Panorama Mothers

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2019

If you are a mother in need of attention, Panorama treats you right.

 Even those who don’t have family members here can’t help but feel part of our big family spirit around Mother’s Day.

Chris honored me with our favorite dinner in Panorama’s Seventeen51 Restaurant the night before Mother’s Day. As we relaxed into our chairs, a waitress welcomed us with the included small plate of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a basket of French bread.

I knew Chris’ preference before he ordered it: Reuben of grilled pastrami, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on marble rye, a big bowl of house-made cabbage soup, and a large salad with vegetables & French dressing

Me? I selected my choice eight-ounce New York steak, rubbed with ground coffee bean, chipotle, garlic, brown sugar and olive oil, along with a real baked (not microwaved like at home!) baked potato and a double portion of steamed asparagus. After an overindulgence of elegant sufficiency, I accepted only a bite of Chris’ large slice of caramel pecan pie.

While enjoying our meal, we were introduced to several little grandchildren and we were welcomed to chat a while at the tables of other families. We remarked how we mothers always get to celebrate more than one day!

Had we not spent a lovely day with our daughter and family here in Lacey, we would have been able to enjoy a delicious brunch buffet at the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro with our friends. Or we could have had our family attend with us, enjoying live piano music playing throughout the day there.

Personally, my day started off on the Panorama-provided bus trip to church, as I exchanged “Happy Mothers’ Day” with each woman on our bus. We chatted about our grands and greats children on the short 10-minute ride. 

During our church sermon, we had a special, inspiring prayer and blessing in thanksgiving for all the patience, guidance, hard work through illnesses, schooling, disciplining, loving, caring, cooking, driving, attending…you know, all those things that a mother lovingly endures to properly raise children from birth through teen years.

Our Panorama bus conversation continued during our ride home as we shared how we were going to celebrate the remainder of the day. One rider explained, “Mary, Ruth, and Carol aren’t on the bus today. They’re spending the weekend with their kinfolk out of town.” Other bus seats were empty because their adult children picked them up to attend Sunday services as a family.

As we passed others in hallways, outside, or events all week, we bragged about how many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren each other had! We mothers felt honored all week. Thank you once again, Panorama!

A Car Run

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2019

In the old days (listen to me at 76!) we were a part of groups and singles who ran at night for fun with our sports cars (TR-4A for us) all over Wisconsin and California back roads. We still own a small Honda Del Sol (1994) that we sort of inherited from older neighbors in northern California who could no longer drive a manual transmission car. Well, these two six-footers still enjoy taking the top off (it stores in the trunk) and climbing in or “putting it on” and driving on two-lane roads!

A fairly new group has formed called “Car Table.”  It meets once a month in the coffee room in the Quinault lower level and is listed in our Panorama News Bulletin. I’ve not been to a meeting, but my husband has. We have joined the group now in two car outings. The first one we enjoyed was back roads to Centralia in fall of 2018. It was crispy cool, but colors were changing all over Thurston and Lewis County. With the top off, we had to run the heater which, in younger days, was always seen as cheating and wimpy! Ten cars joined the trip. These are always mid-week outings, so traffic is usually not a concern. The leader had a map to follow with mileages and turns marked and few of the 10 cars that ran that day got lost, only temporarily. We all met and lunched at a well-known restaurant serving both breakfast and lunch.

The car run with the gang this month was for spring colors and everything was abloom! Eight cars ran this time: us, a Porsche, a Corvette, an old post-WWII jeep painted bright blue, plus 4 other “civilized” vehicles. This was 45 miles out and 45 miles back along military and back roads in both Lewis and Thurston County. This time, lunch was in Chehalis at McMenamin’s establishment. I have to say the elk burgers were a tremendous success, along with a pomegranate hard cider for me!

Many who live at Panorama are local to the county and state and know of these roads. We, who moved up to the Northwest in 2013, are still finding lovely hidden roads that are a delight! The leaders of these outings do a great job of reconnoitering the routes and planning for the lunches.

We have found that activities that residents come up with are supported by Panorama. The Lifestyle Enrichment department work with you to calendar such groupings and events. We are so very lucky to have such support for our activities here at Panorama.

Blasting Burst-outs!

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2019

How many times have we heard a real burst out? We heard some of them as children.

HEAR (pardon the on-purpose pun!) are a few echoes from the past:

GOOD for you…BIG GIRL…YOUR FIRST STEP. GIVE Mommy a BIG HUG!

You’re PREGNANT!? We’re going to be GRANDPARENTS!

Get out of bed and CLEAN UP this room!   

Ru-n-n, Tommy. Run!!

Do your homework, and I mean N-OW-W!

Go-o-o!….GO-O-O-O!  YEAH! …TOUCHDOWN!!

DAD!…I made all A’s!

Readers, do I see eyeball rolls and head nods?

Surely we’ve experienced the church organ with all STOPS bursting out Lohengrin’s Bridal March as our fancy hankies dotted smiling cheeks. Or maybe we recall when the orchestra played tutti (all, or almost all, the instruments playing at the same time) “How Great Thou Art” or John Phillip Sousa’s “Washington Post”. Then there are the unusual Washington State days: It’s going UP to 90 degrees today! Or what Chris and I seriously teased while living in the Las Vegas desert 25 years: At last, it’s going DOWN to a 100 tomorrow…A COLD FRONT!

We watch as a TV camera zeros in on an announcer holding a microphone as he rings a doorbell. The door opens and the entire family is already assembled and peering from behind the jackpot winner. You hear the squeals of excitement and the announcement, “This could be you, if you just… I have to admit I’d be a little loud too. However, I’m tired of those years. Waiting until the last minute to make the decision to return the entry or not, then caving in and nervously spending an hour sorting what to enclose in the thick, large envelope and being sure all the correct stickers were pasted in their proper places. My heart’s exhausted from pounding as I parted with those precious “15” cent stamps. At 80 years old, I’m blessed I don’t have to make those kinds of important decisions anymore.

My big decisions at Panorama hover over which of the many great activities to select. Will it be a lecture, stage play, concert, luncheon, a visit in our Pan Hall, party, class, or movie? Perhaps I’ll play the piano somewhere to cheer people up, or write, or do my crafts. I hope God has good ears to capture my bursts out of thanks in my heart (and even aloud) every day.

I remember when my friend burst out: I’M FREE OF CANCER! NOW PRAY FOR ME TO REMEMBER TO KEEP GIVING THANKS TO GOD.

And when I waved both hands impatiently…HAND ME MY CAMERA…GOTTA CATCH THIS SUNSET.

Walking around our campus on the first day the temperature went up to 50 degrees after our snowstorm, I dropped my jaw at the rhododendrons waiting to burst with their huge blooms, along with the daffodils. Spring is ready to burst out all over our gorgeous campus. So many plants have their buds’ color peeking out of their little casings. How can our hearts not burst out – HOW GREAT THOU ART?             

So…what’s my last bud almost ready to burst out? My next book, CROSSROADS TO CONVENT memoir is ready for the printer….ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!

What Brings Us to Yoga?

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. Photos by Charlie Keck. March 2019

What brings us to yoga? Many reasons – to get into better shape, relax, reduce stress, improve chronic issues like back pain, or fear of falling. All good reasons; however, the joy of practice eventually becomes its own reward. We don’t practice to get something; it just becomes part of our lifestyle. It’s who we are. Of course, we still receive the many side-benefits of yoga.

Some people are intimidated because it seems too exotic, or they’re not flexible. No problem. Yoga adapts to each person. There is no goal except to have a positive relaxing experience. Our next summer workshop will go into detail about self-care with yoga. It doesn’t replace Western medicine, but it adds a nice complement that can be empowering for everyone.

Practice changes over time! Ageing has been compared to living in a house on fire. How do we find grace and ease in bodies, and sometimes minds, that gradually decline?

There is endless research showing the healing effects of yoga on body, mind and spirit. There are over 3000 papers and studies on meditation alone. All it takes is consistent practice. Attending a class helps, providing support, learning, fun, and community.

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a silent meditation in the chapel, tea and visiting afterward, and then a free yoga/meditation class on New Year’s Day. Connie taught a workshop in January on cardiovascular health. She is always well-informed and entertaining.

The Spring Mindfulness Retreat will be at the end of March, after our Spring Equinox gathering. Quarterly social get-togethers are popular with our yoga/meditation community. Classes are ongoing…take a trial class for free. Everyone is welcome!

The Eyes Have It

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2019

The eyes have it…what my eyes didn’t and did see when it snowed.

While our eyes relaxed in deep sleep, those eyes did not see the deep snow falling on our quiet Panorama campus. It must have been mesmerizing to see the fluffing of such breathtaking scenes in a short span of time.

From our Quinault 5th floor balcony, my eyes spanned thick, white beautiful blankets lying dormant, the size and shape of every rooftop, yet hiding the shingles of those roofs from my eyes. The portrait was in black and white.

Trees taller than our balcony strained to hold tight to the whipped-cream snow mounds on their branches. I saw no green.

Lawns lay in layers of white, except for occasional foot or paw prints.

Autos, small vans, large SUVs, sedans, coupes, sports cars, station wagons…no color or variety…my eyes unable to distinguish my friends’ personal vehicles.

I had intended to use my eyes to finish my new book Crossroads to Convent that week, but the scene from the screen on our door got more attention than the screen on my laptop. I savored sitting, smiling, and meditating.

My eyes did not see–-in the many photos and videos I intended to send home—the real justice due to the Master Craftsman’s unusual sculpting for us that day.

What I did see:

Our loving, faithful maintenance in heavy coats, boots, gloves, hats and ear muffs, during their long day of clearing sidewalks and streets for us residents. Workers played games with Mother Nature…scoop…snow…scoop…snow.

Dedicated staff and employees bundled up, leaving deep footprints from the large parking lot across Sleater Kenny Road to the entrances to Panorama.

We are blessed.

I did eye many other dancing eyes from smiling residents, perked up from the expectedweather-report:  “Weather Man got it right for a change!”

What I did see…the work of the Master Artist painting a self-portrait of His own Beauty for us to behold with our human eyes. What must His Heaven be!

In the Bible, St. Paul says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV.

If you’d like, search for “Eye Has Not Seen – Marty Haugen” and listen and let your eyes see to the very end. To me, it’s a magnum opus.

I could go on and on, but eyes got to stop for now!

February – Month of Romance

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. February 2019

What a surprise!!! We emigrated out of Wisconsin and Indiana in 1966. We left the awful blizzards and sub-zero freezing temperatures for a milder west coast climate. We were subjected to a dry climate and then a rainy one that washed out roads. We endured large wind events along the coast. Then we opted for moving to a more forgiving climate in the NW.

Since we have been living in Panorama, we have had some interesting weather happenings. We experienced a microburst a few years back when limbs came down in winds out of nowhere! Five years into our life here and we are watching the landscape turn into a wonderland.

A snow event that has Seattle sort of crippled and freeways a major danger has been forecast and we are in it. Usually, we are protected from winds from the west by the Olympics and winds from the east by the Cascades. This snowfall came quietly, perhaps winds to follow, but it is piling up snow. The snow will stay some time as the temperatures are running into below freezing at night for a week. We have lost three larger limbs of our beloved Magnolia at our patio. Sigh.

Those of us who are lucky to be ensconced in the Panorama community find that we can sit and look at the wonderland and not have to deal with it. It puts our exercise routines a bit on hold as the streets/walks below the snow can be icy. Some activities are being canceled as those watching over us decide what is safe for travel in the buses. But we don’t need to muscle snow and the beauty of it rules. We have lost a couple of branches from our big Magnolia tree in our backyard and a few large branches are down in yards around us. I imagine it is nothing like the ice storm we missed a few years before we moved in, which snapped many tree tops off.

A small blip this morning winked out our DVR until it could reset itself, but power has been pretty dependable. Many in communities north of us will suffer longer inconveniences.  This will slow us down and we can manage to get some of our piled up reading done!

There are concerns for our feathered friends. The robins moved in en masse last week and now find that being puffed up and waiting for the thaw is their daily routine. The hummingbirds will need all those feeders that folks have been offering.

Panorama is keeping us informed of daily changes in the our new resident Senior Portal. Our gates will be open all night for access by any emergency vehicles necessary.

The bottom line here seems to be that we are well taken care of and spoiled, if truth be known. Be careful if you are out walking on ice under fresher snow. And do enjoy this lovely winter landscape. It will melt soon enough.

Musical Thoughts

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2019

It seems we are coming out of the dark now in January. Soon the flowering lovely spring trees will be blooming and the gardeners will be marching to the Pea Patch to ready their soil for planting.

Me? I have been reminded about some changes since we moved into Panorama. We are now into our 6th year here. Not yet old timers or pillars of the community, but certainly not new anymore.

What struck me the other night, as I listened to the Monday Night Program with the South Sound Trio in our lovely auditorium, is that times are changing. What a thought, eh? But I reminisced about our first year here (2013-2014) and the many programs featuring music from the 20s, 30s and 40s.

What crossed my mind was that my previous active community of friends maybe were right when they said, “You are going into a care facility way too early!” Well, the surprise to them was how much we loved this active community right off the bat!  Panorama, as we all know, is far from being solely a senior care facility.

Then a year or so ago, I realized that we were rocking to 50s, 60s and 70s music, which had sort of morphed out of the war years. Performers in our McGandy Park were bringing MY old music to the fore. Music from my old favorite rock and folk bands and groups were indeed being heard more and more. What a revelation!

Now, I can imagine the “boomers” coming and wondering, “Why in the world are they playing this old music for, anyway?” Their music will be 80s, 90s, and 00s!!!! I must tell them to take heart. We always urge friends and folks to come to Panorama earlier than later to take advantage of all that this community offers. And they will find that their music will catch up and make us older folks wonder what they see in it! Isn’t that always the way of passing the torch?

So, I am hoping you all enjoy the musical performances offered to us here and with no charge to us. It is such a bonus! And if you are one of those younger whipper-snappers…know that soon you will be rocking to YOUR beats. We are all in this together. Enjoy!!!

Apple Around Campus

Written by Panorama resident, Tam Alden. Video produced by Panorama residents.
January 2019

One of the joys of living at Panorama is that the Chehalis Western Trail borders the campus.  The trail is a tremendous asset that I enjoy. I can boast that I have ridden my bike from Woodard Bay to the “T” at Highway 507. Not all in one day, of course, but still – been there, done that.  On one autumn day a lowly little crabapple stopped me in my tracks.  In my zeal for exercise and fresh air, I had never noticed the crabapple tree growing alongside the trail until it tossed one of its apples in front of me.  I passed it by and screeched to a halt.  “Might make an interesting photo,” I thought.  I turned around and squatted down to rest my iPhone on the asphalt for a close-up portrait of the apple with my bike in the background.  I was so delighted with this photo that I picked up the apple and took it with me.  Suddenly, my focus changed from trying to best my previous speed record to slowing down and looking at the trail with fresh eyes, searching for other unique places to take apple photographs.

Until the apple became too old and wrinkly, it was my companion.  I took it with me walking around Panorama and that tiny apple introduced me to the campus in a detail that I’d previously not noticed.  The apple and I even saved a life.   As I watched with horror, a honeybee flew into the fountain pool located between the Aquatic Fitness Center and the Auditorium.  The precious honeybee would have certainly drowned.  I floated the apple in the fountain pool to give the wet bee a life raft so I could lift it to safety. I left the bee to dry in the sun where it efficiently squeegeed off the water with its tiny legs before busily getting back to work.  Without my iPhone camera and the apple, I would not have noticed this drama taking place.

I still power walk and ride my bike from place to place on the Panorama campus, taking advantage of pickleball, ping pong, water volleyball, bocce ball, Pub Trivia, Spanish class, basket weaving, needle felting, movies, book club and entertainments at the Auditorium (whew!). However, I also now take time to stop, slow down and really see the amazing detail of the world in which I am so blessed to live and to marvel at my immense good fortune to live in the best place on earth – Panorama.

 

What is YOUR Life Story?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2018

Think about it. Your story is only yours. It’s unique. No one else has the same life story as you. No two are alike!

I’d like to share this month’s unusual event.

The Lacey Senior Center invited me to be the presenter at their monthly Speakers Series. The manager asked me to discuss the 23 years of my life in my journey of when I was a nun and what happened when I left the convent and immediately trained to be a high fashion model.

In her phone call, Ms. Manager explained that my talk was to be “informative vs a primary sales pitch” for my Convent to Catwalk book. “You can have the book here and sell IF people request it after your talk. No problem.” She encouraged me saying that the seniors would love to hear excerpts of my stories.

Wow! How fun that would be! I was used to giving book reads & signings, but this would be different.

My opening remark usually explains that a catwalk is a modeling ramp for showing off fashions. I love the question-and-answer part during my presentations and always encourage the questions. “There’s no right or wrong question. Here’s your chance to find out what you’ve forever wanted to know about the nuns or high fashion modeling. If I don’t want to answer, I don’t want to answer.”

Naturally, I explain I don’t want to spoil the climax to the many stories, so I may give a soft hint of an answer. Invariably someone says, “I don’t want to hear the answer! It’s like knowing in advance ‘who done it’ when reading a mystery story.”

At Lacey Center, a woman posed, “Why did you write Convent to Catwalk?” Immediately, other attendees nodded wide-eyed.

My response? Actually, I answered with another question to everyone present to start a discussion. “That’s such a good question. Let’s list why you all think it was a good idea to write my story. I’ll give the first reason.”

I answered, “Why not? It’s my story, different from anyone else’s. I wouldn’t be here talking today if I hadn’t had the extreme contrast of the two life styles to write about.”

Toward the end of our hour, I summed up the reasons they offered which were true and my own added reasons:

  1. Years from now, some twig on our family tree will remark, “Oh, yeah! I heard we have an ancestor who was a nun, left the convent and was a model. Wonder what that was all about?”
  2. Even now my grandchildren (ages 11, 12 and 15) don’t know the mysterious, hilarious, traumatic, painful, emotional, near-death experiences I endured, how I handled them and how God helped me pull myself out of them.
  3. I don’t have expensive things to leave to my children and grandchildren. What I have they don’t want, except for my baby grand piano, and that will wear out and be forgotten that it was even mine.
  4. Without being preachy, I can leave them inspirational & positive ways to endure the ever-growing small and huge challenges they will experience in their lives.
  5. Most people won’t write a book as a legacy, but if we have a pencil and some three-holed paper or a simple computer, that’s all it takes…no fancy words, just writing as if we were telling our story to a friend…one story at a time.

The hour discussion with Lacey Center citizens was lively and fun, and too short!

So…what did you do that you tell your friends about when you reminisce about the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s…? What do they laugh or cry about with you?

Here at Panorama, I’ve heard loads of life stories and learn more every day. Those accounts should stay alive for their families and for history.

I thank our 100 year-old Charlotte W., who has held free Panorama Writing Your Life classes for about 14 years twice a month. With no constructive critiques, our goal was simply to write a 10-minute story at home and read in it class. We were eager to hear the next episode in each resident’s life! Charlotte also started a program of tape-recording life stories of residents in our Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center. The activity director sees that the stories are typed and put into a folder. What a gift for the family!

After about a year, I was encouraged to attend PanWriters weekly classes, for a small fee, with international playwright Bryan Willis. He has taught at Panorama since 1998. I’d leave the class with swollen encouragement to publish my stores for others. Because of Panorama, I self-printed in 2018. Convent to Catwalk is in its fifth printing in one year. I look forward to the many opportunities to book read & sign, where I am able to donate a portion of the proceeds to the church, organization, or club; thus, giving back to my community and to my God.

I’m thankful that Panorama offers the opportunity, encouragement, the time (freedom from house maintenance and repairs, yard, etc.) and even sells our books and crafts for us in our Gifts Etc. shop!

So, what is your story? Write it right!

A Resident’s Perspective – Returning Home

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. November 2018

Our move to Panorama was five years ago. In many ways, the change to new environment and environs has kept us occupied with local things. However, after seeing a trip through the Canadian Rockies offered at Panorama’s Hopes & Dreams Travel, we decided it might be time to take the train trip we had thought about doing for years. In the 1970s, we drove our little sporty car into Canada to Lake Louise and experienced the area in June. This offered a Fall trip with other residents in an escorted ten-day train and bus tour of the Rockies.

Twenty-four of us enjoyed this trip in early October. I was somewhat concerned that we’d miss the color array of Fall changes here at Panorama, but figured we’d see changes in the northern reaches. Our trip took us to Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and home from Calgary on a quick flight.

The train trip was wonderful. We were situated in the dome car, so views were everywhere. More fir and pine and less deciduous trees meant less color change than I had imagined. The pine beetle has ravaged much of that species and Canada has also had raging wild fires. The wilderness is a hard place to fight these fires, which seem to be more prevalent as the climate warms. Cold, hard and long freezes help kill the beetle, but many dead standing trees were evident.

We had heard about the food service on this train, but we were still surprised at the quality and variety of dishes offered in our “Gold Leaf Service.” When we were last to sit for breakfast, we were served tea and scones. Our car of 48 people was divided so 24 diners were comfortable in the dining car beneath the dome car. That meant that breakfast was after 10 am and we had some early starting times to re-board the train. There was also a wine and cheese serving for those in second seating for lunch.

Elegant “lunch” in the dining car

Train delays were minimal, except as we neared Jasper where we left the train for further bus touring. Commercial cargoes still have priority over leisure touring. Jasper is a main throughway for cargo east-west in Canada and some trains were congested with back-ups. Our train crew just whipped up an unplanned “snack” as the last day was a long one of fourteen hours, but it included shrimp, fruit, hummus, Focaccia bread triangles, and a sweet little dessert square. Restaurants were closed by the time we arrived and detrained in Jasper.

We all were prepared for cold, but in many places where we walked to view chasms and geologic formations, the 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit was manageable. Glacial ice fields are still fascinating, and we got to walk out on the Athabascan Glacier. We had done this 40 years ago and changes were very evident. Our merry band of travelers also noted that as crowded as it was at the closing of the season for rail adventure, we couldn’t imagine train lengths of 10 or 15 more cars that typically run in summer schedules. We were part of a six-car train.

Walking on Athabasca glacier

Hotels and motels were busy, but so much less so than high season. The magical part of this tour was not handling our bags. Now as older travelers, this is a godsend. We never had to lug our bags once they went on the commercial bus service that took us from Panorama Hall to Vancouver and picked us up at Sea-Tac and dropped us off at Panorama Hall. Our bags would show up in our rooms within the hour of getting our keys and going through customs in Canada was fairly streamlined.

Stained glass window décor at Lake Louise

A silliness on my part seemed to be fighting the ever-present duvets! Having experienced these in our hiking trips in the UK years and years ago, it seems they will be a part of travel forever. These devilish linens kept me overheated the entire trip, but it is the only thing I can say was an issue for me. At the very least, in the snowy wilds of Canada, we didn’t freeze at night! We experienced a bit of spitty snow in a few places, but otherwise we had clear viewing and sunny days.

Emerald Lake

Leg stretcher at Maligne Falls

We experienced wildlife from the train, on the gondola at Whistler, and during the walk along Pyramid Lake. We saw a black bear mom and two cubs under the gondola, elk in the openings of trees from the train, white-tailed deer and moose from the train, as well as mountain goats looking over the cliffs at our coach as we motored along. The in-room phone at our hotel in Jasper had a special button to dial to hear elk bugling if you missed the 4 am sounds, as this was rut time! This young red squirrel at Pyramid Lake was chomping away on pine cone seeds preparing for winter that was certainly on its way!

Red squirrel along the Bow River

Our traveling companions from Panorama were easy to travel with. We were also spoiled by having escorts along who smoothed over any rough patches, of which there were amazingly few!

The thing that surprised me as we returned home to Panorama was actually being overwhelmed by the color changes that I was sure we would miss. The green of grass vs. the brown of the prairie around Calgary was eye-popping. And we didn’t miss the changing of our trees and the palette of colors. What a homecoming! Sometimes you need to step back and experience other environments to totally appreciate what we have here in Panorama.

Panorama Welcomes My Unknown Cousin

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2018

In a few days, I’d be meeting a 2nd cousin who I didn’t know even existed. Our maiden names are both Italian: Barbera, which is not a common surname here in the USA.

There are many options of where we can meet on Panorama campus, but some are regularly used on Monday afternoons. I wanted a place other than our Quinault apartment. I wanted her to observe the friendly residents and their goings on, and yet not be in an isolated room where we might feel claustrophobic.

I prayed. Lord, You’ve never let me down. I know this mercenary, but You know the perfect spot for us to meet my cousin Nicole and her husband, Bruce, when they come tomorrow. I place this situation into your hands and I thank You in advance.

That evening, I observed a crowd leaving our restaurant. That’s it! The Panorama Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro! However, would they accommodate, understand, and allow us to occupy a large table for the four of us with room for our memorabilia and photos? We’d have access to meals, snacks, drinks—whatever—with no need to prepare them and clean up.

I ran upstairs to our apartment to gather and write down my thoughts and questions. I called our restaurant. Restaurant employee Erin seemed as excited as I was. “How fun, Mary Jo. We could push two tables together in a T-shape in the Bistro. You could be away from other tables and have a good time. We’d be nearby to wait on you when you are ready. You may have all afternoon to visit.”

The set-up was perfect.

We enjoyed our lunch, dessert, and drinks while sharing photos.

Nicole had pictures of herself and her little brother as youngsters standing at the side of a large inboard motor boat with the business name on the side in bold letters: Barbera Sports.

I belted, “Hey, that’s our boat!” Dad (her cousin) had taken the picture at the sporting goods store back in the late 1970s.

In several photos of my grandfather, Barbera Sr. (her uncle), I recognized the wallpaper in rooms at his birthday party, but I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I took a cellphone image of the page in her album, and I sent it to my sister Jerri. She was excited, “That’s my house.”

Members of Nicole’s family, including her 80-year-old mother, called from out of town saying they wanted to come to Panorama to meet us. What a privilege and compliment! I could go on and on about our several hours of fun. Our families know Panorama is available with the hospitality to handle our next family reunions. Everyone can relax and let it happen—repeatedly!

How did Nicole track me down?

She had traced my name through ThurstonTalk online, which aired March 16, 2018. It ran a story by Anne Paxton Hammond of me and my book, Convent to Catwalk. The story was titled “Mary Jo Shaw: How a Nun Became a Fashion Model and Mom.”

Seek and maybe ye shall find an unknown relative. And thanks to Panorama!

Balance

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2018

We held our annual Summer Solstice gathering in the Pea Patch, keeping watch for the last hour of light on the longest day. It was very pleasant sitting and walking among the flowers. I taught a balance workshop in August with simple home practices to help prevent falls. Fall/winter will bring more gatherings: a meditation retreat, a mindfulness introduction workshop, a New Year’s Eve silent meditation, and maybe a New Year’s Day class. We have a rich and close community of yoga/meditation students here at Panorama, open to all residents. I think of it as a silent support group.

Connie at the Activity Fair

Summer Solstice in the Pea Patch

People sometimes think their injuries, illness or limitations prevent them from joining a yoga class. Not at all! We adapt movements to each student. Yoga is for everybody, seniors especially. We’re all in this together, teachers included. That’s a beautiful part of yoga at Panorama – we live together, we’re friends and see each other outside of class as well. In addition, we care for and support each other as we go through different challenges. That’s the true spirit of yoga beyond a movement practice.

People are living longer, even as the body declines. We need to stay active in order to live independently. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and reaction time is slower, affecting balance. Our reflexes and coordination also slow down with age. A third of people over 65 fall each year. At 80, half of the seniors fall each year. Falling, not osteoporosis, is the strongest risk factor for fractures. In addition, some people fall and aren’t seriously hurt, but can’t get back up. Falls can be reduced by up to 50% with balance training. Over the years, many yoga students have reported that their practice has improved their balance, and sometimes averted a fall. Yoga develops mental clarity and concentration, as well as improved body awareness and control. The two go hand in hand. While age is a risk factor, a person who is healthy and fit effectively has a lower chronological age, leaving them less susceptible to falls and fractures. Yoga can help us age gracefully with improved quality of life.

A Resident’s Perspective – Does Panorama Consider Our Requests?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2018

We love eating in the Panorama Seventeen51 Restaurant. Sometimes we wished we could make our own selection for a healthy salad. Many residents suggested this on the restaurant survey we all received. It covered menu, ambiance, noise, service, etc.

 

But how seriously did the cooks, the manager, and Panorama welcome our salad proposals? Restaurant manager Tavis explained the results of the survey in statistical pie charts on our closed circuit Channel 370, as well as in our monthly Panorama News. We looked forward to seeing just how his consideration of healthy salads would be implemented.

 

Surprise!

 

“Hey, Chris! Our May Calendar of Activities just arrived. Look! It says on the first and third Saturdays of each month, the restaurant’s going to try a salad bar from 5 to 7.”

 

He put down his magazine. “Sounds great. Let’s be sure to go.”

 

At the end of the week, we entered The Gallery in the restaurant. Chris stopped to visit and tease with a table of friends enjoying their meal. I headed straight to the food line. My jaw dropped.

 

I motioned to Chris and mouthed silently, “Come over here!”

 

Together we scoped the length of cold containers. “Wow, Chris, how nice! I didn’t expect this.”

 

We observed the fresh mixed greens, baby tomatoes, red onions, carrots, and diced cucumbers.

 

Chris pointed out his favorites. “Yum! Black olives, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, broccoli, mushrooms, and candied walnuts…wow!

 

I anticipated the ham and turkey, but the tempting layout offered bacon bits, hardboiled eggs and delicious grilled chicken breast. “Glad I don’t have to cut all of this stuff. I love salad, but it takes so much time and then I’m exhausted after supper. Look, even bleu cheese crumbles and shredded cheddar.”

 

After filling our plates, we had to make a decision. Poppy seed, ranch, raspberry vinaigrette, honey mustard, or oil and vinegar?

 

“What’s this? A huge pot of soup? I didn’t envision that! How great…and rolls, breadsticks and crackers!”

 

As we turned to find a table, a couple who had just moved into the Quinault building down our hallway invited us over. “Join us for supper. I worked hard chopping up this big variety of items,” she joked.

 

Chris kidded back, “We’re providing the dessert. We’ll treat you to the fresh berries and mandarin oranges on the food line. You can have all you want!”

 

Does Panorama listen to our suggestions? I’ll let you decide ­­— all you want!

A Resident’s Perspective – Name Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. August 2018

It is time to talk about the name tags we were provided when we moved into Panorama. I know many of us at our age sort of rail against being identified in the manner of a name tag. We’ve all been to conferences and stuck with a “Hello! My Name is ____”.  At those functions, the name tag often admits you to planned sessions or gatherings as a crowd control device.

Well, I’d like to add my take on name tags for here in our community. We all recall when we first moved into this amazingly large community of new faces! Boy, was the name tag a boon to not only meeting new folks but attempting to put names with faces. We don’t NEED them for admittance to functions and activities, but it surely makes it easier for us. It also helps new folks know us! We all get to know so many through our volunteering and joining in activities. But we forget that new residents find themselves sort of left out socially as we greet each other at activities. Just by way of a suggestion, it is always good to see folks introduce themselves to people who seem new, at least to them.

What we put under our names on the tag is also of interest! I know many put the most recent community they lived in as being “from,” but some folks have put their origins under their names. This is always a conversation starter if nothing else. Resident Council members also have a special addition to their name tag to identify them.

Recently, at a Resident Council meeting, our head of Security suggested wearing name tags as we move around our many acres of Panorama in our various activities. It helps Security, who can’t know us all, know if we belong here or not. Trespass is not a big problem here but it does occur.

The other side of this coin is personal. I prefer to not wear the name tag out away from Panorama. It is merely a thought that I’d like to not lose the tag somewhere as I take off or put on an outer wrap. I know we can get another, but it just seems prudent. It makes it a bit awkward on bus trips out to meals/brunches/dinners-at-their-best, but a quick introduction to tablemates is always a good idea. When the hiking groups gather with Steve, he always has us all introduce ourselves and it is a nice gesture.

Now a sobering factoid, if you’ve not kept up. I always save the “New Residents at Panorama” listing in our monthly newsletter until we get the updated pages of the newest edition of our directory. Since January of this year, we have 75 (!) new residents! This includes the nine people listed in our August newsletter.

May we all try to wear our name tags and give the newbies a break, and ourselves as well, with our many creaky minds in the remembering department.

A Resident’s Perspective – Booking a Panorama Bus

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2018

For some reason, our church was in the “back pew” when Panorama buses began providing transportation for residents to churches of specific denominations years ago. In the meantime, we have been blessed with resident Maurie L. He attends Mass at Sacred Heart on Sundays and again on Mondays to obtain and bring the sacred, consecrated wafer-hosts to our Catholic Communion service at 10:30 a.m.

When resident Annie (fictional name) initiated and shared her inspiration of asking Panorama for transportation to the church for Sunday Mass, several of us threw our hands up. “What a great idea! We’ll be happy to help spread the word among residents to see how many might be interested.”

We prayed intently each day and we all began networking. Annie worked behind the scenes with proposals and answers to questions that Panorama might ask her. She gathered information, did a test bus trip herself, looked at bus drop-off locations on the church campus, etc.

Annie discussed her questions with us. We prayed with more effort that if God wanted it to be, it would happen. She finally presented the proposal to Grace Moore, Lifestyle Enrichment Director.

“Absolutely!” Grace responded, “You’ll need at least five riders to reserve a van or bus. I’ll work with you on details and get back with you.”

Annie with a teeth-showing smile and beaming, bulging eyes revealed the good news to us. I’m sure that glow on her face was the same when she received the “absolutely” from the Lifestyle Director.

Our goal was to find at least five residents required for the ride, and in a week or so we had a pool of about 15. Others still drive but wanted to be on the list, in case they suddenly are not able or don’t want to drive. The bus picks us up and returns us to our homes, but no need to pay on the spot. The small riding fee is then charged to our monthly account the Sunday we actually sign and board the bus. How easy is that!?

We call Annie by Thursday to let her know if we won’t be going the following Sunday. We realize not everyone at our age will be able to attend every week. We are not charged if we do not ride, but the opportunity is there. So far, we have had about 10 regulars each Sunday.

Of course, we will continue the Monday morning services for those unable to ride the Panorama bus and for those who wish to attend Sunday and/or Monday! Another simple-for-us-to-do blessing from Panorama!