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Please RSVP at 612.746.4711 11/19/192019 2:33 PM Minnesota Good Age / December /3


Dec 6-7

Dec 6-8

Dec 20

Dec 22

Dec 13

Dec 31-Jan 1

Dec 14-19


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10/31/19 4:01 PM

HOW TO HELP Host a Gift Barrel Organize a Gift Drive Individual Shopping Find us on AmazonSmile

GIFT IDEAS

CLOTHING: cardigans, slacks, shirts, blouses, sweats, fleece, nightwear, robes, socks, no-skid slippers, hats, scarves, mittens LINENS: towel sets, sheet sets, blankets, pillows

Gifts for Seniors provides donated gifts and life-affirming personal contact during the winter holidays and year round to isolated seniors in the Twin Cities metro area with the critical support of volunteers, donors, and community partners — people like you.

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ENTERTAINMENT: CD or DVD players, books, music, movies, puzzles HOUSEWARES: dishes, flatware, small appliances, clocks with big numbers AND MORE: personal care sets, grocery gift cards, cash donations

Feel free to use this list for ideas!

We only accept new, unwrapped gift items.

9/20/19 2019 10:58 AM Minnesota Good Age / December /5


Contents 20

SPANISH SAMPLER Visit a gorgeous region in central Spain with stops in three incredible cities, including Cuenca, at right.

26

REAL AGING CBD is the new go-to tonic, but what the heck is it — and can it help you?

DECEMBER FROM THE EDITOR 8 We’re lucky to have Lee Valsvik on KOOL 108 and KARE 11, too.

MY TURN 10 These “old broads” are working to keep Minnesota’s water clean.

MEMORIES 12 Before 1964, everyone in the Cities seemed to be smoking cigarettes. And the allure was hard to resist.

MINNESOTA HISTORY 14 A new local exhibit honors Native American history.

HOUSING 16 Beat the brutal winter chill with a few smart purchases for your home.

IN THE KITCHEN 18 Our editor shares her family’s beloved holiday cookie recipe.

30

ON THE COVER Longtime local broadcaster Lee Valsvik shares her thoughts on 40 years on the mic. Photos by Tracy Walsh 6 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

CALENDAR 38 CAN’T-MISS BRAIN 40 TEASERS


FROM THE EDITOR Volume 38 / Issue 12

PUBLISHER

Janis Hall / jhall@mngoodage.com

CO-PUBLISHER AND SALES MANAGER

Terry Gahan / tgahan@mngoodage.com

GENERAL MANAGER

Zoe Gahan / zgahan@mngoodage.com

EDITOR

Sarah Jackson / editor@mngoodage.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Ed Dykhuizen, Carol Hall, Julie Kendrick, Jessica Kohen, Dave Nimmer, Susan Schaefer, Carla Waldemar, Tracy Walsh

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe

ART DIRECTOR

Dani Cunningham

AD COORDINATOR AND OFFICE MANAGER Amy Rash / 612-436-5081 arash@mngoodage.com

CIRCULATION

Marlo Johnson / distribution@mngoodage.com

37,000 copies of Minnesota Good Age are distributed to homes and businesses metro-wide. Minnesota Good Age (ISSN 2333-3197) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. Minnesota Good Age, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 © 2019 Minnesota Premier Publications, Inc. To receive Good Age by mail, send a check for $18 with “Good Age subscription” in the memo.

8 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

A hometown gal

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BY SARAH JACKSON

sn’t it nice, in this age of presidential tweets and endless Facebook feeds, to bask in the simplicity of turning on the radio and hearing a voice you know? While social media has been a widespread phenomenon for only a decade or so, radio has been with us for nearly a century. We don’t need to scroll. We just have to listen to songs, stories and more. Radio allows us to be an audience, not merely consumers. And that’s why I’m so delighted that one of the Twin Cities’ favorite local voices is on our cover this month: Lee Valsvik! Who is this radio — and TV — star with the beaming smile? Not many folks can work in both those genres, but Valsvik, a Minnesota native and a longtime resident, seems to do it with ease with her time at KOOL 108 on weekdays and KARE 11 on Saturday mornings. Even after decades in the business, her energy level is off the charts. And that grin? It’s still beaming on TV while she gamely tries new things like roller skiing, riding a three-wheeled motorcycle or meeting baby lambs at the Minnesota State Fair. Sure, she’s only 59, but she’s had to navigate midlife and evolve with the times, too, including her own Twitter feed that’s full of her digital work — on-the-scene selfie videos, product endorsements and retweets of her favorite local events like the Gophers’ epic win against Penn State. (Go, Gophs!) And she’s done it all while raising two kids, now age 18 and 19, whom she adopted with her wife, Holly Boyer. In her spare time, Valsvik uses her celebrity status for good as a frequent emcee at charity events for Stillwater public schools, Youth Advantage and others. Retirement, she said, isn’t on her radar: In fact, she wants to be the “Betty White of Minnesota media.” (White, still working as an actress, turns 98 next month.) I hope you enjoy Valsvik’s mini life story in this issue and then, sometime, maybe while you’re in the car, you’ll notice the warmth of her voice on the radio and know you’re hearing the words of a hometown gal. We’re lucky to have her.


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MY TURN

Women for the wilderness BY DAVE NIMMER

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love their name. It’s in your face and on the mark. They’re the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a Coloradobased, national organization with a Minnesota chapter of 40 women ranging in age from 50–80. They organized four years ago — to learn more about nature and the outdoors, to swing a hatchet or wield an axe to clear a portage trail and to lobby with other groups for clean water and unspoiled wilderness. According to their national publication, Broadsides, it's a strategic persona: “There’s no doubt that a group of older, grey-haired women ... can attract media attention, especially when walking into a Congressional office; or as grannies with rolling pins rallying against public land bullies; or arms linked together to protect an old-growth tree.” Minnesota’s Great Old Broads haven’t carried rolling pins, but they’ve joined with Friends of the Boundary Waters to oppose the two copper-nickel mines proposed for the northeastern part of the state. “Our focus here in Minnesota is clean water — cleaning it up and making sure it stays that way,” said Janet Bourdon, 76, the principal founder of the group four years ago. “The copper mining process is not safe, regardless of what the mining companies claim. What’s left behind is sulfuric acid and we worry about the watershed so close to the BWCA.” Bourdon, who grew up in White Bear Lake, graduated from the University 10 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

▲ The Wild Waters Broadband chapter of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness spent a weekend at Camp Menogyn on the Gunflint Trail to hike and clear portage entrances. Photo courtesy of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness

of Minnesota and had a career as a job-search consultant, which included developing curricula to help people find work. Beyond her profession, Bourdon’s had a passion for the outdoors — since she was a kid. “I spent hours and hours outdoors,” she said, “exploring, canoeing, kayaking, skiing and hiking. You name it, and I think I’ve done it. I believe I’ve hiked in all the national parks in this country. I’ve also travelled abroad. But I do love the wilderness that is ours.” That kind of passion is what drives Bourdon to encourage other women to join the Great Old Broads. One woman who’s grateful for the opportunity is

80-year-old Jan Butler from Minnetonka. “I could just kick myself for not joining them earlier,” she said. “They have added so much to my life.” What Butler’s got in the past two years is an up-close look at the ecosystem in Blue Mounds State Park and some of the finest trout habitat in Minnesota in Whitewater State Park. On one trip, they saw a bison herd and a fish hatchery. While they were learning, they were also

LEARN MORE To join the Great Old Broads for Wilderness — annual memberships start at $30 — go to greatoldbroads.org or call 970-385-9577.


OUR FOCUS HERE IN MINNESOTA IS CLEAN WATER — CLEANING IT UP AND MAKING SURE IT STAYS THAT WAY. — JANET BOURDON, 76, A FOUNDER OF THE MINNESOTA “BROADBAND” OF GREAT OLD BROADS camping, passing up motel rooms with soft beds for tents and sleeping bags. “I went out to Glacier [National Park] this summer,” Butler said, “and I camped by myself on the way out and back. I have camped all over the United States and Canada.” This fall Butler and a dozen other Great Old Broads spent a weekend at Camp Menogyn on the Gunflint Trail. They talked, gawked, hiked and worked, clearing portage entrances to Daniels Lake and Duncan Lake in the BWCAW. “It feels good to be doing something,” Butler said. “We have so much camaraderie, and it’s just a fun time.” The group hopes that camaraderie attracts some younger women in Minnesota, too. Despite their name, they seek women who simply value the wilderness, desire to learn more about it and want do something to protect it. What I admire about these Minnesota women is they’re still eager to learn, to work up a sweat, to sleep on the ground and to raise a little hell (fuss, if you’d rather) for a good cause. Best of all, they’re having fun doing it. Dave Nimmer had a long career as a reporter, editor and professor. Now retired, he has no business card, but plenty to do. Comments or questions? Write to dnimmer@mngoodage.com.

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10/22/19 4:27 /PM Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 11


MEMORIES

The impossible allure of smoking BY CAROL HALL

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he sight of someone smoking a cigarette disgusts me. But — truth be told — back in the day, I puffed away on Pall Malls. Fact is, I couldn’t wait to get started. Smoking was so sophisticated ­— such a fun, grown-up thing to do in the late 1950s, when I was in my late teens. And because I was out on my own, living in the big city, I wanted to fit in. It seemed everyone there smoked — even my doctor. Little did I realize this cavalier attitude would soon be shattered. The U.S. Surgeon General’s report in 1964 linking cigarettes to lung cancer and heart disease changed our smoking culture dramatically. It also convinced to me stop cold turkey. But before then, cigarettes were advertised in all the media. Billboards displayed them prominently. I recall a radio jingle that went, “I’d walk a mile for a mild, mild Camel. They’re so mild they suit me to a tee.” Magazines carried full-page ads. One actually showed an artist’s rendering of a doctor in a white jacket, wearing a stethoscope, with the caption: “20,679 physicians say Luckies are less irritating.” My older sister collected fashion magazines. The September 1940 issue of Mademoiselle depicts a special brand of cigarettes produced by Benson & Hedges made exclusively for lipstick-wearing women, called Debs Rose Tips. The tips of the cigarettes were flame red. With all this hype, who wouldn’t want to smoke? Plus, smoking was an aid for

12 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

my job. As an airline stewardess, I was obligated to keep my weight down. It was well known among my flying peers that smoking kept you thin. And everyone did it. My roommates smoked. My boyfriends smoked. And it was done almost everywhere. Many of the pilots I worked with couldn’t wait to switch off the “no smoking” sign so they could light up. Some offices had ash trays on workers’

desks. At parties and restaurants, a cigarette just seemed to go with sipping a drink. I seem to remember that smoking was especially prevalent at jazz clubs, which were very popular then. To this day, hearing the superb music of 1960s jazz legends Erroll Garner and Dave Brubeck evokes a smokefilled cabaret, like Freddie’s on Second Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. ⊳ An ad in the September 1940 issue of Mademoiselle introduced Debs Rose Tips, a special brand of red-tipped cigarettes.


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Oddly, I dared not smoke in front of my parents. Whenever I’d go to our small town in southwestern Minnesota for a weekend visit, I’d abstain completely. The prevailing attitude there seemed to be that women who smoked cigarettes were disreputable; my Norwegian mother and her sisters certainly sniped at those who did. However, it was OK — somehow almost expected — of men. My dad happily indulged in cigars all his life. As I recall those days, I coughed a lot, and had an inordinate number of colds and respiratory infections. How could I be so dense as not to associate this with cigarettes? Witnessing today’s trend of vaping among youth, I can only think, “What fools we mortals be.”

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Carol Hall lives in Woodbury. She’s a longtime freelance writer, a University of Minnesota graduate and a former Northwest Airlines stewardess. Send comments and questions to chall@mngoodage.com. Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 13


MINNESOTA HISTORY

Exploring indigenous Minnesota BY JESSICA KOHEN

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n Dec. 7, the Minnesota History Center will open Our Home: Native Minnesota, a new permanent exhibit devoted exclusively to Native American history. Native Americans — Dakota, Ojibwe, as well as people from other tribal nations — have been in the Minnesota area for thousands of years and are thriving here today.

This new exhibit shares their stories, their enduring presence and their deep connections to the land. It features more than 60 collection items, including objects, photographs, books, maps, manuscripts and art. Since 2014, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) has opened up its collection to contemporary Native artists from across the Upper Midwest through the

Native American Artist-in-Residence program as a way to help revitalize traditional forms of art. Many pieces created by the artists-in-residence are featured in the Our Home exhibit. (The Native American Artist-in-Residence program is made possible in part by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.)

Finding what was lost Randilynn Boucher is a Dakota and Navajo beadwork and textile artist who lives in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. By studying objects in the MNHS collections and talking with elders, Boucher learned about traditions associated with life stages of Dakota and Lakota girls and women. Inspired by her studies, she created a kiphi, a cradleboard baby carrier, which is on display in the exhibit. Boucher also shares her knowledge with her community through cradleboard workshops. She had one memorable experience when a tribal elder shared his grandmother’s story of fleeing Minnesota following the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 while carrying a kiphi as she returned to her homeland. Boucher’s kiphi was the first the elder had ever seen. For Boucher, making this connection ⊳ The Star Knowledge quilt by Gwen Westerman.

14 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


⊳ A burial basket by April Stone. Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

was an emotional moment. “I sat there with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes,” she said. “I felt and knew we had regained a part of us that was lost long ago. I asked an elder for the translation of kiphi, and it meant ‘to hold, to be fitted for, be worthy of.’”

Honoring traditions April Stone is an Ojibwe basket maker who lives in Odanah, Wisconsin, and specializes in ash baskets. Stone created a coffin-shaped basket from baapaagimaakag, or black ash trees, gathered near her home on the Bad River Reservation. For Ojibwe people, basketmaking sustains and honors their relationship with the natural world. Today black ash trees are being killed off by the emerald ash borer, a tiny invasive beetle that arrived in North America in 2002. Stone wove the basket in the shape of a coffin to symbolize how the disappearance of black ash threatens her — and all Native peoples’ — identity and traditions. Gwen Westerman is a Dakota textile artist who lives in Good Thunder, Minnesota. She made a star quilt in 2014

SEE THE EXHIBIT Our Home: Native Minnesota opens with a free family day on Dec. 7. Visitors can meet past Native American artistsin-residence, including Denise Lajimodiere, from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, who will demonstrate the art of creating intricate designs in birch bark using a biting technique. Jeremy Red Eagle, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe, will show how he uses natural plants to dye quills. See mnhs.org/ourhome for more information.

as a way to stitch together her family’s connections to the sky and to each other. Each of the star’s eight points represents a member of Westerman’s family. The quilt also features eight embroidered constellations that appear in the northern sky from Jan. 14–March 21, the birth dates of her children, Erin and Travis. “We create star quilts like this one to honor community members and to commemorate births, marriages, memorials and more,” said Westerman, whose quilt will welcome visitors to the exhibit. Jessica Kohen is the media relations manager for the Minnesota Historical Society.

▲ A collection of kiphi (cradleboard baby carriers) by Randilynn Boucher Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 15

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HOUSING

Susan Schaefer’s Minneapolis bedroom includes three items to warm up the space in winter — a portable radiator (bottom left), a humidifier/purifier (near the window on the left) and a heated mattress pad (control panel on the right).

How to warm up your winter BY SUSAN SCHAEFER

E

ver been accused of having a thin skin? When it comes to maintaining proper body temperature, this old adage is no joke. As we age, our metabolic rate decreases and our skin literally thins. Often, our aging bodies just aren’t capable of generating enough heat to maintain a normal 98.6degree body temperature. Subzero temperatures can be particularly brutal when they result in a cold bedroom, and with today’s focus on decreasing energy consumption, turning up the heat isn’t necessarily the best solution. After all, why heat a whole house when all that’s needed is a bit of extra attention in specific areas? Here are four house-warming items that offer benefits specifically geared toward seniors. 16 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

A heated mattress pad: Fond memories of an antique copper bed warmer being slipped into my guest bed in Edinburgh, Scotland, sent me on a quest. After a little internet detective work, I discovered the Biddeford Sherpa Heated Mattress Pad, which installed easily over my queen mattress to give me a feeling of five-star slumber every winter night. I crank it up before turning in, and then shut it off when I get into bed for a toasty snooze. It includes a 10-hour auto-shutoff, dual controls and 10 temperature settings. It’s also machine-washable. Cost? A queensize version goes for $90 at Kohl’s. A fan-free space heater: We hearty Minnesotans know that keeping a cooler bedroom is recommended, but we can take a hint from our European friends by creating a warmer welcome to the

bedroom just before our bedtime. As with switching on a heated mattress pad, you can preheat the bedroom with an energy-efficient, low-wattage electric oil heater. Such heaters are silent and don’t blow dust around — a plus for allergy suffers. The Pelonis Oil Filled Radiator Heater is available for under $80 at many local hardware stores. With only one hour of preheating, you can shut your heater off and enjoy a shiver-free turning down of your bed sheets. An ‘air-washing’ humidifier: Dry winter air cracks skin and dries sinuses. One way to create a perfect indoor environment, day and night, is by investing in a humidifier/ air purifier. A cool-mist humidifier is the preferred option to a warm-mist humidifier in terms of safety, cost and area covered.


A bidet toilet seat? Really?

planet save water, too.

Yes, really!

Anyone who has traveled throughout Japan or Europe knows that a bidet is an essential household item.

The aging community and people with physical disabilities are increasingly finding the benefits of bidets — especially those integrated into traditional toilets — helpful. Personal hygiene is greatly improved with a gentle spray of water that more thoroughly penetrates difficult-to-reach, sensitive genital areas. Water washing is especially helpful postsurgery and for those who suffer from hemorrhoids and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Moreover, environmentally conscious folks appreciate the fact that using a bidet means using less toilet paper, which can be abrasive in inflamed private areas and can leave fibrous bits of unwanted debris behind, too. A 2009 Scientific American article reported that if U.S. residents switched to using bidets, 15 million trees could be saved each year. And because it takes so much water to make toilet paper — a stunning 37 gallons for a single roll, according to the article — more bidet use could actually help the

A warm-mist humidifier must boil water to create steam so there’s always a risk for burns, and because it uses heat to boil water, it consumes more energy. And while heated steam produces a more concentrated stream, a cool-water humidifier spreads droplets over a much wider area. The German-made Venta Airwasher is a 2-in-1 product that humidifies as well as purifies and costs about $300. It doesn’t require filter replacements, so the only maintenance needed is to fill it regularly and rinse the reservoir and its permanent filter occasionally. A heated-seat bidet: My European holidays introduced to me to the luxury and hygiene of heated-seat bidets. A modern bidet (pronounced beh-DAY — from the French) is basically a sanitary toilet apparatus with a warm lavatory seat

In Europe, it’s typically a separate bathroom fixture, looking like a low basin positioned next to the toilet, with hot and cold faucets and an upward jet spray. To use, one squats, hovering over the spray. But squatting and hovering to use a bidet isn’t required anymore, thanks to integrated models installed on toilets that allow one to sit during the water-washing experience — a better option for seniors, to be sure. There are models with heated seats, dual front and back adjustable nozzles, dryers, deodorizers, disinfecting basins with night lights and even programmable music. The Brondell Bidet seat mentioned in the accompanying article is a thrifty alternative to a high-end Japanese bidet seat.

and a retractable, self-cleaning nozzle that sprays warm water to clean one’s genitals. Europe, Japan and other parts of the world have long utilized this sensible alternative to wiping. Washing with water is gentler than scraping dry paper across your tender parts. Some units even feature a handy puff of air for drying. Using a soft stream of water is excellent for individuals who suffer irritable bowel syndrome or have difficulty reaching behind themselves. Plus, the gentle jet cleans more efficiently, and provides added environmental benefits: You won’t need to buy as much toilet paper — or those premoistened flushable wipes, increasingly blamed for sewer clogs nationwide. I'm a fan of Brondell’s highly affordable Swash 300 Bidet Seat. Needing minimal installation — it simply replaces your existing toilet

So how does it work? Do you need to wipe? No. With a bidet, wiping really isn’t necessary. Because you can adjust water pressure and warmth on a bidet — and aim the stream directly into the anus — any solids become completely dislodged and flow away. Some folks swipe first and use the water after. But they lose both the environmental benefits (using less resources) and the physical pluses (less irritating surface friction) of not using paper. Imagine preserving your tender parts while helping save millions of trees — and billions of gallons of water — every year!

seat — this mighty unit does everything that brands costing 10 times its price do for about $249. It plugs into an electrical outlet, which powers the integrated water heater, heated seat and dual washing wands (for separate front/feminine washing and backside cleaning) — pure luxury and ideal for a Minnesota winter. Total budget? For a little over $700 dollars (or less) you can create a smart, simple way to enhance your lifestyle during the dark, cold days of winter. Living in Minnesota, this means a lot. Even better, the air purifier/humidifier and bidet work year-round. Isn’t it worth it to invest in you this winter? Susan Schaefer is a Minneapolis-based freelance communications consultant and writer who has traveled widely. Reach her at insights@lifeintrans.com.


IN THE KITCHEN

COOKIES FOR LIFE BY SARAH JACKSON

Making rollout cookies takes a bit of extra work. But these gems, which offer the double whammy of vanilla and almond flavoring — in both the dough and in the icing — are so good you’ll want to make them every year. Maybe with the grandkids?

Aunt Marilyn’s Sugar Thins COOKIES ½ cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups flour ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder

18 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

FROSTING 2½ cups powdered sugar ¼ cup butter, softened ½ teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon almond extract ¼ cup milk   Sprinkles and decorating sugars such as Wilton’s white sparkling sugar


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TRAVEL

g n i nn u t S a n a p s E

Explore the Castilla–La Mancha region of central Spain with stops in Consuegra, Toledo and Cuenca BY CARLA WALDEMAR


I

was snacking on the bones of saints. This wasn’t my usual diet, so I’d better explain. It was Nov. 1 — All Saints Day — in Spain, and the “bones” were made of marzipan. This candy treat is famous here in La Mancha, the provincial home of Miguel de Cervantes — the Shakespeare of Spain — and his hero, Don Quixote, who favored creativity over reality. He’d surely approve. And those windmills Cervantes’ dreamer jousted with are still standing here, too — 12 of them silhouetted on the hilltop of Consuegra (population 10,000), whose formidable medieval castle also anchors the horizon.

Both the windmills and the castles are open to visitors, and there were visitors aplenty when I visited during the height of the town’s annual saffron festival. Saffron — one of the world’s most costly spices — flourishes in this region two hours south of Madrid, where we tramped through fields of the fall-blooming, purple-petaled crocuses that each produce just three tiny stamens of the richest red. These sprigs flavor Spain’s beloved paella, as well as stews, puddings and ice cream. They’re plucked from the blossom each autumn, a laborious task that turns into a competition during the festival.

An ancient city fortress stands watch over Toledo, Spain.

Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 21


In the town of Consuegra, Spain, stand 12 whitetower windmills believed to be the ones described in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.

STUNNING ESPANA

▲ Consuegra’s annual saffron harvest involves removing the three red stamens from special purple crocuses that bloom in the region every fall. Photos by Jose Mannuel Perulero

We watched fingers fly amid lady champs from around the region; we cheered for the cute kids who competed, too. Then we strolled Consuegra’s riverbanks, where the festival’s tailgaters offered us tastes from their wood-fired cauldrons. Later, troupes of dancers dazzled us with nimble footwork practiced by ladies with glossy chignons, lacy mantillas and clacking castanets, while their partners pranced in espadrilles. Saffron flavors the flan with which we 22 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

ended our meal at restaurant El Alfar — a feast that began with slices of the region’s nutty manchego cheese, a ratatouillelike pisto stew and an equally tasty asadillo of roasted sweet peppers, garlic and partridge, and then cod in saffrontempura batter. That evening, at La Vida de Antes — a historic mansion turned intimate hotel — we swooned over a dessert soup of local almonds topped with saffron-flavored meringue. We’d begun the meal with salmorejo,

a thick gazpacho soup, then local partridge, then salt cod, then lamb with crispy cauliflower, and then medallions of deer. (Gastronomes delight in these multi-course dinners, but be warned: They don’t get underway until 9 p.m.) We also carved out time to visit the town’s museum, detailing its history, including Bronze Age findings, an era of Roman rule and artifacts — such as a comb for lice removal and chess-like gaming pieces — and those 16th-century windmills.


Manchego cheese is made in the Castilla–La Mancha region of Spain.

⊳ A street near Zocodover square in Toledo, Spain, bustles with activity with the city’s famed cathedral in view.

HOLY TOLEDO! An hour’s drive northwest back toward Madrid, Toledo (population 85,000) rises from its mountain perch like a medieval wonderland of spires and pinnacles. They’re crowded into a tangled web of streets that entice you to explore as you make your way to the site that’s lured visitors for centuries: the magnificent cathedral, called the finest in all of Spain, as well it should, for the city served as the country’s capital when it was completed atop the site of an earlier mosque. A gold-plated altar gleams below the Virgin making her way to heaven with a boost from six muscular angels. Her Son stands 9 feet tall above her. Choir-stall seats break the tedium of hours of services with carvings of monkeys and mermaids. But the biggest wow of all is a gold monstrance, built with 20 pounds of bling. Don’t miss the sacristy’s wealth of paintings by all the bold names of Europe: Goya, Titian, Velazquez, Caravaggio and El Greco, the city’s favorite son, who contributes 19 works.

You’ll find his most beloved painting, however, in the tiny chapel of Santa Tome, where the artist painted his selfportrait amid a crowd of worshipers. You can visit his house as well (though it’s likely to be a “maybe,” rather than proven fact) to view more of his eccentric, spiritual masterpieces. Then stop by the Santa Tome Marzipan Shop for saints’ bones of your own. Or choose the sweet candies shaped into fruits, filled with chocolate, or even a giant statue of Cervantes. This city’s Roman ruins peek out everywhere. After them came the Jews, the Moors and the Christians, and many holy buildings contain traces of all three over centuries of repurposing. The prettiest mosque still standing is the tiny Christo de la Luz, brocaded with arabesques of stucco and renamed as a church. Same goes for the pair of synagogues in the Jewish Quarter: Synagoga de Santa Maria in Blanca, rechristened when Jews were forced from Spain in 1492 and today still moving in its serene simplicity. Nearby, the similarly simple Synagoga del Transito of 1391 serves as a museum of

precious religious artifacts. Zocodover, the main plaza, serves as Toledo’s living room. Our hotel, the brand-new Adolfo, overlooked this buzzy square and its pair of dining rivals: Burger King and McDonald’s. We found far better eating, rest assured, simply by meandering along the cobblestones. Best of all was a special dining experience arranged by Espadas Toledanas, which led us to a 15th-century mansion adorned with the owners’ treasures and turned into a highly historic B&B, with balconies overlooking that magical cathedral. Seated in the patio, we nibbled Spain’s classic appetizers, from Iberian ham thin as tissue paper to squares of manchego cheese, potato omelets addictively salty olives, figs and more. But the main attraction was the giant paella, which we watched neighbor ladies stir patiently, adding tiny clams to enrich the seasoned rice. Day-tripping tourists blanket this open-air museum of a city — 2 million a year — but at night it’s returned to the locals, and you, if you’re wise enough to linger. Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 23


STUNNING ESPANA

The cliffs of Cuenca, Spain, glow in the evening with dramatic lighting.

CUENCA CALLING Cuenca (population 55,000) lies two hours southeast of Madrid, set upon a mountain peak to repel invaders. We bedded atop a cliff in Parador Nacional de Cuenca, which began life as a medieval convent — as is typical of Spain’s system of paradors, which have rescued medieval convents and castles to serve as modern hotels. It’s connected to the Old Town across a chasm by a bridge just made for a photo op — and for graffiti, such as “Mama, I’ll love you forever,” and “I Heart God.” Cuenca’s Plaza Mayor — main square — is unassuming by Spanish standards and, like most, is anchored by its cathedral. This one was endowed with the first Gothic arches in Spain, through which light illumines the interior via stunning, modern stained-glass windows. Near it stands a trinity of museums, one depicting the town’s history since Roman times. A second houses the cathedral’s treasury of art: a trove of modest Virgins and intricate tapestries from medieval times. The third, the Arte Abstracto Espanol — within the town’s famous hanging houses that project like balconies over the chasm itself — draws 24 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

visitors for its stunning collection of abstract paintings. But my favorite was found by following the main street to the top of the town where, in yet-another former convent, the Fundacion Antonio Perez shimmers with a contemporary collection that’s often playful: a coiled rope topped with mini-skulls, portraits bearing crushed Coke-can eyes. The newest museum in this arty town is

Hanging houses are a signature of Cuenca, Spain.

the 5-year-old Paleontological Museum of Castilla-La Mancha, with its view across the chasm to the medieval Old Town. Outside, concrete dinosaurs roam, while inside, Cuenca’s rich trove of local fossils transports visitors from earliest times — tiny sea critters, an ancient frog the size of a pig and a furry rhinoceros. Its mascot dinosaur, nicknamed Pepito, resembles a horse with a camel-like hump, which wandered here 125 million


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years ago. Don’t miss the museum’s café, Natura, offering a glorious set menu, including starters like croquettes with shaved Iberian ham; creamy duck foie gras; and salmorejo, a gazpacho-like soup. Main-course choices range from lamb ribs to cod to, yes, hamburgers. En route to our flight home, we broke for a final treat — the Segobriga Roman Archaeological Park — one of the most important set of Roman remains in Spain, discovered in the 1950s. We trod along a Roman road bordered with graves to the former trading center’s theater (“small but perfect,” intoned our guide); a larger amphitheater where gladiators fought off boars and bears; public baths (choose hot, tepid or cold); and the forum where business was transacted. Only 20% of the site has been excavated, so temples are yet to come to light. We’ll soon head home, rich with treasures lodged in our memories. Learn more at spain.info. Carla Waldemar is an award-winning food/travel/arts writer. She edits the annual Zagat Survey of Twin Cities restaurants and writes food and travel articles for publications around the world. She lives in Uptown. Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 25


REAL AGING

THE

ABCs OF

CBD Cannabidiol: It’s been called a cure-all for everything from pain to anxiety. But does it really live up to the hype — and should you try it? By Julie Kendrick


F

ifty years ago, seniors who wanted more pep in their step turned to Geritol, a tonic to cure “tired, iron-poor blood.” These days, people over 50 are more eager than ever to find a cure-all that will give them vim and vigor. But today’s hot new elixir comes in products — capsules, creams, oils, gummies and even foods — derived from one of their generation’s favorite plants. Cannabis. Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is a cannabis compound that’s booming in popularity with boomers. According to AARP, at least 64 million Americans have tried CBD — including more than 1 in 6 people over 50. According to a recent survey, more than 60 percent of CBD users have taken the compound for anxiety. Other reasons given for taking it include chronic pain, insomnia and depression. Scientists are also studying CBD’s effects on Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Others claim phytocannabinoids can treat arthritis, Alzheimer’s and even cancer.

How does it work? Research is just starting to emerge, but the current scientific thinking is that CBD works by latching onto receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, an internal regulating system — with receptors found predominantly in the brain and nervous system — that plays a role in pain, sleep, mood, inflammation and response to stress. While there are no conclusive studies yet, early reports are promising. Harvard Medical School recently reported that CBD has been effective in combating seizures, anxiety and insomnia. Proponents say CBD can also be a source of relief for joint pain, arthritis, seizures and peripheral neuropathy. In a recent study, two-thirds of those surveyed said CBD helped their health issue all by itself; 30 percent said CBD helped when combined with conventional medications. Epidiolex, a seizure drug for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, is the only FDA-approved health use of CBD. Over-the-counter CBD products are made from farmed “industrial hemp,” which is a cannabis crop that contains no more than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydro-

cannabinol) — the chemical that causes the cannabis “high.” In other words, if you’re worried you’ll get high using CBD products, you won’t. In fact, some makers guarantee 0% THC for specific products for those who wish to avoid THC entirely. (Read on for more on that.) Legislation is what kicked off the CBD boom: In 2014, the federal Farm Bill included language to encourage hemp crops for research. Then the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the production and sale of hemp and its extracts. According to the policy-focused Brookings Institution, the new hemp legislation wiped out long-held federal laws that “did not differentiate hemp from marijuana and other cannabis plants, all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act, which banned cannabis/hemp of any kind.” Under the new federal laws, industrial hemp — one of the first plants to be cultivated and turned into fiber by humans more than 10,000 years ago — is legal as long as it contains no more than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp crops or cannabis plants in the U.S. that contain more than 0.3 percent

Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 27


Local CBD makers • Canviva — canviva.com — is based in Minnetonka and sells its own CBD balms, gels and oils, including tinctures enhanced with essential oils, plus an oil for cats and dogs, all made with U.S. hemp. Kowalski’s Markets and other Minnesota locations carry Canviva, formerly c4life. • NJ Farms / Amberwing Organics — amberwingorganics. com — uses hemp grown in Minnesota and Wisconsin (and processed in Eagan) to make CBD balms, vape cartridges and oils for humans and pets. • Stigma — 250 Third Ave. N., Suite 130, Minneapolis and stigmahemp.com — uses oils derived from Minnesota-grown hemp to make CBD gummies, capsules, creams and oils, including an oil for dogs.

CBD sampler Here’s a look at some local and national products and what they cost. Extract Labs CBD Muscle Cream / Reviewers love this aromatic CBD salve made in Boulder, Colorado, with jojoba, beeswax, rosemary, lavender, arnica, menthol and shea butter. $90 for 2.8 ounces • extractlabs.com Koi Tinctures / These CBD-infused oils from California-based Koi are meant to be held under the tongue for a few moments before swallowing. Flavors include lemon-lime, orange, strawberry, peppermint, spearmint and natural. $39.99 for 1 ounce • koicbd.com CBD Oil Roll-On Gel / Offered by Minnetonka-based Canviva, this cooling formula for muscles and joints contains arnica and aloe plus CBD oil. $40 for 2.5 ounces • canviva.com Dreamyard CBD Oil / Modist Brewing and Stigma Hemp, both of Minneapolis, partnered to create a CBD oil infused with the brewer’s Dreamyard hop blend. $59.99 for 1 ounce • stigmahemp.com

FURTHER READING › Is CBD legal? It’s complicated, according to a deep dive into the question by PBS (tinyurl.com/cbd-legal-pbs) and the Brookings Institution’s look at the 2018 Farm Bill (tinyurl.com/cbd-legal-brookings).

› Can CBD trigger a drug test? No, says WebMD. But this article — tinyurl.com/webmd-cbd — points out some exceptions to the rule. › Is it safe for pets? A Minneapolis vet says to use care. See tinyurl.com/cbd-pets-mn. › How can I find quality CBD? Consumer Reports shares its top tips at tinyurl.com/cbd-shop-cr.

THC are classified as marijuana and are federally illegal. (State laws, of course, vary about medical and recreational marijuana. In Minnesota, medical marijuana crops and sales are legal.)

Benefits and side effects Joshua Holmes is a Rochester native who completed his physical therapy training at Mayo Clinic and now has his own practice, Achieve Results Physical Therapy in Rochester. He said CBD, which he sells at his practice, is creating quite a buzz. “This is a tight-knit medical community, and people are definitely talking about CBD,” he said. “It’s a big movement.” Holmes said many of the seniors he sees are using CBD to “dial down” their use of prescription medicines. “Most seniors in the United States are taking five medications, on average,” he said. “The more medicine you take, the more your chances of having an adverse reaction can increase. Many of my patients tell me they want to try an all-natural pain reliever instead.” Holmes was quick to note that CBD is a still a drug, however. “There can be side effects, such as nausea or fatigue,” he said. “CBD also changes liver function, so it can actually increase the potency, delivery and reaction time of medications,” Holmes said. “Talk to your doctor before you start taking it — and perhaps have a liver panel conducted.” Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine and Health Research Program, said in a Mayo Clinic video that early research is showing CBD could have some promise as a tool for managing inflammation, pain and mood. But he added that CBD can interfere with the metabolism of some chemotherapy agents as well as blood thinners like warfarin (Coumadin). And, as with any supplement, CBD isn’t tested by the FDA for reliability, so its purity and potency aren’t guaranteed. In the video, Bauer recommends always talking to your doctor before trying any supplements: “If it’s strong enough to help you, it’s strong enough to hurt you.” Holmes said his clinic stocks the CV Sciences brand of CBD products out of San Diego. “They’ve undergone third-party testing, and they contain no THC, which may not be the case for some off-the-shelf brands,” he said. “We start patients on 5 to 10 milligrams per day, which costs about $40 per month.” (It’s important to note that the safe amount to consume is still not known.) CBD product packaging often includes the words “full


spectrum,” which typically means the product contains all 100-plus cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including low (and legal) traces of THC, rather than just isolated CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD is cannabidiol that has been extracted from the cannabis plant with all of the other compounds from the plant — except for the THC.  Holmes said, anecdotally speaking, people who use CBD in conjunction with physical therapy in his practice seem to get better results. “If patients are using CBD cream, we ask them to apply cream an hour before they come in for treatment,” Holmes said. “That way, they come in with a lower pain level, so their exercises are more effective.”

One woman’s story Joan Barron, 56, lives in Ramsey, a northwest suburb of the Twin Cities. After a fall left her with a damaged nerve in her pelvis and severe pain, she was prescribed numerous pain killers, including fentanyl patches, oxycodone, oxycontin, hydromorphone, methadone and clonazepam. Her son, Adam, started using her medications when he was 16, became a heroin addict and eventually died from an overdose of her methadone. Her primary physician and pain clinic have been supportive of her desire to reduce her prescription medications. To treat her chronic pain, she currently takes 1,200 milligrams of CBD three times daily, on average. “It doesn’t get rid of all the pain, but it dials it back,” she said. “It really helps with inflammation.” Her advice for fellow seniors? “It should be an option for anyone being prescribed an opiate or a narcotic. Cannabis has a bad rap because people associate it with getting high. But this is really a natural product that’s been used

for thousands of years,” she said. “It doesn’t come with side effects of opiates or narcotics, like fogginess or constipation. If you can try something natural like CBD, you have nothing to lose, so it’s worth giving it a try.”

A chef’s tale Payton Curry was born and raised in Minnesota and then moved to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America. After working as a chef in Singapore, San Francisco and Napa Valley, he moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where, three years ago, he founded Flourish Cannabis, a chef-driven, lab-tested producer of highend cannabis edibles. In addition to supplying cannabis dispensaries, the company sells CBD brownies, candies, olive oil and other CBD foods online. “We sell a lot of inventory in Minnesota,” said Curry, who returns to the state frequently to conduct workshops and host CBD dinners. “I have family members who have worked in Western medicine, and for a long time, I was the black sheep of the family. Now they joke that I’m the green sheep.” Curry said Minnesotans are ready to look beyond hype. Many, he said, start buying CBD for their pets first. “They buy CBD dog biscuits and watch their older dog start acting like a puppy again, and then they start to take it themselves,” Curry said. “All mammals respond to the technology that’s inside cannabis.”

Dosing and local sourcing Maren Schroeder is the policy director for Sensible Change Minnesota, a cannabis lobbying organization. Pointing to the current lack of regulation for CBD, she urged consumers to purchase only after they’ve reviewed the product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA), a lab report on its

chemical makeup. She noted that CBD isn’t a cheap product, often costing $50 for 100 doses of 5 milligrams each. Absent any FDA recommendations, her advice is to start with the lowest dose possible. “If that’s effective, awesome, and if that doesn’t work, go up by 5 milligrams at a time,” she said. “Manufacturers want you to take as much as possible, but if you pay attention to your own levels of pain, you can determine the right amount for your body. The most important thing is to journal what you take and when — and what the effects are.” For those looking to purchase CBD products with a local connection, she suggested checking out NJ Farms / Amberwing Organics, which uses hemp grown in Minnesota and Wisconsin and processed in Eagan. Another local source is Stigma Hemp, which sells oils derived from Minnesota-grown hemp from its North Loop Minneapolis storefront and online. She also noted that Chef Curry of Flourish Cannabis has been a supporter of her nonprofit organization’s work. “He comes back all the time, and he’s so helpful in making sure Minnesota is reaping benefits from this boom,” she said. Whether the hype ultimately results in a longtime boom or an ultimate bust remains to be seen. In the meantime, Holmes offered this advice: “More research needs to be done. But in the meantime, educate yourself as best you can, and know that while CBD works for a lot of people, it doesn’t work for everyone,” he said. “You need to be aware of possible drug interactions and to know where your product came from.” Julie Kendrick is a contributing writer for many local and national publications. She lives in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks. Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 29


Lee Valsvik doesn’t just love broadcasting holiday tunes on KOOL 108; she’s also an avid golfer, who started learning the game in preschool. What's her dream gift? A new set of clubs! Photos by Tracy Walsh Photography 30 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


Joy maker Local media legend Lee Valsvik is your Christmas carol companion on KOOL 108

{

I

By Julie Kendrick

magine your most hated holiday song. Are drummer boys rum-pum-pum-pumming in your ears? Are the Chipmunks warbling until your eyes cross? Is Dominick the donkey making a special appearance in your worst nightmare? Now here’s the crazy part: No matter how much you hate that song, KOOL 108’s Lee Valsvik is completely cool with it. “There isn’t one Christmas song I just can’t stand — and there are so many that I adore,” said the 59-year-old local media legend. She’s currently presiding over the radio station’s annual transformation into an all-holiday-song format. From 9 a.m.–2 p.m. every weekday, she’s playing plenty of classics by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, along with her No. 1. Favorite — Doris Day’s version of I’ll Be Home for

}

Christmas. Once the carols have wound down on Dec. 26, she loves all the ’80s and ’90s hits featured on KOOL 108, too, especially Fleetwood Mac. “I love Bonnie Raitt — and James Taylor, too,” she said.

CHRISTMAS WITH HOLLY This Christmas, Valsvik will be celebrating with her children, Max, 19, and Kiki, 18, whom she adopted with her partner of 21 years and wife of five years, Holly Boyer, an otolaryngologist and executive director of ambulatory care for the University of Minnesota clinics. “Holly’s birthday is on Dec. 25, so it’s a double celebration,” Valsvik said. “We usually get together a few days earlier in Stillwater with my family, then head to see her family in Aitkin, Minnesota, with the hopes of doing some ice fishing.”


→ On the air: Lee Valsvik • 9 a.m.–2 p.m. weekdays on KOOL 108 (107.9 FM) • 8–10 a.m. every Saturday on KARE 11

Broadcaster Lee Valsvik, known for her easygoing attitude and positive energy, has worked in local radio since 1981. Photos by Tracy Walsh


EVERYONE KNOWS AND LOVES LEE — AND EVEN IF THEY’VE NEVER MET HER, SHE FEELS LIKE A FRIEND. — Dave Ryan of The Dave Ryan Show on KDWB

▲ Dave Ryan and Lee Valsvik filmed a promotional TV spot for their show on KDWB, which ran from 1993–2000. Photo courtesy of KDWB

While Valsvik has plenty of happy holiday memories centering around music, she also recalls food-focused traditions in her childhood household. “When I was a kid, I loved Mom’s Swedish sausage on Christmas Eve,” she said. On Christmas day, her dad always served lutefisk. “I’d take the lefse and use it like a tortilla, adding potatoes and lutefisk to help with the texture,” Valsvik said. “Lutefisk is all about the texture, right?”

STILLWATER RUNS DEEP Valsvik and her family recently moved from Stillwater to Golden Valley to be closer to KOOL 108 (107.9 FM) at the IHeartRadio offices in St. Louis Park’s West End. “That commute was brutal, and now it’s five minutes for me to get to work,” she said. Despite her current mailing address, Valsvik still is a bornand-raised Stillwater stalwart. A 1978 graduate of Stillwater High, she still can be seen wearing her Stillwater Ponies letter jacket to homecoming games. To ensure she still fits into that jacket after all these years, she stays active by golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter.

At her home-away-from-home, Stillwater Country Club, she says her handicap was 3 or 4 “BK” (before kids) and now is a 12. “I’ve played the best courses all over the world, but my favorite course is still right back home here in Stillwater,” she said. After noting that she still serves on the board of directors of the country club, she added: “I’ll be back to live here someday. I can’t stay away.” Valsvik’s love of golf began with her dad, Don Valsvik, who began teaching her when she was a preschooler. Her first state golf tournament was when she was just 10 years old. “But dad pushed too hard, and I ended up playing softball instead,” she said. “Stillwater didn’t even have a girls’ golf team at that time. I wish I had listened to him and played more golf back then.” Valsvik was always very close to her parents. But in 2001, a drunk driver struck her parents’ car, instantly killing her mother, Dorothy, and injuring her father. The accident happened close to Valsvik’s house, and she went to the scene. “As soon as I heard a siren, I knew it was them,” she said. “I guess God puts you in strange places for reasons sometimes. I was able to tell everyone that she didn’t suffer.” Her father died 10 years after the accident in 2011.

Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 33


SHE’S EVERYWHERE If Valsvik’s name and face seem familiar, her voice is probably even more recognizable to people all over the state. Valsvik, who originally went to Bemidji State University to study pre-med, ended up on a whole other career path when she started working at the student radio and TV stations at BSU. In 1981, Valsvik took her first broadcast job in Hutchinson at KDUZ. Over the years, she’s been on the Twin Cities’ radio airwaves with Metro

Traffic Control, KSTP-AM, KDWB-FM, WLOL and Cities 97, including two popular morning shows at KDWB with co-hosts Steve Cochran (1988-1993) and Dave Ryan (1993-2000). Ryan said, “Everyone knows and loves Lee — and even if they’ve never met her, she feels like a friend. I share a lot of great memories with her. We worked together during a very fun and crazy era at KDWB.” Those stories included a Met Center explosion, meeting and interviewing all the big celebrities of the era and even

helping a mom give birth. “We had many wonderful times together,” Ryan said. “Lee is a great conversationalist, and she can talk to anyone like it’s the most natural thing in the world.” Valsvik is also a local TV personality, doing live features every Saturday morning for KARE 11: She’s been captured ice skating, kissing an eelpout and being accidentally tackled — live on the air — by her cameraman before the start of a Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers game in 2013. (That video went viral and was featured on late-night TV shows and media all over the world.) With a Monday-through-Friday gig at KOOL 108 and Saturday mornings

PUT ME ON A GOLF COURSE OR AT A SKI RESORT, AND I DON’T CARE WHERE IT IS, I’M ONE HAPPY CAMPER. I THINK MY BLOOD PRESSURE GOES DOWN THE MINUTE I GET THERE. — Lee Valsvik

▲ Longtime local media personality Lee Valsvik poses in front of the studio doors at IHeartMedia in St. Louis Park, where she works at KOOL 108. 34 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


▲ The friendly voice of Lee Valsvik has become a fixture in the Twin Cities media scene.

at KARE 11, Valsvik is certainly a busy person. But she tries her best to keep her schedule open where she can, citing the epiphany she had a few years ago when she heard Oprah Winfrey say, “To say ‘no’ is to say ‘yes’ to your kids.” Still, she’s a frequent fixture as an emcee at charity events, most notably for Stillwater public schools and Youth Advantage, which works to provide arts, athletics and educational-enrichment experiences for children in need. Stillwater resident and friend Maria Reamer has served on boards with Valsvik, and she’s continually impressed by her friend’s enthusiasm and drive to make positive change. “She generously gives back to the communities she’s in with her time, energy and resources,” Reamer said. “I’m deeply blessed to call Lee one of my dearest friends.”

HAPPY CAMPER For her part, Valsvik seems to be a person who finds joy in just about everything — and everyone — she encounters. She still savors the occasional junk food treat, indulging in Sweet Martha’s Cookies when she’s broadcasting for KOOL 108 from the Minnesota State Fair. And she’s unable to resist Old Dutch potato chips, her favorite snack food. With the air of a true chip connoisseur, she said, “Ripples with onion dip is hard to beat, but

I also like the Parmesan-garlic variety and other fancy flavors, too.” Her ideal location for a perfectly relaxing day? “Put me on a golf course or at a ski resort and — I don’t care where it is — I’m one happy camper,” she said. “I think my blood pressure goes down the minute I get there.”

JUST LIKE BETTY WHITE What’s next? “I have no plans for retirement,” Valsvik said. “Technology works to our advantage in radio today. You can do your show from a studio in your home if you want to. Because I do so many product endorsements, I need to go in and meet our salespeople, at least right now. But things are always changing and improving.” Valsvik’s friend Andrea Saterbak said: “I recently asked her where she saw herself in the future, and she told me she wanted to be the Betty White of Minnesota media.” (The beloved actress, still working, turns 98 next month.) “Lee’s voice transcends age,” Saterbak said. “When people hear her, they perk up and listen.” Julie Kendrick is a contributing writer for many local and national publications. She lives in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.

Minnesota Good Age / December 2019 / 35


CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR DECEMBER The Wonder of Christmas

→ Star pianist Mary Beth Carlson shares the stage with Robert Robinson — called “the Pavarotti of gospel” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune — and a world-class orchestra ensemble.

When: Dec. 13 Where: St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, Bloomington Cost: $19; free for ages 16 and younger Info: marybethcarlson.com

ONGOING

TOWARD ZERO → A brutal murder interrupts a house party in this Agatha Christie adaptation. When: Through Dec. 15 Where: Theatre in the Round, Minneapolis Cost: $22; ages 62 and older pay $18, except on Saturdays. Info: theatreintheround.org

MISS BENNET → The Jungle brings back its 2017 holiday hit in which Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice characters reunite at the Darcy home for the holidays. When: Through Dec. 29 Where: Jungle Theater, Minneapolis Cost: $40–$50 Info: jungletheater.org

DEC. 1–29

HOLIDAYS WITH BING → C Ryan Shipley — seen as Bing in the Old Log Theatre’s Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical — presents a recreation of a classic Bing radio broadcast concert with guest appearances from his legendary friends. 38 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

When: 6:30 p.m. Sundays Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Where: Old Log Theatre, Excelsior Cost: $35 Info: oldlog.com

DEC. 3

RITA MORENO → The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winner takes the stage to sing some of her favorite songs and share stories about her life and career. When: Dec. 3 Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul Cost: $58–$161 Info: ordway.org

DEC. 6–8

SAINT PAUL ICE FISHING & WINTER SPORTS SHOW → Shop more than 190 booths with products and services dedicated to outdoors enthusiasts. When: Dec. 6–8 Where: St. Paul RiverCentre Cost: $12 for adults, $5 for ages 6–12 and free for children ages 5 and younger Info: rivercentre.org

DEC. 7

CRAFT BASH → Gift shop for the holidays at a free event by the American Craft Council, featuring more than 70 Minnesota makers, selling ceramics, jewelry, fashion items, home goods, candles and letterpress cards alongside live music, demonstrations and refreshments. When: Dec. 7 Where: Parallel Café +Events, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: craftcouncil.org

DEC. 15, JAN. 5

MINNESOTA BOYCHOIR WINTER CONCERT → Hear traditional favorites as well as secular hits at any of three free performances. When: Dec. 15, Jan. 5 Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis (7 p.m. Dec. 15) and Landmark Center, St. Paul (1 and 3:30 p.m. Jan. 5) Cost: FREE Info: boychoir.org


DEC. 17–18

DEC. 18–19

DEC. 21

→ Experience the Celtic sounds of SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin, featuring violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion, plus three-part vocals to create a “modern old-world” sound.

→ The Grammy-winning vocal and instrumental ensemble from Minneapolis performs music from several genres, including gospel, R&B, soul and jazz in a show titled The Night Before Christmas.

→ Celebrate the longest night of the year at a singalong with fellow music lovers and special guests Cameron Kinghorn, Jerry Rubino and others.

CHRISTMASTIDE

SOUNDS OF BLACKNESS

When: Dec. 17–18 Where: Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center, Bloomington Cost: $27–$52 Info: masonicheritagecenter.org

When: Dec. 18–19 Where: Pantages Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $28.50–$58.50 Info: hennepintheatretrust.org

BRING THE SING ON THE SOLSTICE

When: Dec. 21 Where: The Trailhead, Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: classicalmpr.org

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Brain teasers SUDOKU

WORD SEARCH The 21 Songs of Christmas

BANDAID CHIPMUNKS CLOONEY DREIDEL FELICIANO GARLAND HATHAWAY

RAMONES RUDOLPH STREISAND TANNENBAUM TEMPTATIONS TRANSSIBERIAN WONDERLAND

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2. The Vince Guaraldi Trio is best known for its jazzy soundtrack to what classic 1965 Christmas special?

CRYTPOGRAM The Christmas Song, by Nat King Cole, is not only masterful; to me it just sounds like the holidays.

1. What Bing Crosby tune has sold more than 50 million records, an all-time record for a single?

WORD SCRAMBLE Frosty, Grinch, Jingle

Do They Know It’s Christmas?

3. The favorite Christmas song of KOOL 108’s Lee Valsvik is a recording of I’ll Be Home for Christmas by what female star of 1950s and ’60s film and music?

ANSWERS

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CROSSWORD

Sources: guinessworldrecords.com, wikipedia.org, this issue of Good Age!

10/18/192019 10:28/AM Minnesota Good Age / December 41


Crossword

67 Cockamamie 68 Beginning 69 Automated spam creator

DOWN

ACROSS

1 Chinese sauce additive 4 Olympic swimming star Ledecky 9 L.L.Bean competitor 14 Listening organ 15 Stereotypical Pi Day celebrants 16 “Drab” color 17 Handel’s “Messiah” et al. 19 Creepy film motel 20 *Fruity adult beverage 22 Put in the mail 23 Cowboys QB Prescott 24 Well-worn pencils 26 “Keystone” police 28 *Black-spotted orange flower 33 Prefix with center 34 __ Valley: Reagan Library site 35 Strand at a ski lodge, say 37 Pitcher’s stat 42 / December 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

38 *Toy pistols used on stage 41 Prefix with natal 42 Asian food breadcrumbs 44 Novelist Leon 45 They, to Thierry 46 *Toy car brand 49 Artist Warhol 50 “The Good Earth” mother 51 Some SAT takers 52 Olympian bigwig 55 Canoeing challenge whose first word can precede the start and whose second word can precede the end of the answers to starred clues 61 Safe places? 63 Talus 64 Orange Muppet 65 Not tight enough 66 ER VIPs

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