Flying False Teeth at Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2018

“My children are adults now, and yet they still ask me, ‘Remember when your teeth flew?’” Those are Kathy Lee’s words.

I first met Kathy at Panorama’s Walk the Loop Group and again at Panorama’s July 4th picnic in 2012 when she and her hubby were taking a tour of Panorama. Kathy opened her large bag/purse and pulled out a copy of My Air Force Mom for our 4-year-old granddaughter, Hope, at the picnic. Kathy fanned the pages of her own book to Hope and read it to her. Hope eyed the colorful, cute pictures.

Wow! This lady has published her own book. In my Panorama writing class, Bryan Willis, his substitutes and class members keep encouraging me to print my stories of my 13 years in a religious convent, leaving, and immediately training in high fashion modeling. We need to talk shop.

I questioned Kathy about her writing/publishing experience, “When Grandma’s False Teeth Fly is my second published children’s book. It won the Silver Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America.”

My mind went flying as I examined the silver sticker on the cover. She laughed. “It’s a fictional story that grew from factual events.”

I leaned forward to hear over the park picnic excitement. “Whoa! I gotta hear your story.”

She sipped her Dr. Pepper and pulled her folding chair closer. “As a child, I had a chipped tooth like Katie in my book. Now, I’m a grandma. I have worn false teeth for many years. On two separate occasions, my false teeth have taken flight.”

“The first time was at a party, at a club with the band playing ‘Twist and Shout’. My date and I were on a hot, crowded dance floor talking over the music. Unbeknownst to me, my mouth dried out. I took in a gulp of air and my upper plate flew from my mouth to the floor. Fortunately, the club was dimly lit. I twisted down to the floor, picked up my teeth, slid them into my pocket, twisted up to a standing position and scurried off the dance floor toward the restroom.”

I slapped my knee with laughter. Competition from the live band now playing presented a challenge, but we focused our conversation on writing.

Years later, she married and had a family. “In a heated argument with one of my sons, it happened again,” she continued. “Same thing. Dry mouth, gulp of air, and out they flew. After a second or two of shock, my son and I laughed so hard, the argument was completely forgotten. I have had first-hand experience with flying (actually falling) false teeth. Hence the title.”

“Kathy, with your creativity, you’d love our writing classes here at Panorama.”

“Oh, I didn’t know they offered them. Now I’m really getting excited about signing up. I have to tell you how this book evolved. My husband always made two cherry cream pies for our monthly church potluck lunch. This planted a seed idea that the fictional flight of grandma’s false teeth should happen at the church potluck. I wanted them to fly into banana pudding (my favorite), but the publisher changed it to chocolate pudding.”

As we both stood to fluff up our pillows aching from the park-chairs, my mind wandered. Wow! I don’t think I want to have a publisher…I’ve heard they want to change things. I’m writing my memoir Convent to Catwalk and I want every bit of it to be true.

I wanted to hear more, so Kathy offered, “I had rewritten this story six or seven times. In fact, I began writing it even before I wrote my first published children’s book, My Air Force Mom, and it took years to get it just right. After entering the story in contests and receiving valuable feedback, it eventually evolved into a book that shows children may choose to use humor to diffuse a situation with bullies.”

Kathy’s husband is fond of saying her book was a “ten-year overnight success.” Two of her five children’s books have colorful pictures with A to Z prompts, and lines and spaces where future little authors may write. Another is a poem, The Whisperwood Books & Bakery, where children enjoy snacks as they enjoy reading.

Shortly after moving to Panorama, Kathy joined Bryan’s screen-writing class.

Her darling books are spread out next to my Convent to Catwalk memoir in Panorama’s Gift’s Etc. Hundreds of resident hand-made items are for sale there: wood working, crochet, wool felting, greeting cards for every occasion, paintings, pottery, machine and hand sewn aprons, etc. Residents receive 80% in a monthly check.

Thanks, Kathy, for encouraging me to finish my self-published, successful book after writing faithfully for 5 ½ years.

Do false teeth fly at Panorama? At least Kathy Lee (author name: Mary Lee) made it a great story!

Panorama Rescues My Twin Sister

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2018

Emergency! My twin sister, mentioned in my April 2018 blog, ended up staying eight days at our Panorama apartment. Jerri had planned to stay with our daughter Melody and her hubby John, but their daughter, Hope, took ill. I prayed a queen size air mattress would fit into my tiny craft room. I removed my folding tray tables and my two small black benches.

All four walls had craft stackable drawers and cabinets. My laptop was on a board on top of one set of the many drawers.

“Well, the mattress fits,” Chris called to the kitchen. “But it’s bumper to bumper with all that stuff lining the walls.”

“Oh, Jerri won’t mind. We’ll have fun.” My jaw dropped and eyeballs bulged—only eight inches of “walkway” between the mattress and the sewing machine and tall plastic drawer bin.

Yes…Jerri was a sport. We laughed at the situation, and began with first things first: what were we going to wear to dress as twins for fun? She loves to shop. I detest it. I’d rather be playing piano somewhere on campus, practicing new compositions, writing books, blogging and marketing opportunities, or doing my tons of crafts. But I looked forward to going to the small shopping center a mile away to purchase matching tops to go with the black pants and tights we already owned.

We rode the scheduled, beautiful Panorama bus and stepped off right in front of the store. We tore through the departments for 1.5 solid hours, more out of high adrenaline rush than of time crunch. She only wears black and white, sometimes tans/browns, but NEVER pastels. I mainly wear black and white year round, but don anything that fits, or that is handed up or down to me.

I hadn’t been shopping in over a year, so I was like a kid at the candy counter readying for a double feature. Our challenge was to find items that fit each of us, but matched…and only in black and white. We found mounds of clothing and shared the dressing room, as we did as kids years ago. Eliminations went fast, mainly because what fit one of us didn’t fit the other, and it HAD to be on a good sale!

She insisted we take items home on hangers. As most stores in Washington, no plastic bags are available. Our fingers gripped long receipts with our seven coat-hangered items. Other residents on the bus teased us about the matching clothing we’d purchased. Visiting on the Panorama bus is the fun part of the trip to and from our destinations.

After laughing and reminiscing until 2:30 a.m., we arose in 8 hours, dressed identically in our thinly-striped, black and white tops, black tights, and gold loop earrings. We took the elevator from our apartment on the 5th floor down to the 2nd to Panorama’s Seveenteen51 Restaurant. As we stood deciding where to sit, residents turned to smile. I waved as I always do.

“Wow, people really are friendly here at Panorama,” Jerri commented. We sashayed back to the Bistro for a table for two by a window. She kept remarking, “The view here is beautiful.” She awed at spring’s huge red rhododendrons and numerous other blooms, and well-manicured lawns.

“Jerri, most Panorama people are very friendly, but remember: today their eyes are following us because we are dressed alike.” We laughed like kids. I added, “We’re getting the attention we dressed to get, right? Lots of residents know me, and most have just read my Panorama blog and quarterly VOICE OF PANORAMA. Both publications have been out three days and contain the story of our being twins each year, dressing alike, getting Mom to take us shopping so people would say, ‘Oh, look at the twins! How old are you? and…’”

Jerri broke in to finish my story, “Yeah! And we’d say we were both seven or whatever. We never said we were twins…they did!”

I jogged her memory, “Remember when we dressed alike as adults when we both lived in Las Vegas and we treated each other to lunch?”

During our lunch, I learned Jerri had not brought her swim suit, but swims daily at her home to aid her bad back. She jumped at the idea to go shopping tomorrow for a swim suit.

We did ride the city bus, since Panorama’s bus was not scheduled to go where we wanted to shop. She said, “I haven’t been on a city bus since I was in high school. This is wonderful. The bus is so clean.”

Our five minute ride dropped us off about a half-block from the store. We found even more bargains and a great swim outfit for her. Again, people stared and grinned. We were wearing our new broad-stripped black and white tops and black tights. This time we called out, “We’re twins!” We were surprised at how many teased back, “Oh, we thought you were escapees still in uniforms!” What constant fun!

As we checked out to pay, I asked a resident couple, Ann and Rocky, behind us, “My sister and I came on the city bus. May we hop a ride home to Panorama with you?”

What a delight. The lovely couple treated us to a 20 minute tour of Panorama grounds. We have had no car for 6 years and don’t miss it. Jerri didn’t know about our beautiful Chambers Lake with ducks. Rocky and Ann pointed out the various blossoms, trees, bushes and stopped for our picture-taking from the back seat, since it had started to drizzle.

Jerri questioned, “Who takes care of all these manicured lawns and bushes? It must take hours…who has the energy to do it when they get older? I hire a gardener at home and it’s not cheap.”

“Oh, the Grounds maintenance does it for us, Jerri. We don’t have to do any of it.”

“But how much do you pay to have it done?”

The three of us said in unison, “That’s included, as well as utilities, water…” She was experiencing the too good to be true amenities I’d shared with her since we arrived in 2011. We don’t take the paradise-looking grounds for granted, but I was renewed once again of God’s amazing work of art on our campus.

After a few days, our granddaughter was well. We had a great brunch and a full day of fun at their home. Later we invited them to Panorama’s Seventeen51 Restaurant. How convenient. I didn’t have to cook!

Jerri is highly allergic to dairy and tolerates only a little gluten. Well-trained waiters and cooks made her dining experience comfortable, relaxed and healthy. Jerri never owned a recipe book, and is blessed with gourmet-cooking talent. “My large, beautiful platter of pear salad topped with grilled chicken was tasty and filling,” she remarked. That was a real compliment.

As I’d introduce Jerri to my friends, many asked if she was the one of the main characters in my memoir. What fun when they learned they had met her “in person”. Several asked if she wanted to hit me over the head for being extremely late for the big fashion show in Mexico City when Jerri was coordinator. “I wanted to do lots more than just ‘hit her over the head’…I wanted to kill her,” she teased with her hand soaring up high.

By the way, the book I wrote in class at Panorama in 2017, Convent to Catwalk, involves Jerri too. After I had been a religious nun for 13 years, I started training to model for many of the world’s renowned fashion designers. Jerri and one of my other sisters, Patti, were responsible for that part of my life. I don’t take them for granted either.

We are encouraged to have family and friends stay with us up to two weeks at a time. I enjoyed my “twin” sister in a special way and thank my Panorama family who welcomed her with me. We are blessed again here at Panorama.

A Work of Art Brought Back to Life

Written by Panorama resident, Deb Ross. May 2018

My father’s career as a biblical scholar and archaeologist often took him to Israel and Jerusalem. While he was on digs, teaching and researching, my mother, an inveterate shopper and extrovert, studied, visited and came to appreciate Arabic and Palestinian crafts and the Palestinian people. In 1970, she approached John Tabash, a renowned craftsman both in mother-of-pearl and olive wood. She wanted him to create an olive wood Advent Calendar modeled on the Gothic cathedral in Limbourg, Germany. Reluctant at first, he eventually embraced the idea and the two of them worked together for many months. The result was a stunning creation, over two feet high. Each of the 24 doors contains a nativity figure, and there is a large “rose window” in the center made of intricately carved mother-of-pearl. 

When I inherited the Advent Calendar a few years ago, it needed TLC. Several doors had fallen off, it had lost some of the original olive wood luster, and the wiring for the interior lights was not safe. I took it to several wood workers and none were able or willing to take on the project of restoring it. Then, after we moved to Panorama, I took it down to the wood shop. One of the regulars had assured me that someone would certainly be willing to take on this project. And sure enough, Maurie Laufer agreed, provided I wasn’t in a hurry. No, Christmas was almost a year away.     

Over the next few weeks and months, Maurie updated me on his progress. A missing door had to be replaced with a new piece of wood, stained to match the original exactly and complete with a tiny doorknob. Doors had to be glued back on. Lights had to be found and placed in exactly the right place. A major dusting and oiling was needed. 

Finally, in May, the great day arrived when Maurie called to say it was ready! We stopped by the wood shop, buzzing with activity, which stopped when we approached the work bench. What a thrill when he took off the protective covering! The olive wood almost glows in rich, deep, variegated hues. The LED lights (donated by the metal shop and originally acquired in Iceland) emit a soft glow. And the Nativity figures, all 27 of them, hidden behind their doors for now, serenely await their turn on the stage during the month of December. Thank you so much Maurie for taking on this project and bringing a family treasure back to life. 

A Resident’s Perspective – Walking and Hiking Season Begins Apace!

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2018

The celebration of May Day saw the opening, in earnest, of the Panorama outings into the environment! The day was wonderful with overcast and NO RAIN! Nine of us spent a lovely leg stretcher, after so much winter rain, by hiking up to Mima Falls.

There was a second trip planned the next day to accommodate an increasing interest in joining these hikes. The gathering at the Falls was a snack break and gab session. A new resident of three weeks (!) joined this trip.  She managed to put aside her unpacking to investigate these wonderful outings.

Spring brings with it so much bird song & flowering of wild flowers. There were also the croaking frogs along with the splash of the falls. A quiet day in the woods is always rejuvenating. I’ve only included a few pictures of things abloom, but there were so many. So many shades and hues of the trilliums were a treat. Also pictured was the flowering Oregon Grape.

This trail accommodated dogs on leash, as well as horses. We were treated to seeing two lovely horses ridden up the trail and back down past us. A further fun thing was a group of eight from Jubilee retirement facility who were working their way up as we were coming down to go to lunch. It was a “hail fellow, well met” happening. A particularly interesting discovery along the trail was the VERY RARE pretzel tree, quite festooned in honor of spring!

The trip was shortened by two miles, due to the worst up and down of the second section of the trail. For a first time out, this was such a great decision. For hikers and walkers interested, our leader, Steve Pogge, always has options on lengths and portions of trail that give us a walk or hike that meets our abilities. Steve is always available to answer questions regarding any planned hikes, and you can call him or email him with questions. The Activities and Events section of the Newsletter where hikes are described has his contact information for questions.

The trailhead did not provide comfortable lunch seating, so we drove around the corner to Mima Mounds recreational prairie reserve. There have been many spring wildflower walks out at this lovely destination and we ate our packed lunches looking out over the mounds. Many things were blooming, but the blue camas were in great profusion.

Watch the Activities and Events section of the Newsletter to find these gems of outings. It is such a luxury to have someone drive you out and back. We are so very spoiled!!!

Enjoy the spring! Panorama will help you do that!!!!!

A Resident’s Perspective – Activities at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

I thought I’d take just a few minutes to share what impresses me about our planned activities here at Panorama. Everyone gets the monthly “Panorama News” bulletin, either by electronic media or on paper through our mail boxes. Along with the “Resident Handbook and Directory,” these provide us with all the happenings around Panorama.

We are informed about the current state of Panorama affairs by various departments, such as Maintenance or Grounds. Special interest groups can outline upcoming events that they are providing and other opportunities available are spelled out.

What has become almost a “bible” for us in our household is the long section of activities organized by the Lifestyle Enrichment department. On-campus offerings often provide bus transport to movies at the auditorium or Resident Council transport can be arranged for other things. Speaking for myself, I always make a copy of the often 8 pages (!!) of happenings and descriptions outlined to keep next to our paper (yes, paper) calendar. Movies, either foreign or first run recent films, are listed along with classics, which often run on special times or holidays, like Christmas.

The hiking, walking and outing offerings have always been uppermost in our interest as we are pretty mobile at this time. Being from out of state, the meal outings, such as Brunch at Its Best and Dinner at Its Best, have introduced us to places that locals already know about. This has been a wonderful learning service provided for getting to know Olympia and environs. Hidden parks you would never find on your own have been a delight to discover.

Many of the offerings include bus transportation to Seattle (and who wants to drive there??) and night performances at many theaters where parking and night vision make driving, in our circumstance, a bit of a crapshoot, if not, downright dangerous. Get to know the activity desk folks (9:30 AM to 12:00 PM weekdays) in Pan Hall to sign up for these outings. Also, get your suggestions about things you’d like to see & do to the Lifestyle Enrichment department, as well.

The listed activities coupled with special lectures for Learning in Retirement have been so very helpful as we maneuver through our aging years! The Office of Philanthropy underwrites performances and Lifestyle Enrichment department supports and covers so many other opportunities. The Panorama Board of Directors also supports administrative decisions for many activities.

We have met some wonderful folks on these outings and have had a good time. And we always look forward to the next month’s issue with listings of doings/outings to sign up for. This brings to mind the query I get from people from our old community on “what on earth do you do there?” This always makes me laugh. We are finding our calendar as full as it was ten years ago!!! Granted, the activities have changed. The opportunities to learn are different. But for anyone wondering what there is to do, these activities are a gold mine. Those who volunteer for many of our functions and interest groups find time at a premium, but still manage to go to a movie now and again.

I am hoping you will acquaint yourselves with this bulletin and what it offers. I know, many of you are still in boxes and moving in can be a bear. But remember that Panorama is rich in what they are providing us and we are rich in being the recipients of such energy and planning.  Enjoy Panorama!!!

(P.S. The magnolia finally bloomed as well!!!!!!!”)

A Resident’s Perspective – Waiting for the Bloom

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2018

Here we all are into spring!!!! Perhaps the frozen nights are behind us, perhaps not. We had snows this winter and some freezing. Most thought March and First day of Spring would never get here.

Well, now that we get patchy rains and such, many of the on-campus things are flowering. We are waiting with trepidation that the Magnolia tree that is verrrry old in our back yard, over-shadowing our patio, will indeed burst forth in those frothy, pink to white blossoms. It seems like the buds have been threatening to open from week to week.

The tulip tree in McGandy Park usually beats our opening blooms by about a week….and it isn’t open yet, either, as of last night. We get to Panorama Hall through the park and it is always a treat to walk through there everyday and see what is next to open.

The birds have been singing their little lungs out, pairing up, so it can’t be long now. The first mowers have ventured out on the wet lawns and that may hold off for a bit as the ground is pretty soggy. Not being a Pea Patch grower, I’ve no idea how the plots are faring….

Meanwhile, try to get out and about to enjoy the budding and flowering of spring! It is such a special time at Panorama.

A Resident’s Perspective – Art Inside An Old Envelope?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2018

After the unusual display of many Panorama residents’ recycled art projects, I found out that we were going to have another recycled display using only recycled envelopes. We had to fill out a form in order to participate in the first event’s display.

I started gathering old envelopes with and without security linings. I spent two solid weeks in my limited free time working, designing, doing and undoing. I was planning a wall hanging. I stayed up at night and rose early the next day to work in my extremely disheveled craft room, wading in sorted-by-design and sorted-by size envelopes. I needed at least 35 exactly 4” by 4” perfectly cut squares to make 7 paper flowers and other items on the wall hanging. Most security envelopes I had only provided enough paper for one 4-inch square.

After two weeks, I had used nothing but glue and envelopes. For a large 9” x 12” background, I used a Panorama envelope with return logo and electronic stamping, made sturdy with other envelopes inside the large one.

For the hanger, I cut three long, thin, brown envelope strips and braided them for strength.

But…I had not yet received the entry form for the project, and I wanted to have it ready ahead of time.

When I inquired from an art guild member when the forms/rules were to be available, I glared, stunned at her answer, “Oh, the class is on April 4. Just bring lots of envelopes to learn how to use them and how to make a fun project.”

What? A class to learn how? That would have saved me lots of time. My project was already DONE! READY! Now what was I going to do with my masterpiece?

“Lord, this seems mercenary, but what will I ever do with this beautiful project? You always answer my prayers…even when I don’t know you’ve answered them and sometimes not always the way I had thought best for me.”

Instantly, I was inspired. How simple. I filled out a consignment sheet and took it the next morning to sell in our Panorama Gifts Etc. shop.

Before it was hung for display to sell…a resident bought it!

Now I am working on a duplicate…no need for planning, deciding, doing/redoing…

Only at Panorama!

A Resident’s Perspective – Keep Moving & Doing

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. March 2018

Since moving into my Quinault apartment in July of last year, I’ve changed my morning routine.  After a simple breakfast, I go to my glassed-in balcony and sit in my comfortable chair.

The first thing I do as I’m sitting there is size up what kind of day it’s going to be.  The tall Douglas fir trees across the street dwarf the houses and must be higher than the apartment house by quite a lot.  Their slender trunks stretch toward the sky.

I look at the sky and, since this is the Pacific Northwest, take notice of what is there.  Usually, it’s clouds…sometimes blowing lazily to the left pushed by warm air from California climes…other times scurrying to the right as if trying to avoid the cold air propelling them…and, sometimes hanging lazily in the sky barely moving.  I praise the creator if I see a clear sky and a slowly brightening red sunrise through the trees.

But—always there are the trees.  I reign in my gaze to focus on the trunks and the foliage.  It hangs high and droops down along the trunks and entwines itself with that of other trees, or reaches out to shake hands—as it may be.  At first glance I think to myself, “It’s a still morning—not a twig is moving.”  Then, as I watch I notice that the trees are moving.  The branches are catching the breeze and shaking and moving each other.  The whole tree is moving!  Even the tall trunk is swaying ever so slightly.

Actually, that’s the way we are on this campus.  The whole campus is moving and so are we…like the clouds in the sky and the trees across from my apartment.  There’s activity everywhere.  Panorama is an easy place to chase whatever is happening.  Most of us have more written on our “dance card” than we can possibly handle.   We take a few steps with one escort and then as the music changes to a new tune it’s time to dance with another.

I always have liked to keep moving.  Even as a little kid, I was moving all the time around the farm—seeing things.  And, that “doing” activity continued through seven decades of my life.  It’s been a great life, but lately I’ve rediscovered something that I remember knowing at one time—that it’s oftentimes fun to sit and watch others move and simply “be.”  Keep moving and doing but don’t be afraid to just “be.” Panorama has lots of time for that too!

A Resident’s Perspective – Free In-Home Exercises?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2018

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Not this time!

Every morning Jenny Leyva, Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator, and resident Reath wake Chris and me up in time for 9 o’clock exercises in our own apartment– it’s FREE!

Actually the best part: we are in our jammies or showered and ready for the day. Our own TV screen shows two videos filmed by Greg Miller, Marketing Retirement Advisor. Other residents across the campus are sharing the experience at the same time!

Jenny teamed up with Reath who demonstrates the modified version of each exercise so residents can have options.

Video #1: Exercise for Independence – about 15 minutes

*  Total body exercise

*  Simple, functional exercises designed to help keep us active and independent.

Video #2: Strength & Balance for Fall Prevention – about 20 minutes

     *  Fall prevention exercise

*  Key lower body strength exercises that have been proven to help reduce the risk of falling

Jenny reminds us to breathe deeply and gives us 10-second water-breaks.

What do I like about these exercises? I can do them on my own during the day, watching TV or waiting for our meal in the restaurant. No, not putting my hands over my head, but the simple foot bends under the table. In the elevator, I practice breathing deeply and exhaling. I’ve learned to feel the weight on my heels before getting up from my chair and to take control of myself as I sit down, instead of ploppin’ down as I usually do. When writing on my laptop, I stop a few minutes to do the arms-over-the-head exercises, or stretching forward. I don’t always remember reminders, but I look forward doing them out of habit.

The first day I started, I noticed being more invigorated walking the Quinault halls. Chris and I remind each other to sit and stand tall. What’s nice, too, is on a day we might not be home at the assigned time, we will be able to do the exercises on our own. The schedule time is good…it’s over…there’s no temptation or distraction to stop to check a do-list or email. But then I’m the only one that has that problem!

Jenny says the idea to create the videos began as a direct response to the Quality of Life survey that was given to us by Panorama. The results of the survey indicated that a large percent of residents feel afraid to fall or have experienced a fall recently. The team of Sharon Rinehart, Dr. Behre, Grace Moore, and Jenny Leyva laid out the foundation of the fall prevention video. At that time, they also decided to update the Silver Sneakers video that was currently playing on our PCTV. That was where the idea came to show two different videos.

Another great innovation and example of how Panorama constantly asks for our suggestions and needs, and implements them when feasible for many of the residents!

Thank you again, Panorama, Jenny, Reath and the other team members!

A Resident’s Perspective – Neighborhoods

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2018

In this cold part of winter, all around us there seems to be feverish activity going on.  And there has been activity for what seems like months. We live on a loop within the main campus and don’t usually get this amount of road traffic. The insulation trucks, the cement removers of patios and walkways, the cabinet trucks, and the Panorama crews attending to remodeling homes in our neighborhood. We sometimes look forward to the weekends when things get really quiet.

What this means is our neighborhood is in transition. The stalwarts we relied on for help in assimilating us into a new way of life have passed their batons. Some have moved within Panorama, some have left us, sadly.  Even some have chosen to move away and closer to family as partners have deceased. Many of these neighbors have been in their homes for years and years.

We moved into a remodeled home in 2013 and have found it wonderfully useful to our time in life. Those moving into these remodels around us will find cheery places to call home. We all know how long the waitlist is for new folks waiting to join us. The remodeling going on, of course, is noisy.

But, have you noticed how polite all the “worker bees” from various companies, or departments have been to us? They know they are a nuisance but are doing wonderful, if noisy work. And I know they appreciate a nod or smile as we walk by, trying to stay exercised and upright on our feet.

Soon spring will be upon us, and the blooms and color will somewhat distract us from those working around us. And I hope you will join me in welcoming these new neighbors who have counted months and perhaps years waiting for what will suit them.

Time marches on, things change and Panorama is moving ahead and we are all grateful for that.

Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. January 2018

The short elderly couple in the grocery line bent over their wallet.

But the young couple behind them, beaming with teeth showing, shot a credit card toward the cashier, “Merry Christmas!! We got it!!”

“Oh, my! I don’t believe it. Thank you, thank you! But why?” The man’s eyes welled with tears as his wife kept repeating, “I just can’t believe this. Why us?”

“It’s our traditional Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness. We’ve been doing this every year with our daughter since she was three.” Melody and John nodded to their grinning, obviously excited, ten-year-old named Hope.

Still in shock and trembling, the couple questioned, “Wa-what are you going to do with that basket full of Christmas blankets?”

John said, “We’re going to offer them to residents in assisted living. We just want to cheer them up. Some might not have family with them tonight…maybe a little lonely.”

Melody broke in, “We’re heading to Panorama where my parents Mary Jo and Chris Shaw live.”

The little pair stood taller; their jaws dropped. “Panorama! That’s where we live! We know Chris and Mary Jo! Oh my! We’re Nancy and Bob.”

Five minutes later, the little family sped down Sleater Kinney to assisted living with two hearty bags of about 35 colorful Christmas blankets. Staff member Jay was ready to escort them to residents who were in their rooms.

As we waited for an elevator, Hope asked another Bob if he’d like a blanket. “Oh, yes. I really need one right now. It’s co-o-ld out there. I just came in. I’ll wrap it around me when I sip my cup of hot coffee after a while. I’ll remember you when I enjoy the rest of my evening watching the game.” He held the soft, gray bundle close to his chest, “It matches my clothes, too, look! Thank you very, very much.”

Residents especially treasured the little girl in their midst. Hope with her tender, sincere smile was the pearl of great price that evening.

Christine and her family were relishing their own refreshments. They all agreed with Christine they knew “someone who would especially appreciate a warm, cheery blanket. The red, white, and green one” would be delivered the next morning, Christmas Day. Perfect!

When Hope smoothed Patricia’s long-haired cats, we saw Patricia’s smile, despite her oxygen tube. She had tutored me weekly with my memoir Convent to Catwalk for over three years. I’m grateful for her and grateful to my family for offering her a snug blanket.

I recall their first Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness. Hope was three. At a gas station when a husband and wife in studded, matching leather outfits (Christmas gifts to each other) went inside to pay their bill, Melody and John handed the cashier a credit card, “Merry Christmas. Have fun!” After hearing about their Acts of Kindness, the impressed couple almost flew out of their new fancy boots! They immediately cell phoned their motorcycling buddies to meet right there to do the same elsewhere around town. (Few people owned cell phones “just for fun” in those days). “Our buddies have nothing special to do tonight…like us. They have plenty of bucks, too. Thanks for the idea. We are going to make so many people happy. We’ll do it again next year. Maybe a tradition. We’re all really close.”

At first, I thought it would be better to give the money only to those who really needed it. But observing what happened with that group, I understood that they were able to give even more, and the network could be never-ending. Everyone giving out of love…what a world!

We’ve been with our little family on most of those nights…in coffee shops, stop-n-go corners, discount stores, big and little places, sidewalks, etc. Actually, it does really work…wherever there are people!

What joy Chris and I experienced as our Panorama friends’ arms opened wide to accept the warmth of love bound up in a simple, warm blanket! I stood back now and then to take in the entire scene of exultation exchanged between residents and Melody, John, and their precious Hope.

Here is love in action. We know Hope will continue extending her own already daily, little Christmas Eve Acts of Kindness.

We are blessed again.

 

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?

Do We Like Our Move to the Quinault?
Written by Mary Jo Shaw, author of Convent to Catwalk

We loved our neighbors, our garden home on Woodland Court, and figured we’d be there a longer time. But, after six years, the time was now. Do we like our new apartment in the Quinault Building?

Although we miss our neighbors, we still are able to see them often. After all, we live only a few blocks away on our Panorama campus. We attend the same events in the large auditorium and Aquatic & Fitness Center, and we walk the Circle Loop on Tuesday evenings during the warm season with other residents for exercise and visiting.

Now, there’s no need to walk to the large Quinault building where I have always played weekly in Assisted Living and where Chris and I attend many events in the smaller auditorium. I take art, weekly Bible, and other classes there. I’m one floor up from Monday Catholic services…reading often and playing piano.  Exercise rooms/classes are on lower level, close to where Chris enjoys the coffee room, movies, and newspaper. I use the Resident Council office and business area where all residents are welcome to run off copies. That same office has a laminating machine, latest computers and other office advantages, always with an expert to help us! I itch as I pass the Weaving Room, Wood & Metal Shop, and the closed-circuit TV studio, also available in the lower level. I can’t wait to participate in those opportunities.

Metal Shop

Woodshop

In the adjoining Panorama Hall building, we have banks and the gift shop where I consign my crafts and books almost daily (and pick up my check once a month)! We also have the convenience of the beauty salons, and the pharmacy with its last minute stop-n-go type foods and necessities. The community living room with a large fireplace offers the activity desk where we can sign up for events; it also features sofas, tables, and the friendly Executive and Lifestyle Enrichment offices. Chris reads and visits there faithfully.

Panorama Hall

Then the best part! Every time we walk out of our fifth floor apartment, we are greeting friends. If time, we visit or search for puzzle pieces together in the many areas with large windows. We are closer to the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro where we can relish the unusually cordial atmosphere of residents for many organized brunches, luncheons, and dinners. We love impromptu meals, or as an arranged date! What fun to invite other residents to join us and chat as long as we please.

To do all of this indoors, we simply walk the steps or elevator ourselves from our small apartment with the latest flooring, kitchen and bath upgrades, granite counters, light fixtures, and cabinets-and-pantry pull-outs. We have plenty of storage and a nice-sized family room with huge wall-to-wall windows that display our small balcony with patio furniture.

We are able to attend the over 100 published monthly activities on our campus, but now we have the additional Quinault Activity calendar of events planned by our #1 manager, Dodie. Her energy and planned get-togethers and parties include her homemade cookies, huge bowls of homemade foods, including, potato or bean salads, meatballs and spaghetti, pigs in the blankets, apple streusel, campus Bistro brunches, games, planned off-campus trips to restaurants…etc.

Our Resident Council on-campus transit is still available for our use. Panorama provides the late model vans with volunteer dispatchers, drivers, and maintenance.

Then there is the adjoining Convalescent and Rehabilitation building where I play piano in three areas regularly, including a Christian service monthly on Saturdays. I play in the building’s entrance on a beautiful grand Yamaha piano often. Must I continue?

No, we don’t like our move to the Quinault…we love it! Aware of new reasons daily, we thank and praise God for the many blessings for our new home, its friends and advantages.

December 23rd, 2017

December 23rd, 2017…two days before Christmas, a momentous marker for me because my wife and I moved into our first home at Panorama on December 22nd.  Moving here was quite a change from Alaska, our previous home for thirty-three years.  We’d seen monumental growth in Alaska over the years.  We were witnesses to that growth and participants in Alaska’s development in our occupations there.

The reason we moved to Panorama was because it had promise to supply our felt need for security in retirement that would follow us whatever our situation might be.  We were not disappointed.  My wife died 5 years ago after years of discomfort, disability and pain. She was cared for by me and, when my energy flagged, by Panorama’s Convalescent and Rehabilitation staff (Skilled Nursing) to whom I will always be grateful.

After I was alone, I continued to be happy with my situation although it was constantly evolving, like a Christmas tree with slender fiberglass hairs that project tiny points of light in many colors.

Today, bright sunlight lights my eastward fronting apartment that sports a glass enclosed balcony.  The sight is magnificent from my 4th floor one-bedroom suite!  Bright sun…majestic spruce and fir trees…houses scattered around McGandy Park…blue sky—all better than yesterday’s rain.

I’ll celebrate quietly in my own way, aware that I am only one of over a thousand on this campus whose needs are being met in one way or another—and maybe I’ll find someone today or tomorrow who has a need I can meet.  MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY 2018!

The Christmas Day Outing

Written by Panorama resident, Sandra Bush | December 2017

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

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


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

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

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

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

Seeing a Chum Salmon Run

All photos taken by Carolyn Treadway.

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

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

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

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

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