A Resident’s Perspective – Another Panorama Treasure

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. July 2014
Photo by Charlie Keck.

Photo by Charlie Keck.

Panorama’s community garden, also known as the Pea Patch, is in full glory at this time of year.  Covering a couple of acres, with more than 100 individual garden plots, the Pea Patch supplies gardeners and residents with an abundance of vegetables, fruits and flowers.

The most widely grown crop is probably raspberries.  They are the quintessential Northwest fruit and grow prolifically in the garden.  There are other fruits, too, such as Asian pears, apples, plums, blueberries and blackberries.  We like our vegetables, however, and we raise just about anything you can imagine that will tolerate our summer conditions.  In other words, crops such as peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes may or may not do well, depending on how much heat and sun they get.  Most others do uncommonly well–we try to pick the zucchini before they become the size of baseball bats!

On Fridays, gardeners bring excess produce to Friday Share, and residents who set their sights on particular items begin to line up at 9:30.  Doors open at 10, and by 10:15 most everyone has left with a bag of whatever has appealed to them, including bouquets of gorgeous gladiolus, roses, and dahlias.  Leftovers are taken to the Thurston County Food Bank. IMG_0608_edited-1

Come late August, there will be freshly picked corn from the community corn plots, which is in high demand by our patrons.  Our corn is oh, so sweet!!  Financial donations at Friday Share are accepted, which help us cover machinery and grounds maintenance costs.  The Pea Patch also receives funds from the Resident Council to meet part of our expenses.

DSCN4900-001Many gardeners have been gardening all their adult lives, and it is an integral part of their daily routines, contributing to mental and physical well-being.  We also benefit from the social aspects of a community garden, exchanging ideas about soil preparation, watering techniques, and composting.  We are a congenial group, and twice a year we hold all-member potluck meetings, which give us an opportunity to meet new gardeners and renew friendships.  We often have a waiting list for garden plots because while gardening becomes more difficult with age, many people find it very hard to give up such a pleasurable activity.  Even if you can no longer bend to weed or plant, however, we invite all who would like to find a moment of peace and beauty to come across Golf Club Road for a visit.  And on Fridays, you can eat some raspberries, too!Murphy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – The Toilets Story

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2014

I know, what on earth is she talking about now? Well you might question this topic, but if you are in for a bit of fun and education, do read on. I talked with Melissa Thoemke of the activities and pool center to get her “take” on the appropriateness of this topic and she thought it to be appropriate.

How spoiled have we become living in an “elder friendly” or “elder code” resident community? Some things that we found very different in our homes when moving here are now hard-wired, it seems, into our brains. Life here works so very well as we age, mature or in my-speak, grow incredibly wiser. There do exist in other environments some interesting things that turn out to be “gotchas.”

A recent fund-raiser from our old community took me down the road in our little fast car to visit old friends, report on our settling in and play some tournament Scrabble. I left the cats in the able hands of George. The trip is 770 miles one way and needs an overnight on the way down to N. Calif. Having packed a lunch for on the road, the only stop I needed to make was for a forbidden McDonald’s Caramel Frappe.

Before ordering my treat, I promptly used the facilities. As I am not disabled yet, I always use the regular restroom stalls. What happened was a bit comical, and I was so very glad no one was watching. As I went to sit down, I fell down the extra ½ foot or so to the seat. Having gotten used to our tall toilets here at Panorama in our homes and public places, this was a bit of a shock. Good that I didn’t try to catch myself and pull a shoulder muscle. There were no grab handles. But I DID feel exceedingly silly.

All well and happy with my treat of Frappe, down the road I went to overnight at GoldBeach as I usually elect to go down the OR coast as much as possible off I-5 to Florence. The Jot’s Resort was fun and inexpensive and besides two DOT worker trucks, I was the only resident in that large complex, off season and mid-week. Exhausted after 10 hours at the wheel enduring much road refurbishment and detours, I just wanted to stretch out. A lovely room on the Rogue River was quiet and sunny.

I had moved all my stuff up to the second floor; it was time to use the facilities. Can you believe that for the second time I dropped to the seat of the toilet that was the usual ½ foot lower than the ones at home? Muscle and brain memory being what it is, I vowed not to do that ever again.

When I arrived the next day, I regaled my chums with reports on unexpected happenings encountered on the trip down. Folks laughed at my story. When I talked with Melissa Thoemke at the pool center, asking if this might be a reasonable tale to put in the resident’s blog, she was quite enthusiastic. We all know the leg strength that needs constant work for us to be able to get up from chairs (and lower toilets) and she stresses working on that muscle group in her fitness classes. So I have shared this tale with you.

Two things learned from this trip: Our old home isn’t home anymore and “look before you leap” or at least “look before you sit.”

Sandy Bio

Smartest Decision in our Retirement? – Part 5

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. Jun 2014

We returned home to Las Vegas from our first visit to Washington for a two-week tour of many retirement places in Lacey and Olympia.  We had eagerly signed with Panorama.  Hubby Chris had been reluctant to look at any retirement places, and we’d agreed we weren’t signing anything.  We saw the many advantages and envisioned ourselves living in such a magnificent place with friendly people and employees who had only accolades for the place.  We’d have over 85 monthly activities to choose from, and a little garden home perfect for our needs and pocket book, and freedom from upkeep and repairs of a big home.  Chris was the one to suggest maybe we’d better sign up!  (Be sure to see monthly blogs from Feb. through May 2014).

We were down to the nitty-gritty!  I knew from previous moves since our marriage in 1972, the brunt of the sorting, getting rid of stuff, and packing was to be mine.  The joy of Panorama retirement was my carrot at the end of the stick. But I still faced selling 50 years of in-home music-teaching books, supplies, eight stations (each consisting of six-octave keyboards and benches, Bose headsets, foot pedals) and nine computers.  I prayed, “Lord, You’ve always been there for me.  I have a very mercenary request this time.”  Music comrade Peggy sent e-mails to the Las Vegas music teachers and received an immediate response: one school wanted all or none of the eight stations.  Music teachers came to purchase music materials.  The school district picked up donated remains.

Piling the first box of other items to get rid of made the next box easier.  The parting got painless as the boxes for a sale stacked in our garage:

“Don’t need this.”

“Forgot I had this…probably will never use it.”

“What am I holding on to this for?”

“Someone else will want this.”

“These clothes are outdated.  Why am I keeping them?”

A huge garage sale brought in extra cash.  Salvation Army picked up the left overs.

Parting of stuff was weight off our shoulders. Chris pitched in the last few weeks, ridding himself of unnecessary clothes and hundreds of books.

We knew we could replace our breakfast table with a smaller one at the Panorama Barn.   (We found exactly what we wanted there, too, at an insane bargain!)

Our daughter, Melody, John, and 5 year old Hope moved in with us as we were packing to move out.  They were caught up in the bank’s fraud that made many very honest families lose their homes, despite making extra payments.  After we moved out, they updated our home themselves from floor, walls to ceilings and sold it for us for much more than the appraisal with three offers in the first week, in a home down-market of the century.

We are grateful for the blessings God has given us to live our lives here at Panorama.  Wait ‘til you hear what we got besides our little garden home!

Mary Jo Bio