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.


“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.


A Resident’s Perspective – What Are We Missing Here?

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. Photos by George Bush. November 2016

Over the years (3) that we have been here, we always get the strange question: “What are you missing here?”  It follows closely on the heels of “what do you NOT like about living at Panorama?”

We’ve not found anything we do NOT like about living here at Panorama, so that is easy to answer. What is harder is what might be missing?

Administration has worked and is working hard to provide us with a pleasant and safe community to live in. There are so many opportunities for learning in retirement, exploring the great South Puget Sound area, meeting fellow residents, enjoying free movies and classics, ease in accessing restaurant/meal service, pharmacy, library and multitude of crafts,  workshops and affinity groups. A big amenity is the exercise and pool complex. Fitness equipment lives in most of the buildings and many of us have our own.

But, what is it with those stairs………. We’ve realized what I call “elder code,” for lack of a better descriptor, has eliminated stairs. Only a few living arrangements have stairs internal to them. The tall apartment building and both Chalet and Chinook have stairwells, but also sport elevators to accommodate residents with mobility issues.

What has been fun for us is climbing the 5 flights of stairs in the south or north stairwells that empty out on the 5th floor of Quinault building. On a clear day, Mt. Rainier is in all its glory from the north set of stairs. Some days the cloud cover, rain or fog engulfs our mighty neighbor to the east. But sometimes at sunset on a clear or partially cloudy day, the alpenglow of the west side of Rainier is just spectacular. Sometimes lenticular clouds seem to tease the peak and sometimes the peak is poking out above the land fog. We have so many photographs, that we have quit taking them. Last week, after a nasty day of rain, a peculiar yellow light appeared at dusk and Mt. Rainier sported a giant and bright double rainbow between us and it. So very special.

Sandy Bush - Mt. RainierMt. Rainier in Alpenglow and clear day view from 5th floor Quinault

Sandy Bush - Mt. Rainier 2

Most of us can’t see Rainier due to tree growth in surrounding communities, so we use the stairs to treat ourselves and give us a destination. Why? Well, about 6 months ago, we decided we need the stair climb to help invigorate heart muscle and lungs.  It is a cardio workout of sorts, not unlike what our gym-users strive for on the equipment here in profusion at Panorama.

Being a scientific type and lover of graphs and spreadsheets, my guy fashioned a grid to sign up if you DO climb the stairwell. There is a place for name and blanks to put in dates and numbers of flights climbed. We thought it would be fun to log what we do. Then we found that many other folks were actually signing in to the clipboard that holds the months tally on the top-most railing in both stairwells.

We also thought as part of general fitness that is promoted here, it might be interesting to J. Leyva, our fitness coordinator. So, at months end, we take the sheets to her and she has been keeping a tally. It is like walking to Indiana or New York by counting your steps or some such in a recent fun exercise program.

Sandy Bush - South Stairwell

 Logging in at south stairwell

The biggest caveat to this is wearing our SARA buttons and knowing what our heart and lung status is. Another important thing to consider is it might be best if you have a buddy with you. None of us should over-do exercise. But working up to more flights over time will help heart health. Some residents we have talked with find climbing the flights best but then take the elevator back down. Balance issues and leg strength are both important to consider. Others we have “run into” on the stairs take the elevator up and the stairs down by their doctor’s suggestion. Railings are available and should be used.

Sandy Bush - Stairs

Wishing you some happy views of our magnificent campus and to the east, the mighty Mt. Rainier!!!

Sandy Bio


Hikes with Steve – The Great Olympic Peninsula

Written by Steve Pogge. Photos by George Bush. September 2016

Olympic ForestOn Sept 19, 2016  thirteen hearty adventurers took off from Panorama on what was to become one of our most awe inspiring trips of the primeval NW forests and beaches that I have been fortunate to lead.   This was a 3 day/2 night trip that was based out of Forks Washington.   Forks is renown for Vampires, not for its culinary and lodges.  We were however treated to a nice clean little Inn tucked away in the woods for a few nights and ventured out to La Push for a quaint gourmet restaurant found on the Quileute Indian Reservation.

G.Bush_8Having procured housing and food we were set to explore and discover the beauty of this magnificent area.  The Pacific Northwest is the largest temperate rain-forest in the world, getting over 15 ft (not inches) of rain a year.  It is filled with big trees.  I don’t mean the run of the mill big, I mean HUGE Mammoth trees.   Our first stop was to see the biggest Sitka Spruce in the World, located in the Lake Quinault region of the National Park.  This tree is not only big but it is also very old.  The best guess by the experts is that this tree has been around for 1000 years!  It is impossible to describe the feeling of standing next to an ancient living species that dwarf everything around it and was a young tree even before the Crusades.  This was the first of many jaw dropping experiences during the week.

We then stopped at the Lake Quinault Lodge to view the grand old Lodge built in the early 1900’s after the National Park model.  What we didn’t expect was to run into a native American woman, named Harvest Moon, who had been a story teller for 30 years and basket weaver for 40 years.  She just happened to be showing her baskets that day.  She was willing to share a few stories of the “first people” and had us captivated for the rest of the morning.  She also had a fine sense of humor.  We all laughed after she recited the shortest Indian story ever told;  “The salmon swam up the river and said DAM.”

Olympic ForestWe could of stayed longer but had scheduled visits to 3 rain-forests on the Peninsula: The Quinault valley, the Hoh valley, and the Sol Duc Valley, one for each day of the trip.  Our first rain-forest was on the North shore of the Quinault river.  This rarely visited side of the park was magical and surreal.  Walking through the moss laden cedars and hemlock lined paths we expected elves and hobbits to jump out at us.

Kestner HomesteadWe came out at an old homestead that has long been abandoned and taken over by the National Park system but previously had housed and sustained 4 generations of the Kestner family.  After a quick lunch we loaded up and headed towards Forks where we hunkered down for the next few nights.

Rialto BeachDay two, took us to one of the most visited beaches on the NW coast; Rialto Beach.  The walking was difficult on this rocky beach but the sea stacks on one side and the huge driftwood trees on the other side with sea birds to entertain us all the way made the trip far less daunting.  A few of our troupe made it to the famous Hole-in-the-Wall rock that allows a person through the hole, for only a few hours, at low tide.  If caught on the wrong side, you are stuck till the tide changes.  We got lucky and were able to walk through and back only minutes before the tide closed off our passage.  Knowing lunch was back at the bus was incentive enough for everyone to get back without a swim.

Rialto Beach Hole In The Wall

For the afternoon, we headed up for our second Rain forest experience, the Sol Duc Valley.  We got to see salmon spawning on the Sol Duc river along with a memorable hike through an ancient Old growth forest and then on to the beautiful Sol Duc Falls.  Two of us were attacked by Yellow jackets  (myself included) at the trail head.  As with all adventures, there is always the unknown and sometimes it can sting.  In this case, we used ointment, ice and a few choice words and we were able to carried on.

Sol Duc ForestKalayloch_Beach_G.BushDay three took us to the last of the Rain forests we were to visit.  All of us commented on how each rain forest was so different but amazing in their own special way.  The Park ranger gave us a private personal introduction to what we were about to experience. The Hoh did not let us down.  We talked in whispers as we ventured through the Hall of Moses and marveled at the breathtaking beauty of this special place.  We had our last picnic lunch and then set off to see Ruby Beach, a short drive away.  The sun had broken out by this time and lit up the beach like a picture postcard.  After being awe struck by one of the prettiest beaches and most magnificent forests we ever saw, what more could we asked for?  Well there was more to come, we continue down the coast to see another one of the Ancients.  This time it was a Western Red Cedar that was impossible to describe with its incredible mass, height, shape, color,and age.  All we could do was marvel at one of the largest living organism on the planet.  The trip was drawing to a close but not without one last final stop to top off a great 3 days.  ICE CREAM at Scoops in Aberdeen.

I am hopeful this trip will be one that is remembered for a life time.  I want to thank all those who participated for being wonderful traveling companions.  It was the love of nature and the outdoors that came from each of the participants that made this such a special experience.   I am hoping to run this trip at least once again next spring.

Steve Pogge Bio



A Resident’s Perspective – Thoughts on Learning Limits….

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. September 2016

We found when we moved to Panorama three years ago that there was an active program for hikers and walkers and general doers. Historically we have hiked in England, Wales, N. Scotland, and parts of New Zealand. We find that with aging has come some lessening of endurance and perhaps a physical glitch or two.

Here at Panorama, the many activity and growth in retirement offerings have been a wonderful experience. We have found places to hike and/or walk that we never would have found without the leader of these outings. The ease/difficulty of various outings is explained in the monthly activities descriptions in our “Panorama News” edition.

Recently, we find that my husband has become altitude sensitive, though healthy. He had some difficulty completing a falls hike in Mt. Rainier environs. I have been pretty able to march along, usually. So we’ve found we need some of our hiking questions clarified. The leader has been available and helpful in sorting out what the offerings entail.

Sandy & George Bush

Now I find that I have reached some limits in what I can manage comfortably. We started using hiking poles about a year ago and they have been wonderful in the downhill legs of various outings. These provide stability and also some braking to ease the stress on knees. The poles didn’t help me recently at altitude on a hike on a quite warm day. Experiencing some dizziness, I was way too warm and elected to return to the trail head…..there are always lesser options offered on these outings.

Sandy Bush - Hiking

As we age, we find that there are things that are just not comfortable or safe to do. It takes awhile to understand that this isn’t a failing, but a learning of what our bodies are capable of and prepared to do in our 70’s and soon-to-be 80’s. The term “we aren’t 30 anymore” is a fun saying, but oh so true. You never want to be the one collapsing on the trail and causing a big effort from others.

Sooooo…..we are striving to find a balance while we keep moving. This has been an activity we enjoyed all our lives. What is ever so important to us is that Panorama offers so many different levels of activities. This will be increasingly important for the “boomers” we keep hearing about, who are chomping at our heels. As we move into less strenuous outings, we make way for the more active folks who have heard about these offerings.

Recently active walkers completed the third summer of “Walk the Loop” on campus and we can get miles under our feet all summer on Tuesday evenings. This was capped off with a celebration with root beer floats!! We have also added climbing the five flights of stairs in the Quinault apartment building daily to manage lung and heart health. Many use the amazing collection of gym machines to keep fit, but we never were “gym rats” …preferring fresh outdoor air. There may come a time……

Retirement is always a learning experience and learning limits is just part of that continuum. Now that we “aren’t 30” anymore, life is good in our adaptive community.

The art of aging gracefully is a big endeavor.

Sandy Bio

The Panorama Yoga Team & Embracing Life

Written by Panorama resident and Yoga Instructor, Charles Kasler. August 2016

Embracing LifeOn June 9th the Yoga Team presented to a full house for the daylong Embracing Life Conference at Panorama. Our topic of course, was how yoga and meditation embrace the moment as well as support end of life. Many people don’t realize this is the main purpose of yoga/meditation – attuning to the present with an open heart and quiet mind. It reduces stress and brings equanimity. And it connects us to a greater Presence – something universal that is beyond the personal.  

Yoga in the parkWe divided the participants up for yoga in the park, chair yoga, and restorative yoga. There was a very positive response and people were refreshed and ready for their next workshop. It also gave them a preview of our program at Panorama that continues year after year. 

On June 20 we gathered in the pea patch in a vigil for the last hour of light on the longest day of the year – an annual event for our yoga program. As an extra treat, we saw a double rainbow. 

rainbowOn Aug 27, I taught a free workshop on diet – an essential part of the yoga lifestyle. This was the next in our ongoing workshop series – Living Well With Yoga. 

Our next social gathering will be at Fall Equinox for high tea. We often bond deeply in our shared experience of yoga and meditation – a silent support group. Social gatherings give us a chance to visit, enjoy each other’s company and deepen friendships.  

On October 22 we will continue the yearlong Embracing Life theme with the fall mindfulness retreat – Embracing Life Mindfully. Except for 2 short dharma talks, we will spend the entire time practicing in silence for a direct experience of meditation, embracing the present.

the yoga team

The Panorama Yoga Team of resident instructors – Charles, Jean, and Connie.



A Resident’s Perspective – What’s Next?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2016

How often have you heard (or promised yourself), “I am going to write a book sometime,” or “You need to write a book with all those stories in your life?”

Within a few days of moving to Panorama, I tiptoed into a free–Writing Your Life–class in the chapel balcony. Charlotte (the facilitator) and the class of about eight offered me a seat around a large table arrangement.

Edith began reading the next episode story as a wife of a vicar and her move into the two-story, old wood parsonage the same snowy day the transferring vicar was moving out. Transporters needed to save time and money—it was the depression. Both families had small children, and it was lunchtime!

Class members heartily nodded at her scenario–no paper plates, microwaves, or plastic anything.

I felt invigorated to join. Authors who had no time to write since the last class, came just to hear the ongoing stories. We neither critiqued nor edited. However, I had a goal to write and encouragement to “write my story.”

Hungering for constructive criticism, I magnetized to invitations from members of our PanWriters class. What next?

After about a year, I showed up to the class. For a small fee, we received critique and editing from Bryan Willis, an internationally known playwright, and from the nine class members, who received a copy of others’ story. The first day I showed up, I read two pages of My Wedding Nightmare. I left with swollen encouragement.

I continued that class until time to write about the twenty some years of my life that I am keeping a secret here in Washington until publication. Why? I didn’t want to read that section in class. Just about everyone knows I’m writing, and asks the title. If I do, I give away the two areas involved in the book before it arrives on the shelves here, and everywhere, hopefully! A neighbor and author Patricia mentored me and gave me many books to study. Besides writing for marketing, I write for benevolent fund several times a year. Writing many hours a day is recreation for me, not work.

Finally, great news! I finished the book after these five years of daily pounding my laptop until letters on the keys force me to use the seek-and-you-shall-find method. I should have taken stock in printer paper. Busy Bryan, who had just finished a commissioning, was eager to be my editor. A week later, I presented him with my manuscript.

Many assume that a retirement community is a place to keep warm until time to get cold again. If that fits their fancy, fine–we respect individual choices. However, Panorama offers much more. Residents–who never had the time to pursue their talents–enjoy the opportunity here. A great-grandmother, who had never stepped into a television studio, is an expert TV switcher in Panorama’s closed-circuit TV studio.

Now, I eagerly await Bryan’s critiques on my manuscript, so we can get the nitty-gritty details to final print is completed.

Then I can relax, be done, volunteer piano playing more often, write regularly on this blog, work further in my craft room, become a resident transit dispatcher and/or a concierge in Pan Hall.

What next?

Start my next book!?

Mary Jo Bio

A Six Day Odyssey that Dazzled Our Senses

6 day Panorama hiking odyssey

Written by Panorama hiking guide, Steve Pogge. May 2016. Photos by Panorama resident, John S.

Eight hearty Panorama residents, plus myself (Steve Pogge) and my assistant guide, (Mark Akins) set out on an adventure that took in some of the most magnificent scenery found anywhere in Northwest.  We stood on cliffs a thousand feet above the crashing surf, walked on soft pine needle paths through 400 year old giant cedars and firs, hiked into see waterfalls plunging 200 feet off of ancient lava flows, walked in the foots steps of Lewis and Clark, strolled through stretches of beautiful yellow, purple and white wildflowers while listening to a multitude of native birds serenading us.

It started out on May 8 when we jumped into, hopefully the final voyage of the OLD BROWN VAN, and headed to the far northwest corner of Oregon where Lewis and Clark spent the winter at Ft. Clatsop.  We toured the camp with the ranger and sat down at the first of many picnic lunches that featured a variety of meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetables, bread, humus and of course chips, cookies and chocolate just to keep the diet balanced.

Panorama hikers at Ft. ClatsopPanorama hikers at Ft. ClatsopAfter lunch we took a leisurely walk along the Lewis River.   One could imagine Lewis and Clark canoeing down this river 210 years ago on the way to trade with the Indians or make the trek to the coast to watch for passing ships or maybe to see a beached whale.  When we got to Seaside Oregon we continued our walk along the Ocean past a replica of Lewis and Clark’s salt kiln, where 3 members of the corp. spent weeks boiling water to provide enough salt to preserve the meat they would need to get back.

We made it to our Inn late that afternoon and many enjoyed a glass of wine or beer out on the deck, while watching the crashing waves along our secluded cove.  Dinner followed shortly at one of the fine dining establishments of the town.   This would be the first of many scrumptious meals on the trip.  To add to the enjoyment and variety we decided early on that we would order 3 or 4 desserts at the end of the meal and share them.   However there was one caveat, no double dipping with a used spoon.

We all slept well that night listening to the waves and dreaming of our next day hike to Cannon Beach.  We awoke the next morning to a glorious sunny day and cool weather.  Our group was evenly divided into the hard charging Mt. Goats and the beauty seeking nature lovers who came to be referred to as the “Fluters”.  This name was coined after the participants occasionally heard an Indian Flute on the trail.  The haunting melody seemed to almost drift through the forest trees.  The player of the flute, turned out to be just me, a novice trying not to be too off key.

Panorama hikers - May 2016The Mountain Goats were not disappointed about not having a flute player along.  Their focus was on what Lewis described in his journal as one of the toughest hikes of their entire trip.  The trail was not much different after 200 years.  Mark, who led the group, ended up doing a 9 mile hike up and over Tillamook head that took them next to an old lighthouse, massive rock formations, old growth forest and secluded beaches not to mention having to get over 80 downed trees.  The Fluters meanwhile were sauntering down a warm sand beach, next to Hay Stack rock, trying to decide what flavor of ice-cream we would have at the end of our walk.  Needless to say we all had an incredible hiking day.

On to day three, we loaded up the Van and took off for Tillamook Oregon in search of Cheese, but not without stopping at Oswald State park first and walking through a giant old Sitka Spruce grove, we then had to scramble across a suspension bridge before reaching a secluded surfing beach.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016 DSCN2563We followed the 3 cape scenic route to Cape Look Out.  We soon learned how it got its name.  The trail followed a narrow path overlooking the ocean far below, with the wind whipping through our hair and whales and eagles off in the distance.  We were both invigorated and mesmerized.

Day Four brought with it many new and exciting options.  We were staying at the beautiful Oregon Garden Resort in the town of Silverton.   In addition to tours of the Garden, there were spa treatments, tours of a Frank Lloyd Wright house, a mural tour in town and of course one of Oregon’s premier parks, Silverton Falls, featuring the walk of the Ten falls.  Most of us didn’t have trouble finding things to do this day and by late afternoon we were just hitting our stride.  We left that evening for Mt. Angel, a nearby Bavarian village that had an excellent German restaurant.  After dinner we visited a small Catholic seminary a short drive from Mt. Angel.  It is located atop a high bluff overlooking the surrounding countryside.  A circle of 100yr old Sequoias surround the seminary and the sunset that evening was spectacular.  On the way back home we stopped and walked across the Gallon Bridge, one of the many historic covered bridges that are scattered around that part of Oregon.  Most of us slept well under down filled comforters that night.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016The Mt. Goats were still feeling strong the next days so they took the longer hilly route.  The Fluters decided to  scale back and do a peaceful walk along the Salmon river in an old growth forest located at the base of Mt. Hood.  People swore they saw hobbits and fairy hiding in the wood sorrel and wildflowers.  Although it was only a short walk, the memory of the sound of river cascading over the rocks and the smell of pine needles under a canopy of ancient cedar, firs and maples will last a lifetime.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016After the walk we took the short drive to our last lodging of the trip.  It was a complete change from our first two accommodations.   Our last night was at a very peaceful, Spartan religious retreat center.   It soon became several people’s favorite lodging for the week.  It was tucked back into the forest off the beaten path and prided itself on being environmental and eco-friendly.  The staff went out of their way to make us feel at home.  They cooked for us that night using only organic fresh food and served it family style.   We were told that our group would be included in their daily prayers for one week before and one week after.  It was a comforting thought having strangers pray for our well being.

As all trips go, there is usually one or two unexpected occurrences that come up.  Ours occurred on the last day when we had planned to visit Larch Mountain, overlooking the Columbia River with views of 5 of the tallest peaks in 2 states.  The Mountain is a little known extinct volcano and we were going to hike into the crater itself.  Unfortunately the road was closed 5 miles from the top.  So we turned the van around and headed down to the Gorge where we toured several waterfalls off of the Old Columbia Gorge highway in addition to visiting Crown Point, the multi-million dollar bathroom built around the turn of the century.  It made for a good final goodbye.

Panorama Hikers - May 2016We had our last picnic at Bridal Veil falls and headed back to Lacey that afternoon with a sense of kinship, accomplishment and happiness from having had a trip that dazzled the senses.

Steve Pogge Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Spring is Here!

Written by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy. March 2016

Spring is here, and the Panorama Pea Patch is ready for action! During January and February, Panorama’s Grounds Department installed all new irrigation pipes and individual faucets for each garden plot.  The heat of last summer raised concerns about water usage and leaks, and reminded us that our water supply, from Panorama’s Chalet well, could be in jeopardy if we did not implement more efficient irrigation of our gardens.  The new irrigation system ensures that no water is leaking beneath the ground and the replacement of old faucets will add to our efficiency.  The Pea Patch will be holding informational programs to help gardeners become more familiar with irrigation systems and better understand how much water their plants need.

Panorama Pea PatchIn addition, the Grounds Department leveled the pathways between the plots, which over the years had become uneven and hazardous to navigate. The pathways were dug up, leveled, and grass replaced.  New sod was planted and sand added to aid the grass in filling in where it was sparse.  The paths are now much safer for gardeners to walk on and do their work.

All of this was done while it seemed the rain never stopped, adding extra challenges to the project. After the work was completed, the Pea Patch Irrigation Updatedriveway into the RV Park and Pea Patch was graded and re-graveled.  The Pea Patch gardeners (more than 80 of us!) are very appreciative of all the work that was done, and we are chomping at the bit to begin our preparations for planting.  It’s a whole new world, and come late June we will welcome residents to Friday Share, where everyone can enjoy the fruits of our labors!  Thank you, Panorama!

Murphy Bio

Hiker of the Year Award

Written by Panorama Hiking Guide, Steve Pogge. February 2016

We have some amazing people at Panorama.  Most everyone here has lived full and interesting lives.  What I find inspiring is that people at Panorama do not stop living once they reach senior status.  No where do I find this more evident than on my hikes and walks.  The people who sign up for my trips are still very interested in learning, exercise, spirituality, health, appreciating nature, getting outside, socializing and just plain having fun .

Each year, myself and the volunteer guides have the hard task of picking one individual who exemplifies traits that we feel reflect the best qualities in an outdoors person or any person for that matter.

For the 2015 season, Sylvia Clark has been awarded the HIKER of the YEAR.

Hiking Guide, Steve, and award recipient, Sylvia, appeared on Panorama's closed-circuit TV station - February 2016.

Hiking Guide, Steve, and award recipient, Sylvia, appeared on Panorama’s closed-circuit TV station – February 2016.

This was a very tough decision, we had many possible picks, we narrowed it down to 5 or 6 individuals and it was close.

Here are some of the variables that tipped the scales.  Sylvia is a fairly new resident to Panorama and jumped into the hikes and walks with both feet (literally).  She completed 20  1-day trips in 2016 (more than any other person) along with completing the Oregon Coast/ Mt. Hood 6-day trip.

It wasn’t the number of hikes but her enthusiasm which won us over.  She is the best ambassador we could ever want.  She is always positive and friendly. Having nice things to say about others and eternally looking on the bright side of life.  Sylvia is one of the few people who will never speak poorly of another individual no matter who it is.

We did have challenges last year as we do every year on certain trips.  We encountered heat in the 90’s, a few downpours, difficult rocky terrain on some walks and a few were challenging in length and elevation.  Sylvia pushed through it all without even a hint of complaint.  She wasn’t able to make it to the end of all the trails.  I appreciated that she knew her limits and made the decision on a couple of occasions to retreat and save herself for another day.

We all experience and are touched by nature differently.  Some look at a majestic mountain range,  meadow wildflowers, a stand of old growth trees, a rapid flowing river and recognize the beauty. Others not only recognize the beauty but are truly moved to the core by the wilderness finery.  Sylvia is one of those people who can be truly touched by nature. I was reminded of this when I caught her hugging a tree on one of our hikes.

All of us, at one point in our lives have struggles and hardships to deal with, whether it be a physical problem, an illness or loss of a family member.  Sylvia has dealt with a severe loss of sight in recent years.  Most people would feel sorry for them self and stop doing many activities.  Sylvia did not let this slow her down, she continues to walk and hike with the added challenge of not being able to see the trail all that well.  It is that courage, heart and positive nature that inspires us and we are proud to bestow on her: HIKER OF THE YEAR 2015!

Steve Pogge Bio

Yoga For Everyone

Written by Panorama yoga instructor and resident, Charles Kasler. January 2016

Yoga Floor PosesWhy are yoga students using chairs, blocks, blankets, tennis balls, bolsters (firm pillows), walls, and straps? These are all props we use to make yoga accessible for anyone. Props provide support and cushioning, “raise up the floor,” help improve posture, and compensate for differences in ability, body type and proportion. What do we do with tennis balls? Try rolling one under your foot to open up the feet. Or tossing and catching a ball while balancing on one foot to improve concentration. Props are also used in passive restorative yoga to support the body, so we can relax deeply and release long-standing tension patterns. Yoga is for anyone. We just adapt our movements to accommodate different students. 

We do seated postures in chair yoga. In this way anyone can practice and benefit, even if you use a wheelchair or walker. Chairs offer stability while still allowing students to move in all directions. We also stand near a wall for balance practice so no one falls. 

There are also different classes for different levels of ability: Yoga 1 is gentle for people who are limited or just beginning. Yoga 2 is for students who have experience and want to build more strength and endurance. The late afternoon class is called Moving Meditation – mixed levels with flowing movements in harmony with the breath. As one teacher says: “we move everything that’s supposed to move.” Some students have even taken two classes in the same day! Most students continue to sign up for yoga classes year after year. They can feel the difference in their quality of life. Yoga slows the aging process! 

moving meditationOur sitting meditation group also uses chairs, along with optional walking meditation. One of the greatest benefits of meditation is that we realize we are not our minds. Fortunately! We can have a distinct (even if momentary) experience of pure awareness, beyond the chattering mind. This is like a big weight being lifted off of our shoulders. We are more able to experience the beauty and joy of the moment. There is grace in the present moment. Meditation is a deep healing of body, mind, and soul – a refuge from today’s overload of stimulation. It’s perfect for seniors. Come join us for an adventure in the yoga and meditation program at Panorama. There’s something for everyone.


A Resident’s Perspective – Make Your Own Celebrations in Life

 Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2016

It was with interest that I read the recent blog by Deb.  As the New Year gets a foothold on our lives and the days start to lengthen, we often think about resolutions and such.

What happens when you move to this new community and living arrangement, away from your previous one? If you’ve lived locally for years and years, the transition is quite easy. It is another story if you are moving from another state or clear across the country. The couple she spoke of resonated with me. We have no children to wonder if we were nuts moving to “an old folks home”. But we did have many neighbors that felt it was way too early and we were way too young (70 and 76 at the time).

The move is less traumatic when you are able and of clear mind. We all know how awful the moving process is, no matter how organized you might be. Decisions on keeping/tossing must be made and figuring where to put what you’ve kept can be a tough one.

However, now being here three years, we are so very grateful for our forward thinking and “early” settling. You leave many friends but internet keeps you close. And the wealth of friends to be found here at Panorama, in many walks and stages of life, is staggering.

The activities and opportunities for learning and keeping healthy and active are too many to outline. It makes sense to be able to avail yourself of these activities before you become mobility impaired. But how comforting is it to know that when mobility issues rear their ugly heads, you will have many, many options for making life work for you for years longer.

This brings me to maintaining rituals, celebrations, and habits that you enjoyed in your previous community. Life doesn’t change when you move to Panorama, it somehow blossoms. It widens as you learn of the new environment, wild life, and weather.

Eagle Overseeing Long Lake

Eagle Overseeing Long Lake

It puts quit to the old adage that “it always is gray and rains in the Northwest.” This old saw ignores the wonderful sunny breaks that become like jewels. And having experienced a rather too warm summer (for me), I have to laugh. We sweated and labored with the hikers when it was way hot and we discovered wonderful new parks and trails!!!!! The winter time is a time to get the reading done that gets put on hold when there are too many other options and activities.

But, being New Years, I must confess, after 14 years of joining like-minded crazy people plunging into the Pacific Ocean during the January 1st  Polar Bear Plunge, I was delighted to find that plunging happens in Lacey, as well. For three years I have braved the COLD out at Long Lake, only 2 miles from our home in Panorama, and joined usually 600 other souls in ringing in the New Year by getting too cold and wet!!! Not jumping off the pier, mind you, I am not THAT crazy, but wading and splashing, getting cold enough!

Polar Plunge 2016

The lake edges were frozen and chips of ice were amazing…

Polar Plunge 2016

and I kept up with my tradition…

So, keep some of your old patterns, they are a comfort. Bake your scones or the favorite biscotti recipe from a beloved previous neighbor, cook your favorite comfort foods….but be ready for new things to fill your time. Enjoy your particular neighborhood; they are all so very different!!!


And best of all, have a delightful 2016!!!!!!!

Sandy Bio


Silver Sneakers at Panorama

Silver sneakers classSilver Sneaker’s class started at Panorama this month and 15 members showed up ready to train and learn all about strength training in the gym with our very own Certified Personal Trainer and Silver Sneaker Instructor, Angela.

Angela’s goal is to make you stronger and fitter while having fun. The body is designed to move and if you don’t work and train those muscles, you will lose them.

See you in class!

Fruits, Vegetables and Flowers Galore: The Pea Patch in August

Pea Patch August 2015 squash

Squash at the Pea Patch. Photo by Charlie Keck.


Written by Panorama resident Judy Murphy. August 2015

What can 90 gardeners produce on a plot at the Panorama Pea Patch?  You name it, we grow it!  From apples to zucchini, our gardens are bursting with beauty and bounty.  Despite the heat this summer, or in some cases because of it, and despite trying to conserve water, the Pea Patch Friday Share was a sight to behold this past week.  It’s especially fun to introduce residents to new vegetables and fruits as well as share recipes with them.  Many people have never seen or tasted a ripe, fresh fig or a purple kohlrabi, a lemon cucumber or a delicatta squash.  The dahlias are in their glory, the corn is soon to come, and the tomatoes are ripening on the vine.  When did any of us last have a vine-ripened tomato?  Friday Share is worth a trip even for those who aren’t inclined to cook.  The bees have had a busy summer, and so have the gardeners.


Friday Share – Pea Patch gardeners share their bounty with fellow Panorama residents.



Friday Share – Pea Patch gardeners share their bounty with fellow Panorama residents.



Friday Share volunteers – Linda S., Juanita P., and Gail G.

Murphy Bio

Panorama Yoga Program – Annual Summer Solstice Vigil

summer solstice vigil

Written by Panorama resident and Yoga instructor, Charles Kasler July 2015

Why are people sitting around the fountain in silence on the first day of summer? It’s the annual summer solstice vigil – one of the quarterly gatherings for yoga/meditation students. We greet the summer with sitting or walking meditation for the last hour of light on the longest day of the year. This year Judy Murphy led chanting to start us off.

People come to yoga for many reasons – stress, back pain, to feel better…It doesn’t matter. Yoga calls us home…the experience is unmistakable. It has nothing to do with how accomplished or flexible we are. It quiets the mind and by the end of class, students have a feeling of well-being and inner peace. Anyone can experience this, even after the first class.

Judy Murphy leads chantingThere are a variety of practices from which to choose – restorative postures, for example, meditation, or pranayama (breath work). We can easily match practice to our current state of body and mind. That’s advanced practice! Some students attend the weekly meditation sitting group as well as yoga class – two wings of practice.

walking meditation 2Yoga has changed to meet the needs of seniors. We focus on practical things such as fall prevention, better breathing, concentration, and stress reduction – skills we can all use. Inner peace and quality of life – who can ask for more?

A Resident’s Perspective – Panoramans Walk to Armenia

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2015

All Panorama residents were invited to register for our June Summer Challenge and pick up a T shirt, pedometer, water bottle, progress card and brain games packet.  We’d compete only with ourselves—Yeah!  I was eager to start.  The challenge was to move a little bit more than we usually did with suggested activities:

“Walk the Loop”

around McGandy Park on Tuesdays with neighbors and go as many rounds as desired

Ride a bike

Take a Fitness Class

Exercise our Brain through Puzzles or ??


Clean and Organize

And anything else to JUST MOVE MORE!

We calculated our steps, miles, or time with our pedometer and recorded it on our progress card.

The timing was perfect.  With diabetes in my family history, I’d just learned I was pre-diabetic.  I needed to eat more veggies, less sugar, etc.  I could do that.  After an hour of writing my life-story book, I needed to stand, walk around, do a few exercises, and snack every two hours!  Wow, I hardly ever snacked!  I could get used to an apple or whole wheat cracker with peanut butter, or a handful of nuts in plain yogurt.

Walk_CompressedI aimed to walk a mile or two a day.  With our campus of 140 acres and smooth sidewalks among beautiful trees and flowers and McGandy Park, I was spoiled into walking alone or with others, who were on foot, with walkers, scooters or being pushed in wheelchairs.  Sometimes I stopped into one of the three campus buildings to use the electronic treadmills with an option to watch the large flat-screen TV on the wall.  Although I walked often, since we haven’t had nor needed a car for three years, I still needed to walk more.  The weather here is great almost every day of the year for strolling.

I figured I’d use some of my daily chores to get more exercise.  I energetically did squats to dry the shower down while holding an oldie-but-goodie, water-sucking towel with both hands.  Why not do stretches and squats while brushing my teeth?

Weekly I scrubbed the kitchen and bath floors with enthusiasm.  I tackled my craft room—somewhat—but vigorously.  I watched our closed circuit TV channel or news while I did my chair and floor exercises in our family room.  My windows sparkled like the cleanser-ad on TV by the end of June.

Melissa, our fitness coordinator, expected about 50, but reported 200 participants!  When turning in our progress cards, we automatically entered the drawing for prizes at our July 4th picnic.  I didn’t win the $100 or $50 grocery or shopping gift cards, or tickets to the Seattle Mariners Game.  Not even the free session of Fitness Classes or Gift Certificate to our Restaurant, but I won–over and above my own expectations.

It’s amazing how much better I feel at the end of only one month!  I don’t remember how long it was since I bent over to touch my toes. I feel even more energetic.  Most of all, I’m meeting new friends who continue walking, stretching and exercising just a little more than they did before June.

So, what does Armenia have to do with all of this?  Weekly, Melissa kept tract of our progress-card mileage on a large world map displayed in the fitness center.

We traveled 9,099 miles, did 517.3 hours of activity, and walked across the United States–all the way to Armenia!

Summer Challenge Map

Thanks, Panorama for my free trip and new normal of eats and exercise.  Everyone was a winner!

Mary Jo Bio