A Resident’s Perspective – A Quiet Gem

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2017

There are so many wonderful happenings at Panorama, but if you’ve not discovered The Readers Theater, make a note of it for fall. They are a wonderful group of folks who read aloud for a lovely hour one Monday a month. I have been to all but two of these since moving to Panorama in 2013! This is an activity that is posted in the “Activities and Events” section of our monthly Panorama news publication. The Readers Theater is “dark” now until September, as they take the summer off.

I often think the productions are un-heralded. The auditorium is in the lower level of Quinault building and is usually the venue that produces these. This seems an under-publicized event and I have never been disappointed in the selections.

Themes vary and the directors of the readings change from month to month. The recent readings from the various tribes of NW Washington were particularly well done. My husband even went with me. Often, serious subjects are shared.

Sometimes they read poetry, sometimes vignettes, and sometimes short passages from known or unknown sources. The changing directors pick the topic and the readings. Many times, the choices are outright hilarious. The closing Readers Theater selections for this season were “Aging…It Beats the Alternative.” Much laughter followed the selections. We are all there, been there or are going there!

The readings are recorded and televised; the microphones make it easy for even some of us who are hearing-impaired to enjoy it. If you’d like to join them in presenting, they would love to have you. No, I am not recruiting, but it is a lovely way to meet folks and you don’t have to memorize a thing!!!

When September rolls around, and we KNOW how fast time flies, give a thought to joining folks enjoying Readers Theater. You won’t be disappointed.

Sandy Bio

Boys & Girls Clubs Fundraiser

Written by Panorama resident, Bill Cornette. June 2017

On the 25th of May 2017, a breakfast was held on Saint Martin’s University campus to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County (BGCTC). Panorama sponsored a table at the breakfast, which was attended by eight residents who also contributed to the fundraiser: Mary Jo Shaw, Sue Ballard, Jan Prokop, April Works, Rosa Barton, Suzanne Hanson, Bill Cornette, and Sylvia Cornette. The day of the breakfast was also National Red Nose Day, a global campaign to raise awareness and money for impoverished children across the world, so each participant at the breakfast was given a foam red nose to wear.

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The day started early, with everyone arriving before 7:00 a.m. Each person was greeted by a large group of cheering kids who gave us all big “high fives” to welcome us to the event. A buffet breakfast was provided with scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon, muffins, and pastries, along with coffee, tea, and orange juice. During the breakfast, the Tumwater High School Jazz Band entertained us.

The program began at 7:30 a.m. with the Boys and Girls Club Members leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jerry Farmer was the Master of Ceremonies with Opening Remarks, followed by Recognition of Sponsors, a video showing “A Day in the Clubs,” and a Welcome and Acknowledgements from Katya Miltimore, the BGCTC Executive Director. Then Dick Cvitanich, the retiring Superintendent of Olympia Public Schools, was presented with the Governor’s Leadership for Youth Award.

Seattle Police Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin gave the Keynote speech, telling her life story of growing up in the Chicago projects and dreaming about becoming a police officer – and how the support she got at a Boys and Girls Club was instrumental in her achieving her goal.

Sebastian “Zebbie” Castilleja, who is the 2016 Washington State Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year and received the 2016 Governor’s Community Service, told about growing up with a meth-addicted mother and an alcoholic father, but due to his participation in the Boys and Girls Clubs, he is currently attending Washington State University.

Jerry Farmer thanked everyone for their support of Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County, and closed the ceremony at 8:40 a.m.

Here are some of the thoughts from our Panorama attendees after the breakfast:

“Any day where the community focuses on kids is a GREAT day.” – Sue Ballard

“Was amazed at the number of agencies represented who truly help children. It showed Washington’s commitment to the youngest and most vulnerable citizens.” – Rosa Barton

“It was so exciting to be greeted by the very enthusiastic Boys and Girls Club members. Revs me up to work with them on the Minaert Gallery project this summer. ” – Suzanne Hansen

“Attending the Boys & Girls Fundraiser enthusiasm–from kids to speakers–woke up my 55 years of teaching. I’ve always loved working with children…encouraging, teaching, playing, listening. I don’t have lots of time, but want to make time to help and be with the children when I am able.” – Mary Jo Shaw

“Jan and I had no idea how influential and effective the Boys & Girls clubs are. What an inspiring way to start off our day.” – April Works & Jan Prokop

“Kudos to the boys and girls, the speakers, and the officials for educating attendees about the importance of BGCTC to the kids and to the community, we left with a feeling of awe and a smile on our faces. We’d be delighted to be back next year.” – Bill & Sylvia Cornette

Hikes with Steve – Olympic Peninsula

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by Panorama resident, Karen Romanelli. May 2017

On May 7th, ten hearty adventurers took off from Panorama to go on a 3 day, 500 mile journey to the far reaches of the Olympic Peninsula. The trip was planned and run by Steve Pogge with Wren Wolf as his trusty assistant and botany expert. Our mission was simple: to experience firsthand the largest temperate rainforest in the world, walk the beaches of the most pristine coast line known to man, and see a few world record trees that are known to inhabit the peninsula. Not a small undertaking by any means, but one within our reach.

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We were decked out with our full waterproof rain gear: our Gore-Tex pants, water resistant boots, rain proof jackets and hats. With the area getting 12 to 15 feet (not inches) of rain a year, you are pretty likely to get wet. However, our trip fell within a bizarre weather pattern that gave us sunshine, blue skies and 50 degree days (near perfect hiking temperature) for the duration of our trip.

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We focused on three major rain forests: the Quinault, the Hoh, and the Sol Duc. We were not disappointed. The Forests being so close together you would expect them to be quite similar. They are not. They had their own unique special beauty and awe inspiring wonders that marveled our group of explorers.

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Interspersed between these forests, we stopped at 3 renowned beaches that were also jaw dropping in their power and majesty. They were Ruby Beach, Beach #1 (south of Kalaloch) and Rialto Beach.

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We based our adventure out of Forks, WA and stayed at a lovely Inn that offered each of us a bedroom, kitchen and living room. Our choice of restaurants was limited but we tried to pick the best down home eateries we could. On the education side, we incorporated into the trip not only birds and animal life but also history (both Native American and early settlers) geology and of course some facts on the ancient giants that inhabit this forest. Even for seniors, one feels young when you stand next to a 1,000 year old Sitka Spruce, an 800 year old Western Red Cedar or a 350 year old Douglas Fir. There is almost a magical feeling that takes over. Or as Al Walter puts it, “I thought I was in a Harry Potter movie.”

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It was a wonderful trip and I just want to thank the participants of the week for being such great sports to push themselves to get out and experience the peninsula in a way that very few people get to do.

Steve Pogge Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Names

Written by Panorama resident, Brian Hovis. May 2017

One of the aspects of living at Panorama I noticed after living here awhile is that residents generally treat each other with respect and a spirit of cooperation.  Even when there are fundamental differences in outlook and opinion (for instance, in political persuasion) a general sense of civility prevails.

I recently ran across a new study in the journal of Science Advances that struck me as applicable to Panorama. This has to do with the connection between knowing someone’s name and one’s willingness to cooperate with them.  In the study, Chinese students played the classic “Prisoner’s Dilemma” game.  In this game, two players are faced with a choice of acting for themselves or cooperating. It is widely thought that there is a human tendency to act for oneself and abandon cooperation even when a cooperative effort results in greater overall success. However, the study found that the students were more willing to cooperate if they knew each others’ names.  Essentially it is harder abandon someone when you know their name.

There may be many factors at play at Panorama that combine to instill a high level of civility: our upbringing, our physical closeness, and perhaps common backgrounds. But having the opportunity and encouragement to wear our nametags to social and other functions can’t hurt. After all, everyone loves the sound of their own name!

A Resident’s Perspective – Oh, It’s Not Gonna Rain

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. Photos courtesy of Neil Harris. May 2017

“Chris, why are you leaving five minutes before our predicted lighting, thunder, and rain storms?” On May 4, 2017, I peered out at clouds that scarred the bright, warm, morning’s sunshine under their dark blankets.

Chris tucked his grocery list, his reminder for the Dollar Store, and city bus senior pass into his wind breaker, and hesitated when he opened the door. Silent, questioning time. “OH it’s not gonna rain. It’s been sunny and warm all morning.” He left.

We’d had almost 6 years of hauling umbrellas, advertising we are still newbies to Washington’s prerogative to make random decisions. This time was a poor decision—by Chris!

Large pelts of rain pounded vertically to the blasting drum beats and zaps of lighting’s thunder. I studied whether it was large hail. It wasn’t. Cars were getting a good bath…and probably Chris, too!

My turn for silent, questioning time. Sun peeked from under its blanket of cloud, but it played hide and seek for about 1 ½ hours. I had been settled down to my laptop watching through the patio window from my recliner. Darkness hovered over more than just the sun. Duh! It shrouded over us, too.

BOOM.BOOM.BOOM. The bass drums blasted. Lights flickered. “Dear Father in heaven,” I begged, “please take care of Chris.”

BRRING.BRRING. BRRING. Yelling: “Mary Jo, I’m getting off the city bus. Can’t talk anymore.” CLICK, buzz, buzz.

A never-even-close-in-history of record-keeping event put Lacey, WA, on national news. A rare microburst (not a tornado) demonstrated its power. Fifteen minutes into the epicenter, not rain pelts or buckets, but–as-far-as-I-could-see–solid water! I felt I was under water. I jerked away and protected my ears from banging branches flying horizontally, pounding our windows. “Oh, God, please bring Chris home safely!”

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Lights out again. My trembling fingers located ON on our emergency flashlight.

I couldn’t see anything outside. I felt drowning under the sea. Water blinded window views despite the three-foot overhangs around our garden home. Water had never hit our windows or doors. What was happening? I prayed we’d be protected against the storms and floods we’d seen for months across the nation. We always speak of how safeguarded from disasters we are at Panorama.

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THUD.THUD. THUD. “What’s that noise?” It out-pounded my palpitating heart.

The best sound of the day: Chris, loaded with groceries, banged the front door with his knee cap!

I yanked the door open. Rains and winds rushed their way into the house, while they shoved my drenched hubby over the threshold. He hugged his soaked, torn paper bags to keep parcels from spilling out: canned foods, box of powdered milk, baked chicken, bananas, and 20 bubble-lined envelopes for mailing my books.

No umbrella needed. It would have been another item to protect from the focal point of the worst thunderstorm in Lacey’s recorded history. We had weathered it!

We now avoid phrases containing, “Oh, it’s not gonna rain!”

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Note: we praise God that all Panorama residents are safe and that we are fortunate only to watch the clean- up from grounds, to gutters and rooftops. We are blessed again. Thank you, Panorama!

Mary Jo Bio - Test

A Resident’s Perspective – The Freak Storm

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2017

The freak storm…..

In the long ago and far away, we grew up in the Midwest. We knew electrical storms and in many ways, that was a big decider for me to relocate to the west coast. My husband from Indiana loved watching them roll through back then.

I have never been in or under a “micro-burst” such as we just had in this spring month of May!!! People will talk about it for a long time. And we at Panorama fared so much better than the greater Lacey/Olympia area. We measured 1 ½ inches of rain in a very short time…perhaps about an hour. The skies were amazing. Below is a picture of mammary clouds, which are descriptive and often herald tornadoes.

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What these clouds heralded was straight line winds that funneled down our street from the SW. Many trees were affected in Panorama, but Thurston County as a whole fared far worse. The below is a large limb that blocked our Loop Street. We so love the big trees and Panorama keeps close watch on the health of these beauties. This storm was too violent for even healthy trees. This limb was a perfectly healthy off-shoot and came down with big sound.

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Many residents reported damage and these were logged by reception and Security. Security drove the neighborhoods to rate safety of access for limbs and trees down. It wasn’t more than an hour later that folks were out clearing the roads and trying to open the drains that appeared clogged keeping water at high levels on our streets. It turned out that the city water system couldn’t handle all the rain, and it wasn’t just local clogs. In two hours time, waters were receding and leaving all roads with a plethora of detritus.

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The downspouts on our home couldn’t handle the deluge and resulted in many pouring waterfalls off the eaves.

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This would seem to be “Lake Woodland.”  And while waters crept up the driveways, we never felt in real danger of flooding. Panorama concrete and driveways are designed to take run-off to funnel it away from structures. This is so important in our NW when big rains come.

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Sometimes things look so very bad but do subside. So much of Lacey and Olympia had to deal with long power outages. We had to re-set clocks for short bursts, but we were amazed at how the infrastructure worked here. We used to dread storms of this intensity coming in off the ocean at our previous home. This one we could ride out and take in from an interested perspective.

The cats were another story. One became scarce and I never did find out where she hid. The other one grabbed a lap, and with big eyes, waited it out with us.

I haven’t yet walked all the streets of our community, but I will to see what other neighborhoods dealt with. I am just so grateful to our Panorama administration and crews for the prompt clearing of a lot of “stuff.” We continue to be impressed at the care we all receive when the chips are down.

Sandy Bio

Convent to Catwalk…My Experience Writing My Story

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2017

Why would I enter a religious convent, stay 13 years, leave, and become a high fashion model? (Catwalk: ramp for models to show fashions.)

Before we moved to Panorama in 2011, my family and friends knew most of the answers to those questions, coaxing me to write my stories. I always loved to write, and won the first prize award in two different poem contests…a whopping $15 for each. A lot of money in the 50s, especially to a child!

What opportunities to learn to write at Panorama?

Write Your Life…with Charlotte Wiseman as facilitator, met twice a month (still does) and was free! We’d each read about 10 minutes, but did not critique. We were eager to know the next episode in our class-buddies’ lives. My jaw dropped when I pictured my elderly friends in their missions as fighter pilots in WWII, Vietnam, or Korea. One had been a prisoner of war. Others were teachers, ministers’ wives, farm wives. I always had plenty to write. Encouragement again–to put words to print.

But I craved constructive edits and critiques.

Answer? PanWriter’s Class. World renown playwright, Bryan Willis, taught three writing classes on campus for a small fee. (Today he adds another: screenwriting.) We wrote from a prompt, read aloud from copies made for each student, and offered each other ideas for a better read—constructive critiques! Bryan passed out books to borrow or keep. We could read to learn still more. I claimed the books–with underlines and highlights!

After about a year, a published author Patricia moved into our neighborhood and joined Bryan Willis’ class. The story she read proved she had experience in writing. After walking home together from her first class, Patricia offered, “Mary Jo, would you lend me some of your stories to critique for you?”

“Oh, I’d be honored!” I dashed into my garden home, grabbed some pages from a 3-ring binder, and shoved them into Patricia’s opened chair-walker.

“I’ll call you over when I’ve finished. We’ll talk about the papers.” She putted home.

That began the first of weekly help with her challenges to read books on writing, to study, and to improve. Encouragement from Bryan Willis and substitutes when needed, I braved up to self-print Convent to Catwalk. Twenty years of my life with 60 pictures!

After 5 ½ years, hours of daily writing, I consigned my books in our Gifts, Etc. on April 1, 2017. Volunteers display and sell residents’ handmade items and books.

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I am blessed with the explosion and constant excitement of Convent to Catwalk’s success. It has spread to six states in one month, with reorders for gift giving, and encouragement and help from my hubby, Chris.

This is just one exciting opportunity offered by Panorama and its volunteers. Write right!

Mary Jo Bio - Test

A Resident’s Perspective – Waiting for the Bloom

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2017

Well, after four years living here at Panorama, we are almost Washingtonians….I know, I know, not really. We are hearing from all quarters how unusual these past two months have been….not just the extra foot (!) of rain, but the cool to cold nights.

The Pea Patch folks have been waiting to dig and plant and then along came that quick squall that produced hail that covered our patio. That was only five days ago!!!

What we have been waiting for is the opening of our gigantic magnolia blossoms on the very old and gnarly magnolia tree at the edge of our patio. It seems the buds are gigantic now and everyday when I get up and open the slider curtains, they are still there, and unopened.

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Walking around the campus, we see the pinks blooming and many white sprays of trees blooming. The wind is taking many of the petals and clearing them off, but it does seem the first two years we were here that everything let go at once and made a colorful circus everywhere you looked well before this time in April.

Our climate IS changing. None of us will be here 50 years from now to see what else it will do or how it will affect the flowering community. Many birds arrived early and with a dearth of insects as yet to move in, they may be in some trouble. It will be interesting to see what nesting success the mated birds produce this season.

Some azaleas and many camellias have blossomed. The rhododendrons are lagging but will be showy soon. Campus pruning and thinning are going on apace.

And near the end of April, the Activity Fair will present a wide array of interest and activity groups all over campus.  Perhaps it will be totally sunny then. Regardless, it is a great time to find some things to get involved in and to meet new folks.

Waiting for the bloom……………

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – What Not To Do at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. March 2017

Well, it is March and we are coming out of the cold. I can’t wait for the bloom that is around the corner but I am finding I have two new “weather” predictors. Further, now that we have been residents at Panorama for four years, I finally learned of something not to do here.

Way back in November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, moving quickly from the living room, perhaps to get the phone, my bare foot connected with the leg of the sofa and the crunch was heard across the house along with my verbal response. Having not had a prior (twenty-five years earlier) fractured toe looked at by anyone in the know, I now have a healed toe (same foot) that has a knuckle bump that gets rubbed by shoes/boots. The ice bag was applied and foot elevated as it throbbed and throbbed.

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A call to our local clinic advised me to just go to the West Olympia urgent care on Black Lake Blvd. I did. Three X-rays later, it was confirmed I had fractured two toes (little and ring toe) on my right foot. Non-displaced fractures, the orthopedic sports doctor said, phew, I didn’t need to have them pinned. However, a flat orthopedic sandal was ordered and fitted and four week re-check appointment made. Elevation, ice when miserable, Ibuprofen, “don’t do anything that hurts or torques the toes”, and “don’t injure it again, which might displace the bones” she said.

Good grief…..we are never quite aware of how much non-essential digits do for us. These toes are not balance toes, like the great toe. However, walking and changing direction all torque the toes outboard of the great toe. I decided that the doc had never had a broken toe. She further advised me that it would take 4-6 weeks to heal properly with care….and then glancing at my chart, changed that to “but in your case, at 74, plan on eight weeks!”

Well, eight weeks have come and gone. I am four months into this new way of moving, walking, etc. I found early on that lap swimming was do-able if I just dragged the leg with the broken toes. At two months, I could use it to kick in the water. At four months, I can’t use the ladder to get out of the pool, though, without pain. The second set of three X-rays showed knitting of those last joints at the one month appointment.

So, now what? I have continued to climb the Quinault Building’s 5 flights of stairs daily using a different foot movement. I walk wherever we go on campus. I wear a Teva sandal and am out of the orthopedic flat sandal. Through the rain and cold, there I am marching in the sandal. I joined my first “lunch and stroll” to find that my boots don’t fit, the toes still too fat. I found a 30-year old pair of Gortex brand hiking boots used years and years ago on the Milford Track and they are roomy enough. I can wear sneakers or shoes for about three hours before those toes swell and yell at me. I am determined to not miss the hiking season approaching. New boots maybe are in my future.

I am aware of many more serious consequences to some of us during our wintry frozen months and the bones others have fractured. I can’t even imagine their re-hab and changed activities. I do know that we now have two other options for injury closer to us than the Black Lake facility. There is a walk-in clinic with X-ray capability on College and also one on Galaxy out in Hawks Prairie, should you need them. I have heard that care there is excellent. I am NOT suggesting that you try these clinics out, just to sample them.

Be careful. Wear shoes/footwear. Stay out of flip-flops, which the doctor said causes more foot and leg injuries than she can recount. Know that often we are our worse enemies. I didn’t want to offend you with a picture of these awful-looking toes, but have enclosed the offending furniture leg. You can imagine how carefully I walk past them now. My home support group was wonderful through this awful episode.

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About those weather predictors…..along with my un-treated broken little finger (from our un-packing at move-in time), my un-treated middle toe and now my little toe plus the ring toe, I know when weather is changing. They all ache…temporarily, of course, but I also now understand my beloved Grandma’s railing against her old injuries from very long ago. As a child, I had no idea. I should have listened to my elders. And now that we are elders, be careful out there and continue to enjoy what a lovely community we have here at Panorama.

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Meet the Yoga Team

  Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. March 2017

Meet The Yoga Team: Connie, Jean, and Charles. We are all seniors ourselves and residents of Panorama. We bring years of training, practice, and teaching experience to our classes.

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“Do what you can and that is perfect for you.” – Jean

Jean Garwood is a certified Yoga instructor who has been teaching since 1995. Jean started the yoga program at Panorama. She was certified at the International Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Center. She is also a certified Chair Yoga Instructor. She taught and worked several times at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. She has attended continuing education programs at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in California. She has taught in various centers including her own private studio. Jean taught Chair Yoga as manager of the Chalet for three years and Chair and Floor Yoga at Panorama for 10 years.

“Remember to breathe.” – Charles

Charles Kasler has been teaching since 1990. He is a former resident of Esalen Institute and Kripalu Yoga Ashram, and a founding member of the Kripalu Yoga Teachers Association. He also studied at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California. He completed the first Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga training at Spirit Rock. He has several audio recordings that were featured in Yoga Journal Magazine. He is the author of Dharma: 40 Essays On Yoga, and Light To Dispel the Darkness – both available at Amazon.com. He was a member of the teacher training faculty at Yoga Center of Carmel, California as well as teaching at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula and Hospice of the Central Coast. He teaches Moving Meditation and co-leads the Mindfulness Meditation program with Connie.

“May the light within me recognize the light within you.” – Connie

Connie Ruhl is a certified Yoga instructor who completed 200 and 500 hour Yoga Alliance authorized training programs. Connie also completed a Yoga for Healthy Aging training program in Berkeley, CA in August 2015. She has sat in a number of extended meditation retreats. She began practicing and studying in 1983 through 2000 with Mady Sharma (formally trained in India from classic hatha yoga schools). She participates in yoga classes in various studios in US and internationally as opportunities arise. She has been teaching Yoga II and Chair Yoga at Panorama since 2009, and co-leads the Mindfulness Meditation program.

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A Resident’s Perspective – Feeling My Felting

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2017

At age 77, and 9 hours of labor, I smiled and bent down to his little whiskers…a few inches from my face. I had just given birth to my foot-tall, orange, smiling kitty cat standing on the white table.

“Oh, hi, sweetie!! You’re so-o-o precious! So cute. So cuddly. You’re ado-ra-ble. Yes..I see you smiling back at me. You’re just perfect! I can’t wait to take you home.” My cupped palms gave that baby face a gentle squeeze. I didn’t want to mash him out of shape. “Chris won’t believe I made you.”

I carried on and on with gushing expletives. I had just needled the last tiny corner of the large-curved, thin line of his ear-to-ear smile under his big, puffy, brown nose. It perched between two, scalloped, closed eyelids.

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Laugher brought me back to reality from the other eight residents in the room.

I caught myself. “Hope they didn’t hear me. Hope I’m not blushing.” I said nothing.

But they did, “Mary Jo, when you talk with your project with such tenderness and hug it with emotion, you know it has come alive and you’re done.” Teacher Gerda, with Alice and Sharon (her last year’s two helper-students), put down their projects.

I nodded, “Yes, that’s how I feel right now.”

“You’re on your way.”

We only had 45 minutes remaining in 18 hours divided between the past three consecutive days of needle-felting sculpture class.

My wrist tapped constantly on my 5-inch ladybug as I learned to use different felting needles on felting wools of various textures and colors. Despite repeated warnings to keep our eyes on our needles, someone would “ow!” as her finger jerked like a small fish on a hook. Gerda handed over a Charlie Brown and Snoopy bandage.

We graduated to sculpting a face and entire head…wrinkles and all…since it involves many techniques used in felting.

When Gerda demonstrated the options for curled hair, I shook my head. “I’m behind and need to catch up. I’ll make hubby Chris. He’s 84 with a bald head, and has just a few hairs between his ears on the back of his head!”

Gradually I felt my felting, and progressed much faster.

“I love that pixie Mary Ann’s forming. I’m going to make one for each of my grand-girls.”

I appreciated Gerda’s teaching and offering us to do our own thing while she guided with the techniques. Her helpers worked on their own masterpieces: Sharon’s 12-inch Mickey Mouse on a wire stand, and Alice’s full size, life-like owl. Being a crafter, when I see an unusual, exciting technique, perhaps I won’t pursue it, but I must experience how it is done.

A great discussion emerged when Sharon lit up, “Aren’t we blessed here at Panorama? Look at this state-of-the-art-room and the many resources we have.”

“The professional residents who teach us, and the selection of water color pencils, paints, papers, and tutorial books,” someone added.

“And that new TV on the wall with DVDs to teach more art while we work.”

“We have discovered hidden talents and many win art competitions with professional works.”

I never dreamed I would carry the heavy load of exciting opportunities at a retirement place like Panorama. I thank God daily.

Mary Jo Bio - Test

Superbowl Sunday Snow – Thank you , Panorama!

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. February 2017

This blog is a little off my usual  topic of “newbies, boomers, and would-bes” but I wanted to express my gratitude for Panorama’s awesome response to yesterday and today’s Superbowl Sunday snow event (“storm” might be a little too strong a word). First off – we vaguely heard the phone ring during the last thrilling minutes of Super Bowl – or was it a ref whistle? Were we going to answer it? No way! But Panorama left a voicemail message letting us know that some events and facilities might be closed tomorrow (Monday) due to the snow event. Later on, after catching our breath following the game, we checked and confirmed that the Aquatic and Fitness Center would indeed be opening late. Thanks to Jenny, Security, and others for great communication! We know that some staff worked beyond their normal hours to ensure the safety and awareness of residents and staff.

In the morning, we also got an email from Grace Moore to let us know of Monday evening’s concert cancellation. Thank you so much, Grace, for being on top of communications! While email is not yet available to some residents, it’s a great way to communicate last-minute changes to the schedule.

At about 11 Monday morning I ventured out, equipped with my Yaktrax tread devices on my boots (thanks to fellow resident Susan W for the suggestion!), and, of course, my SARA pendant. During my walk, three snowplows came by, and there were Panorama staff out at each neighborhood shoveling walkways. Most sidewalks were shoveled by then, as were most roads. A shouted “thank you” to staff was invariably met with a smile. 

Inside the Quinault, by the door, were two armchairs that allowed me to take off (and then put back on) my Yaktrax before heading to the exercise room. 

So, KUDOS to Panorama and staff for their great efforts at communication and response! 

Deb Bio_Edit

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Owner Manuals

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2017

You remember when you actually got an “Owners Manual” with vehicles or appliances or whatever? A place to go to with questions on “how to” or explanations of things just out of your understanding??? Many times now you are directed to go “online” at a help site and you muddle along. I often find I haven’t the vocabulary to even know how to search some of the sites for information I need, or the explanation is tech to tech and leaves you wondering what it is they are talking about.

I recently had the fun experience of changing out our own year old Panorama “Owners Manual” with a great bunch of volunteers. I think of it as “The Manual” but it is really the Resident Handbook and Directory. Your Resident Council enlisted volunteers at three sites to incorporate all the information that changed in administration of our Panorama. The total of residents who made the effort to get their latest edition with changes was 672! The weather was cold, the walkways sometimes crystals of snow/ice. But what a turnout!

When we moved to Panorama in 2013 and received the “Handbook,” I considered it a boon as we entered a different phase of our lives. As the boxes got unpacked, and we had wider aisles to walk through, I spent about 3 days reading the “Owners Manual” cover to cover. Now calibrate me, as a previous neighbor used to say. There is a wealth of information on most situations you encounter as you join a large retirement community. And I am the one who would rather suss out some problem or question without necessarily “bothering” someone for an answer. I have since offered to help new arrivals who may be overwhelmed by their move, though I never consider it being bothered. However, what a wealth of information this Handbook has.

Resident Directory Pages 1

“Who would sit and read through all that stuff?” I even heard some folks who came to get updates say, “I haven’t ever used it but for the directory of residents and pictures of folks I have run into but didn’t get the names of.”

A great deal of time and effort goes into the updating of the sections as staff changes happen, or new procedures become common place. It is a living document. I am very thankful to an administration that sees this as value to residents. Portions of this Handbook change every year and administration does a great job keeping up with current status and contact information of residents. It is, of course, also sad to see some residents missing which is always happening in our continuing care retirement community.

Resident Directory Pages 2 FINAL

Many friends and neighbors arrived at the distribution sites with additional Handbooks for residents who where traveling or indisposed at the times of distribution. A very thoughtful and kind thing to do. The Resident Council will be in their office in the Quinault building weekdays for those who were traveling or didn’t get the updated inserts. I am hoping everyone finds this document as valuable as I do.

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Friendship

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. January 2017

An article by Paula Span in the New York Times inspired me to write this blog entry. The title of the article is “Loneliness Can be Deadly for Elders: Friends are the Antidote.”

The article notes that the importance of maintaining social contacts is well known: having someone you can call in the event of an emergency, keeping mentally and physically fit, and less likely to succumb to depression, all contribute to health, safety, and longevity. The article goes on to say that this can be difficult for seniors, as our old friends move away or pass away. Interestingly, as we get older, our definitions of friendship evolve: we seek out more meaningful relationships and can overlook quirks and tics in our friends that would formerly have annoyed us.

My non-Panorama friends and relatives often ask me how I am fitting in here. Of course, I mention the many activities and amenities that our community has to offer. I always add, though, that I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of folks I genuinely like and consider friends, not just acquaintances. A surprise because, of course, we baby boomers believed that we shouldn’t “trust anyone over 30.”

Capture

The Times article notes, “I couldn’t help noticing how many of the elders I spoke with had benefited from living in retirement communities and nursing homes – the very destinations so many people dread. They can provide proximity, shared activities, and a larger pool of prospective friends.”

One of the things that Panorama encourages is the development of social interest groups – whether it be genealogy, book groups, politics, foreign language, neighborhood get-togethers, or just having fun. Panorama can provide meeting spaces, transportation, copying and communication services, and other assistance for these activities. There are also numerous places around campus just to “hang out” and share a cup of coffee, work on a jigsaw puzzle or launch an impromptu card game. In time, we may even have a Resident Portal on the Internet to make it even easier and seamless for us to share ideas and friendship.

Deb Bio_Edit

A Resident’s Perspective – My Priceless Christmas Gift

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2016

“Maybe Santa Claus dropped some presents behind the Christmas tree. Les see!” I was six, poking at Jerri.

We popped up off the floor and trod on white tissue paper and scissor-curled ribbons. Mom was sitting on a little stool to the right of the tree, holding three-month-old Candy. Gripping her fingers into Mom’s shoulders, Jerri worked to climb behind, shaking the shiny glass, colored balls and twinkling lights in the prickly tree. Mom hugged Candy tighter in her arms.

“Uh, no, I don’t think so.” Mom helped us back to the front of the tree with her free arm. “The little doll-bed is real special. See? It rocks.” She swayed the 18” cradle left and right. “It’s painted pretty light pink and has a decal that matches the ones Daddy put on your beds.”

We took a second look and shared turns rocking it.

“You can use it when you play with your dolls. You got some new crayons and a color book. Some panties, and socks, too. ”

I knew right then: there was no Santa Claus.

Mom had made the rocking, doll-bed. That’s why she put on her only, long overcoat and bundled up to spend much time in the detached, December-cold garage almost every day before Christmas in 1945 in San Antonio, Texas. She depended on me at six years old to entertain my three little sisters Jerri, 5, Patti, 3, and baby Candy while she was out there.

I didn’t care I figured out about Santa Claus. I knew Mom and Dad had counted pennies with the WWII situation. Even after the war, we struggled since our family had grown so quickly.

In my little chair, I studied Mom still holding Candy close to her by the Christmas tree removing a wad of curly ribbon from Patti’s mouth. Poor Mom. I knew she felt bad having to tell us the doll-bed was special. Even Daddy helped to decorate it. They worked so hard. I felt sorry for them. My sisters didn’t know our parents were Santa Claus. Patti and Candy were too little to know what was going on.

I wished I hadn’t said that maybe Santa Claus had dropped some presents behind the tree. I made Jerri and Patti think there usually were more presents. That’s why we started looking for more. Mom’s heart must’ve hurt inside.

I often imagined little Mom behind the scenes in our garage trying to shape the wood with Dad’s little hand-saw, sanding the splinters and curving the edges to protect our tiny hands, then adding shiny paint–in her long, straight, only coat and bulky gloves! Maybe next-door neighbor, old Mr. Krause, cut the curved part with his electric saw for her to finish. The garage with a dirt floor and two doors that yielded to the winds and cold was not a place for an exhausted 90-pound mother of four tiny ones.

I knew Dad soaked and slid off the decal. He was the pro at that. Everything had a decal if it made our chairs, chests of drawers, tables, or cabinets around the house look a little more big-ticket or helped perk us up. Often our parents were exhausted and had many challenges trying to be patient with us.

I cherished our priceless little rocking doll-bed and played with it often. I loved Mom for the love she gave us in those very early years. I wonder how I would have handled the situations she endured then and later.

As a mother and grandmother myself, I know a mom values and elevates the simplest gift created by her small child. She showers praises and compliments, but the tables were turned.

Today as an adult, Jerri doesn’t recall Christmas in 1945, and I know the others don’t either.

Mary Jo Bio