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!

The Christmas Day Outing

Written by Panorama resident, Sandra Bush | December 2017

Each year, Steve Pogge organizes a lunch walk on Christmas Day. The first few were somewhat sparsely attended, but this year, we were with about 15 walker/hikers.  We did a fairly easy walk through a lovely trail at Priest Point Park, only a short bus ride away – which was newly dusted with the snow we had on Christmas Eve. The trail was good and at 36 degrees, it wasn’t slippery. The parking lot with slush was a place to be cautious.

Fresh air and all bundled up, we did a circle loop trail walk. Ferns and firs were festooned with the now melting snow that was plopping on our heads! We got a bit of everything. Lovely to have no wind which would have made the walk a bit uncomfortable.


The bridges were lovely and the railings were good. Many used poles that Steve usually has for those without. This was not a strenuous outing, though a bit cold. Poles give you another point for balance.

Led by two of Steve’s helpers, we walked for about 30 minutes and then gathered in one of the sheltered communal buildings, open to the fresh air. While we were out, Steve and a helper made a batch of potato/broccoli soup and had a fire going in a kettle that he had brought for outdoor fires. It was warming and lovely. Dark crusty bread made by his friend and hot cocoa, spiced tea or coffee were so very welcome as we trudged in. This was topped off by one of our walkers who brought just lovely tins of homemade cookies and bars!

A warm round of Christmas carols, sung by most of us, to a boombox and words given to us by a helper was a lovely way to share Christmas. There is always room for one more cookie!!!

I hope your Christmas was spent with those you love and you all had a good time. We certainly did!!!

Seeing a Chum Salmon Run

All photos taken by Carolyn Treadway.

Moving to Panorama from the Midwest, I had little idea of what a “salmon run” was, nor of the importance of salmon as a keystone species of the whole Pacific Northwest coast; nor that salmon is essential to the entire way of life of coastal Native Americans. But I kept hearing about salmon.  Intrigued, I wanted to learn much more. Thus I eagerly signed up for an outing to see a chum salmon run, sponsored by the Panorama Green Team.  Twenty residents conveniently rode a Panorama bus to Kennedy Creek, a nature area north of Olympia.  Our trip was expertly facilitated by fellow residents Warren Dawes and Cleve Pinnix, who serve as guides for the countless visitors to this particular salmon run each November.  They led us to observe and understand many amazing sights. How fortunate we were to have such an opportunity!

        Surprisingly, our mid-November outing was blessed with sunshine. The forest was lush and beautiful with giant evergreen trees, mosses, ferns, and tributary streams. Chum salmon abounded! They were returning to the very stream in which they had hatched, probably four years ago, to spawn and die. These amazing fish were born in this freshwater stream, then, after a time in the stream and estuary, had swum into the ocean, where they spent their entire adult lives, swimming as far as 18,000 miles to the Asian oceans and back to return home.  How do they find their way? (There is so much more to learn…)

The creek and streams were alive with salmon: females using their tails to dig holes in the stream’s gravel, males fighting each other for proximity to a female ready to lay a thousand eggs, so that their milt could fertilize those eggs. The streams were also littered with the bodies of salmon that had spawned and were dying or dead, thus completing their life cycle. The salmon provide food for all species that eat them, and their bodies provide nutrients to the forests into which they are carried by those species. Many tons of salmon carcasses are deposited to feed the plants, soils, and creatures of the forest each year.

It’s an amazing, incredible ecosystem, which has been kept in delicate balance by Nature for millennia. But now humans and wastes that we create are greatly impacting that entire ecosystem.  Our wise guides emphasized the importance of clean, fresh water for the salmon and their eggs and young fry, because polluted water makes reproduction even more fragile or kills the fish.  Pollution, habitat loss, and climate change have caused great decline in the numbers of surviving salmon in the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.  As a result, the resident orca whales (whose food is salmon) are starving and their survival is at risk.  And so on and on.

Ah, yes. As Chief Seattle profoundly said over 150 years ago: “This we know, all things are connected.”  Recent Green Team programs have focused on connections between ourselves and our local environment. For example, local storm water runoff carries toxins directly into the Puget Sound, greatly affecting the health of fish and all species therein. Being present to the majesty of Kennedy Creek with chum salmon churning in its streams, we visitors could connect the dots. Our pollution affects the fresh, clean water these very fish need for their spawning. Let us help their return to their natal home by decreasing our pollution, so that these amazing salmon can birth the next generations.

A Resident’s Perspective – Amazing Grace in Christian Hymn Song

Panorama Corporation has no religious affiliations.The community of residents at Panorama is active in pursuing a variety of hobby & interest groups; the Corporation and Panorama staff enjoy helping to support these groups as needed.  Membership to any group on campus is voluntary.

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2017

“Christian Hymn Sing” is a resident-driven happening that meets at Panorama on the first Wednesday of each month in The Gallery at Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro to give praise to God in an informal way, not to perfect our singing skills, but just use what’s left in us to enjoy praising in song, visiting with new or old friends and enjoying a no-host breakfast together. No RSVP needed. All are invited from on or off campus.

In 2010, words of their pastor’s sermon preyed on two Panorama couples’ heartstrings, “…even if you’re old, you can still do something.” They “prayed,” worked, studied, used individual talents to begin what God nudged and named, “Christian Hymn Sing.”

Mary N. and Mary P. selected copyright-free hymns. Bill used his computer to copy them, and Les worked at his piano. Excited, loving hearts beat nervously long hours and days. The four aimed at making the event a monthly hour of inspiration for Panorama residents. Did they have too many ideas, or not enough? That first event had to be a success so the participants would return. The four weren’t afraid, just had hopeful concern that people would come whether they could sing or not. Maybe five or six would attend and help spread the word for the next months.

Chris and I had just moved to Panorama in July 2011. Our closed-circuit TV caught my attention, as well as notices on bulletin boards: No RSVP needed and ALL invited. Can’t sing? HUM ALONG…

I was one of 19 who showed up to the smaller dining room. A little basket held tiny papers with a short Bible verse for each to take home. We enjoyed visiting with old and new friends over a no-host breakfast, followed by hymn singing…with Les leading us at the upright piano.

Each month we greeted 20, 24, 25..then up to 30! Nov. 1, 2017, we welcomed 39!!! Maybe we’ll overflow into the main dining room. We are invited to share anything for a few minutes. Several have played an instrument, given a testimony, read a snippet, or ?? It’s over in 60 minutes!

Doug has led us now for a couple of years with his strong, beautiful voice and tidbits about the hymn itself, and wife, Patricia, collates and staples the song sheets. I enjoy “advertising” with posters, PCTV reminders, and with this blog. Together we make a “joyful noise to the Lord.”

The poem below that Betty C. brought in November tells the story:

MUSIC TO MY EARS
By JoAnn Miller

How I long to hear the old hymns
That I sang when just a youth
In the church that I grew up in –
Where I learned the Gospel’s truth.

Those hymns contained great messages
Of Jesus’ love for me
Told how He purchased my salvation
When he died “At Calvary.”

Today’s repetitive choruses speak
To our youth, some people say.
But I wonder how many have ever heard
Those old hymns of yesterday?

“I Can Hear My Savior Calling”
He calls me ‘Just As I Am”
And now “I Belong to Jesus.”
“I’ve Been Redeemed By the Blood of the Lamb.”

Since “I Serve A Risen Savior”
And He washed me white as snow
“Where He Leads Me I Will Follow”
He will “Abide With Me”, I know.

“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
“Blessed Assurance”; “Love Lifted Me”
“Halleluia, What A Savior”
Draw me “Nearer My God To Thee.”

“I Have A Song I Love To Sing”
With my voice raised high in praise,
I’ll “Take The Name Of Jesus With Me”
Throughout my earthly days.

He is the “Rock of Ages”
He’s been “My Help in Ages Past.”
So “Count Your Many Blessings”
Knowing His love for you will last.

“I Have A Song That Jesus Gave Me”
“Oh Happy Day”; “Amazing Grace”
”I Will Sing of My Redeemer”
Someday I’ll see Him “Face To Face.”

This is just a tiny sample
Of some hymns that touched my heart
And led me to the Saviour
“Precious Lord,” “How Great Thou Art.”

I pray the songs I’ve mentioned here
By title, line or phrase
Stirs your heart with “Precious Memories”
Prompting you my God to praise.

So “Sing Them Over Again To Me”
Those old hymns I love to hear.
“Sing The Wondrous Love of Jesus”
Ah, sweet music to my ear!

The Deciduous Season

Panorama campus October 2017

We all know people who travel east to enjoy the fall colors. The previous blog included Neil Harris’ photos of our outstanding range of color displayed all around campus. We are wending our way through November with Thanksgiving around the corner and even the windy rainstorm a few days ago didn’t totally divest the trees of their astonishing array of vibrant colors. Big Leaf Maples are wonderful yellow and there is one on Cardinal Lane. Having walked through forests in Olympia with the organized walking group, I am always amazed at the size of those maple leaves!!!

There is something bracing about a cool wind with the smell of leaves down and plants tucking themselves in for approaching winter. Some of us will bake turkeys, some will enjoy Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro’s Thanksgiving dinner, and others will band together and sample food aplenty in our surrounding area.

Our campus is now presenting a challenge to our grounds crew. They have just taken down the whimsical outdoor drive-in theater display featuring “Pumpkin-zilla” playing there. That crew is wonderfully imaginative in doing these displays. They always bring smiles and much comment as we discover hidden additions to the theme.

2017 Pumpkin Display created by Panorama’s Grounds Crew

There is another thing that must drive the Grounds crew crazy in this season. All of the deciduous trees do not drop leaves within a given time frame, of a week, two weeks, whatever. They simply shed leaves in their own rhythm. The firs are always dropping needles, we know. But this season of wind and rain produce such a raining down of needles that it is hard for the Grounds crew to keep up.

At the recent Resident Council-sponsored meetings of all residential units on campus, we heard from our Chief of Operations about the strain put on the Grounds crew in all the neighborhoods. The goal is to keep roadways and walkways free of perhaps slippery, dying leaves and to keep our homes looking pleasing.  Maintaining our grassy areas relies on downed leaves not killing the sod. There is another reason to manage the dying bits of biomass. The needles will clog downspouts and result in backed up water, leaks, and higher maintenance. Those of us living under Douglas firs know how many needles are flying about us at all times of the year, but especially now in the fall season. We love those trees and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

However, they do all add to ambient noise in our neighborhoods. In my mind, this comes with the territory. Not in the minds of our two furry tabby cats. They have become inured to the blowers on our front walk way, driveway, and patio. What they have trouble with is the sound walking on the roofs make and blowing off those accumulated needles. Each has found a dark place to hide until the workers have moved on to the next roof.

We all know of or heard the grousing about leaf blowers, day in and day out…but the cost of time and work with rakes instead of blowers would increase the budget for maintenance tremendously. We have come to just turn up the radio or TV volume as we go about our in-house tasks…and are thankful that it isn’t us having to do this awful and repetitive job!!! We walk everywhere on campus and appreciate that walk-ways are kept safe and clear. We, along with everyone else I am sure, enjoy the weekends when the Grounds crew have time off unless there is a weather event that undermines that. Let’s all enjoy the quiet on the weekends and revel in the wonderful color that we enjoy here!

We want to present ourselves the very best we can, looking to our future population choosing us as a retirement community. Panorama is doing a fine job of keeping us trimmed up under trying conditions. So, let’s all give the guys and gals a nod of thanks and just know that soon the blowers will abate.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and these wonderful colors so very close to home.

Sandra Bush
November, 2017

Bursting Colors of Autumn

The colors of autumn are truly remarkable throughout our campus. This has created an irresistible muse for one resident photographer in particular. Neil Harris is one of many talented individuals who have chosen Panorama as their retirement playground. Like so many of his neighbors, Neil graciously shares his talents with our community and we couldn’t be more grateful. After all, that is precisely what makes Panorama thrive. Here’s a selection of his recent work – enjoy!

Panorama campus October 2017

Panorama campus October 2017

State Capitol in Olympia, WA – October 2017

Aquatic and Fitness Center at Panorama – October 2017

Chehalis Western Trail near Panorama – October 2017

Patrons Plaza at Panorama – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

Lower Lewis Falls in southern Washington – October 2017

A buck enjoying a crisp morning at Panorama – October 2017.

Bus Flight to Lawton (Excerpt)

Bus Flight to Lawton (Excerpt from Convent to Catwalk)
by Mary Jo Shaw, Author, Panorama Resident

(I was on my way to my mission to teach in Lawton, OK).

Alone and feeling self-conscious, I was dressed in my long, black and white habit in 1967, the year the popular TV show The Flying Nun was playing its first season. Because of the wacky, naïve, silly antics played by Sally Fields, I felt the public thought some real nuns were somewhat ridiculous, especially the young ones.

I chose a place to attract the least attention in the crowded Greyhound Bus station in San Antonio, Texas. My chair happened to be in the center of the large room. The hustle and bustle of travelers alternated with periods of still and quiet.

A wound up, small, five-year old boy, began running back and forth on the long, shiny floors in the wide space between my strip of seats and the row facing me. He’d pick up momentum, then slide the last few yards in his slick-soled Buster Browns. After about eight such rotations, he noticed my black garments. He continued his laps, but as he passed me, he slowed down to study my presence.

I strained not to play, entertain, or converse with him like I normally did with my students or when introduced to little ones. I was familiar with out-of-the-mouths-of-babes incidents. I didn’t want this babes’ attention, not in this place, not while I was alone, and certainly not while everyone was noticing my growing unease.

My head was down, but distracted from my book. My headpiece failed to conceal my eyeballs from the crowd as I watched his footsteps.

At his third time of pausing and staring for about fifteen seconds to ogle me from head to foot, I kept my head bent toward the pages in my lap, completely ignoring him.

The little sprinter stopped short, parked his feet firm and far apart. He stared at me with hands on his hips and blurted out for the entire station audience to hear, “CAN YOU FLY-Y-Y?”

Travelers snickered. Newspapers jerked closer to their faces. Complete silence.

I lifted my head, stared the boy down and gave him a loud and slow response, “Little fella, if I could fl-y-y-y, I wouldn’t be sitting in this bus station.”

Newspapers collapsed. Surprised at my own clever response, I smiled across the crowd to relax myself and others. Everyone laughed and applauded. “Way to go, Sister!”

That little boy didn’t know how much I detested The Flying Nun.
————

Mary Jo Shaw
Great gifts!
Author, Convent to Catwalk
maryjoshaw3@gmail.com (for more info and source for a book copy)

Welcoming Change with Open Arms

It’s time to write something for the blog again.  I haven’t written for months.  The reason is that I have been trying to handle the changes in my life.  Most of us have experienced a bunch of change in our lives if we have lived for any time at all.  Bryan Willis, the guru of our writing group, Panwriters, recently gave us an assignment to list all the homes in which we have lived from birth to the present time.  Then we were to write about the smallest one of those homes.

I began listing homes.  I went into quite a reverie about where I had lived. I compiled a list of 45 different homes in the 82 and one-half years of my life.  In the past two months I moved into home 45—the 5th home I have occupied in Panorama’s complex.  For each one of those 45 homes a change has occurred in my life—some of them major changes.  Change is one of the facts of life that every one of us who live in Panorama must face.  We are seasoned changers.  We expect to change.  We know that coming to Panorama or any other retirement community isn’t going to suddenly stop change.  In fact, we call this a Continuing Care Retirement Community, and that means that if we change, the community still has a place for us and will continue to guide and support us.

So, I have been dealing with change in my life and writing for the blog was set aside for a time.  In December, my companion with whom I was living began to have some health problems.  Our agreement was that we would live together in her home, but, since both of us had cared for a period of time for a spouse who subsequently died, we would not take on the task of caregiving for each other.  I didn’t want to burden her with my care nor did she want me to be burdened with her care.  For several years we had a very meaningful relationship with each other that filled our lives with caring and love.  We did some traveling, attended lots of concerts, visited each other’s family members, and supported each other in our own little life interests and projects.

Her health began to worsen and she moved into the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center to receive the care she needed.  I remained at our home.  But, I was cared for, as well.  I realized that she would not be coming back to live with me.  Her health was too fragile and deteriorating.  I visited with Panorama’s leadership team of social workers and those in charge of housing and we came up with a solution to meeting my own need.  I agreed to take an apartment in the Quinault building.

Then, I faced the task of packing my possessions and moving them to my new apartment.  Again, Panorama and I worked together to accomplish the move by July 1st.  I am now comfortable in my new apartment.  Unfortunately, my companion died the day after July 4th.  Her family was provided guidance and help to accomplish vacating her home.  The other day, I happened to walk through the area and saw the evidence and heard the sound of working that indicated the home was being prepared for the next occupant(s).

And, here I am writing for the blog again.  Declining health of a companion, changing relationships, moving to a new apartment, and making plans to live alone again aren’t easy things to accomplish.  Each one of them has its own degree of pain.  But change is a fact of life and beyond the change is more life.  We don’t necessarily welcome change with open arms, but, with help and compassion, change brings new life and we go on.

A 4-Day Trek Through the Northwest Peninsula

Written by Panorama resident, Sandra Bush | September 2017. 
Photos taken by Bill Leppard and Tim and Tam Alden.

Panorama supports and engages our active population in many ways. The outings programs of strolls, walks, and hikes have been augmented by some experimental four-day outings for active residents. This longer type of outings allow more leisurely hiking time instead of hurrying to get back to the bus before awful traffic begins. Steve Pogge and his guide assistant, Wren offered a trip to hike the Northwest Peninsula, and I thought I might share some of what this outing provided. Eight of us came prepared for rain for all four days. We stowed our hiking poles and belongings on the bus and we headed to our destination. We were pleasantly surprised by the weather.

Big Quilcene River

We took a lovely two-hour walk along the Big Quilcene River before lunch. These lunches are usually healthy and prepared by us or Steve out of the back of the bus and on picnic tables in the deep forest or along the Puget Sound or a water source.

This was followed by a visit to Bandy Farms on the way to Sequim. Such a fun surprise! This acreage has been described as unique or unusual. A carver turned his fence posts into works of fun art as well as building a pink castle when neighbors took exception to his various creations. There were so many, I’ve just included a single photo. It surely makes one want to go back to see them all.

Bandy Farms

Before getting to our rooms in Port Angeles, we had stretched our legs by walking down to and along the Dungeness Spit, the largest natural spit found on the West Coast. We dined at a restaurant named “The Cedars” before checking in to The Red Lion with marvelous views of the water.

The Alden’s captured this special sunrise from our hotel the next morning

There is a lovely paved waterfront one-mile trail in front of the hotel that many hikers take advantage of in the early morning.

An amazing ocean figure in mosaic sits by the interpretive center along a walk to a tower overlooking the waterway.

As rain was forecast for the afternoon, Steve decided we’d hike Hurricane Ridge in the morning to avoid a cold, wet and windy afternoon hike. Three hearty souls hiked up a 4-mile steep trail while the rest of us opted for the bus, allowing us to hike to the over-look of the amazing Olympic Mountain range from the Interpretive Center atop Hurricane Ridge. It was hard enough for the rest of us. It was too late in the season to view Olympic marmots as they were getting snuggled for winter. Wren had given us a quick overview of marmots and we learned that they are a distinct group, different from Cascade Range or Vancouver Island populations. But hikers always need to watch for mountain goats as they can get very aggressive and aren’t native to this range.

Our Assistant Guide, Wren, hiking Hurricane Ridge

Panorama Residents hiking Hurricane Ridge

While no goats or marmots were present, the views were just awesome and what did we find at the end of the puff? Steve had prepared hot soup for our lunch along with the usual sandwich making fare. What a guy! This was accompanied by a slight flurry of snow! We were so glad that Steve rearranged our itinerary; it may have gotten more than interesting up there if we’d been there in the afternoon, as planned!

The morning activity was to go on an Underground and History tour of Port Angeles, but we were rescheduled for the afternoon, and we enjoyed some amazing history of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the elevation of the early outpost city that became Port Angeles. It was built on the mudflats; further up the hill, the British and military owned the higher ground. Town engineers elevated the downtown to avoid tidal flooding of buildings on the mudflats! With no heavy equipment, the entire downtown was elevated one-story. We went under some buildings that then used the second floor for their first floor. The engineering alone was incredible. Red Cedar posts dating from the original construction were in amazing shape. Their oil content has preserved them for over a century.

The usual “happy hour” in the guide’s room was cancelled as we prepared (after a long day) for a wonderful “family style” dinner at a renowned restaurant. Sabai Thai Restaurant, which had rave reviews from best places in the Northwest by Frommer’s Travel Guidebook, served wonderful food. The 10 of us shared nine different dinners suggested by the staff and it was so delicious and special. We had the option of ordering a dish that we wanted specifically, but we all decided to share to taste various dishes. Happy but tired hikers retired back to their rooms and opted not to visit a modern outdoor sculpture park as the night sky was imminent.

After the second night, it was time to bring our bags back to the bus in the morning for our exploration of Marymere Falls and to the Moments-in-Time hike which lead us to Crescent Lake. Delightfully, we got to experience the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center after breakfast. It would have been hard to see the outdoor installations by artists had we gone after the Thai dinner. It was entertaining to wander around that acreage and see things mounted in the trees, under leaves on the ground, and to experience artists’ way of using the out-of-doors for art installations.
(More pictures can be enjoyed on their website: http://www.pafac.org/)

Photograph by Bill Leppard

We headed to the Storm King Ranger Station to hike up to Marymere Falls. We meandered on a wonderful blanket of fir needles with no roots or rocks to trip over. Then we found the way up to the waterfall overlook. Gads, the usual roots and rocks and steps to negotiate brought us to wonderful views of the two-tiered waterfall.

Steve explained a magical exercise in fooling the eye/brain connection. He explained that if you looked at the same segment of falling water for 15-30 seconds and then shifted your eyes to the right, the granite rock actually seemed to move up in the segment as wide as your view was of the falling water. Many of us were able to experience it, but it left you off center for a bit while your brain reorganized its visual input. What was wonderful was that by mid-week, we had so much of the trails to ourselves.

Branching off from the Marymere Falls trail was a lovely, quiet walk amid Moments-in-Time’s large trees. Steve suggested that the walk to lunch be carried out in silence to appreciate what the forest has to offer in serenity. We often do silent walks with no talking and it is a wonderful rest for the mind and body as we walk among the big trees. This trail led us to Crescent Lake Lodge where those interested could rent a kayak or canoe. The views from the picnic table where lunch were arrayed were just amazing. The lunch arrayed by the edge of the lake was lovely and we were visited by a family of cute and persistent ducks that popped out of the water to try and cadge some food, but it is never appropriate to feed wildlife animals.

Then we headed to our final night in Forks. Along the way, we got to hike down to Mora Beach, all 120 steps down and back up. Tidal issues made very little sand available, with many large logs/trees that had been washed up for a long period of time, but many individuals scrambled over these obstacles to get some beach time. Two of us elected to sit in the cool shade of a large log and skipped the scramble. Such a lovely day we had. Sunny, and most of all: NO RAIN!!!

This final evening, we enjoyed happy hour in the guide’s rooms. While Steve’s trips do not promote alcoholic drinking, there were a couple of jugs of “Mississippi Mud” dark ale, various wine and sparkling water while participants discussed the pros and cons of activities for future trip-planning. The Native-owned restaurant he had planned for dinner was closed Tuesday nights, so the pizza parlor on Main Street Forks provided a venue to further the fellowship. A poster on the wall of Ruth Orkin (a photographer) depicts a performance, engendered Wren’s further research which found a woman bucking early stereotypes and working in a men’s world back in the 1950s, traveling alone in Europe!   We always manage to learn a lot from Steve’s outings, even when they are unplanned!

An earlier trip also visited a record-breaking Cedar Tree that had recently fallen not far off the road. It had to give up its status as the world’s biggest Cedar, but to view and walk around it was meaningful and powerful.

On the way to Aberdeen and back home, we also experienced what could only be called a Dr. Seuss forest. This was a segment of coastal trees above Beach #1, (yes that is its name) with amazing burl structures on them. Based on Wren’s research, the burl structures don’t kill the tree and many things cause the tree to burl. This happens along coastal waterways and not far inland. But this was a literal forest of them in a small area. An example of this is below, along with Steve and his wonderful Indian flute, making the experience somewhat other-worldly.

Traveling with Steve is always an adventure!

Steve’s trips are always so well-planned and scouted. A highlight is usually a stop at an ice cream purveyor on the way home. This time, we stopped at Scoops in Aberdeen with way too many selections of ice cream flavors. Learning about the history and enjoying out-of-door places that our wonderful Northwest Peninsula provides is always rewarding.

Treat yourself to one of these wonderful Panorama outings if you can!

A Resident’s Perspective – Barbecue

Written by Panorama resident, Verl Rogers. September 2017

The other day on the back deck of the Quinault we had a party.  It brought about 28 residents of Panorama Assisted Living together for hot dogs, potato salad, potato chips, beer or wine.  We lived it up, and I was glad to see everyone coming out.  We have a few hermits and I like it better when they socialize.

A few of our group need daily help in getting up and getting dressed; more need supervision in medication.  Most of us have an impairment of some kind that is a hindrance to living independently.  We take prescribed pills daily, for heart or liver or stomach trouble, as well as pain pills.  Sore backs are common.  Myself, I take 6 pills each morning and 8 at bedtime, with no supervision.

A few months ago, I complained of my 14 daily pills to my doctor.  He went through the list and said, “Take them all!”

The group I saw are mostly rich, shaky, old people.  The rent begins at $4000 per month, three or four times more than rent for ordinary independent living.  We are paying for the many extra services we need from being ill and feeble.  A small example is at the table, where a few of our number need help to cut their food into bite-size pieces.  The staff workers do very well for us in big chores and small; I am happy to be here.

You can’t see the money; we dress in blue denims and well-worn shirts and tops.  Conversation is ordinary.  We don’t think of ourselves as rich, though most of us saved and invested our money to get here.  I would like to spend my last dollar on the day I die, though I’m not sure how to do it.  We still look for bargains at the store.

Two people have birthdays today, and we sang “Happy Birthday” for them.  Somehow, those little events made everyone smile.  Our group is mostly in the eighties or nineties.  Helen Blair is 97.  Our oldest resident, Russell Day, 104, (no birthday today) was there eating a hot dog.  He told me he was born in 1912, and graduated from high school in 1930, when I was 3.

Helen’s birthday reminded me of the story of a 10-year-old girl. She was introduced to an old lady, and the child asked, “How old are you?”  The reply was “97 years.”  This was too much for the little girl, who thought her teacher was impossibly old at 30.  She hemmed and hawed.  “Er – um – did you start counting at one?”

Today the staff workers, 12 of them, all came out and ate hot dogs, salad and chips with the residents.  The Administrator gave out coffee mugs as door prizes.  The staff workers like their jobs; one told me it is like helping her grandparents.

All in all, the party united our group and lifted morale mightily.

A Successful Farewell to the Heart Bank Party

On Tuesday, September 12th we celebrated the legacy of PC Care and its Heart Bank coin boxes during the Heart Bank Farewell Party.  Seventy-five people collectively contributed $3,260.29 which will be used exclusively to enrich the lives of residents living in the Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R).

As volunteers were busy counting coins, guests took some time to touch and feel some of the items that have been purchased through past Heart Bank contributions and enjoy a treat.

Carol Lambert, Joe Zabransky, Bob Bowers, Boh Bohman and Kathy Houston busy counting coins. 

 Mary Jo Shaw entertains guests  

Heart Bank contributors enjoy discussing how their contributions will enrich lives.

Residents in the C&R benefit every day from your contributions. Because of your generous charitable gifts nearly $30,000 will be spent this year to support activities meant to enrich the lives of your neighbors in the C&R. A few of these activities include: massage therapy, music and memory therapy, chair yoga, live entertainment, movies, “The General Store”, a holiday gift for every resident, and so much more!

You have a heart of gold! A thank you gift for everyone who attended the Heart Bank Farewell Party.

The Heart Bank Farewell Party was the perfect way to bid “farewell” to the tradition of gathering coins to support life enriching activities in the C&R.  If you missed the party, it is never too late to make a contribution! Any contribution to Panorama’s Office of Philanthropy can be directed to enrich lives in the C&R any time of the year.

 

The Office of Philanthropy’s mission is to enrich the lives of Panorama residents through the acquisition and use of charitable gifts. It is committed to provide enriching experiences, programs, and other amenities throughout the continuum of care.