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 – 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 – 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 – 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.

SkyChange_Microburst

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.

Fallen Tree_Microburst

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.

Downspout_Microburst

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

Street Flooding_Microburst

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.

Sandy_Microburst

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.

Sandy Bush Blog 4-14-17

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.

Picture 1

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.

Picture 2

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 – Owner Manuals

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2017

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

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

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

Resident Directory Pages 1

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

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

Resident Directory Pages 2 FINAL

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

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – December is Here

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2016

Sometimes we forget the beauty of seasons other than the blooming loveliness of our spring, summer, and winding down into colorful fall here at Panorama. October and November saw more rain, perhaps, than we liked. But boy did December deliver a wonderland. The tall trees were frosted and stately.

Sandy-Snow1Our yards sported a special look as the 4-5 inches continued to fall.

Sandy-Snow2And the ambient night light made things magical.

Sandy-Snow3We walked around in this just to enjoy the quiet you get with this type of event. The best place to view this, if you couldn’t walk and crunch around on the new wet snow, was like our little buddy Mirka….

Sandy-Snow4There were also whimsical animals out and frosted with fresh snow. Perhaps a resting rabbit????

Sandy-Snow5We’ve not gotten into the real 20 degrees freezing nights yet, but they are due. The Panorama crew was out with snow shovels, making paths to our mailboxes. The back hoe from grounds was out snow-plowing small loops and courts with a grinning operator. The bigger plow was out for our main roads/streets, commandeered by our wonderful trash collecting man. 

How lucky we are at Panorama. Our environs are kept navigable even when they aren’t blazing with blooms. We all are grateful.  

Enjoy our campus during this season as we enjoy friends and family. Be mindful of the puddles that may well freeze in days to come. We’ve all landed in the best place in the northwest!!!!!

Sandy Bio

 

 

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

 

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

A Resident’s Perspective – Now It Is August…

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2016

Like many of us, we are wondering where spring went. It was full of Rhodies and Azaleas with a hot week of weather somewhere in there. Now we are into full summer and ahead is another hot week, but it has been lovely and cool between those sessions of heat.

Here come the Hydrangeas, in so many forms, and the lilies are show-stopping! My husband has enjoyed documenting the blooms on our walks around campus.

Hydrangea at Panorama

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The surprising thing is the Magnolia tree in our rear yard, after an amazing spring bloom, has sported some more flowers on outer branches. What a show. I didn’t remember it doing so last year.

It is also the time of year when hikes/walks and strolls are back on the activity schedule. With the Patio Sale behind us, there is time to sign up for these outings. The recent hike out on trails near Lake Quinault sported wild flowers that were subtle and hidden along the paths. The Self Heal below just lit up the trail!

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The activities and outings arranged for us at Panorama are such a gift, really. I just read in the paper that the Sunrise and Paradise areas of Mt. Rainier are now abloom with wildflowers. The northwest has so much to offer and we are given the opportunity to enjoy it in whatever way we are able.

Our daily climb of the north five flights of stairs in the Quinault building often gives us good views of Mt. Rainier. We are thinking of putting a tally sheet up on the top landing for those who want to log in their trips up the stairs for exercise and we will get it to Jenny Leyva at the Fitness Center monthly.

Soon we will be into fall season. I can’t believe that we are in our fourth year at Panorama!!! The time is just warping and we love every minute of it!!!

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – The Bench Surprise

Earth Day was celebrated at Panorama recently with the dedication of three new Sequoias, planted in McGandy Park.  Following that was a French film, “The Fox and The Child,” sponsored by the Green Team and shown in the auditorium.

The dedication was heralded with words from our soon-to-be-retired CEO, Joe DiSanto. Further words and thoughts were provided by the Green Team’s Don M. Following both, were poems read by one of our thespians, Mike T. finishing with a wise Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

The first loamSome expected the trees to be mere 5 gallon starters, but no, Panorama in its true caring fashion, planted 15-18 foot Sequoia starts. Shovelfuls of rich loam were available to shovel around the tree closest to the gathering marquee. Our CEO initially got to add loam and then all who wished could add a spade full.

The gathering was wonderfully accompanied by ethereal harps being played under the tall, tall trees in McGandy Park. Harps, trees and forests seem to be linked back through the ages.

The film at our auditorium was visually lovely regarding a 10 year old’s venture into watching and then befriending a fox in her wild environs. It came with many messages on this year’s Earth Day. While the film worked as an allegory, I know many of us in our youth and even in our later years have loved the thought of a “friendly” wild being.  The outcomes of such activities often lead to disaster for the animal/bird, or whatever. It really was a nice treatise on what makes wild things so intriguing to us. We all must remember that human interventions, even if caring ones, do have repercussions.

But, for me, the special part of the proceedings came when I arrived early and found the bench, in all its glory, positioned near the harp array. Expecting a bench, what I found was a lovely work of art, really. The wavy width of the seat and the knotholes showed the wood grain. The very special part for me was the upper back of the bench which had been scalloped out, almost like the historic wood carvers using adzes. It reminded me of fish scaling and our water environment here in the northwest.

Sequoia Bench

When I find where it will finally reside, you will find me sitting there.

Earth Day, on many fronts, was celebrated by the Green Team and Panorama in lovely fashion. We can be proud of the philosophy of our Continuing Care Retirement Community, being good stewards of what our earth has to share.

Sandy Bio

 

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Additional Views of Spring

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2016

Spring has sprung and while the Pea “Patchers” are busy getting things into worked ground, many of us non-gardeners are enjoying the riot of color that happens around campus. The quiet and dark times of winter are now morphing into schedules of outings and things to do that keep our calendars full as our days lengthen.

Longer walks, even between rain squalls, bring us unbelievable color. Recently we had occasion to show prospective residents around on foot and they were blown away by the colors, even in small landscaped areas. The grounds crews are busy with upgrading tired “tree-lets” and some flowering plants that haven’t done well over winter. So the contrast of the color with the rich loam that is nestling around the new plantings is quite dramatic.

Sandy_1The camellias of red and white have given way to dogwood which is showering us with “rains” of pink. It felt like being in a wedding procession in the parking lot of Fred Meyer’s yesterday. The wind was moving the downed petals in swirls and more petals were coming off the trees, with littering that is just delightful.Sandy_2

Sandy_3Sandy_4Some yards are planted with an array of tulips in colors that amaze. Our Saucer Magnolia is done with its outrageous blossoms. The branches serve four of our neighbors with colorful arrays of soft color.

Sandy_5Panorama affords us delights for the eyes as we walk about campus and our out-laying neighborhoods any time of year. There is always something of color popping up. But spring continues to be very special. And for us non-gardeners, we so appreciate all the effort that our grounds people put in to make our environment almost artistic.

With the occurrence of Earth Day, April 22, Panorama dedicated the three new Sequoias that have been planted in McGandy Park. The new ones are spaced such that as the older tall trees in the park reach old age, the newer ones will continue the job of keeping our campus green.

Sandy_6This is one of three sequoias that have been planted in McGandy Park to replace the 60 year old one that was taken down due to internal rot. Sampson, guarding the dog park, was sculpted out of the salvageable part of the Sequoia. A bench of the wood is in the making.

While enjoying McGandy Park, be sure to see the Tulip Tree next to our totem woman.

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Of course, my favorites are the Rhododendron varieties that are all over campus.

Sandy_7Hopefully we can all get out and about to view this splash that is spring heralding summer.

Sandy Bio

 

 

 

 

A Resident’s Perspective – Thoughts in February

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. February 2016

As we prepare to exit winter and head into spring, I had a few thoughts about moving forward. We have had the State of the Union address on the National level; Governor Inslee has delivered the State of the State message. The State of our Panorama community was recently presented at my District One meeting. What was special was how many from District One attended. It was wonderful to see so many new faces to put with the names read off by the District One, A, B and C, representatives.

These very useful meetings keep all of us apprised of how our administration is handling the changing demographics and economic environment we all find ourselves in.

There was information shared which helped to put rumors, that often run wild, in perspective. The CEO, CFO, Operations and Security speakers bringing information to us imparted it clearly and well thought out. Questions were answered, some that were sent prior to the gathering, and many from the floor.

The numbers of new builds, re-builds, remodels and upgrades were amazing and certainly show us all that we haven’t just imagined our roads full of big equipment. The air is full of activity with many awaiting homes and living units. It really is good to see, if not always to hear.

Meanwhile, spring is happening!!!

Spring crocus

The big trees that have lived past their viable ages are being replaced at a wonderful ratio, not one for one. Many more are planted for the few lost. This is a contrast to the many felled trees that happened in neighboring Lacey itself with a new developer/owner in the Woodland Square Loop area. That issue is still being discussed for mitigation by city planners.

It is interesting to think of Panorama as being 50 years old. We all helped celebrate that milestone last year. How very fortunate we are to live in a non-profit situation where moneys go into the infrastructure to keep our “home” community vibrant.

Each district has its own meeting with specific information for those residents, but anyone can go to any of the meetings if you miss your own particular one. Since moving here three years ago, I am continually thankful for the availability of information affecting us, as well as administrative folks who are willing to take time to hear our concerns.

Besides getting our SARA buttons batteries changed, and hearing from our administrative staff, it is wonderful to make contact with neighbors we don’t always see because of our widely divergent interests.  We are in good hands and while moving forward can be noisy, we ARE moving forward. We will be ready for some younger “whippersnappers” who will be/are joining us here at Panorama.

…And how about those crocuses busting out all over??????

Spring Crocus

Sandy Bio

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