A Resident’s Perspective – Returning Home

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. November 2018

Our move to Panorama was five years ago. In many ways, the change to new environment and environs has kept us occupied with local things. However, after seeing a trip through the Canadian Rockies offered at Panorama’s Hopes & Dreams Travel, we decided it might be time to take the train trip we had thought about doing for years. In the 1970s, we drove our little sporty car into Canada to Lake Louise and experienced the area in June. This offered a Fall trip with other residents in an escorted ten-day train and bus tour of the Rockies.

Twenty-four of us enjoyed this trip in early October. I was somewhat concerned that we’d miss the color array of Fall changes here at Panorama, but figured we’d see changes in the northern reaches. Our trip took us to Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and home from Calgary on a quick flight.

The train trip was wonderful. We were situated in the dome car, so views were everywhere. More fir and pine and less deciduous trees meant less color change than I had imagined. The pine beetle has ravaged much of that species and Canada has also had raging wild fires. The wilderness is a hard place to fight these fires, which seem to be more prevalent as the climate warms. Cold, hard and long freezes help kill the beetle, but many dead standing trees were evident.

We had heard about the food service on this train, but we were still surprised at the quality and variety of dishes offered in our “Gold Leaf Service.” When we were last to sit for breakfast, we were served tea and scones. Our car of 48 people was divided so 24 diners were comfortable in the dining car beneath the dome car. That meant that breakfast was after 10 am and we had some early starting times to re-board the train. There was also a wine and cheese serving for those in second seating for lunch.

Elegant “lunch” in the dining car

Train delays were minimal, except as we neared Jasper where we left the train for further bus touring. Commercial cargoes still have priority over leisure touring. Jasper is a main throughway for cargo east-west in Canada and some trains were congested with back-ups. Our train crew just whipped up an unplanned “snack” as the last day was a long one of fourteen hours, but it included shrimp, fruit, hummus, Focaccia bread triangles, and a sweet little dessert square. Restaurants were closed by the time we arrived and detrained in Jasper.

We all were prepared for cold, but in many places where we walked to view chasms and geologic formations, the 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit was manageable. Glacial ice fields are still fascinating, and we got to walk out on the Athabascan Glacier. We had done this 40 years ago and changes were very evident. Our merry band of travelers also noted that as crowded as it was at the closing of the season for rail adventure, we couldn’t imagine train lengths of 10 or 15 more cars that typically run in summer schedules. We were part of a six-car train.

Walking on Athabasca glacier

Hotels and motels were busy, but so much less so than high season. The magical part of this tour was not handling our bags. Now as older travelers, this is a godsend. We never had to lug our bags once they went on the commercial bus service that took us from Panorama Hall to Vancouver and picked us up at Sea-Tac and dropped us off at Panorama Hall. Our bags would show up in our rooms within the hour of getting our keys and going through customs in Canada was fairly streamlined.

Stained glass window décor at Lake Louise

A silliness on my part seemed to be fighting the ever-present duvets! Having experienced these in our hiking trips in the UK years and years ago, it seems they will be a part of travel forever. These devilish linens kept me overheated the entire trip, but it is the only thing I can say was an issue for me. At the very least, in the snowy wilds of Canada, we didn’t freeze at night! We experienced a bit of spitty snow in a few places, but otherwise we had clear viewing and sunny days.

Emerald Lake

Leg stretcher at Maligne Falls

We experienced wildlife from the train, on the gondola at Whistler, and during the walk along Pyramid Lake. We saw a black bear mom and two cubs under the gondola, elk in the openings of trees from the train, white-tailed deer and moose from the train, as well as mountain goats looking over the cliffs at our coach as we motored along. The in-room phone at our hotel in Jasper had a special button to dial to hear elk bugling if you missed the 4 am sounds, as this was rut time! This young red squirrel at Pyramid Lake was chomping away on pine cone seeds preparing for winter that was certainly on its way!

Red squirrel along the Bow River

Our traveling companions from Panorama were easy to travel with. We were also spoiled by having escorts along who smoothed over any rough patches, of which there were amazingly few!

The thing that surprised me as we returned home to Panorama was actually being overwhelmed by the color changes that I was sure we would miss. The green of grass vs. the brown of the prairie around Calgary was eye-popping. And we didn’t miss the changing of our trees and the palette of colors. What a homecoming! Sometimes you need to step back and experience other environments to totally appreciate what we have here in Panorama.

Panorama Welcomes My Unknown Cousin

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2018

In a few days, I’d be meeting a 2nd cousin who I didn’t know even existed. Our maiden names are both Italian: Barbera, which is not a common surname here in the USA.

There are many options of where we can meet on Panorama campus, but some are regularly used on Monday afternoons. I wanted a place other than our Quinault apartment. I wanted her to observe the friendly residents and their goings on, and yet not be in an isolated room where we might feel claustrophobic.

I prayed. Lord, You’ve never let me down. I know this mercenary, but You know the perfect spot for us to meet my cousin Nicole and her husband, Bruce, when they come tomorrow. I place this situation into your hands and I thank You in advance.

That evening, I observed a crowd leaving our restaurant. That’s it! The Panorama Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro! However, would they accommodate, understand, and allow us to occupy a large table for the four of us with room for our memorabilia and photos? We’d have access to meals, snacks, drinks—whatever—with no need to prepare them and clean up.

I ran upstairs to our apartment to gather and write down my thoughts and questions. I called our restaurant. Restaurant employee Erin seemed as excited as I was. “How fun, Mary Jo. We could push two tables together in a T-shape in the Bistro. You could be away from other tables and have a good time. We’d be nearby to wait on you when you are ready. You may have all afternoon to visit.”

The set-up was perfect.

We enjoyed our lunch, dessert, and drinks while sharing photos.

Nicole had pictures of herself and her little brother as youngsters standing at the side of a large inboard motor boat with the business name on the side in bold letters: Barbera Sports.

I belted, “Hey, that’s our boat!” Dad (her cousin) had taken the picture at the sporting goods store back in the late 1970s.

In several photos of my grandfather, Barbera Sr. (her uncle), I recognized the wallpaper in rooms at his birthday party, but I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I took a cellphone image of the page in her album, and I sent it to my sister Jerri. She was excited, “That’s my house.”

Members of Nicole’s family, including her 80-year-old mother, called from out of town saying they wanted to come to Panorama to meet us. What a privilege and compliment! I could go on and on about our several hours of fun. Our families know Panorama is available with the hospitality to handle our next family reunions. Everyone can relax and let it happen—repeatedly!

How did Nicole track me down?

She had traced my name through ThurstonTalk online, which aired March 16, 2018. It ran a story by Anne Paxton Hammond of me and my book, Convent to Catwalk. The story was titled “Mary Jo Shaw: How a Nun Became a Fashion Model and Mom.”

Seek and maybe ye shall find an unknown relative. And thanks to Panorama!

Balance

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2018

We held our annual Summer Solstice gathering in the Pea Patch, keeping watch for the last hour of light on the longest day. It was very pleasant sitting and walking among the flowers. I taught a balance workshop in August with simple home practices to help prevent falls. Fall/winter will bring more gatherings: a meditation retreat, a mindfulness introduction workshop, a New Year’s Eve silent meditation, and maybe a New Year’s Day class. We have a rich and close community of yoga/meditation students here at Panorama, open to all residents. I think of it as a silent support group.

Connie at the Activity Fair

Summer Solstice in the Pea Patch

People sometimes think their injuries, illness or limitations prevent them from joining a yoga class. Not at all! We adapt movements to each student. Yoga is for everybody, seniors especially. We’re all in this together, teachers included. That’s a beautiful part of yoga at Panorama – we live together, we’re friends and see each other outside of class as well. In addition, we care for and support each other as we go through different challenges. That’s the true spirit of yoga beyond a movement practice.

People are living longer, even as the body declines. We need to stay active in order to live independently. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and reaction time is slower, affecting balance. Our reflexes and coordination also slow down with age. A third of people over 65 fall each year. At 80, half of the seniors fall each year. Falling, not osteoporosis, is the strongest risk factor for fractures. In addition, some people fall and aren’t seriously hurt, but can’t get back up. Falls can be reduced by up to 50% with balance training. Over the years, many yoga students have reported that their practice has improved their balance, and sometimes averted a fall. Yoga develops mental clarity and concentration, as well as improved body awareness and control. The two go hand in hand. While age is a risk factor, a person who is healthy and fit effectively has a lower chronological age, leaving them less susceptible to falls and fractures. Yoga can help us age gracefully with improved quality of life.

A Resident’s Perspective – Does Panorama Consider Our Requests?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2018

We love eating in the Panorama Seventeen51 Restaurant. Sometimes we wished we could make our own selection for a healthy salad. Many residents suggested this on the restaurant survey we all received. It covered menu, ambiance, noise, service, etc.

 

But how seriously did the cooks, the manager, and Panorama welcome our salad proposals? Restaurant manager Tavis explained the results of the survey in statistical pie charts on our closed circuit Channel 370, as well as in our monthly Panorama News. We looked forward to seeing just how his consideration of healthy salads would be implemented.

 

Surprise!

 

“Hey, Chris! Our May Calendar of Activities just arrived. Look! It says on the first and third Saturdays of each month, the restaurant’s going to try a salad bar from 5 to 7.”

 

He put down his magazine. “Sounds great. Let’s be sure to go.”

 

At the end of the week, we entered The Gallery in the restaurant. Chris stopped to visit and tease with a table of friends enjoying their meal. I headed straight to the food line. My jaw dropped.

 

I motioned to Chris and mouthed silently, “Come over here!”

 

Together we scoped the length of cold containers. “Wow, Chris, how nice! I didn’t expect this.”

 

We observed the fresh mixed greens, baby tomatoes, red onions, carrots, and diced cucumbers.

 

Chris pointed out his favorites. “Yum! Black olives, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, broccoli, mushrooms, and candied walnuts…wow!

 

I anticipated the ham and turkey, but the tempting layout offered bacon bits, hardboiled eggs and delicious grilled chicken breast. “Glad I don’t have to cut all of this stuff. I love salad, but it takes so much time and then I’m exhausted after supper. Look, even bleu cheese crumbles and shredded cheddar.”

 

After filling our plates, we had to make a decision. Poppy seed, ranch, raspberry vinaigrette, honey mustard, or oil and vinegar?

 

“What’s this? A huge pot of soup? I didn’t envision that! How great…and rolls, breadsticks and crackers!”

 

As we turned to find a table, a couple who had just moved into the Quinault building down our hallway invited us over. “Join us for supper. I worked hard chopping up this big variety of items,” she joked.

 

Chris kidded back, “We’re providing the dessert. We’ll treat you to the fresh berries and mandarin oranges on the food line. You can have all you want!”

 

Does Panorama listen to our suggestions? I’ll let you decide ­­— all you want!

A Resident’s Perspective – Name Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. August 2018

It is time to talk about the name tags we were provided when we moved into Panorama. I know many of us at our age sort of rail against being identified in the manner of a name tag. We’ve all been to conferences and stuck with a “Hello! My Name is ____”.  At those functions, the name tag often admits you to planned sessions or gatherings as a crowd control device.

Well, I’d like to add my take on name tags for here in our community. We all recall when we first moved into this amazingly large community of new faces! Boy, was the name tag a boon to not only meeting new folks but attempting to put names with faces. We don’t NEED them for admittance to functions and activities, but it surely makes it easier for us. It also helps new folks know us! We all get to know so many through our volunteering and joining in activities. But we forget that new residents find themselves sort of left out socially as we greet each other at activities. Just by way of a suggestion, it is always good to see folks introduce themselves to people who seem new, at least to them.

What we put under our names on the tag is also of interest! I know many put the most recent community they lived in as being “from,” but some folks have put their origins under their names. This is always a conversation starter if nothing else. Resident Council members also have a special addition to their name tag to identify them.

Recently, at a Resident Council meeting, our head of Security suggested wearing name tags as we move around our many acres of Panorama in our various activities. It helps Security, who can’t know us all, know if we belong here or not. Trespass is not a big problem here but it does occur.

The other side of this coin is personal. I prefer to not wear the name tag out away from Panorama. It is merely a thought that I’d like to not lose the tag somewhere as I take off or put on an outer wrap. I know we can get another, but it just seems prudent. It makes it a bit awkward on bus trips out to meals/brunches/dinners-at-their-best, but a quick introduction to tablemates is always a good idea. When the hiking groups gather with Steve, he always has us all introduce ourselves and it is a nice gesture.

Now a sobering factoid, if you’ve not kept up. I always save the “New Residents at Panorama” listing in our monthly newsletter until we get the updated pages of the newest edition of our directory. Since January of this year, we have 75 (!) new residents! This includes the nine people listed in our August newsletter.

May we all try to wear our name tags and give the newbies a break, and ourselves as well, with our many creaky minds in the remembering department.

A Resident’s Perspective – Booking a Panorama Bus

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2018

For some reason, our church was in the “back pew” when Panorama buses began providing transportation for residents to churches of specific denominations years ago. In the meantime, we have been blessed with resident Maurie L. He attends Mass at Sacred Heart on Sundays and again on Mondays to obtain and bring the sacred, consecrated wafer-hosts to our Catholic Communion service at 10:30 a.m.

When resident Annie (fictional name) initiated and shared her inspiration of asking Panorama for transportation to the church for Sunday Mass, several of us threw our hands up. “What a great idea! We’ll be happy to help spread the word among residents to see how many might be interested.”

We prayed intently each day and we all began networking. Annie worked behind the scenes with proposals and answers to questions that Panorama might ask her. She gathered information, did a test bus trip herself, looked at bus drop-off locations on the church campus, etc.

Annie discussed her questions with us. We prayed with more effort that if God wanted it to be, it would happen. She finally presented the proposal to Grace Moore, Lifestyle Enrichment Director.

“Absolutely!” Grace responded, “You’ll need at least five riders to reserve a van or bus. I’ll work with you on details and get back with you.”

Annie with a teeth-showing smile and beaming, bulging eyes revealed the good news to us. I’m sure that glow on her face was the same when she received the “absolutely” from the Lifestyle Director.

Our goal was to find at least five residents required for the ride, and in a week or so we had a pool of about 15. Others still drive but wanted to be on the list, in case they suddenly are not able or don’t want to drive. The bus picks us up and returns us to our homes, but no need to pay on the spot. The small riding fee is then charged to our monthly account the Sunday we actually sign and board the bus. How easy is that!?

We call Annie by Thursday to let her know if we won’t be going the following Sunday. We realize not everyone at our age will be able to attend every week. We are not charged if we do not ride, but the opportunity is there. So far, we have had about 10 regulars each Sunday.

Of course, we will continue the Monday morning services for those unable to ride the Panorama bus and for those who wish to attend Sunday and/or Monday! Another simple-for-us-to-do blessing from Panorama!

A Resident’s Perspective – Panorama TV

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2018

I had good intentions to put up a blog once a month and now I seem to have missed one. We are into the hot summer months now. I know many Panoramans love the heat and many are out in it. That said, it is best to be out in early morning or well into the later evening time. However, many of us stay hunkered down in our habitats to avoid the hot sun.

So now I must sing the praises of our own TV station: Panorama TV 370!!! When I first got here, I was way too busy just getting settled to give it much of a look-see.  And it was very hard to find things I wanted to see without wading through the repetitious offerings that keep us in the know.

Now I find that you can get a weekly upcoming summary by sending an email to get on their mailing list, as outlined in a nice article in July’s Panorama News. They will post once a week on Saturdays the entire programming events of the upcoming week.

I’ve found the live interviews of new residents always informative and as I am a hiker, I enjoy Steve Pogge’s monthly subjects in his half hour of “Hikes with Steve” segment. The summary also gives you TED talk subjects, so you can pick the ones that are of interest to you. The monthly Resident Council meetings are broadcast about 3-4 days after the monthly meetings. If you want to know what is happening outside of the administrative forums, which are held a few times a year, this is a great way to keep up with plans/happenings, especially if you have no time to attend the meetings in the Quinault Auditorium. The meetings are always open to residents.

Many of us prefer recording or “DVR-ing” things to catch at a later time when our mornings and afternoons are busy. This is a hard thing to do currently on our TV system as programs are lumped into segments of many hours. If you are like me, I have so much stuffed in my “to see” part of the DVR that a 4-hour segment stretches its capability. So, for now, I jot the times of things I wish to see and leave the note near the remote and manage to see most of the segments of interest to me.

Restaurant news and menus are read by Tavis and activities are covered, always humorously, by Lu. This is very nice for residents without computers or access in that manner to keep informed. The TV listings of the Reader Board are also handy.

As we forge into the future at Panorama, so many things have been upgraded by staff as well as new residents, and the changes have been appreciated by us all. Having our own TV station is a boon to us and I know they’d love to have anyone interested to contact them about learning and helping in this endeavor.

Does It Really Work?

Written by Mary Jo Shaw, Panorama resident. June 2018

A fictional story explaining how the Panorama Benevolent Fund Social Assistance Program works. All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons living or deceased is purely coincidental.  

 

“I can’t help it that I have all these things wrong with my legs! Why do you keep yelling at me?” Mary’s tears made Jim even more upset. He stormed out of their once happy little apartment in one of the Panorama buildings. The slam of the door matched their volume.

Heading toward Panorama Hall for a cup of coffee, Jim’s frown and fuming red face caught the eye of one of the on-campus Independent Living Services social workers arriving for work. “Are you all right, Jim? How is Mary?”

“Oh, I don’t know how I can take this much longer, especially with all the bills we have lately. I’m running out of steam trying to care for her, cook, do laundry, and take care of the house. I’m so wound up at night, I can’t even sleep. This is the first time I’ve been out of the house in days. I’m frustrated and not myself. I know our garden plot needs upkeep. I love Mary very much and want to care for her, but I just can’t keep going on and on and on.” Jamming his waving arms into his wrinkled pockets, he traced his old shoe on the parking stripe on the asphalt. Jim needed to vent; the social worker simply nodded her concern.

“We’ve been almost frugal with our spending, but I’m getting nervous with our finances…my set of dentures, her hearing aids…it all came so sudden.” After more details, the social worker offered to refer them to the Benevolent Fund Social Assistance Program to see whether they qualified for temporary help until Mary was able to be back on her feet again.

He hesitated, but a glimmer of hope helped him take a deep breath. “Maybe. But I don’t know if Mary would approve. She always worked so hard. But it sure would help.” Jim was reminded that only two people knew the names of the independent residents asking for assistance in qualifying for funds.

A Benevolent Fund worker arrived the next day to talk with the couple and gathered information about financial resources to take to the office. After several phone calls to health care agencies, and final arrangements, the Benevolent Fund office assured Jim and Mary they would be able to have a caretaker.

Olivia was well trained in her work of home care. She prepared meals, freezing some for her off-days, changed sheets, did laundry and some vacuuming. Mary enjoyed Olivia’s pleasant visits during the three days of weekly appointments. Jim joined the other guys in the Pea Patch, bringing home veggies and flowers to a happy home once again.

After a few months when Mary was ready to be on her own, she and Jim hugged Olivia. “You’ve been a God-send. Panorama is so good to us. The Benevolent Fund really does work!”

A Resident’s Perspective – Walk Events

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2018

Over the five years we have been in residence at Panorama, I am always amazed at the outpouring of support and inclusion of our community, by both residents and staff when activities happen. Three events are prime examples: the 5K walkabout on campus, Walk the Loop Tuesdays, and the Arts Walk.

May found many of us signed up for and completing the 5K walk around campus. Much energy was put in designing the path and then marking it in orange rain-soluble chalk.  Then there were the water stations at many points. It was also designed so that benches were along the way for resting awhile, if needed. It seemed every department was represented in the effort. Security, Emergency Response, Marketing, Bus Transportation drivers, Aquatic & Fitness Center, Lifestyle Enrichment, Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro, and Independent Living Services were all manning some aspect of keeping us safe and connected. And then there was the start-finish boom box with fun music at the Aquatic & Fitness Center!

5K or 3 miles onward!

Walk, ride, or whatever!

Besides “Shanks Mare” (walking), there were bicycles, upright segues, scooters, three-wheelers, canes, and walkers used. The overcast day kept the temperatures bearable for those of us who abhor walking in the heat!!!!  This time of year, with the unbelievable array of color in the Rhododendrons, it was an additional treat to walk the neighborhoods that the route took us.

Vibrant Rhododendrons

Grace, from Lifestyle Enrichment, in her cheerleader hat!

Medals at the end were a nice touch!

And now it is Walk the Loop time for summer Tuesday evenings from 6:30 PM on. These are gentle walks, allowing you to do what length you want and enjoy the learning stations along the way. Riddles, quizzes and informational postings add to memories or learning or just plain fun. The Panorama campus is flat and is such a treat for those who are mobility-impaired and using various aids, such as canes or walkers or scooters, to enjoy the fresh air of an evening. Also, it is a gab-fest for folks you don’t see day to day. The opportunities to connect and stay moving here at Panorama are such a bonus.

The Arts Walk involved so many artists and supporters of artists in amazing displays in many venues about campus! These were concentrated in a few buildings and environs, so the “walk” part was not excessive. Buses ran on a schedule to get folks to all the venues. The creativity of residents is wonderful to see. Music was heard all over the venues by various groups with different instruments and vocals in the Auditorium. Actors and readers were reprising the “Dixie Swim Club” play from earlier this year and it was just as funny with good attendance in the Auditorium. The afternoon found our Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro dispensing ice cream products under the portico of the Auditorium.

I always think no wonder there are 400+ folks on the wait lists to get in here! We are so very fortunate. Do get out and enjoy campus as we roll into summer, in a few weeks. The grounds crew has made this such a vibrant-hued community in ALL seasons.

Flying False Teeth at Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2018

“My children are adults now, and yet they still ask me, ‘Remember when your teeth flew?’” Those are Kathy Lee’s words.

I first met Kathy at Panorama’s Walk the Loop Group and again at Panorama’s July 4th picnic in 2012 when she and her hubby were taking a tour of Panorama. Kathy opened her large bag/purse and pulled out a copy of My Air Force Mom for our 4-year-old granddaughter, Hope, at the picnic. Kathy fanned the pages of her own book to Hope and read it to her. Hope eyed the colorful, cute pictures.

Wow! This lady has published her own book. In my Panorama writing class, Bryan Willis, his substitutes and class members keep encouraging me to print my stories of my 13 years in a religious convent, leaving, and immediately training in high fashion modeling. We need to talk shop.

I questioned Kathy about her writing/publishing experience, “When Grandma’s False Teeth Fly is my second published children’s book. It won the Silver Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America.”

My mind went flying as I examined the silver sticker on the cover. She laughed. “It’s a fictional story that grew from factual events.”

I leaned forward to hear over the park picnic excitement. “Whoa! I gotta hear your story.”

She sipped her Dr. Pepper and pulled her folding chair closer. “As a child, I had a chipped tooth like Katie in my book. Now, I’m a grandma. I have worn false teeth for many years. On two separate occasions, my false teeth have taken flight.”

“The first time was at a party, at a club with the band playing ‘Twist and Shout’. My date and I were on a hot, crowded dance floor talking over the music. Unbeknownst to me, my mouth dried out. I took in a gulp of air and my upper plate flew from my mouth to the floor. Fortunately, the club was dimly lit. I twisted down to the floor, picked up my teeth, slid them into my pocket, twisted up to a standing position and scurried off the dance floor toward the restroom.”

I slapped my knee with laughter. Competition from the live band now playing presented a challenge, but we focused our conversation on writing.

Years later, she married and had a family. “In a heated argument with one of my sons, it happened again,” she continued. “Same thing. Dry mouth, gulp of air, and out they flew. After a second or two of shock, my son and I laughed so hard, the argument was completely forgotten. I have had first-hand experience with flying (actually falling) false teeth. Hence the title.”

“Kathy, with your creativity, you’d love our writing classes here at Panorama.”

“Oh, I didn’t know they offered them. Now I’m really getting excited about signing up. I have to tell you how this book evolved. My husband always made two cherry cream pies for our monthly church potluck lunch. This planted a seed idea that the fictional flight of grandma’s false teeth should happen at the church potluck. I wanted them to fly into banana pudding (my favorite), but the publisher changed it to chocolate pudding.”

As we both stood to fluff up our pillows aching from the park-chairs, my mind wandered. Wow! I don’t think I want to have a publisher…I’ve heard they want to change things. I’m writing my memoir Convent to Catwalk and I want every bit of it to be true.

I wanted to hear more, so Kathy offered, “I had rewritten this story six or seven times. In fact, I began writing it even before I wrote my first published children’s book, My Air Force Mom, and it took years to get it just right. After entering the story in contests and receiving valuable feedback, it eventually evolved into a book that shows children may choose to use humor to diffuse a situation with bullies.”

Kathy’s husband is fond of saying her book was a “ten-year overnight success.” Two of her five children’s books have colorful pictures with A to Z prompts, and lines and spaces where future little authors may write. Another is a poem, The Whisperwood Books & Bakery, where children enjoy snacks as they enjoy reading.

Shortly after moving to Panorama, Kathy joined Bryan’s screen-writing class.

Her darling books are spread out next to my Convent to Catwalk memoir in Panorama’s Gift’s Etc. Hundreds of resident hand-made items are for sale there: wood working, crochet, wool felting, greeting cards for every occasion, paintings, pottery, machine and hand sewn aprons, etc. Residents receive 80% in a monthly check.

Thanks, Kathy, for encouraging me to finish my self-published, successful book after writing faithfully for 5 ½ years.

Do false teeth fly at Panorama? At least Kathy Lee (author name: Mary Lee) made it a great story!

Panorama Rescues My Twin Sister

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2018

Emergency! My twin sister, mentioned in my April 2018 blog, ended up staying eight days at our Panorama apartment. Jerri had planned to stay with our daughter Melody and her hubby John, but their daughter, Hope, took ill. I prayed a queen size air mattress would fit into my tiny craft room. I removed my folding tray tables and my two small black benches.

All four walls had craft stackable drawers and cabinets. My laptop was on a board on top of one set of the many drawers.

“Well, the mattress fits,” Chris called to the kitchen. “But it’s bumper to bumper with all that stuff lining the walls.”

“Oh, Jerri won’t mind. We’ll have fun.” My jaw dropped and eyeballs bulged—only eight inches of “walkway” between the mattress and the sewing machine and tall plastic drawer bin.

Yes…Jerri was a sport. We laughed at the situation, and began with first things first: what were we going to wear to dress as twins for fun? She loves to shop. I detest it. I’d rather be playing piano somewhere on campus, practicing new compositions, writing books, blogging and marketing opportunities, or doing my tons of crafts. But I looked forward to going to the small shopping center a mile away to purchase matching tops to go with the black pants and tights we already owned.

We rode the scheduled, beautiful Panorama bus and stepped off right in front of the store. We tore through the departments for 1.5 solid hours, more out of high adrenaline rush than of time crunch. She only wears black and white, sometimes tans/browns, but NEVER pastels. I mainly wear black and white year round, but don anything that fits, or that is handed up or down to me.

I hadn’t been shopping in over a year, so I was like a kid at the candy counter readying for a double feature. Our challenge was to find items that fit each of us, but matched…and only in black and white. We found mounds of clothing and shared the dressing room, as we did as kids years ago. Eliminations went fast, mainly because what fit one of us didn’t fit the other, and it HAD to be on a good sale!

She insisted we take items home on hangers. As most stores in Washington, no plastic bags are available. Our fingers gripped long receipts with our seven coat-hangered items. Other residents on the bus teased us about the matching clothing we’d purchased. Visiting on the Panorama bus is the fun part of the trip to and from our destinations.

After laughing and reminiscing until 2:30 a.m., we arose in 8 hours, dressed identically in our thinly-striped, black and white tops, black tights, and gold loop earrings. We took the elevator from our apartment on the 5th floor down to the 2nd to Panorama’s Seveenteen51 Restaurant. As we stood deciding where to sit, residents turned to smile. I waved as I always do.

“Wow, people really are friendly here at Panorama,” Jerri commented. We sashayed back to the Bistro for a table for two by a window. She kept remarking, “The view here is beautiful.” She awed at spring’s huge red rhododendrons and numerous other blooms, and well-manicured lawns.

“Jerri, most Panorama people are very friendly, but remember: today their eyes are following us because we are dressed alike.” We laughed like kids. I added, “We’re getting the attention we dressed to get, right? Lots of residents know me, and most have just read my Panorama blog and quarterly VOICE OF PANORAMA. Both publications have been out three days and contain the story of our being twins each year, dressing alike, getting Mom to take us shopping so people would say, ‘Oh, look at the twins! How old are you? and…’”

Jerri broke in to finish my story, “Yeah! And we’d say we were both seven or whatever. We never said we were twins…they did!”

I jogged her memory, “Remember when we dressed alike as adults when we both lived in Las Vegas and we treated each other to lunch?”

During our lunch, I learned Jerri had not brought her swim suit, but swims daily at her home to aid her bad back. She jumped at the idea to go shopping tomorrow for a swim suit.

We did ride the city bus, since Panorama’s bus was not scheduled to go where we wanted to shop. She said, “I haven’t been on a city bus since I was in high school. This is wonderful. The bus is so clean.”

Our five minute ride dropped us off about a half-block from the store. We found even more bargains and a great swim outfit for her. Again, people stared and grinned. We were wearing our new broad-stripped black and white tops and black tights. This time we called out, “We’re twins!” We were surprised at how many teased back, “Oh, we thought you were escapees still in uniforms!” What constant fun!

As we checked out to pay, I asked a resident couple, Ann and Rocky, behind us, “My sister and I came on the city bus. May we hop a ride home to Panorama with you?”

What a delight. The lovely couple treated us to a 20 minute tour of Panorama grounds. We have had no car for 6 years and don’t miss it. Jerri didn’t know about our beautiful Chambers Lake with ducks. Rocky and Ann pointed out the various blossoms, trees, bushes and stopped for our picture-taking from the back seat, since it had started to drizzle.

Jerri questioned, “Who takes care of all these manicured lawns and bushes? It must take hours…who has the energy to do it when they get older? I hire a gardener at home and it’s not cheap.”

“Oh, the Grounds maintenance does it for us, Jerri. We don’t have to do any of it.”

“But how much do you pay to have it done?”

The three of us said in unison, “That’s included, as well as utilities, water…” She was experiencing the too good to be true amenities I’d shared with her since we arrived in 2011. We don’t take the paradise-looking grounds for granted, but I was renewed once again of God’s amazing work of art on our campus.

After a few days, our granddaughter was well. We had a great brunch and a full day of fun at their home. Later we invited them to Panorama’s Seventeen51 Restaurant. How convenient. I didn’t have to cook!

Jerri is highly allergic to dairy and tolerates only a little gluten. Well-trained waiters and cooks made her dining experience comfortable, relaxed and healthy. Jerri never owned a recipe book, and is blessed with gourmet-cooking talent. “My large, beautiful platter of pear salad topped with grilled chicken was tasty and filling,” she remarked. That was a real compliment.

As I’d introduce Jerri to my friends, many asked if she was the one of the main characters in my memoir. What fun when they learned they had met her “in person”. Several asked if she wanted to hit me over the head for being extremely late for the big fashion show in Mexico City when Jerri was coordinator. “I wanted to do lots more than just ‘hit her over the head’…I wanted to kill her,” she teased with her hand soaring up high.

By the way, the book I wrote in class at Panorama in 2017, Convent to Catwalk, involves Jerri too. After I had been a religious nun for 13 years, I started training to model for many of the world’s renowned fashion designers. Jerri and one of my other sisters, Patti, were responsible for that part of my life. I don’t take them for granted either.

We are encouraged to have family and friends stay with us up to two weeks at a time. I enjoyed my “twin” sister in a special way and thank my Panorama family who welcomed her with me. We are blessed again here at Panorama.

A Work of Art Brought Back to Life

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. May 2018

My father’s career as a biblical scholar and archaeologist often took him to Israel and Jerusalem. While he was on digs, teaching and researching, my mother, an inveterate shopper and extrovert, studied, visited and came to appreciate Arabic and Palestinian crafts and the Palestinian people. In 1970, she approached John Tabash, a renowned craftsman both in mother-of-pearl and olive wood. She wanted him to create an olive wood Advent Calendar modeled on the Gothic cathedral in Limbourg, Germany. Reluctant at first, he eventually embraced the idea and the two of them worked together for many months. The result was a stunning creation, over two feet high. Each of the 24 doors contains a nativity figure, and there is a large “rose window” in the center made of intricately carved mother-of-pearl. 

When I inherited the Advent Calendar a few years ago, it needed TLC. Several doors had fallen off, it had lost some of the original olive wood luster, and the wiring for the interior lights was not safe. I took it to several wood workers and none were able or willing to take on the project of restoring it. Then, after we moved to Panorama, I took it down to the wood shop. One of the regulars had assured me that someone would certainly be willing to take on this project. And sure enough, Maurie Laufer agreed, provided I wasn’t in a hurry. No, Christmas was almost a year away.     

Over the next few weeks and months, Maurie updated me on his progress. A missing door had to be replaced with a new piece of wood, stained to match the original exactly and complete with a tiny doorknob. Doors had to be glued back on. Lights had to be found and placed in exactly the right place. A major dusting and oiling was needed. 

Finally, in May, the great day arrived when Maurie called to say it was ready! We stopped by the wood shop, buzzing with activity, which stopped when we approached the work bench. What a thrill when he took off the protective covering! The olive wood almost glows in rich, deep, variegated hues. The LED lights (donated by the metal shop and originally acquired in Iceland) emit a soft glow. And the Nativity figures, all 27 of them, hidden behind their doors for now, serenely await their turn on the stage during the month of December. Thank you so much Maurie for taking on this project and bringing a family treasure back to life. 

Resident Spotlight – Harold Rorden

Written by Panorama resident, Gail Madden. Photos by April Works. May 2018

As Panorama renews and renovates, you can hear the sounds of construction and renewal across the campus.  But that’s not the only construction happening here and not the only place homes are being built.  When Portland native Harold Rorden retired from his career in air traffic control, he originally moved to Lake Cushman and built a home with a big garage and workshop.  When he sold that home and relocated to Panorama in 2005, he was looking for a hobby – and activity – to fill his time.  He discovered the woodshop and found a great spirit of camaraderie among the team working there.  He also caught sight of a half-finished doll-house and he says, “That got me hooked.”

Most mornings you can find Harold down in the woodshop on the lower level of the Quinault putting together some very precious and special homes.  Long before plastic Barbie and her cardboard world became popular, little girls were entertained for hours on end with their doll houses and the furniture and imaginary families they installed in them.  These miniature houses originated about 400 years ago in Germany where their purpose was to entertain the children of the wealthy and privileged. Even today, girls feel very special when they’re presented with handmade dollhouses they can furnish and decorate.  And now boys can enjoy these miniature structures too.  There are horse stables and general stores as well as the traditional homes.

Harold takes great care in the construction of his dollhouses and as he says, “They start as kits, but I like to improve on the recipe.”  Each house takes two to three months to complete and has custom touches for both the exterior and interior.  Some are free-standing and others can be made to be wall-mounted in a child’s bedroom or playroom.  They usually have a porch and sometimes a porch swing so the doll family can enjoy a restful afternoon outside their home.  Other custom touches include the wallpaper, tile floors and, of course, the color scheme.  His construction projects are a labor of love and while they are for sale, the cost is only for materials, not for the labor that goes into making these wonderful playthings.

Harold donates a number of his completed dollhouses to the Stiles-Beach Barn where they are on display and available for purchase with the proceeds going to the Panorama Benevolent Fund.  If you have a moment, check out the houses currently on display at the Barn. Perhaps you have a grand or a great-grand who would be thrilled to find a custom dollhouse under the tree this Christmas.

Because they take time to construct, it is never too early for a parent or grandparent to think about that special Christmas or birthday gift of a custom constructed dollhouse.  Contacting Harold Rorden, the architect of these fantastical structures, allows you to pre-order your custom touches to personalize the gift.  He’d love to help you make that special little girl or boy a present that will be treasured for years to come.

A Resident’s Perspective – Walking and Hiking Season Begins Apace!

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2018

The celebration of May Day saw the opening, in earnest, of the Panorama outings into the environment! The day was wonderful with overcast and NO RAIN! Nine of us spent a lovely leg stretcher, after so much winter rain, by hiking up to Mima Falls.

There was a second trip planned the next day to accommodate an increasing interest in joining these hikes. The gathering at the Falls was a snack break and gab session. A new resident of three weeks (!) joined this trip.  She managed to put aside her unpacking to investigate these wonderful outings.

Spring brings with it so much bird song & flowering of wild flowers. There were also the croaking frogs along with the splash of the falls. A quiet day in the woods is always rejuvenating. I’ve only included a few pictures of things abloom, but there were so many. So many shades and hues of the trilliums were a treat. Also pictured was the flowering Oregon Grape.

This trail accommodated dogs on leash, as well as horses. We were treated to seeing two lovely horses ridden up the trail and back down past us. A further fun thing was a group of eight from Jubilee retirement facility who were working their way up as we were coming down to go to lunch. It was a “hail fellow, well met” happening. A particularly interesting discovery along the trail was the VERY RARE pretzel tree, quite festooned in honor of spring!

The trip was shortened by two miles, due to the worst up and down of the second section of the trail. For a first time out, this was such a great decision. For hikers and walkers interested, our leader, Steve Pogge, always has options on lengths and portions of trail that give us a walk or hike that meets our abilities. Steve is always available to answer questions regarding any planned hikes, and you can call him or email him with questions. The Activities and Events section of the Newsletter where hikes are described has his contact information for questions.

The trailhead did not provide comfortable lunch seating, so we drove around the corner to Mima Mounds recreational prairie reserve. There have been many spring wildflower walks out at this lovely destination and we ate our packed lunches looking out over the mounds. Many things were blooming, but the blue camas were in great profusion.

Watch the Activities and Events section of the Newsletter to find these gems of outings. It is such a luxury to have someone drive you out and back. We are so very spoiled!!!

Enjoy the spring! Panorama will help you do that!!!!!

A Resident’s Perspective – Activities at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

I thought I’d take just a few minutes to share what impresses me about our planned activities here at Panorama. Everyone gets the monthly “Panorama News” bulletin, either by electronic media or on paper through our mail boxes. Along with the “Resident Handbook and Directory,” these provide us with all the happenings around Panorama.

We are informed about the current state of Panorama affairs by various departments, such as Maintenance or Grounds. Special interest groups can outline upcoming events that they are providing and other opportunities available are spelled out.

What has become almost a “bible” for us in our household is the long section of activities organized by the Lifestyle Enrichment department. On-campus offerings often provide bus transport to movies at the auditorium or Resident Council transport can be arranged for other things. Speaking for myself, I always make a copy of the often 8 pages (!!) of happenings and descriptions outlined to keep next to our paper (yes, paper) calendar. Movies, either foreign or first run recent films, are listed along with classics, which often run on special times or holidays, like Christmas.

The hiking, walking and outing offerings have always been uppermost in our interest as we are pretty mobile at this time. Being from out of state, the meal outings, such as Brunch at Its Best and Dinner at Its Best, have introduced us to places that locals already know about. This has been a wonderful learning service provided for getting to know Olympia and environs. Hidden parks you would never find on your own have been a delight to discover.

Many of the offerings include bus transportation to Seattle (and who wants to drive there??) and night performances at many theaters where parking and night vision make driving, in our circumstance, a bit of a crapshoot, if not, downright dangerous. Get to know the activity desk folks (9:30 AM to 12:00 PM weekdays) in Pan Hall to sign up for these outings. Also, get your suggestions about things you’d like to see & do to the Lifestyle Enrichment department, as well.

The listed activities coupled with special lectures for Learning in Retirement have been so very helpful as we maneuver through our aging years! The Office of Philanthropy underwrites performances and Lifestyle Enrichment department supports and covers so many other opportunities. The Panorama Board of Directors also supports administrative decisions for many activities.

We have met some wonderful folks on these outings and have had a good time. And we always look forward to the next month’s issue with listings of doings/outings to sign up for. This brings to mind the query I get from people from our old community on “what on earth do you do there?” This always makes me laugh. We are finding our calendar as full as it was ten years ago!!! Granted, the activities have changed. The opportunities to learn are different. But for anyone wondering what there is to do, these activities are a gold mine. Those who volunteer for many of our functions and interest groups find time at a premium, but still manage to go to a movie now and again.

I am hoping you will acquaint yourselves with this bulletin and what it offers. I know, many of you are still in boxes and moving in can be a bear. But remember that Panorama is rich in what they are providing us and we are rich in being the recipients of such energy and planning.  Enjoy Panorama!!!

(P.S. The magnolia finally bloomed as well!!!!!!!”)