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!!!!!!!”)

Clarifying My Twin Sister

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2018

“Look at the twins! You look so cute. How old are you?”

We chimed in unison, “We’re twelve years old.” Or whatever age we were at the time.

My sister and I loved to hear those questions. We were the same height and size. Year after year, we dressed exactly alike from the bow or hair clip, to the dress and jewelry, down to our shoes and socks. We gave each other the same birthday present at our shared birthday party, which Mom let us have every other year.

Unfortunately, we don’t get recognized anymore for being twins or get to answer questions like how old we are. Maybe it’s because we don’t look alike anymore, or we’re too old to be asked our age. But if we’re together, we still go out and dress alike.

When we were married and both lived in Las Vegas, we decided to have lunch at the Texas Steak House to celebrate our 70th birthday. We’d grown up in San Antonio, Texas, and it would be our treat to each other.

RRRING. RRRING. I ran to the phone in my undies, jeans over my arm and various fashions spread out on my bed.

“Wear your white pants and your nice, black T-top,” my sister laughed. “I’m wearing mine!”

“Oh, of course! Why not? Sounds fun. Wear your long, red scarf like mine.” I dashed into the closet.

“I’ll pick you up in fifteen minutes.” She slammed her phone down.

Only fifteen minutes? I scurried around, but lost precious time during her next three calls. After a disheveled closet and bedroom, we matched black earrings, shoes, and shoulder-strap purses. I held tight to my seat belt in her shiny red Jaguar racing down Sahara Avenue. She accelerated more to beat the stale-green light at Decatur.

We were grinning Cheshire cats strolling into the steak house. She was much shorter than I. My hair was turning gray; hers was thin and colored dark brown.

The hostess swiped a look at our matching outfits, raised her eyebrows, and hinted a side smile, “Welcome, ladies.”

I relieved her curiosity, “Oh, we’re dressed alike because we’re both seventy years old today.”

Relaxed, she alerted the waitresses. “We have special twins today celebrating seventy years young.” She royally escorted us to the highly polished, but western, hammered-to-look-old table-for-two. We were at the center of many crowded tables. Clients dressed in business attire to cut-off western shorts, bandanas and straw hats.

Booths around the walls were raised, looking down onto our table. We waded through empty peanut shells, strewn across the wooden floor. It was allowed in those days. Customers tossed them after nibbling the contents.

“Happy birthday, ladies!” Waitress spoke with enthusiastic volume. “It must be fun to be a twin. Thanks for celebrating with us.” We delighted in the attention of smiles and nods over menus, huge deep-fried blooming onions, and platters overflowing with Texas-sized steaks.

AAAHH! The aroma from peppered, mesquite-grilled steak snuggled close to steaming, baked yams dripping with butter and brown sugar, and heavy hunks of homemade cornbread: carriage back to our Texas home. All was washed down with cold ice tea for her and Lone Star Beer overflowing from a frozen mug for me.

We were queens-for-a-day. A parade of servers ushered one large dessert bowl of double-chocolate brownie fudge cake, topped with two extra-large helpings of vanilla ice cream slobbered in hot, chocolate syrup. This heap of luscious lust was crowned with fluffy whipped cream, crushed Texas pecans and two shiny red cherries. Two 12-inch spooned-straws shot out diagonally from the base of the fudge cake. The entire restaurant belted, “Happy Birthday, dear Twi–ns, Happy Birthday, to you-u-u.” Then a loud finale of cheers and clapping. We each blew at our never-go-out candle, while we entertained the crowd of spectators who eventually left us to ourselves.

My sister and I fidgeted with pursed lips and bug-eyes. She was diabetic! Worse, she was severely allergic to dairy: anaphylactic. If a spoon had stirred anything with milk, and it hadn’t been washed thoroughly with hot, soapy water, her tongue would swell within seconds. She had warned the waiters about her condition, but obviously in their energetic enthusiasm, they’d forgotten. We didn’t want to disappoint a generous heap of loving kitchen kindness.

We stared at its majesty ruling our table and swallowed hard. With two fingers, Sister gracefully removed a long spoon and began carving a portion of the heap. “Mary Jo, you eat fast on it, and I’ll just stir so it looks like I’ve dined on it too.”

We bent over the mound and energetically worked on our plan. I held my head, “OOOH!  I’m getting brain freeze.”

Squirming and straining laughter, Sister admitted, “I have to go to the restroom. You eat lots while I’m gone, you hear?” She sprinted to the back, ahead of her shoulder-strap purse. Sister took her time in the ladies’ room to give me time to gulp ice cream, hot syrup, and brownie fudge cake while waiters were occupied elsewhere. My brain was a solid glacier.

Sister returned. “Mary Jo! You didn’t!! You finished the entire dessert?”

I loosened my belt. But why did I feel I had to finish it? Was it because I didn’t want to hurt the employees’ feelings, or was it because I couldn’t resist the indulgent luxury? Was it because I knew we couldn’t take it in a doggie bag? Maybe it was all of those. It was the last day we’d be the same age that year. Jerri was born before I was a year old, making us the same age for a week. We never said we were twins. When asked how old we were, we simply answered their question and enjoyed the consequences.

A Resident’s Perspective – Waiting for the Bloom

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

Here we all are into spring!!!! Perhaps the frozen nights are behind us, perhaps not. We had snows this winter and some freezing. Most thought March and First day of Spring would never get here.

Well, now that we get patchy rains and such, many of the on-campus things are flowering. We are waiting with trepidation that the Magnolia tree that is verrrry old in our back yard, over-shadowing our patio, will indeed burst forth in those frothy, pink to white blossoms. It seems like the buds have been threatening to open from week to week.

The tulip tree in McGandy Park usually beats our opening blooms by about a week….and it isn’t open yet, either, as of last night. We get to Panorama Hall through the park and it is always a treat to walk through there everyday and see what is next to open.

The birds have been singing their little lungs out, pairing up, so it can’t be long now. The first mowers have ventured out on the wet lawns and that may hold off for a bit as the ground is pretty soggy. Not being a Pea Patch grower, I’ve no idea how the plots are faring….

Meanwhile, try to get out and about to enjoy the budding and flowering of spring! It is such a special time at Panorama.

A Resident’s Perspective – Art Inside An Old Envelope?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2018

After the unusual display of many Panorama residents’ recycled art projects, I found out that we were going to have another recycled display using only recycled envelopes. We had to fill out a form in order to participate in the first event’s display.

I started gathering old envelopes with and without security linings. I spent two solid weeks in my limited free time working, designing, doing and undoing. I was planning a wall hanging. I stayed up at night and rose early the next day to work in my extremely disheveled craft room, wading in sorted-by-design and sorted-by size envelopes. I needed at least 35 exactly 4” by 4” perfectly cut squares to make 7 paper flowers and other items on the wall hanging. Most security envelopes I had only provided enough paper for one 4-inch square.

After two weeks, I had used nothing but glue and envelopes. For a large 9” x 12” background, I used a Panorama envelope with return logo and electronic stamping, made sturdy with other envelopes inside the large one.

For the hanger, I cut three long, thin, brown envelope strips and braided them for strength.

But…I had not yet received the entry form for the project, and I wanted to have it ready ahead of time.

When I inquired from an art guild member when the forms/rules were to be available, I glared, stunned at her answer, “Oh, the class is on April 4. Just bring lots of envelopes to learn how to use them and how to make a fun project.”

What? A class to learn how? That would have saved me lots of time. My project was already DONE! READY! Now what was I going to do with my masterpiece?

“Lord, this seems mercenary, but what will I ever do with this beautiful project? You always answer my prayers…even when I don’t know you’ve answered them and sometimes not always the way I had thought best for me.”

Instantly, I was inspired. How simple. I filled out a consignment sheet and took it the next morning to sell in our Panorama Gifts Etc. shop.

Before it was hung for display to sell…a resident bought it!

Now I am working on a duplicate…no need for planning, deciding, doing/redoing…

Only at Panorama!

A Resident’s Perspective – Keep Moving & Doing

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. March 2018

Since moving into my Quinault apartment in July of last year, I’ve changed my morning routine.  After a simple breakfast, I go to my glassed-in balcony and sit in my comfortable chair.

The first thing I do as I’m sitting there is size up what kind of day it’s going to be.  The tall Douglas fir trees across the street dwarf the houses and must be higher than the apartment house by quite a lot.  Their slender trunks stretch toward the sky.

I look at the sky and, since this is the Pacific Northwest, take notice of what is there.  Usually, it’s clouds…sometimes blowing lazily to the left pushed by warm air from California climes…other times scurrying to the right as if trying to avoid the cold air propelling them…and, sometimes hanging lazily in the sky barely moving.  I praise the creator if I see a clear sky and a slowly brightening red sunrise through the trees.

But—always there are the trees.  I reign in my gaze to focus on the trunks and the foliage.  It hangs high and droops down along the trunks and entwines itself with that of other trees, or reaches out to shake hands—as it may be.  At first glance I think to myself, “It’s a still morning—not a twig is moving.”  Then, as I watch I notice that the trees are moving.  The branches are catching the breeze and shaking and moving each other.  The whole tree is moving!  Even the tall trunk is swaying ever so slightly.

Actually, that’s the way we are on this campus.  The whole campus is moving and so are we…like the clouds in the sky and the trees across from my apartment.  There’s activity everywhere.  Panorama is an easy place to chase whatever is happening.  Most of us have more written on our “dance card” than we can possibly handle.   We take a few steps with one escort and then as the music changes to a new tune it’s time to dance with another.

I always have liked to keep moving.  Even as a little kid, I was moving all the time around the farm—seeing things.  And, that “doing” activity continued through seven decades of my life.  It’s been a great life, but lately I’ve rediscovered something that I remember knowing at one time—that it’s oftentimes fun to sit and watch others move and simply “be.”  Keep moving and doing but don’t be afraid to just “be.” Panorama has lots of time for that too!

Yoga & Breathing

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. February 2018

If there’s one thing people love about yoga, it’s the breathing! Along with all of our movement, classes are an hour-long breathing practice. It feels great! We all have dysfunctional breathing from habit, bad posture, stress, osteoporosis. Yoga helps normalize our breathing. It’s both calming and energizing, bringing us into balance.

Yoga breathing is at once a physical-health practice, a mental-health practice, and a meditation. It is not just breath training – it’s mind training using breath as a vehicle. It enhances our entire life. We tend to breathe quickly most of the time – 14 to 20 breaths per minute, which is about three times faster than the 5 or 6 breaths per minute proven to help us feel our best. Yoga slows and deepens breathing. There is a very direct relationship between breath rate, mood state, and autonomic nervous system.

Studies on meditation have demonstrated there is overall improvement in respiratory function from just meditation alone: “Vital capacity, tidal volume and breath holding were significantly higher in meditators than non-meditators.” Of course we have a weekly sitting meditation group as part of the overall yoga program at Panorama.

Aging and the Respiratory System

The respiratory system undergoes various anatomical, physiological and immunological changes as we age. The structural changes include chest wall and thoracic spine deformities (Dowager’s Hump, or kyphosis, and also scoliosis), which can impair the total respiratory system compliance, leading to increased work in breathing. The internal lung tissue loses its supporting structure, which can lead to the air spaces dilating and getting bigger than normal, resulting in “senile emphysema.” This reduces the ability of oxygen to get into the bloodstream (though not the ability of carbon dioxide to exit the blood stream and return to the lungs). Respiratory muscle strength decreases with age and can impair effective coughing, which is important for airway clearance of mucus and phlegm, and can increase the risk from respiratory infections.

Interestingly, the lung matures by age 20–25 years, and thereafter aging is associated with progressive decline in lung function, although gradual. So younger adults need to be mindful of this, as well as older adults. The airway’s nerve receptors undergo functional changes with age and are less likely to respond to drugs used in younger adults to treat the same disorders. Older adults have decreased sensation of shortness of breath and decreased breathing response to low oxygen and high carbon dioxide levels, making them more vulnerable to lung failure during high-demand situations, such as heart failure or pneumonia, that may lead to prolonged illness and even death. – Baxter Bell, M.D.

Yoga has many potential beneficial effects on our respiratory system. Structurally, regular practice can address changes to the chest wall bones and the thoracic spine to improve the boney alignment of these structures via postural improvement and increased movement. Specific postures can be used to target problem areas. Yoga can also address the issue of weak muscles around the lungs and strengthen the muscles around the chest wall. You can actively challenge the diaphragm via extending the length of the inhalations and exhalations.

Regular yoga practice can also reveal unusual or unhealthy breathing patterns, such as excessive tension of the abdominal muscles during breathing. You can then work with your teacher to re-establish a healthier pattern of respiration.

Recent studies have shown some yoga tools are effective in improving lung function in those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

And because yogic breathing exercises help to regulate the autonomic nervous system’s responses to stress, such as being able to dampen the sympathetic response (Fight or Flight), practicing yoga to improve respiratory function will have the added benefit of lowering overall stress, improving your sense of well-being, and even having positive effects on mental-emotional conditions, such as depression, anxiety and concentration, all of which can be present in those with breathing challenges. – Baxter Bell, M.D.

Improve your quality of life. Take advantage of the many therapeutic yoga classes and events at Panorama. Residents enjoyed the Winter Solstice gathering and the annual New Year’s Eve meditation. March events: Spring Meditation Retreat and Spring Equinox student gathering.

 

Panorama Artfully Recycles

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. February 2018

What would happen if the Panorama Arts Guild and the Panorama Green Team got together and asked residents to create art using recyclable/trash/salvaged items?  We found out the answer at the recent Panorama Artfully Recycled Show, which featured a fabulous collection of about 40 imaginative creations viewed by some 250 residents.

From necklaces made with bicycle tire tubes to a basket woven from old maps, used books turned into folded designs, articles woven from rags, quilts sewn from ties, decorative “chandeliers” fashioned from plastic bottles, and much, much more.

In fact, the show went beyond art to provide recycling information to residents.  The Thurston County Master Recycling Coordinator came to the show to answer questions about recycling and distribute helpful materials.  Books were available for browsing for those interested in transforming recyclables into useful or decorative objects.  Facts about recycling and environmental pollution were displayed on stacked cartons from the Stiles-Beach Barn.  A slide show and video were shown picturing the Washed Ashore Project, which collects objects on Oregon beaches and turns them into huge, colorful sculptures to demonstrate how much trash is thrown into our waterways and oceans.

The focus of attention, though, was clearly on the imagination and skill demonstrated by the contributing artists.  Residents were enchanted by what their neighbors and friends had produced from “junk.”  There was a serious message behind the show, but what a beautiful way to be informed!

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Free In-Home Exercises?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2018

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Not this time!

Every morning Jenny Leyva, Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator, and resident Reath wake Chris and me up in time for 9 o’clock exercises in our own apartment– it’s FREE!

Actually the best part: we are in our jammies or showered and ready for the day. Our own TV screen shows two videos filmed by Greg Miller, Marketing Retirement Advisor. Other residents across the campus are sharing the experience at the same time!

Jenny teamed up with Reath who demonstrates the modified version of each exercise so residents can have options.

Video #1: Exercise for Independence – about 15 minutes

*  Total body exercise

*  Simple, functional exercises designed to help keep us active and independent.

Video #2: Strength & Balance for Fall Prevention – about 20 minutes

     *  Fall prevention exercise

*  Key lower body strength exercises that have been proven to help reduce the risk of falling

Jenny reminds us to breathe deeply and gives us 10-second water-breaks.

What do I like about these exercises? I can do them on my own during the day, watching TV or waiting for our meal in the restaurant. No, not putting my hands over my head, but the simple foot bends under the table. In the elevator, I practice breathing deeply and exhaling. I’ve learned to feel the weight on my heels before getting up from my chair and to take control of myself as I sit down, instead of ploppin’ down as I usually do. When writing on my laptop, I stop a few minutes to do the arms-over-the-head exercises, or stretching forward. I don’t always remember reminders, but I look forward doing them out of habit.

The first day I started, I noticed being more invigorated walking the Quinault halls. Chris and I remind each other to sit and stand tall. What’s nice, too, is on a day we might not be home at the assigned time, we will be able to do the exercises on our own. The schedule time is good…it’s over…there’s no temptation or distraction to stop to check a do-list or email. But then I’m the only one that has that problem!

Jenny says the idea to create the videos began as a direct response to the Quality of Life survey that was given to us by Panorama. The results of the survey indicated that a large percent of residents feel afraid to fall or have experienced a fall recently. The team of Sharon Rinehart, Dr. Behre, Grace Moore, and Jenny Leyva laid out the foundation of the fall prevention video. At that time, they also decided to update the Silver Sneakers video that was currently playing on our PCTV. That was where the idea came to show two different videos.

Another great innovation and example of how Panorama constantly asks for our suggestions and needs, and implements them when feasible for many of the residents!

Thank you again, Panorama, Jenny, Reath and the other team members!

A Resident’s Perspective – Neighborhoods

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2018

In this cold part of winter, all around us there seems to be feverish activity going on.  And there has been activity for what seems like months. We live on a loop within the main campus and don’t usually get this amount of road traffic. The insulation trucks, the cement removers of patios and walkways, the cabinet trucks, and the Panorama crews attending to remodeling homes in our neighborhood. We sometimes look forward to the weekends when things get really quiet.

What this means is our neighborhood is in transition. The stalwarts we relied on for help in assimilating us into a new way of life have passed their batons. Some have moved within Panorama, some have left us, sadly.  Even some have chosen to move away and closer to family as partners have deceased. Many of these neighbors have been in their homes for years and years.

We moved into a remodeled home in 2013 and have found it wonderfully useful to our time in life. Those moving into these remodels around us will find cheery places to call home. We all know how long the waitlist is for new folks waiting to join us. The remodeling going on, of course, is noisy.

But, have you noticed how polite all the “worker bees” from various companies, or departments have been to us? They know they are a nuisance but are doing wonderful, if noisy work. And I know they appreciate a nod or smile as we walk by, trying to stay exercised and upright on our feet.

Soon spring will be upon us, and the blooms and color will somewhat distract us from those working around us. And I hope you will join me in welcoming these new neighbors who have counted months and perhaps years waiting for what will suit them.

Time marches on, things change and Panorama is moving ahead and we are all grateful for that.

Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. January 2018

The short elderly couple in the grocery line bent over their wallet.

But the young couple behind them, beaming with teeth showing, shot a credit card toward the cashier, “Merry Christmas!! We got it!!”

“Oh, my! I don’t believe it. Thank you, thank you! But why?” The man’s eyes welled with tears as his wife kept repeating, “I just can’t believe this. Why us?”

“It’s our traditional Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness. We’ve been doing this every year with our daughter since she was three.” Melody and John nodded to their grinning, obviously excited, ten-year-old named Hope.

Still in shock and trembling, the couple questioned, “Wa-what are you going to do with that basket full of Christmas blankets?”

John said, “We’re going to offer them to residents in assisted living. We just want to cheer them up. Some might not have family with them tonight…maybe a little lonely.”

Melody broke in, “We’re heading to Panorama where my parents Mary Jo and Chris Shaw live.”

The little pair stood taller; their jaws dropped. “Panorama! That’s where we live! We know Chris and Mary Jo! Oh my! We’re Nancy and Bob.”

Five minutes later, the little family sped down Sleater Kinney to assisted living with two hearty bags of about 35 colorful Christmas blankets. Staff member Jay was ready to escort them to residents who were in their rooms.

As we waited for an elevator, Hope asked another Bob if he’d like a blanket. “Oh, yes. I really need one right now. It’s co-o-ld out there. I just came in. I’ll wrap it around me when I sip my cup of hot coffee after a while. I’ll remember you when I enjoy the rest of my evening watching the game.” He held the soft, gray bundle close to his chest, “It matches my clothes, too, look! Thank you very, very much.”

Residents especially treasured the little girl in their midst. Hope with her tender, sincere smile was the pearl of great price that evening.

Christine and her family were relishing their own refreshments. They all agreed with Christine they knew “someone who would especially appreciate a warm, cheery blanket. The red, white, and green one” would be delivered the next morning, Christmas Day. Perfect!

When Hope smoothed Patricia’s long-haired cats, we saw Patricia’s smile, despite her oxygen tube. She had tutored me weekly with my memoir Convent to Catwalk for over three years. I’m grateful for her and grateful to my family for offering her a snug blanket.

I recall their first Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness. Hope was three. At a gas station when a husband and wife in studded, matching leather outfits (Christmas gifts to each other) went inside to pay their bill, Melody and John handed the cashier a credit card, “Merry Christmas. Have fun!” After hearing about their Acts of Kindness, the impressed couple almost flew out of their new fancy boots! They immediately cell phoned their motorcycling buddies to meet right there to do the same elsewhere around town. (Few people owned cell phones “just for fun” in those days). “Our buddies have nothing special to do tonight…like us. They have plenty of bucks, too. Thanks for the idea. We are going to make so many people happy. We’ll do it again next year. Maybe a tradition. We’re all really close.”

At first, I thought it would be better to give the money only to those who really needed it. But observing what happened with that group, I understood that they were able to give even more, and the network could be never-ending. Everyone giving out of love…what a world!

We’ve been with our little family on most of those nights…in coffee shops, stop-n-go corners, discount stores, big and little places, sidewalks, etc. Actually, it does really work…wherever there are people!

What joy Chris and I experienced as our Panorama friends’ arms opened wide to accept the warmth of love bound up in a simple, warm blanket! I stood back now and then to take in the entire scene of exultation exchanged between residents and Melody, John, and their precious Hope.

Here is love in action. We know Hope will continue extending her own already daily, little Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness.

We are blessed again.

 

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?
Written by Mary Jo Shaw, author of Convent to Catwalk

We loved our neighbors, our garden home on Woodland Court, and figured we’d be there a longer time. But, after six years, the time was now. Do we like our new apartment in the Quinault Building?

Although we miss our neighbors, we still are able to see them often. After all, we live only a few blocks away on our Panorama campus. We attend the same events in the large auditorium and Aquatic & Fitness Center, and we walk the Circle Loop on Tuesday evenings during the warm season with other residents for exercise and visiting.

Now, there’s no need to walk to the large Quinault building where I have always played weekly in Assisted Living and where Chris and I attend many events in the smaller auditorium. I take art, weekly Bible, and other classes there. I’m one floor up from Monday Catholic services…reading often and playing piano.  Exercise rooms/classes are on lower level, close to where Chris enjoys the coffee room, movies, and newspaper. I use the Resident Council office and business area where all residents are welcome to run off copies. That same office has a laminating machine, latest computers and other office advantages, always with an expert to help us! I itch as I pass the Weaving Room, Wood & Metal Shop, and the closed-circuit TV studio, also available in the lower level. I can’t wait to participate in those opportunities.

Metal Shop

Woodshop

In the adjoining Panorama Hall building, we have banks and the gift shop where I consign my crafts and books almost daily (and pick up my check once a month)! We also have the convenience of the beauty salons, and the pharmacy with its last minute stop-n-go type foods and necessities. The community living room with a large fireplace offers the activity desk where we can sign up for events; it also features sofas, tables, and the friendly Executive and Lifestyle Enrichment offices. Chris reads and visits there faithfully.

Panorama Hall

Then the best part! Every time we walk out of our fifth floor apartment, we are greeting friends. If time, we visit or search for puzzle pieces together in the many areas with large windows. We are closer to the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro where we can relish the unusually cordial atmosphere of residents for many organized brunches, luncheons, and dinners. We love impromptu meals, or as an arranged date! What fun to invite other residents to join us and chat as long as we please.

To do all of this indoors, we simply walk the steps or elevator ourselves from our small apartment with the latest flooring, kitchen and bath upgrades, granite counters, light fixtures, and cabinets-and-pantry pull-outs. We have plenty of storage and a nice-sized family room with huge wall-to-wall windows that display our small balcony with patio furniture.

We are able to attend the over 100 published monthly activities on our campus, but now we have the additional Quinault Activity calendar of events planned by our #1 manager, Dodie. Her energy and planned get-togethers and parties include her homemade cookies, huge bowls of homemade foods, including, potato or bean salads, meatballs and spaghetti, pigs in the blankets, apple streusel, campus Bistro brunches, games, planned off-campus trips to restaurants…etc.

Our Resident Council on-campus transit is still available for our use. Panorama provides the late model vans with volunteer dispatchers, drivers, and maintenance.

Then there is the adjoining Convalescent and Rehabilitation building where I play piano in three areas regularly, including a Christian service monthly on Saturdays. I play in the building’s entrance on a beautiful grand Yamaha piano often. Must I continue?

No, we don’t like our move to the Quinault…we love it! Aware of new reasons daily, we thank and praise God for the many blessings for our new home, its friends and advantages.

December 23rd, 2017

December 23rd, 2017…two days before Christmas, a momentous marker for me because my wife and I moved into our first home at Panorama on December 22nd.  Moving here was quite a change from Alaska, our previous home for thirty-three years.  We’d seen monumental growth in Alaska over the years.  We were witnesses to that growth and participants in Alaska’s development in our occupations there.

The reason we moved to Panorama was because it had promise to supply our felt need for security in retirement that would follow us whatever our situation might be.  We were not disappointed.  My wife died 5 years ago after years of discomfort, disability and pain. She was cared for by me and, when my energy flagged, by Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation staff (Skilled Nursing) to whom I will always be grateful.

After I was alone, I continued to be happy with my situation although it was constantly evolving, like a Christmas tree with slender fiberglass hairs that project tiny points of light in many colors.

Today, bright sunlight lights my eastward fronting apartment that sports a glass enclosed balcony.  The sight is magnificent from my 4th floor one-bedroom suite!  Bright sun…majestic spruce and fir trees…houses scattered around McGandy Park…blue sky—all better than yesterday’s rain.

I’ll celebrate quietly in my own way, aware that I am only one of over a thousand on this campus whose needs are being met in one way or another—and maybe I’ll find someone today or tomorrow who has a need I can meet.  MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY 2018!