their presence in the decide. So that’s my philosophy in the mall allowed the schwarma to reach a much business.” Najwa, who says she’s not so easygoing about competition, says she’ll larger audience – so large, in fact, that the family recently started selling its schwarma announce a new restaurant to him and John will shake it off. sauce in supermarkets across Minnesota. “John says your only competition is “When you see people enjoying yourself,” she says. “You have to make what you’re doing you get more into it,” yourself better.” John says.

Top: The world famous Schwarma made with John’s special sauce. Bottom: Massad’s Grille features 15 different types of salads.

To that end, he’s been gleefully going to work at 6:30 a.m. for the past year, coming home about 14 hours later. He’ll agree, with a shrug, to labels of workaholic and perfectionist “You gotta love what you do,” he says. “And I enjoy it. I listen to the people. They keep calling me for more, more, more. I’m willing to answer what they ask me to do. That’s why I love it.”

Family Business Grows

The family can sometimes be found at the corner table of the restaurant, discussing the events of the day and enjoying one of John’s creations. Photo by Elite Portrait Design, Mankato

8  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles

The Massad Group, as the family business is known, is pretty self-contained. They’ve taken on few if any outside advisors and nobody but John has touched the menu. John serves as the creative head and Najwa handles her catering service and the overall business side of things. Their daughter Karla Njoku helps with marketing the business, and daughter Meray Rahme serves as interior designer.


“The kids, Karla and Meray, they have some stuff I cannot do,” John says. “And then they take my idea and they polish it.” Told he looks like an intimidating boss, John doesn’t get a chance to respond. “He’s a pushover,” Najwa says. “I’m intimidating. He’s very stern with his employees, they realize what he wants and they understand. John will instruct. But if somebody did something wrong, I’d have them out the door in ten seconds.” “My job is to be patient,” John says. “But you have to kind of shake them once in a while and say you’ve got to be proud to be part of this. I’m teaching you to succeed.” Says Karla: “He is one of the most compassionate men I’ve ever known. He doesn’t give up on people and has a soft heart for those who struggle in life.” Hottinger, who stopped into Olives recently, had a chance to rekindle connections. “They’re so friendly,” he says of the Massads. “They remember the people who they serve.”

Looking Ahead With the opening of Massad’s Grille on Monks Ave last year, the Massad family now has two models for franchise opportunities: the food court version, which would work in airports and malls, and the cafeteria-counter style version in place at the Grille. “We wanted customers to have the experience of looking at different things as they make their way to the schwarma,” Najwa said. Along that route, they’ll encounter 15 different styles of salads, (made on the spot or ready-to-go), schwarma pizza, soups and sandwiches – including pulled pork, lamb burrito, kefta kabob and, of course, the chicken schwarma. A major step toward being franchisefriendly is automation. Karla has helped her father develop a patent for a chicken schwarma grilling apparatus, one that will

John sharpens his knife to begin carving the 70 lbs. of layered rotating chicken used in making the schwarma sandwich. Right now, the restaurants go through up to five of these each day. John smiles as he says, “That should increase...”

not only cook the meat consistently, but automatically carve it. Back upstairs in his office and prep kitchen, two long rows of bulk spice jars lead to a gigantic and crowded pot of simmering soup base. Nearby, a dozen or so fat golden beets are being soaked for later use in roasted golden beet salad. A video screen monitors activity in the restaurant below. This is where John will be for a while, working on seeing his legacy go further – and measuring it. “We’re trying to write everything down,” he says. “So all my recipes are there.”

John does most of his creating in front of this spice rack which is located in the upstairs prep kitchen, while watching the restaurant below.

“You gotta love what you do. And I enjoy it. I listen to the people. They keep calling me for more, more, more. I’m willing to answer what they ask me to do. That’s why I love it.” John Massad

Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 9 


Skin O

ne doesn’t have to delve too deep into behavioral science to know that looking good goes a long way toward feeling good. But sometimes a little science can help you get there. When Lisa Montag started Skin Essentials as her own business in Mankato, it was her mission to weed out the snake oils of miracle cures in the marketplace and provide medically endorsed products that work for issues such as wrinkles, loose skin, age spots and other appearancerelated downers. “We all want to look good, feel good about ourselves,” she says in her Mankato Clinic office in Madison East Center. “And there are so many myths out there. Everything’s a wrinkle cure. I wanted to take those products and test them and find things that actually work.” Since 2012, Skin Essentials has been part of the Mankato Clinic, a collaboration in which the dermatology department will make referrals to her and vice versa, depending on the case. Montag, along with Dr. Cathy Davis, a dermatologist, provides treatments such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, Botox and dermal fillers for the face and hair removal, skin resurfacing and laser treatment for other areas. The facial treatments exfoliate old skin, tighten lines, blur or eliminate wrinkles and generally give the face a healthier and younger appearance – often fulfilling a bit item on a client’s emotional wish list. 10  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles


“I see a lot of people who hit 40 or 50 and their skin has just lost its luster,” she says. “I’ve had people come in and cry, saying ‘Can you help? I’m getting divorced or getting re-married, and I just need to feel good.’”

Making a Difference Prior to merging with the Mankato Clinic, Montag – an RN and nurse practitioner trained at Minnesota State University,

Lisa Montag works on a patient in her Mankato Clinic office at the Madison East Center. The merger with the clinic is mutually beneficial since each can make referrals and the list of services was expanded to fulfill client needs.

By Joe Tougas

Mankato – operated Skin Essentials for five years in an office built by her husband, Mick, at Trail Creek Center. She offered the basics of microdermabrasions, chemical peels, Botox and filler injections. The merger with the clinic in 2012 seemed to be a mutually beneficial agreement. The clinic was interested in a med-spa and Montag, whose business was doing well, wanted to expand the services she could provide. Davis says the partnership with Skin Essentials has been a great asset to the clinic, particularly through the availability of laser treatments that can be used on a wide range of conditions at any age, from rosacea to acne to wrinkles. “It makes a difference in many people’s lives,” Davis says. Nancy Knutson, a client and part-time employee at Skin Essentials, says she’s falls into the group of women who are at an age when their faces don’t necessarily match their overall fitness. “What happens with most women in our age group is we’re taking good care of our bodies and we’re fit and we don’t like to see this aging face,” says Knutson, 64. “So you get up in the morning, you feel great, you’re ready to go out and do your exercise and an older face meets you in the mirror. It’s a little disheartening. So there are things we can do to help with that.” Hers is also a generation that worshipped the sun, and the effects of that are now known to invite skin cancer as well as

Making her clients feel good about themselves has always been Lisa’s top priority... ”I want them to walk out and be told, ‘You know, you look really nice today.’ That’s all we’re looking for.”

blemishes, wrinkles and discoloration upon aging. Skin Essentials sees plenty of clients whose days in the sun took a toll, and their products do help, Knutson says. “A lot of women don’t want to go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on facelifts, but they want to look better. The products and procedures Lisa has there will help them look better.”

Going for the Glow Montag’s services are non-invasive, inoffice procedures. She also offers retail products that she’s researched for cost and effectiveness. “Mentally, doing something for themselves make people feel good. They don’t need to tell anybody. It might even be a microderm or something just to bring a shine back to their skin. People are judged. You walk in somewhere and they take a look at you. No matter what business, what you do – unless you’re a telemarketer – people do. And you can cover up with clothes and stuff, but yet there’s your face.” “There are things I can’t fix. And I tell people. But I have a lot of repeat clients because of that. I’ve taken all the guesswork out of things and that’s what people want.” One repeat client is Jan Carlin, 66, a security guard in New Ulm. She initially sought some help, she says, for wrinkles under her chin and so-called smile lines down the side of her face. “I wanted to improve my looks for selfesteem,” Carlin says. “Lisa asked a bunch of questions and explained everything perfectly…I asked about my chin, and she was perfectly honest. She said ‘It really doesn’t show that much, Jan.’ It was just a matter of doing some exercises with my face to improve the sagging. She showed me some exercises that would help with that.” (continued on page 13) Mature Mature Lifestyles  Lifestyles  Winter Winter 2014 2014 11  11 



C aF t e By Sara Gilbert Frederick


ost people would be happy with an extra room, or even just a nice, big closet, for their craft supplies. Jean Gansen got a whole house. “I actually have to control myself,” she laughs. “I could probably fill it all up, so I have to be careful.” Gansen has always been a crafter. She grew up in a family of crafters, actually. Her grandma had hosted family craft sales at her house for years, and Gansen remembers bringing small woodworking projects to those when she was younger. Today, she is an avid paper crafter. And as a Stampin’ Up representative, she has accumulated an enormous collection of stamps, papers, ribbons, inks and other supplies. So when she and her husband bought her grandmother’s house – which is just across the driveway from their own – she knew exactly what she would do with the space. “My husband though we’d rent it out,” Gansen says. “But I knew. I could always see what it would become.”



her grandparents owned, and it was directly adjacent to their property. When it became clear years later that Grandma was going to need to move to a long-term care situation, the Gansens decided to buy her property as well. Jean’s husband was particularly interested in the shed that stood at one end of the acreage, because they couldn’t add a building of that size to their own land. Jean, meanwhile, had her eyes on a different building. “I said, if you get the shed, I get the house,” Gansen remembers. Grandma moved to Good Samaritan Home in St. Peter in 2004 and the family started moving her things out of the house. As space opened up, Gansen began filling

Craft House The idea for what is now known as My Scrap Shack had been percolating for many years. The Gansens built their rural St. Peter home in 1991, on a lot they purchased from Jean’s grandparents. It was the last available lot in a long section of land that 12  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles


Jean Gansen, owner of “My Scrap Shack,” has renovated her grandparents home into a retreat for others who want to craft, relax and spend time together.




it up again with her supplies. She set up long tables in the living room and hosted her Stampin’ Up demonstrations there. “I always had to haul all of my stuff around, and inevitably I’d get there and realize that I had forgotten to bring one piece of ribbon or something,” she says. “It was so much easier once I could do it at the house.” Gansen and her husband started peeling layers of wallpaper off the walls and pulling up carpet – even in the bathroom. They cleaned out the basement, painting the block walls and concrete floors. They installed new windows and new siding and reworked the wiring. As they worked, the vision Gansen had for the house started crystallizing. Yes, she was excited to have the extra storage space and room to spread out projects. Yes, it was a great place to host demonstrations. But Gansen knew that it could be so much more as well. She saw it as a haven for other women who wanted space to work as well. She saw it as a retreat for friends who wanted to be able to have a quiet place to craft, relax and spend time together. She saw it as a house full of potential for stampers, scrapbookers, quilters and others. “I had a vision for what I thought it could be,” she says. “I just had to convince my husband to see the light – and after 25 years, you get pretty good at that.”

Turns out that it wasn’t just her husband she had to convince. The more laborious part of the process came when she sought approval from the county to turn the house into a business where customers would come to stay. “I had to go through two conditional use permits and have the well redone,” she says. “And then the health inspector had to go through – and that, we’ll have to do every year from now on as well.” By the end of 2011, all of the necessary permits were in place and Gansen was ready to open the doors of her new business: My Scrap Shack.

Shelves and Sheets Since opening the business, Gansen has hosted weekly scrapbooking sessions and held monthly classes for a core group of crafters. She no longer spreads out tables in the living room for those get togethers; now that’s a comfortable sitting space. Instead, she has three workstations in the cozy basement, each with two sturdy chairs, adjustable lights and room to spread out supplies. Her own supplies are now organized on shelves she picked up at going-out-of business sales of local retailers. She has a library of her stamps that sit along one wall of her personal office space and a shorter shelving system full of ribbons along another wall. She shares those supplies with her guests when they come to her classes and is happy to check certain sets out to them as well. She spends a lot of time over at the house herself, sometimes with only her dog for company, other times with her sister, cousin or other friends. So far, she hasn’t rented out the house as a retreat space to any overnight guests – although the three bedrooms are all neatly made up, with a stack of fresh towels neatly placed at the end of each bed. The contents of the kitchen cabinets and drawers are identified on beautifully made hanging labels tied to the knobs and pulls, so that guests will quickly find the cooking tools they might need for their meals. All of the appliances are working and ready as well.

Lisa Montag (continued from page 11)

My Scrap Shack is the perfect place to craft. It features plenty of space and adjustable lighting.

Jean has an extensive library of blocks for stamping, ribbons and supplies that guests can use during their visit.

Gansen looks forward to hosting a girl’s weekend at My Scrap Shack some day soon. But she isn’t worried that she hasn’t yet. “For me, this was never meant to be my main job or my money maker,” she says. “I work full time at Nicollet County Bank, and this is what I do for fun. It’s a lower priority for me. I hope people will come some day and enjoy it, but right now, hosting classes works well.” For more information about My Scrap Shack, visit Jean Gansen’s blog at http://myscrapshack.blogspot. com or My Scrap Shack on Facebook. For details about classes or daily and weekend rates, email Gansen at jgansen725@mchsi.com.

She did have some Botox treatment, Carlin says, to great effect. And she appreciates how Montag took a lot of time to talk before, during and after the procedure. “Every step of the way she told me what she was doing and what the procedure meant,” Carlin says. The wrinkles she’d been concerned with were gone, and she’s since followed advice for follow-up care – including not smoking. “I believe what you ingest shows,” Montag says. “We don’t market our own vitamins, but I’m big into vitamins and water and just generally taking care of this organ. It’s our largest organ and we take the least amount of care with it. Yes, we slather sunscreen on and we’re like, OK, I’m good. You know what? No.” There’s no common client, she adds, because the stories, the concerns, the needs and what can be done all vary individual to individual. “Not everybody wants to be wrinklefree,” she adds. “They just want a glow or a luster. I want them to walk out and be told, ‘You know, you look really nice today.’ That’s all we’re looking for.”

Montag’s services are non-invasive, in-office procedures. She also offers retail products that she’s researched for cost and effectiveness.

Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 13 

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14  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles


by Stephen Campbell, M.D.


ith the arrival of 2014, it’s time to live up to your New Year’s resolutions, which might include tobacco cessation, stress reduction, increased fitness or a weight-loss goal. Remember to speak with your primary health care provider before significantly changing your daily health and fitness routine, especially if you have chronic health issues.

Secret to success New Year’s resolutions are easy to make, but not so easy to achieve. The key to success lies in developing a structured health plan, also known as a wellness plan. The health plan will outline:

♥ Where you’re headed. ♥ Why you want to get there. ♥ What challenges you may face along ♥

the way. How you plan to work through the challenges.

1. Create a health vision. It’s critical to clearly visualize your goals. The first step is to create a health vision, which is a powerful, broad statement that describes who you want to be once you have met those goals. Think about a healthy future and what that might look like to you. Convert those thoughts into a short, clear statement – your health vision. While there are many ways to write a health vision, one popular format is: “I want ______, so that ________.” Examples include: “I want to lose weight, so that I have more energy to enjoy life.” “I want to be physically fit, so that I am no longer out of breath.” “I want to have better balance between work and my personal life, so that I have

more quality time for myself and for my family.” 2. Identify your motivators. After you compose a health vision that you feel confident you can attain, determine which motivators will drive your desire to make those changes. Some common motivators are:

♥ Buying clothes in smaller sizes. ♥ Having energy to play with

your children. Watching your grandchildren grow up. ♥ ♥ Reducing high blood pressure medication. 3. Accept challenges and work on strategies. Nearly everyone will face challenges during their health journey that could interfere with realizing established goals. Challenges might include a busy family life, work, school, medical issues or peer pressure to continue bad habits. It’s important to identify potential challenges and envision strategies to address them as part of an effective health plan. 4. Set SMART goals. Goals help keep you focused on your health vision. Achieving identified goals produces a feeling of accomplishment and much-needed motivation to fuel your health journey. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-framed.

♥ Specific: What am I going to do? ♥ Measurable: How will I track

my progress? Achievable: What steps will I take to ♥ make this happen? ♥ Relevant: Is this important enough to me to want to do it? Time-framed: When will I do this? ♥

Your SMART goals should consist of both long-term and short-term goals. Establish your long-term goal first. An example of a long-term goal is, “I will walk briskly for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.” However, if you haven’t been exercising on a regular basis, there is often a need for intermediary, short-term goals. For example, “I will walk 15 minutes during my lunch hour at least three days each week for the next month.” After reaching your shortterm goal, extend your efforts gradually, until you ultimately accomplish your long-term goal.

Don’t give up It can be difficult to make changes to your lifestyle, so ensure you have a network of family and friends to encourage and partner with you during your health journey. Additionally, consider keeping a health journal to record your activities and achievements, adding to your motivation and accountability. Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing, dynamic process. Creating a health plan, engaging your Stephen Campbell, M.D. support system and celebrating shortterm and long-term successes are positive behaviors that will deliver benefits this year and beyond. Use this New Year’s celebration as an opportunity to begin the journey of living a healthier life. For more information, please go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org.

Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 15 

Hans C. Bengtson, M.D.


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“The Dogs and I: True Tails from the Mississippi” by Kenny Salwey c.2013, Fulcrum Books $15.00 / higher in Canada 179 pages


he whole world is your living room. That’s how it feels sometimes because you don’t know any better place for relaxing than the outdoors. With a shady tree as your easy chair, birdsong as your music, and your dog nearby, you could be outside 24/7. You and your furry best friend do everything together: hunting, fishing, exploring, observing. And in the new book The Dogs and I by Kenny Salwey, you’ll see that man + dog + outdoors = a pretty good life. When Kenny Salwey was about four years old, he was attacked by a dog – in a good way. The pooch’s name was Brownie, and Salwey remembers coming around the corner of his parents’ house as Brownie knocked him to the ground and “thoroughly washed my face, which no doubt needed it anyway.” That was the first dog Salwey remembers loving, but Brownie was far from the last. Rover was six-year-old Salwey’s first hunting pal. It’s always their job to rid the farm of feed-destroying sparrows and Rover was good at flushing them out. He was also a good fishing companion on lazy summer afternoons, as Salwey remembers. Teddy, who joined the family later, was a coddled Mama’s boy and Salwey’s mother encouraged it by fussing over the dog. Then along came Pepper, who lived up to his spicy name. Pepper sure made a fine squirrel dog, though. Once he got out of the army in the 1960s, Salwey – who missed life “on the lovely little farm tucked away back in the hill country” – got a dog as soon as he could.

Old Spook was almost a throwaway, but he became a once-in-a-lifetime dog for Salwey: they were hunting companions, fishing buddies, and “inseparable” best friends for sixteen years. It broke Salwey’s heart when Spook died but “Old Spook helped me better understand the great Circle of Life.” Spike followed Spook, and fish-retrieving Joey Girl came afterward. There was Spider, Travis, and Webster before the travel bug bit the Salweys and they decided against having another pooch. Traveling was a dream come true, but coming and going is hard on a pup. Still, what’s a River Rat without his swamp dog? While it’s true that anybody can read The Dogs and I, there’s no doubt in my mind that outdoorsy teens – particularly, maybe, boys - will love this book best. That’s because author Kenny Salwey speaks the language of a lover of the land. Salwey’s words are thoughtful and earth-kind, evoking old-time sentiments mixed with modern sustainability. Every duck or pheasant hunter who owns this book will think of his favorite hunting spot as he reads; every fisherman will recognize the feeling of knowing something’s been hooked; and both will remember their own four-legged companions, without whom the sport is just no fun. I think outdoorsmen (and women) ages 13-to-17 will love this book, and they can easily share it with their dads and granddads, too. For hunters, fishers, and lovers of Labs, The Dogs and I is a world of good reading.

Book Reviews by Terri Schilichenmeyer

“The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters” by Jerry Apps c.2013, Wisconsin Historical Society Press $22.95 / higher in Canada 150 pages


ou saw it first thing this morning, and you grumbled. You know how much extra work that stuff is: shoveling, brushing, scraping. Everything needs more time to warm up and get going – including you. Sure, snow is pretty… for about ten minutes. Or, as you’ll see in The Quiet Season by Jerry Apps, it’s beautiful for a lifetime. Born to a pair of farmers in the “midst of the Great Depression,” Jerry Apps says that, save but for his time spent in the Army, he’s never missed a Wisconsin winter. For folks in snowy climes, winter reminds us that “we are not in charge,” he says. The winters of 1939-1947 were particularly memorable for Apps. Electricity hadn’t yet come to his parents’ farm – it didn’t arrive until the spring of ’47 – which meant that milking cows and fetching water was all done by hand. Dinner was made on a wood-burning stove that served both to prepare food and to heat the kitchen. (continued on next page)

“Man + dog + outdoors = a pretty good life.”

Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 17 

Book Reviews

“The Baby Boom”

by P.J. O’Rourke c.2014, Atlantic Monthly Press $25.00 / $27.50 Canada Homework for the three Apps boys was done 272 pages

(continued from previous page)

by kerosene lamp. Apps remembers how his father prepared for winter by “making wood” from dead oak trees and hauling it closer to the house. The family butchered a hog every fall because they “needed the meat if we were going to survive the long winter.” Produce from garden and field was laid in for the season. Even when there was a snowstorm, the three Apps boys had to walk to school and they tried not to miss a day. The season’s first snow was especially exciting; says Apps, he and his classmates were “running around like we were possessed by first snowfall demons.” As white stuff piled up, his teacher in the one-room schoolhouse tapped one of the bigger children to shovel a path to the outhouses. Apps recalls playing in the snow, and wading through waist-high drifts. He remembers hunting in it, travelling by car and on foot through it, and hoping that Santa could handle it. He recalls when neighbors took care of neighbors and dances were held in someone’s dining room. And he remembers the perfection of winter some 70 years ago, its loveliness and its magic. I’m not sure where it came from, but reading The Quiet Season gave me a definite sense of pulse-slowing calmness. Maybe that’s because author Jerry Apps – who often mentions his love of a good story – is himself the teller of tales that circle around community in a TV-less, packedcalendar-free, horse-drawn but hard-working world that fewer and fewer folks remember. They’re told with awe, gratitude, grace, more than a little knee-slapping – and lots of love for the way things were, the rotation of the seasons, the bounty of the land, and the perseverance of its people. This is the kind of book that elders will read and read again. It’s a book you’ll want to give to a whiner. It’s one you’ll be glad to curl up with because, though it’s mostly about winter, The Quiet Season will leave you warm.

18  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles


henever you get together with old friends – no matter what the reason – it always ends up with “Remember When…?” Remember piling in the station wagon, scrambling for a good seat in the back? And when your sister chased that bully away? He was bigger than she, but twice as scared. And remember cruising down Washington Avenue in a convertible, top-down? Ahh, those were the days: fun then, fun to recall now. And when you read The Baby Boom by P.J. O’Rourke, you’ll remember even more of them. To write about the Baby Boom is to tackle a big project: there are more than 75 million of us, born over the course of nearly twenty years. There are times, in fact, when “the oldest Baby Boomers are sometimes the parents – usually via an oopsie – of the youngest Baby Boomers.” Basically, though, Baby Boomers can be sorted, much like high school, into seniors (at the beginning of the Boom); juniors (born in the early 50s); sophomores (late 50s); and freshmen (born at Boom’s end). This book, written by a “senior,” nonetheless holds memories for all Boomers… Memories like getting a new TV, though the people on television were generally members of the “Silent Generation,” born between our parents and us. Later, they’d be the “anyone over 30” we weren’t supposed to trust. When we went anywhere in our parents’ big-finned cars, we rode in the front seat, often standing up. Houses had one phone, connected to the wall, but we rarely used it because yelling across several yards was the preferred neighborhood method of communication. People wrote letters, too, or they just “dropped over,” no appointment necessary. Kids played outside a lot then, and parents liked it that way. Games were fair, it didn’t matter who won, and “we ran wild

– in a rather tame manner.” We learned the Facts of Life (and didn’t want to believe it), we spied on one another, blew things up, had crushes, were embarrassed by our parents, and were told that we could “be or do anything.” It was, says O’Rourke, a “good and happy place” to grow up. Though it does sometimes descend into curmudgeon territory and can seem somewhat growly, The Baby Boom really is quite a pleasure. Despite that author P.J. O’Rourke was an early Boomer (a “senior”), there’s plenty of Universal Boomer Truths here, and lots of nostalgia for anyone born between 1946 and 1964. O’Rourke (largely) ignores his usual topics in this book, instead bringing back the kinds of memories that occur when family and friends gather – though politics peek into the latter half of the book, and sarcastically profane humor isn’t missing, either. Overall, that will appeal to hip first-time readers without disappointing long-time fans. Better than an Ed Sullivan marathon; more enjoyable than Beach Boys Radio Weekend; more fun than cleaning out your parents’ attic, this book is a Boomer’s delight. If your bags are packed for a trip down Memory Lane, The Baby Boom is a book you’ll want to remember to take with you.


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Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 19 


Minnesota State Parks V

isiting all of Minnesota’s almost 80 state parks might be too much to try to do in one year. You’d have to get to at least six different parks every month. But once you’ve got the $25 State Parks permit (which features Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area this year) stuck to your vehicle’s windshield, there’s no reason not to try to hit at least a few of them. Consider visiting one each month this year. Our suggestions are just a start; for more ideas, take a look at the list of parks at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website: dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks.


Lindbergh State Park

Make maple syrup in March at Whitewater State Park (near Rochester), where regular classes allow participants to tap trees, gather and boil sap and then taste the sweet maple syrup. To schedule a group activity at Whitewater, call (507) 932-3007, extension 226.

Jay Cooke State Park

April If you need a spring song to brighten your day, visit Carley State Park (northeast of Rochester) and listen for the orioles, song sparrows, house wrens and indigo buntings that are often heard – and seen – along the trails in the park. You might also see red-tailed hawks hunting, too.

January State parks in Minnesota can’t just close for the winter. Instead, they make the most of it with events like candlelight snowshoe treks and hikes. Try it out this month at one of several parks across the state, including Charles A. Lindbergh State Park (near Little Falls) and Buffalo River State Park (14 miles east of Moorhead).

Whitewater State Park

Visit Nerstrand Big Woods State Park (between Faribault and Northfield) in the spring to enjoy amazing wildflowers – including a dwarf trout lily that can’t be seen elsewhere! Among the park’s best blooms are hepatica, bloodroot and Dutchman’s breeches.

February If you’re waiting for a reason to learn how to snowshoe, take the Snowshoeing 101 course at Gooseberry Falls State Park (north of Two Harbors on State Highway 61) on February 15. Then you can use your new skills all month long at other snow-filled parks, from Jay Cooke State Park (near Carlton) up north to Minneopa State Park closer to home. 20  Winter 2014 Mature Lifestyles


June Check out one of the free GPS units at Afton State Park (north of Hastings) and have fun geocaching in the park that overlooks the scenic St. Croix River. There’s also a beach, and trails for hikers and horseback riders. Carley State Park

July The prickly pear cactus bloom at Blue Mounds State Park (north of Luverne) in July, which is also a great time to see the prairie grasses waving in the wind and the herd of bison roaming the land. Blue Mounds is also known for the amazing Sioux quartzite cliff that rises 100 feet up from the plains.

August Cool off in the sand-bottom swimming pool at Flandrau State Park (in nearby New Ulm), where you can also watch the Big Cottonwood River flow or hike in the river bottoms.


guesthouses are open year-round for a rate of $215 per night.

December Upper Sioux Agency State Park (near Granite Falls) is a great winter destination because it features a huge sliding hill. There are also trails for skiing and snowmobiling, and for those who like the idea of winter camping, year-round camping as well; the park has three 18-foot diameter canvas tipis available to rent!

Temperance River Gooseberry Falls

Buffalo River

Jay Cooke Mille Lacs Kathio Charles A. Lindbergh

Upper Sioux Agency


Flandrau Minneopa Blue Mounds

St. Croix

Nerstrand Carley Whitewater

For a complete list of Minnesota State Parks and Recreation areas, visit http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_ parks. Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Fall often starts early on the North Shore, which makes September a beautiful time to visit Temperance River State Park (near Silver Bay). There are amazing trails that wind along the Temperance River gorge, lead to Hidden Falls and cross into the amazing Superior National Forest. Camping is available in the park year-round.

Temperance River State Park

October If you’re looking for a new perspective on fall colors, climb the 100-foot observation/fire tower in Mille Lacs Kathio State Park (north of Onamia) and look out across Mille Lacs Lake. You might also see bald eagles fishing in the lake and nearby rivers while you’re up there!

Afton State Park

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park St Croix State Park

November It’s the time of year for family gatherings – and this year, consider gathering in one of the two guesthouses at St. Croix State Park (15 miles east of Hinckley); each guesthouse has eight bedrooms with 15 beds, two full bathrooms and a full kitchen with modern appliances. The

Blue Mounds State Park

Flandrau State Park

Upper Sioux Agency State Park Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 21 


Where To Go & What To Do Right Now! Blue Earth County Historical Society Art Display January 17-March 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Blue Earth County Historical Society, 415 Cherry St., Mankato (507) 345-5566 “Kiss of the Spider Woman” January 30-February 1; 7:30 p.m.; February 2, 2 p.m. Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato www.mnsu.edu/theatre (507) 389-6661 Los Lobos January 31, 7:30 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center (507) 387-8443 Bethany Choraliers: The Grand Duke January 31 & February 1, 7:30 p.m.; February 2, 2 p.m. Sigurd K. Lee Theater, Bethany Lutheran College; events@blc.edu Polar Bear Plunge February 1, 1 p.m. Hallet’s Pond polarbearplunge@somn.org (612) 604-1280 Mary Jane Alm with Boyd Lee February 2, 7:30 p.m. Halling Recital Hall, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato (507) 389-5549

“Kiss of the Spider Woman” February 5-8; 7:30 p.m.; February 8 & 9, 2 p.m. Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato www.mnsu.edu/theatre; (507) 389-6661

Mankato Symphony Orchestra: “Songs About the Rainbow – Music of Jim Henson and the Muppets” February 9, 3 p.m. Mankato West High School Auditorium (507) 625-8880, mso@hickorytech.net

Josh K. Winkler and Joel Hanson Exhibition February 6-22, 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Carnegie Art Center, Mankato artctr@hickorytech.net, (507) 625-2730

The Chastity Brown Band February 9, 7:30 p.m. Halling Recital Hall, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato (507) 389-5549

Bethany Choraliers: The Grand Duke February 7-8, 7:30 p.m. Sigurd K. Lee Theater, Bethany Lutheran College; events@blc.edu

Atmosphere February 12, 6 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center (507) 387-8443

Winter Extravaganza Craft and Vendor Show February 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Minnesota New Country School 210 Main St., Henderson (507) 248-3353, sjmmb@yahoo.com

Merely Mysteries presents “Til Death Do Us Part” February 14, 6 p.m. Loose Moose Saloon 119 S. Front St., Mankato (507) 345-1446

Anthony Ford Pond Hockey Championship February 8-9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Westwood Marina, Lake Washington (507) 387-9386

The New Standards February 16, 7:30 p.m. Halling Recital Hall, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato (507) 389-5549

Love Poetry February 8, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. Emy Frentz Guild, Mankato (507) 278-4200 Printmaking Class February 8, 15, 22; 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Carnegie Art Center, Mankato (507) 625-2730

“As You Like It” February 20-22; 7:30 p.m. Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato www.mnsu.edu/theatre (507) 389-6661


22  Fall 2013 Mature Lifestyles

Victor Wainright February 20, 7:30 p.m. Halling Recital Hall, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato (507) 389-5549 “As You Like It” February 27-March 1; 7:30 p.m.; March 1 & 2, 2 p.m. Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato www.mnsu.edu/theatre; (507) 389-6661 River Hills Home & Lifestyles Show February 21-23, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. River Hills Mall, Mankato (507) 387-7469 Baby & Kids Expo presented by Mankato Clinic February 22, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato (507) 382-9323, info@eventsandexpos.com Five Senses Hike February 22, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Minneopa State Park (507) 384-8890 The Band Perry February 28, 7:30 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center (507) 387-8443 River Hills Boat & Vacation Show March 2, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. River Hills Mall, Mankato (507) 387-7469 The Aeolus String Quartet March 7, 8 p.m. Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Ptere marketing@gustavus.edu Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Music on the Hill – Elegant Impressions March 16, 2 p.m. Good Counsel Chapel, Mankato (507) 625-8880, mso@hickorytech.net

C&N Dart Tournament March 21-23, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center, (507) 387-8453 Surrounded by History Gala March 21, 6 p.m. Centennial Student Union Ballroom, Minnesota State University, Mankato (507) 345-5566 Home Tweet Home Birdhouse Silent Auction & Wine Tasting March 25, 6 p.m. Mankato Golf Club, Mankato (507) 388-2081 Southern Minnesota Home & Builders Show March 28, 5 p.m.-9 .m.; March 29, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.; March 30, noon-5 p.m. Verizon Wireless Center (712) 336-0040 Merely Players presents: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe April 4-5, 7:30 p.m.; April 6, 2 p.m. Lincoln Community Center 110 Fulton St., Mankato player@merelyplayers.com (507) 388-5483 River Hills Women’s Weekend Show April 5-6, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. River Hills Mall, Mankato (507) 387-7469 Merely Players presents: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe April 11-12, 7:30 p.m.; April 13, 2 p.m. Lincoln Community Center 110 Fulton St., Mankato player@merelyplayers.com (507) 388-5483 Find more events, and more information, at greatermankatoevents.com.

Drivers Beware! The Perils of Potholes Are Upon Us


s the ravages of winter subside and temperatures rise, there is probably a pothole out there with your name on it, cautions the Car Care Council. Record cold temperatures, snow and rainfall in many parts of the country have created the perfect storm for the motorists’ dreaded “perils of potholes period.” The Car Care Council recommends that motorists who experience any of the following warning signs after hitting a pothole should have a professional technician at their local repair shop inspect the vehicle. ● Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. ● Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear often means there’s an alignment problem. ● Low tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible. If you’ve hit a pothole, the Car Care Council can help you find a repair shop in your area. The council’s website features a “Find a Shop” locator. The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.

Mature Lifestyles  Winter 2014 23 

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Mature Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2014  

Mature Lifestyle Magazine Winter 2014