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.

Becoming Juliette

Written by Panorama resident, Ann Friedman. August 2017

Several years ago, we had a golden retriever and a pound hound dog. Both wonderful dogs in their own way. They played, slept, aged, and became ill together. Ultimately they were euthanized together in our home.  We said, “We never want another dog!”  It was just too painful a process to lose them.

That lasted about two weeks. The house was just too quiet. No one greeted us when we got home. No one let us know that the mail had arrived. No one was handy to scarf up a stray Cheerio. Something was missing. Should we get another dog?  Richard said, “I don’t want to vacuum up all that dog fur anymore!” I said, “I don’t want the hard work of a puppy.”  We both agreed on a non-shedding adult dog…but what?

We found that there were several choices. Some breeds had hair that would need to be groomed. There were hairless dogs (no!!). Then Richard read about Greyhounds. They don’t shed much and have calm temperaments.  But whoever sees a Greyhound and how would we get one? The closest breeder was hundreds of miles away. But, remember, we don’t want a puppy.

Upon further investigation, we discovered organizations that travel to Greyhound racetracks across the country and pick up truckloads of dogs before they can be “put down”. These dogs are spayed or neutered, health checked, vaccinated, tested for cat tolerance, and made available for adoption. They are anywhere from two to five years old. Some have only had one race, others many more. All are fearful to some degree at first. They have never had the same experience with people and things that other dogs have had.

There were a few rescue organizations near our (then) home in Sacramento, CA. We contacted Greyhound Friends for Life and learned that there were some conditions that must be met in order to look at the dogs available for adoption. First, we filled out an application.

That was reviewed and accepted. Next, we had a home check. This is important to make sure your Greyhound will be safe.  Rescued Greyhounds are runners and they have never been in houses before.  Our house, yard, and fence passed inspection.  Last step, actually seeing a live Greyhound up close and personal.

We drove the fifty miles or so to a lovely Greyhound refuge in the Sierra foothills. There were eight new hounds in the large grassy enclosure. They were big. They were fast.  They all raced towards us in a herd.  It was a little intimidating. They all just wanted attention. We spotted a small Greyhound in the group. It was a female with beautiful black and tan brindled coloring. Racing Greyhounds aren’t bred for specific coat color so you’ll see black, tan, white, spotted, and brindled.

We were attracted to this delicate girl and learned that she had come from a track in Phoenix, AZ. She had raced fifty-three times and come in first or placed twenty-five percent of the time.  She came when we called her by her track name, Juliette, and looked us right in the eyes.  As I began petting her, she leaned against me. Best of all, Juliette was not timid with Richard.  We were smitten. It was the fall of 2009 and we adopted her then and there.

Juliette w Ann

Because racing greys rarely walk on cement or black top, we had to condition Juliette’s paws by giving her short walks at first. She was a little fearful of passing cars and strange men, but loved women. She housetrained quickly using a crate, which she was very comfortable with, and it is what she knew.  Plus, she was unique to greys in that she tolerated our cats.

Juliette w toy

Speed ahead eight years and here we are living in Panorama. Because she no longer has a dog door, Juliette has many more walks. She loves meeting folks on her potty walks and “Walk the Loop” Tuesday evenings. Juliette has helped us meet so many nice people.

But her favorite thing to do is to visit the Panorama dog park. She is there most afternoons and although we were a little wary at first wondering how she would do with mostly small dogs, it was a needless concern. It took a few dog park visits but Juliette is learning how to play. She runs with the other dogs, small and large. She especially likes to chase McTavish, the Scottish terrier, and hang by Trooper, the shepherd. If the small dogs aren’t going as fast as Juliette, she just jumps over them and runs on.  She and Wyatt, the dog, share playground monitor duties barking and scolding the others if they get too rowdy.  Everyone gets along and enjoys their time together.  The people do, as well.

Juliette in Pool

In reviewing Juliette’s adoption papers and track record in preparation for writing this article, I discovered she is actually a year older than I remembered. She will be twelve this September. That’s very old for a Greyhound but you’d never know it by seeing her.  She is peppy and excited for every walk and dog park visit.  We think she is finally having the puppyhood she missed by being a professional runner.  Everyone thinks she is a lucky dog, but we think we are the lucky ones for owning Juliette, the Greyhound.

A Resident’s Perspective – Triple Creek Farm

Written by Panorama resident, Cleve Pinnix. August 2017

Some 30 Panorama residents enjoyed a wonderful tour of Triple Creek Farm on July 27. The farm is home to Ralph Munro, the retired Secretary of State of Washington, and a member of the Panorama Board of Directors. Ralph was our guide for a walking tour of the property, and then hosted us for a delightful salmon luncheon.

Munrovisit3Triple Creek Farm is located along the shore of Eld Inlet, just west of Olympia. The property is a mix of forest and fields, with the Munro home looking across a small tidal stream to the inlet. The land has a remarkable history of Native American use over the centuries. Ralph led us to an archaeological site along the shoreline that was the subject of a decade-long study by faculty and students of South Puget Sound Community College, in cooperation with the Squaxin Island Tribe. This peaceful shoreline is graced by a lovely welcome pole donated from the tribe to the Munro family.

Munrovisit1Ralph and his family have been careful stewards of this unique place, planting trees and protecting the shoreline for decades. They have also donated a conservation easement to the local Capitol Land Trust, ensuring that this land will retain its pastoral quality in perpetuity. Luncheon in the barn capped our visit. Many thanks to the Munro family for their kind hospitality.

Munrovisit2

As it happens, only a few days later, Panorama residents visited Triple Creek again to enjoy the summer gala for the Capitol Land Trust. Panorama is a proud sponsor of this community celebration.

A Resident’s Perspective – Walking the Loop

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2017

“Walk the Loop” group has been functioning since June 6th for this 2017 summer season. It began some years ago and then Panorama celebrated its 50th Year and bright yellow t-shirts were printed carrying the message, not only of the walking group, but for the anniversary. After attending two Tuesdays of walking, you can get a T-shirt to join the brightly colored gang. There are also yellow bandanas for all the furry walkers.

CaptureEvery Tuesday through August, starting at 6:30 PM officially, a wonderful array of walkers shows up to walk a loop or five of the circle around McGandy Park. For the second year in a row, the local high school marching band came to lead off the group for one circuit on the first Tuesday of the walks. It is fun to walk/march to a band and we made a colorful group. Three-wheeled bicycles, push walkers, canes, walking sticks and wheel chairs are all very welcome.

Many walkers have found the start time somewhat problematic for dinner times and have either started way early or come to the walk later after dinner. The start time doesn’t matter, really, if you are logging your laps on the four-paneled roster sheet kept and updated by the Bartruffs. Getting there before 7:30 PM closing will let you check off the number of circuits you have done that evening. No, it isn’t a contest and if you get there before the lists are up, just add your checks when it is posted and before you go home. If you are new to walking with the group, do sign in on the new walker sheet at the table.

The added fun is a group of six stations on the light bollards with trivia questions and their answers. These have been diligently researched and posted by the Bartruffs. We learn something every Tuesday that we go. Walkers also get to see, talk with and smile at folks they don’t see day to day in their particular interest groups.

When the weather is toasty and legs in shorts are seen around the loop, there is often a water dispenser and cups at the table at the Aquatic Center where all this is happening. One Tuesday, there was a wonderful plate of fruit to help with energy. And now that it is Pea Patch season, lemon zucchini cookies are a treat. The furry walkers can enjoy water from bowls placed at two homes around the loop.

Walkers should wear their SARA buttons and your name tag will help new and other folks learn your names. It is after all a “talk the loop” group as some have named it.

The campus is abloom now and walking gets you all the colors of the hydrangeas. We enjoy how something is always blooming around campus.

So, bring your new neighbors to introduce them to a fun activity in the summer. The last walk always has a treat scheduled and don’t miss that! Catch up on the news of other neighborhoods. Just enjoy the end of the day with a leg stretcher. Happy walking!!!!

Sandy Bio

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Praying for Money or Money for Prayers

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2017

“Cold water from bottles —– cents. Lemonade for —— cents. Cold water….cents. Lemonade….cents….???”

Two approximately 4th and 5th grade boys were enthusiastically failing to hail down passing cars on one of the first “hot” days of 80 degrees in June. Each waved a frayed spiral sheet of paper. I strained to understand the price.

I walked slowly to enjoy the situation up ahead, then, stood back on the dirt walkway for safety from the travelers. A large pickup sped south on Golf Club Road and passed the young entrepreneurs. It stopped short. VER-R-U-M. Backed up quickly.

With no other vehicles in sight, Older Boy crossed over to the truck, stretched his neck to take an order from the driver and ran back to his make-shift lemonade/water stand. Smaller Boy quickly filled one cup with water, another with lemonade and handed them to his brother.

Strong, hairy arms reached down to exchange coins for the cool drinks.

“Thank you very much, sir,” the two youngsters yelled over VER-R-U-M. Large high wheels made up for lost time.

Obviously excited boys skipped over to the rain-washed unpainted board that extended beyond the row of six mail boxes. The plank held their lineup of little cups, a sweaty pitcher of lemonade, and a tall cold bottle of commercial water. This was staged at the gravel road entrance to humble homes a few yards away. The boys’ heads closed in over the coins, animated with their small earnings.

I stood smiling, letting them enjoy the moment.

My turn. “Hey, what are you selling? Yooo hooo! Look! I’m over here.” I swung with my long, skinny arms.

Older Boy looked both ways and sped across the road.

“Yes. What would you like?” he mashed his worn, paper flag across his chest. Penciled cursive script was too light for me to read.

“What are you selling?”

With a Cheshire cat smile, he jabbed his chubby finger to his poster, “Cold lemonade, 15 cents, and cold water from bottles, 5 cents.”

Bottled water seemed a special commodity.

I lowered my voice, “I want you to know I admire you two energetic little workers. My 10 year old granddaughter had a lemonade stand last week to earn money by herself to buy her own golf cart. It’s hard for her to walk a long distance, but she is an excellent junior PGA student. Your excitement reminds me of her.”

He and I gazed intently eyeballs to eyeballs. I continued.

“I tell you what. I’m going to give you some money, so you can sell my portion to someone else.” I pressed a bill into his sweaty little palm.

He took a big breath as his eyes danced over his huge smile, “Can’t I give you something?”

I paused. “Yes, you can. You say a prayer for me, and I’ll say a prayer for you. Tell your little brother. Okay? I have to get home now.”

“Yes, I promise we will.” He turned quickly to dart across the street.

“You’re excited. Be careful. Look both ways.”

Their dad had come to see what was happening. I turned to go home.

“Daddy, look! The lady gave us five dollars!! But she said to pray for her—all of us.”

Above the excitement and advice dad was giving them to spread out to give people time to slow down, Big Boy insisted. “We have to say a prayer for that lady.”

Sound of quiet. I side-glanced, and noticed they’d formed a circle with bowed heads.

Praying for money, or money for prayers? Why not!?

Mary Jo Bio - Test

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

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

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