What is PAV at Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2022

The Panorama Pavilion (PAV) is for all residents and staff…to enjoy over and over again. Chris and I could sit in our recliner overlooking the construction from our third floor ever since we moved in to Assisted Living (AL) at Christmas in 2021.

Surviving several years of off-and-on construction due to Covid restrictions, all AL residents could observe and surmise what was happening, while having lunch and dinner in the new dining room.  Free entertainment!  Despite the heavy snows, frozen-unfinished water ponds (that needed to defrost to drain and fill back again for testing) our grand opening exploded with a blast from joy and anticipation at the July 4, 2022 Celebration!

Residents lapping ice cream strolled over to sit inside the Pavilion or outside on the sturdy, comfortable wooden chairs. Round tables with large umbrellas provided shade, but the warm sun was most welcomed in the nice 72 degree weather.

I digress: speaking of ice cream! Panorama once again faithfully provided the All City Ice Cream Truck for two hours. We always look forward to their 30+ item menu of novelty ice cream bars, sandwiches, cups and cones from premium manufacturers including: Blue Bunny, Good Humor, Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s, Popsicle, Klondike, Riche’s and more!  Remember those goodies on hot days: bare feet on the sidewalk, the ice cream or popsicle dripping from our elbows?  Never dreamed we’d be “kids again” in the most beautiful, comfortable, lovely Pavilion and Courtyard.

Back to the PAV entertainment:

Live music at the Pavilion included Memphis Belles USO Tour with song and dance. We began with the singing of The Star Spangle Banner, hand over hearts, facing the large provided flag and many flags that fly 24/7 from the balconies overlooking the courtyard. The “Belles” showcased patriotic classics and iconic music from WW2! Most residents clapped hands and tapped feet to the fantastic familiar songs.

The next hour featured a favorite swing and jazz duo LaVon Hardison & Vince Brown (known as Red & Ruby), who always pack and open wit, style and fun.

As previously mentioned, this dream is open for staff and residents. On occasion, events may be scheduled to use the Pavilion, but the courtyard seating is still available. Comfortable benches are in plenty. Everyone seems enticed to experience the two unique bridges during each visit. All we have to do is email or call in our request. Audio capabilities are available for microphone use and connection to speakers.

I just read on our portal Kya that in two hours we will join to “kick off our first of many Concerts in the Pavilion! Featuring Chris Anderson. First known professional as “The Singing Busboy” of Jebino’s Restaurant in his home town of Eatonville, WA. He performs his seamless interpretations of classic hits, spanning a variety of genres, for over a decade. We may bring a picnic dinner and are encouraged to bring own lawn chairs for the big event!”

Since it has been available, I see many groups inside the Pavilion and others bringing lunches or just visiting around wooden tables with large umbrellas outside. Many come for their daily walks. Some play cards and other table games, or gather for organizations, and clubs that used to be in activity rooms on campus.

Our Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center is just a few yards from the Pavilion. It warms my heart to see the caretakers providing wheelchair opportunities for enjoying God’s numerous flowers, plants, trees, bushes, waterfalls, sunshine…with the birds and butterflies.

What an Alleluia to re-visit with resident friends from all corners of the campus for “getting acquainted” again and again.

Thanks to Panorama once more for the latest blessing… which was worth the long wait!

One-Liner Day

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2022

Seems I should greet you, HAPPY NEW YEAR?! Hard to believe! In Assisted Living, I pictured myself having so much time to write this blog (Chris and I moved to AL on Dec. 22, 2021). After all, we wake up with “Chris, Mary Jo, your breakfast is here . . .” No more grocery shopping, hauling foods home, putting them on shelves or in fridge or freezer, taking them out again to cook, eat and clean up the mess again. Freedom at last to do only what we want to do (well, you know what I mean)!

Since our life in AL is structured somewhat differently each day from IL (Independent Living), I’m going to stress some favorites of my experiences and activities for you, Reader. Those evolve from the once-a-month Event Planning Day with Stephanie, our superb activity coordinator. Although it seems she has tons of clever, fun, doable activities, Stephanie sincerely encourages us to offer ideas of what we’d like to do.

Often at meals, we enjoy sharing many hilarious one-liners we’ve managed to remember from collections of our favorites that are on paper or in our computers.

My suggestion at the event planning in March for April’s Events Calendar was to have Stand Up Comic Night, but refer to it as a sit-down comic day event. What are the odds? The coincidence? The surprise that we didn’t know even existed? The day Stephanie selected, April 14, 2022, happened to be INTERNATIONAL MOMENT OF LAUGHTER DAY!

Stephanie had asked me to write up a blurb to put in the monthly Assisted Living Gazette:

It’s not stand-up comic. It’s SIT-DOWN LOL…Laughing Out Loud. Have fun as your heart-rate increases from many deep breaths of hilarious laughing, and your heart and lungs are saturated with oxygenated blood! Hear pages of new one-liners.

I pulled out my file named LOL. I was surprised: I actually had to spend a long time preparing to read aloud without laughing myself.

We had planned 30 minutes in our lovely new Activity Room sitting at the shiny new tables, but Stephanie allowed overtime. However, only 10 minutes extra. (Need to save some one-liners, jokes, lexophiles, and puns for next month!)

I didn’t take a photo to send of those who attended while they were laughing. So . . . in lieu of photos that I love to send in my blog post, I’ll share a laugh . . . or 2 . . . or 3 . . .

Find a man who strokes your hair and says how soft it is…and doesn’t even care that it’s on your legs!

Yesterday I was cooking dinner and my son came up to me and said, “Someday I’ll work and help you with groceries, bills and house expenses.” My eyes started to tear up . . . My baby will be 32 next month.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would’ve put them on my knees!

We have fun at Panorama in Assisted Living….and that’s not a joke! It’s a true one-liner!

Yoga, Meditation & Concentration

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. March 2022

Yoga classes are back indoors, wearing masks and sanitizing our props afterward. It’s so good to be back together, bonding in the silent space of yoga. It is our refuge. Many students have told me how much yoga has helped as they went through the loss of a loved one. I encourage people to practice at home as well, but many prefer a class for the group experience, the structure, and learning.

We met in the chapel at winter solstice for sharing and good company. It’s a joy to get to know each other and make friends in these quarterly social gatherings. It’s also a unique experience to live together as neighbors as well as practice together. We were back in the chapel again for the fall meditation retreat. In the spring retreat, we talked about equanimity, the peace of mind that comes from yoga and meditation. People braved the ice and snow on New Year’s Day for our annual workshop, again the first time since quarantine began. The whole campus was a sheet of ice!

Classes are an exercise in concentration as well as movement, steadiness of mind and body. We need both as we age. A consistent yoga practice may keep us steady and mobile without needing a walker. We do lots of hip openers to release restrictions and build a more stable foundation. Science has been researching meditation and discovering neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to form new neural connections. An alert mind helps us to avoid falling as well. Over the years many students have told me they tripped over something but were able to recover before falling. Or they did fall but were able to brace themselves so they weren’t injured. Sometimes an older person falls and isn’t hurt but they’re unable to get up again. Hopefully that won’t to any of us with an ongoing yoga practice.

Students range from their 60’s to 90’s. There is something for everyone in each of our 3 classes. We all have restrictions and limitations. We just work around them, moving with grace and equanimity. Yoga means being in harmony with ourselves, in body and mind. Breath is the bridge in between. You can do a free trial of any yoga class to see how it feels. Everyone is welcome!

Moved and Made It!

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2022

“Wake up, Mary Jo and Chris, your breakfast is here!”

“Okie, Dokie! Thanks so much,” I respond.

After our few seconds of forehead temperature, we take a quick peek under warming lids to recall what hearty combinations we ordered for breakfast, make bathroom stop, and don robes to eat while our bed is being made! I pause, “Thank you, God, for the good food, the good friends and the good fun, Amen.” Grabbing my schedule book, I review the exciting day ahead. After devotions with Stephanie, (activity director) or independently, my agenda begins with either Catholic Chapel Communion service on Mondays, or I get energetically invigorated after 10:30 chair exercises!

Can’t believe we’ve been in Assisted Living (AL) since one day before Christmas Eve. Seems longer, because of all of the fun of crafts, bingo, movies, piano playing, puzzles, social hours with beer, wine & mixed drinks we’ve experienced so far. And we attend the live entertainment in our Quinault Auditorium in the lower level three times a month! What joy to hear student performers in recital. As a music teacher for 55 years, I’ve heard gifted music talent on many instruments during our entrance to Panorama.

Did we ever have fun decorating thick ginger bread Christmas cookies of about 6 different shapes in our Activity Room (AR)! My eyes bulged at the long red, green, and white tubes of icing, along with very thin tubes of black for writing or for Santa’s buttons, belt, eyes, etc.

“Stephanie, what are you going to do with our cookies?” I was curious.

“Mary Jo, you get to keep them…no matter how many you make. I get off work at five.”

My fun lasted the entire three hours. I carefully, placed the seven 1-inch-high decorated goodies printed with the names of Melody, John, and Hope on the seat of my walker. So great later to hear “Wow, Mom!” and “Granny, can I eat mine now?” and “You really spent some time on those, thanks!”

One common comment AL residents share is, “I really feel retired when I realize I don’t have to make a grocery list, shop, put the stuff in the pantry, cook meals, eat alone most of the time, clean up afterward, put dishes into the dishwasher, then put them in the cabinets. And start all over again later on!” Nodding and laughs always follow.

What else is at the top of my thankful list? Housekeeping! Once a week our sheets are changed, washed and replaced. Also weekly, our apartment is dusted, vacuumed, mopped…and bathrooms smell delightful and sparkle…

like we see on TV ads! Our personal laundry is washed twice a week and folded so perfectly, I thought Chris must have received someone else’s shirt.

I was impressed at the monthly Town Hall meetings for AL after lunch in the new dining room. We are encouraged to share what we like or what we’d suggest changing or fine tuning…foods, service, activities, and such. After listening to the entire group, Stephanie goes from table to table asking each by name whether we were at ease with any possible changes, or if we have any suggestions.

Not long ago, this was my observation: Oh, it’s Monday! One thirty. I’ve gotta look out the window to watch Stephanie help the Assisted Living residents board a Panorama shopping bus for that one-mile trip to Fred Meyer. She seems so patient and calm. One day I’ll be there, too. Please, Lord!

We’ve only been in AL 7 weeks, so stay tuned!

Thank you, Panorama for each of the AL staff and employees! And to our family for the big move days…we love you!

And thank You, Lord for another blessing.  We’ve moved and made it!    

Assisted Living Activity Coordinator, Stephanie Blomberg
Christmas tree in Assisted Living lounge

Moving to Panorama?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2021

Although born in San Antonio, Texas, in the 30s, we’ve moved a few times with big changes: Chris in the army and I, 13 years in Our Lady of the Lake Convent in San Antonio. I enjoyed my music teaching assignments in various cities in Texas and Oklahoma. After leaving the convent, modeling, then meeting Chris, we ended up moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, 25 years to the day…until we moved to Panorama. Whew!

Both with walkers at 89 and 82, we could hire someone to fix meals, clean our Quinault building apartment, make grocery lists to have delivered or shop for ourselves, etc., etc. True! But some lean toward enjoying meals with a variety of long loved acquaintances. We came to Panorama so that our own adult offspring could come and dine with us in our Seventeen51 Restaurant, not concerned with preparing or bringing meals to us.

Now, in 2021, Chris hobbles to the kitchen to exchange clean dishes from the dishwasher with dirty ones on the counter waiting their turn. “Oh, Darling, won’t be long. Won’t be long!”

I digress for clarity:

Chris always dreaded packing to move, and was not eager to fly from Vegas to simply look and take a tour. (Our daughter Melody and her husband John made trips to Washington for job interviews, to keep their little girl Hope from schooling in Vegas environment. I asked them to check out retirement places for us). His aunt Terri who housed them for these trips to Lacey said, “Maybe your parents would like to take a look at a very lovely place where I go for luncheons. It’s called Panorama.”

They returned to Vegas. “MOM, DAD, YOU DON’T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE EXCEPT PANORAMA!” Melody handed me a packet of information and a DVD (which Chris watched only once, but I thought I’d wear out with reviewing! No DVD now, since lots more info and photos are available: www.panorama.org )

Chris reluctantly and emphatically agreed, as did I, that we would not sign anything anywhere, just look, as we always did in major purchases such as homes, cars, etc.

Long story short:

We accepted invitations to stay at each retirement place for several nights which added up to the entire two weeks we came to Washington to tour.

After also visiting at Panorama every day, and with three days left of our trip, retirement counselor Rachel explained, “A garden home has just been vacated. It will be completely repainted inside with new carpeting, appliances, light fixtures, etc.” She wasn’t pushing us (knowing our situation with Chris), but she could show us, so we would not have to return to view, if we decided we wanted to move here. We did.    

I was stunned. This place is perfect. Melody and John bit their smiling lips, eyeballing me behind Chris’ back. We kept our cool, not exploding with joy. Chris whispered to me, “Maybe we’d better sign up!”

Panned face with heart pounding, I calmly ask, “You think so?”

He turns away, and my eyes sweep the heavens, Thank You, God!!  

Back to the clean and dirty dishes in our present apartment:

“Oh, Chris, we’ll order from a menu and have breakfast in our room, have time for visiting, reading the paper, helping ourselves from the ice cream machine, and have additional activities. Someone will clean, empty trash for us, and wash our laundry and bed linens every week!  And, Chris, they’ll make our bed every day!  Remember how we pick the brains of our friends who keep saying the food is delicious? And some say they are getting thoughtful and fun things they never expected! I’m really looking forward to lunch and supper in the brand-new restaurant!

You, Reader, still want to know where we are moving: Assisted Living wing in Quinault building at Panorama!

Recall: Panorama is a continuum from one level of life’s health-care to the next. We have access to Panorama Benevolent Fund’s three Social Services Advisors who are available to us for help with all transitioning we do from one level to the next on campus.

All our life’s moves have been good moves, and they are displayed in the grand mosaic of our marriage. We laugh when other residents remark what we have always said, “Panorama has been the best decision in our marriage!” Thank you, Panorama, for those “so -far best years” since 2011. Blessed over and above, again!

P.S. Stay tuned-in, hopefully, to blogs and photos about our new adventure.

Mary Jo Shaw, author.

Crossroads to Convent.

Convent to Catwalk.Family books.


Gifts and More Gifts Galore!

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2021

Just where are these “Gifts and more gifts galore?”  

They are in Gifts, Etc. – conveniently located close to Pan Hall, which some of us call the Senior Student Union Center. The lounge area in Pan Hall has a large fireplace, couches, comfortable chairs at tables for visiting, reading, writing, stirring hot coffee or chocolate, and convenient access to our executive offices, Lifestyle Enrichment department, Activity Desk, Timberland bank, etc. Whew!  

In the hallway close to that lounge hangs a sign called Gifts, Etc! During COVID, the shop was closed, but received remodeling and updating. The grand re-opening was September 7, 2021.  

Counters and walls display practical, useful, and gifts for all ages. All are handmade only by our residents, including professional resident artists’ works.

Seasonally, they have large selections for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday, graduation, and other event gift giving times. Prices vary from a few dollars to as far as the SpaceX’s orbit into outer space! (I exaggerate a tad, but you get my drift!)

Approximately 30 volunteers look forward to working behind the scenes, managing, operating the new cash register, helping residents, substituting, etc.  

Curious? Take a look at some of the kinds of items:  

Bags – Drawstring. Small to large. Various uses.

Basketry – Pine needle & fabric.

Blankets – Baby. Soft cotton fabric or baby crochet yarn.

Books – Autobiography, children, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, etc.

Cards – Hand painted. Photographs.

Egg ornaments – Uniquely design painted, glued & glazed. Triangle gift box included.

Framed – Paintings. Cloth hand-work.

Honey – LOCAL . . . the more local, the better for you!

Jewelry – Fused glass. Braided. Chained, etc.

Kitchen – Clever aprons. Decorated hand towels. Pot scrubbers. Cotton-knitted wash cloths. Padded pot holders, etc.

Pottery – Unique, beautiful, shapes. Cups. Kiln baked.

Scarves – Out of this world Batik. Yarn. Curly.

Stamps – Actual value price.

Woodshop offerings – Pens, boxes, bowls, etc.

Wool felting — Animals, etc. Too clever to explain!

Reader, if you enlarge the photos with your two fingers, you will see many items and details. I can hear your, “WOW, I had no idea!” Enjoy!  

By the way, consignors keep 80% of sales. The 20% is split between Resident Council and Gifts, Etc. 10% goes into the Resident Council fund that supports many activities. The other 10% goes into the gift shop’s activity fund to cover operating expenses (equipment, software, and office supplies).  

Thank you, Panorama, for this popular, fun space with a galore of items called Gifts, Etc. for our convenience and socializing!

Encore to Panorama’s Lamp

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2021

You know what an encore is. Everyone applauds with an encore at the end of a great piano concert. We MUST HAVE “MORE! MORE!” And we stand smiling from ear to ear, applauding at a higher volume, as the pianist returns nodding a head. I realize the fingers must be exhausted, but still applaud . . . selfishly. I absorb and treasure every nuance of every note. This IS the final to take home.

So, what does this have to do with my title Panorama’s Lamp?

Remember, I wrote about our Stiles-Beach Barn where we turn in those goodies and tons of smaller items like crafts, small kitchen appliances, office supplies, pictures, frames, etc. that we finally realized we don’t need, but they’re too good to throw away. Or we’ve asked, “Why am I keeping this?” Well, Encore is a large, very organized sparkling warehouse of larger items for just about anything you need, such as tables, chairs, cabinets, open or closed shelving, big lamps, etc. At the back . . . shelves of too many books to count.

I really needed a card table for my craft room, also realizing that it would take up valuable real estate in the center of the room. I was tired of working on those three wobbling white plastic TV trays that constantly tipped over when I inched by or hit with my foot.

“No, we have no card tables today, but keep checking . . . you know we get things all the time,” the volunteer resident said, trying to cheer me up.

“Oh, yes, I know,” I whimpered. “I’ll look around for whatever else I might need.”

The guy volunteers belted out teasing-laughter, pretending to help me, “Oh, here, Mary Jo, you must have whatever this is.” Neither I nor they knew what it was, so, Reader, I can’t tell you what the weird thing was. I can’t even recall its shape for description!

Then what to my wondering eye should appear? A crafter’s lamp, the likes of which I didn’t even know existed . . . and several twin look-alikes.

“OH, I’ve never seen anything like this before. I have such little space for a floor lamp, but really need more light. This is exactly what I need. Where has it been all of my 82 years of life?”

Lady Volunteer beamed to help & tapped the toggle. “NO light!” She toggled again. “NO LIGHT. I can’t believe it wasn’t tested as we do when they come in.” I observed the long, connecting light bulb-pack. Volunteer removed and replaced the set, and TOGGLED AGAIN. “You probably can go online and order a set,” she advised.

My heart sank. I don’t order online. “Lord, please, help us in our situation,” I said aloud.

Then there was Jerry! Who is Jerry? He is the volunteer who drove me over to the Encore warehouse, and was going to take me back home if I was going to have a short visit. If he received a call on his special phone to pick up someone else, he could easily go do that and come back for me. Rides are made in 10-minute increments, since that is plenty time to go anywhere on our campus. He was helping with our predicament. And did he!!

Jerry belted out, picking up the cord.  “Well, it might help if we plugged it into the wall!”

WAA-LA! We all cheered!

My arms flew up. “Let there be light!”

This is a Verilux long-neck, and can be angled any direction. I’m sure other people have heard of it, seen it, or own it. Where has my long neck been all this time . . . in my turtle neck or in the sand? I’ve needed this baby for years!

But . . . Encore put me on their list to be called when a card table comes in! 

Panorama deserves encores of thanks for the Encore building. Volunteers there and the Resident Transit drivers who pick us up to take us anywhere on the campus deserve encores of thanks. Blessed once again.

NOTE:  Encore volunteers deliver our larger items to or from our homes or apartments, but Jerry slid my precious treasure right into the back of the SUV . . . next to my walker!

Yoga & Feet

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2021

We’re back in business! We meet outdoors with the birds, the breeze, and some heaters to stay warm as the seasons change. Lynn and I are so happy to be teaching yoga classes again and sharing this experience with students. People are thriving and appreciate it more than ever after a long quarantine. As teachers it is our job to practice and study, and share what we learn with our students. We adapt the practice to accommodate changing needs as we age.

We also gathered for the last hour of light on Summer Solstice, our first social gathering in over a year. It’s good to be back.

My annual summer workshop was called Happy Feet. When was the last time you stretched your feet? Going barefoot is therapeutic for the feet after a lifetime of constraint in tight shoes. Feet are the foundation! The health of our feet affects balance as well as supporting the entire body above. Any imbalance in feet can reflect in the joints – knees, hips, spine. Not to mention that foot pain and poor balance are common complaints for seniors.

When we’re able to move back inside, we’ll go barefoot or wear socks to practice yoga so each class becomes a one-hour therapy session for the feet. In yoga 2 we go a step further and actively stretch our toes and the surrounding muscles and soft tissue to regain pliability and movement in the joints of the feet. There are 33 joints in the feet and we need a movement in each one so they are responsive. The stiffer our feet and ankles, the less control we have over balance and posture. Have you ever noticed how good it feels to take your shoes off? There are 200,000 nerve endings in the soles of your feet. They provide a great deal of information about our relationship to the ground. We are reestablishing that feedback connection so we feel more grounded and secure.

We have a full schedule looking ahead: Fall equinox tea, the Fall meditation workshop, plus events for Winter Solstice, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. Come join the fun. Meet some new people and improve your functioning – physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.

Recall Panorama Good or Bad

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021

This Fourth of July proved not only different, but special for Chris and me.

First, Panorama explained in a nutshell. Since preparations had to be started months in advance, we really didn’t know how “open” we’d be with restrictions. So, this year would be “re-imagined to make the most of loosening restrictions before we fully go back to the ways we celebrated in years past.” We residents surely understood, and we’d be grateful and appreciate whatever they came up with. 

Second, Chris and I recall our first morning of waking up here.With no cooking utensils yet, we found our way, just a short distance, to the entrance of our campus McGandy Park, heading for “that big building where the restaurant is, and where we were told much of the action takes place” (happens to be our Quinault where we presently live since 2017!).

“Oh, Chris, look at those huge white tents way over there at the end of the park! Maybe someone is having a wedding or reception. I hear mariachi music. Reminds me of when we were in San Antonio, Texas.”

Chris shuffled to a stop. “Golly, there must be at least 200 people.”

“Yes. Look, the sidewalk goes right through the crowd. There must be other ways to get to that big building, but I don’t know how yet. We gotta go this way. I hope they don’t think we’re gonna crash their party. Maybe they will see our Panorama name tags and realize we’re just passing through.”

We picked up our pace, heading directly into the center of the crowd, noticing other Panorama name tags and red, white and blue trinkets, hats, pins, you name it. Then we just stopped, smiled and looked around, until a few closest to us, asked, “Hi! Are you new residents?”

Chris and I started breathing normally again. “Yes, we are!”

“How long have you been here?” another asked.

I paused, studied. Then looked up from my wrist, “Well, almost 13 hours, maybe?”

Among the laughter, someone pointed to a table at another entrance to the park, “If you’d like to join us, you can go over and purchase two tickets and we’ll let you in line in front of us.”

We really appreciated that just about everyone wore a name tag. Being 10 years younger and NOT having gone through the year 2020 yet, it was much easier to remember names!

Catered by our Chambers Restaurant (name changed to Seveenteen51 Restaurant and Bistro), the BBQ brisket, chicken, hot dogs, sweet corn on the cob, huge bowls of baked beans, best-of-the-West slaw and potato salad, cold drinks, and ice cream cart were all-you-can-eat. 

New names, faces, questions and answers, lively mariachi music with three guitarists in black, silver-studded Mexican suits and three-foot-round, bright-colored, embroidered sombreros heightened the excitement.

Onlookers clapped, cheered and clicked pictures. The games, contests, winners and prizes were not what impressed us the most. It was the genuine love and care that the staff, employees, and residents had for each other. Not a bad for a first meal! We knew we were blessed.

Our 10th Anniversary at Panorama is in 2021. The best ever! The menu: BBQ combination plates to select from ribs, pork, chicken, two sides and a roll. We could order pounds of the smoked meats and sides this year! We could pick up or have them delivered to our homes.

Celebrate with music from noon to 2:00 pm meant live professional performances occurring at multiple locations around our 140-acre campus. We could pick some festive red, white and blue accessories (hats, sunglasses, jewelry, etc.) from tables at each of the five locations.

Two ice cream trucks drove campus streets between 11:00 am to 2:00 am with choices of complimentary ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, drumsticks and cups. We were kids again, but we did not have to hand over our nickel (or dollars in today’s rate)!

Third, and most important, we had the most perfect cool weather for us. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Panorama!

Talking Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021

I run into a neighborhood resident. Resident glances at my name tag. “Oh Mary Jo, I want you to meet my family.” The next week, Neighbor very graciously thanks me for wearing my name tag. 

For several days, that simple, polite gesture tagged my thoughts.

When my many Panorama friends politely don their little tags, I don’t have to ask them to “refresh” my memory. I’m glad I can comfortably greet them and, also, introduce them to my family or to other residents.

Surely our many faithful Security persons are grateful to “recognize” those familiar 3-inch items that identify us as residents and don’t need to inquire if they can “help” us.

When I lost my tag, I figured it would be returned – my name was on it! Besides, it was of no use to anyone else. After a few weeks of searching, I received another one.

Sure enough, a few months later I found it in a coat pocket. I had removed it when I was off campus visiting with our family. Again, no use to return it. No one else could use it! Now, I have one for my heavy jacket.

Recently in the grocery store a gray-haired couple spied my little three-incher. “So . . . you’re from Panorama? Do you like it there?” he asked.

Transferring tuna fish cans into my basket, I smiled and looked up at the couple, “Oh, don’t get me started! Hubby Chris didn’t want to move from our home. But eventually, we flew up here from Nevada with our daughter and family who planned to move to Lacey. After comparing many retirement places, Chris himself whispered, ‘Maybe we’d better sign up!’”

Lady shopper asked, “Wow, that’s impressive! How long have you been there?”

“Since July 3, 2011! We wish we could have come sooner . . . so many activities, even the staff is like family. We are blessed.” From the side of my purse, I grabbed a Panorama Marketing business card with my own sticker on the back. “Here, give Panorama a call and take a free tour sometime.”

With raised eyebrows, they smiled and nodded to each other.

“Hey, I gotta get checked out. Our Panorama bus will be here shortly.”

I pointed to my tag. “You know my name . . . Mary Jo Shaw.”

Since we are “opening up” after whatever it was that kept us “covering up” the nose and mouth, I feel like I’m a “new resident” once again. Everyday I seem to ask, “You look and sound familiar, but I’m sorry. I don’t recall your name or how I know you.” They glance at my faithful tag and smile saying something like, “Oh, MARY JO, we were neighbors on Woodland Court before you moved over to the Quinault.”

That little 3-inch magnetized name tag has stretched a lo-o-ong way, has many more stories to share, and has earned a lot of attention!

One more little, but important, item to tag onto our list of thank-yous to Panorama!


Tired of the Word “Pharmacies”?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2021

The entire planet is probably familiar with (and probably tired of) the word pharmacies. I’m dizzy observing millions of purple-capped little bottles kicking sides with each other as they race with the flow on machine belts to be packaged and distributed around the world.

What’s my view of the Puget Sound Pharmacy at Panorama (see there’s that word again)? Let’s peek in after getting screened and earning a tag that expires at the end of the day. The tag also allows my entry into the bank, hair salon, pharmacy, and bears my name, date and time of screening. The screeners are our re-positioned dependable, friendly employees who catch up on computer work and also switchboard the telephones for questions from residents, or prospects, etc. My tag’s tagged onto my right shoulder.

I wheel my walker a few feet around the corner of the hall into our pharmacy.

“Good morning, Mary Jo! So good to see you. How are you today?” I see a forehead looking up over the rows of pharmaceuticals on shelves facing me.

“Oh, am I blessed to have this pharmacy! Maybe you’re not ready yet, but you should be receiving a prescription from the Providence Clinic here on our campus any minute. I just walked over from there,” I responded.

“Well, I’m just finished filling your order,” Cheryl said. She handed Courtney the little brown plastic container with new pills. After finding out it was a med I’d not taken before, Courtney asked for Isaac, the pharmacist, who explained the instructions and handed me a printout of the side effects. What service!!

I turned and walked the aisles of groceries, canned foods, desserts, cookies, chips, fruits bananas, tangerines, pears, apples, frozen dinners, ice cream assortments, dairy products, wall of hygiene products mainly for our needs, bathroom items, ATC medications, baking needs . . . you get the idea!

Several times a week I fill my walker with several items. Some days either Kate or Nancy will do my check-out.

Hubby Chris uses the excuse to go down to the pharmacy to take his blood pressure. He takes the opportunity to buy a frozen ice cream sandwich or the famous Nestle Drumstick. About that drumstick, Google says, “It’s Over 90 Years Old, But Forever Young!” At 89, I suppose Chris wants to stay young, too! Have to admit, I did go with him a few times for the ice cream sandwich.

As restrictions let up, we were allowed to have families and friends to our apartments. Our daughter, Melody, her hubby, and their 14-year-old daughter accepted our last-minute invitation to come the next day for Melody’s birthday for a simple get-together of Jell-O with strawberries and banana slices.

The day of the simple “big event,” Melody called, “We’ll be there in 25 minutes.”

Feeling we wanted to offer more, but had nothing else to serve, I grabbed my walker. “Chris, I’m going to the pharmacy for bear paws and cinnamon rolls, peanut butter cookies . . . I don’t know what all I’m getting . . . something . . .”

At check-out, Cheryl heard my story about my “bad, goodie” stuff I normally don’t purchase.

Back upstairs in 10 minutes, Chris asked, “Are you back already?

“Yes, thank God for our pharmacy.” I ripped open the packages, placed goodies onto platters, and answered the BING text on my iPhone: “We’re parking outside!”

We raced down to the Quinault entrance where our family was just appearing at the door. Saved by Puget Pharmacy, goodies and all!

Am I tired of the word pharmacy? Three guesses, and two don’t count!

Panorama Not Standing Still

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2021

The COVID pandemic has certainly changed some things around our Panorama campus. We can ALL attest to that! But I must say, while we have all been overly cautious about being out and about, at least most of us residents have had our two dose vaccinations. The masks are slowly coming off except for high-risk areas outside campus. But in thinking back on this year and a half, it becomes very clear that Panorama, while being cautious, has marched ahead with improvements when they could be done.

The parking lot across Sleater Kinney finally saw actual start date of cars parking over there, easing staff and resident parking. It was not without many bumps in THAT road, but finished it is.

Our sportsters worked through and got their pickleball and bocce ball courts. Sometimes, even in the lighter rains, you can hear the pock/pock of balls over in the court. The bocce ball field has been less utilized, but maybe as I don’t live close to that area, I haven’t noticed play there.

The Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R) sorely needed re-roofing and that finally got started and went on and on, but is now done and that should stop the leaks and extend the life of that facility that is there for us.

The expansion on the northeast campus brings us the Willow Lane construction. This complex offers three buildings of four apartments each that should be finished near December. Already these twelve units have been reserved. As a part of checking in for temperatures for use of the pool, we were able to watch the buildings spring up out of the ground. Now we make a special loop over there to see progress. We have made progress in screening for COVID and the station will close as the Auditorium prepares to offer limited seating and events in July (YEA!!!!!). What has been particularly of interest is the solar panels that festoon the roofs of the Willow Lane homes, appropriately facing the direction for best exposure to collect solar power.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Assisted Living addition. The building part proceeded apace and the only inconvenience to us walkers was the blockage of the path from Panorama Hall to the C&R when dropping off things for our friends sequestered there during the COVID lockdown. What has been amazing is watching the landscaping from up on the west and north facing sides of the Quinault apartment building! Many of us and Quinault residents were saddened by the removal of the bigger trees in that area that is being re-landscaped. What is going on there now is worth the time and effort to watch!  The giant boulders rock, so to speak!

Now that access is allowed into the Quinault building by independent residents living in the outer neighborhoods, I have been treated to a fourth-floor view of the proceedings as the water feature is starting to take shape. Yes, there is noise, some days awful in volume, but there has been very little construction dust and keeping track of progress has been fun. Big earth-moving equipment has always interested me. Now there are three sizes of equipment as maneuvering has gotten tricky for the big guys. We watched the huge boulders being off-loaded from flatbed trucks. Now they are being dispersed and seated in the landscaper’s plan. Such finesse.

The amazing plumbing required in a complicated installation like this is mind-blowing! Water will be recirculated and the installation includes spillways and such. There is more plumbing than this picture shows, and I hope the master plan works to perfection!

This addition sports solar panels as well as the new Willow development. The solar panels are perched on the two roofs beyond the pond construction. When asked, Administration said that they have been up and running for a month and collecting power from the sun already. When we are able to access that addition, I think there is a panel to see what the collectors are harvesting and this will be of interest to all of us as well as the Green Team.

What has been a delight to watch is so many residents of the building can be seen out on their balconies or patios watching all this come to life! There was a great clapping and cheering as the boulders came to rest off a truck that needed to back in off Sleater Kinney with the huge flatbed trailer behind it, in a sinuous course between stakes, piles and holes. The workers have been careful and respectful of residents and many have taken the time to talk with them regarding what they are doing.

I think many of us take for granted the care and forward thinking of our administration. While COVID had effectively shut us down, we have marched ahead with what could be done. There are other projects in the wings. But I am so very thankful for all that has been done for us in this community.

Fun in Panorama’s Barn?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

I got up early on Friday to get to the Barn. Glad restrictions are lifting . . . I can call to get a ride with Resident Transit. Drivers started up again too (only on-campus transports). I can hardly wait. So much fun over there!

Timed to a TEE! As I strolled my walker through the automatic entrance doors, Jerry looked up waving with his sanitizing wipe and called through his colorful mask, “Oh, hi, Mary Jo! Good to see you again. I’m getting the backseat ready for you! You are my first passenger since we just started driving again. We have a few new things to remember to do.”

After he put my walker in the opened rear door, we headed toward the Barn.

“Jerry, thank you for volunteering to drive. Since we came in 2011, I’ve always said this is one of the most appreciated services for those residents who would not be able to walk far and then walk back home. Especially to and from the Barn.”

In four minutes, two Barn volunteers, seeing Panorama Resident Transit’s dedicated SUV, actually came out to welcome me!

“May I bring my walker inside? Or should I leave it out here. I know it’s usually a tight squeeze inside.”

“On no, not anymore. Sure! Bring it in.”

“Whoa! This is amazing. I knew you were doing an overhaul and sprucing up, but this place looks soo much bigger, tidier, organized, and the white floors are immaculate. I know I only have 30 minutes, so I’m going to get started.” 

One volunteer counted the bodies in the room. “I’m going to step outside until the resident paying at the cash register leaves. We don’t want to go over our guidelines.”

Sure enough, it was rather quiet, since we had no time to visit and lists were long. I had to bite my lips to keep from exclaiming and thanking. I passed small appliances, office supplies, crafts, fine china, kitchen, tools, and car/garage things. No more lugging large, worn-out cardboard boxes from under tables to rummage for items that did not win a place on the table. Notice in a photo the yellow pull-down electric outlets hanging from ceilings for testing purposes!

When I asked where some items were, my answer came immediately.

So why a Barn . . . where does all the STUFF come from? Where does the money go?

Panorama has a unique Benevolent Fund (BF). It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent living and assisted living residents who have outlived their financial resources. Since starting in 1972, it has given more than $2.5 million directly to residents who were in need. The Benevolent Fund presents each resident a free SARA® pendant the first day they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or are in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors in Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place.

When ending up with things we no longer need, we may call our Stiles-Beach Barn and/or Encore Furniture and Books on campus to make an appointment for pick-up. A large white truck, with several Benevolent Fund volunteers, show up at our door to haul our items away to the appropriate building to be priced and sold . . . by other happy, cheerful volunteers.

To add to the Benevolent Fund in normal summers, they typically host the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. No need to look at the price: it IS too good to be true!

Driver Jerry arrived on time. I buckled my seatbelt, but immediately unbuckled it. “Jerry, I can’t leave yet. Gotta go inside the Barn again to take some pictures for the blog. I must write about this experience and the improvement Panorama and the volunteers did to get this going for us during COVID.”

I tore inside again! “Hey, I need to snap a quick picture of this place for my next blog.” Kathy, Roxanne, and Larry gathered per my request, so you, Reader, could have a glimpse of how we are blessed here at Panorama.

Do you see why I was excited to get up on Friday to have “fun at the BARN”?

Diane Stiles (left) & Jo Love Beach (right)

Note: Diane Stiles and Jo Love Beach were the two most lovingly dedicated women who spent their years at Panorama improving and running the Barn until their deaths in 2020. Jo Love Beach was Benevolent Fund President from 2003 to 2008. The Barn was renamed “Stiles-Beach Barn” in honor of them in 2016.

What Pops?

Written by Panorama residents, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

As teenagers, we dreaded popping those irritating pimples, days before attending a birthday party. On arrival, I remember a mouth full of bubble gum. At the event, I remember the bags of popcorn or poppycock we devoured while chatting with our school buddies. Often that led to a bubble gum blowing contest, bubbles popped and . . . what a mess! Seems invariably that the boys formed their own “contest” to get laughs from the girls by blowing frantically into their tall glass of root beer. The tiny layered bubbles foaming over his hand onto the outside of the container grow bigger before popping.

As the finale, we’d pop the many balloons around the room or backyard before our parents arrived.

Now decades later, I experience our Panorama campus overflowing with botanical buds on the verge of popping out. Individual flowers, bushes, vines and trees abound. Others have already given us pleasure and are popping off their stems onto the ground. Thank you Jody Sangder for the TLC that you and your Grounds Team give to our campus.

Before COVID, each year Panorama offered an Activity Fair for prospective or new residents, as well as for veteran residents who may want to explore possible activities. Booths with photos and a representative to answer questions about their activity occupied every available space within a perimeter of walking space for ease of participants. Every Wednesday for one hour in April, we had Activity Fair Reimagined on Zoom, organized by residents Carolyn Odio, Chair, and Linda Crabtree, Co-Chair. The event offered a set of 15 different activities in one hour each week and was offered virtually for residents and prospective residents this year. We could pop in or out of any activity room as long or as often as we wanted, to listen, or to ask questions. Between the staff and/or residents, (and at least a wee prayer!) the fun, learning, and opportunities are always able to happen! That’s Panorama for us.

Another April event we enjoyed before COVID was gathering for Volunteer Day in our Seventeen51 Restaurant for recognition, lovely table of goodies, and employees and staff serving and waiting on us. This year, what fun to wave while watching the special Volunteer Parade weaving through our 140-acre campus! Dedicated Panorama staff with busses, cars, vans, trucks decorated with balloons, Thank You signs, banners, pompoms, teddy bears, and streamers, popped their horns or rang bells on their bicycles!

This time of year, my do-list always reminds me to pop outside with my walker to visit with other residents soaking in some Vitamin D. But this day I was in an area and alone smiling at all of the huge, opened flowers, and whispering to the numerous flowers’ buds on our campus, “Oh, you’re trying so hard to pop out. Won’t be long! The lovely rains we have in Washington are on the weather report for tomorrow. I’m going to take your picture. SMILE!” 

I smiled, too, and took an alternate route back to the Quinault . . . to talk to more opened blossoms, and to whisper to the buds. All this because I recalled popping pimples for the birthday parties . . .

Anyway, thank you once again, Panorama, for the care of our Gardens of Paradise!

Sunshining Times

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2021

Sunshine means sunshine! Right? But the last few months, despite restrictions (I’m glad I don’t have to be specific or define that word to anyone on the entire planet), “sunshine” has labeled several events for me in 2020 (a year that needs no explanations either). Where to start?

The most recent experience first: being in REAL sunshine with my walker with resident Monika for the first time in 2021 this past week. “Oh, look at the tall trees waving at us. And some of the bushes are full of red, white, and yellow blossoms. The ones behind us with buds are waiting to pop open.” Excited exclamations radiated like the sun shining on us while walking to one of our many lovely benches.

As lots of friendly residents passed, I’d wave my arm with my fleeced long-sleeve pushed up almost to my armpit soaking up some Vitamin D. “Hi, there! Your eyeballs look familiar, but forgot your name.”

They’d “introduce” themselves and laugh, “Oh, I know you. You’re Mary Jo. I recognize your Texas accent!! Your mask really sparkles in the sunshine!”

“Oh, thanks! My 13-year-old granddaughter bought it for me for Christmas! It has little decorative gold beads in a web-like lace. But you can see the layers of cotton behind it.”

This year’s Easter began as a dark, gray-cloudy, drizzly day. But blue skies, bunny-fluffy clouds and the bright sun shone by noon. The greens on our campus and more flowers welcomed walkers by surprise.

The smile on my face on a previous dreary, cold, rainy day in March, nevertheless, brought sunshine to my entire psyche: AARP Tax set-up for free! In their 8th year, residents Dave and Kris proved faithful once again . . . all of us behind masks, with appointed times, and distancing (another word the world knows). We met outside our Panorama main entrance. Panorama had two large overhead warmers with a chair under each, at least 12 feet apart! Kris, just inside the doors, scanned copies of our readied paperwork and also of our prepared totals of income/expenses. In a few days . . . you can imagine why I emitted sunshine!

Kudos shine on you, Dave, Kris, Panorama and other volunteers who worked behind the scenes for us.  Once again, we are blessed at Panorama.