Residents Financially Helping Residents?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2020

Our Benevolent Fund (BF) is unique. It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent 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. BF presents each resident a free SARA® pendant when they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or if we’re in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors through Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place. Benevolent Fund began a program to help up to three assisted-living residents with partial financial support. Actually, BF depends on the continuing generosity of our residents, which includes our monetary donations and bequests…and in unique ways!

If we ever end up with things we no longer need(furniture, office items, appliances, home décor, etc.), we call our Stiles-Beach Barn, and/or Encore Furniture and Books 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. They also hold the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. But the reverse is to our benefit…when we need items during the year, we head to the Barn or Encore conveniently located right on our campus to shop! No need to look at prices – the costs are too good to be true!

Around Valentine’s Day, we look forward to the Benevolent Fund’s Annual Silent Auction in our Seventeen51 Restaurant. At the fun event, organized to perfection, we get to bid on great items (donated by residents and our faithful local merchants), such as:

  • Gift baskets with appetizers (wines, cheeses, crackers, etc.), fruits and desserts, packaged pasta or salmon dinner items, or combinations of non-foods.
  • Fine wines of every sort
  • Many gift cards/certificates for restaurants, groceries, travel trips, performances, theaters, etc.
  • Framed artwork by Panorama and non-Panorama artists, antiques and fun items
  • Too many other great entries to mention

Tickets for the 50/50 drawing brought a sizable income…split between resident and Benevolent Fun. (I won $500 one year!)

After a hearty lunch just before arriving, I laid my bulging eyes on the expansive food-table topped with large round trays of gourmet shrimp, individual quiches, sliced melons and fruits,  large metal bowls of different varieties of salads, Hungarian meatballs in thick sauce, egg rolls, and on and on.

I don’t want you to drool, Reader, so just draw an “imaginative photo” of the decisions we made with the desserts!

We feasted while visiting and listening to Clint P’s mic articulating the “winners”. My ears tuned in for Diane S’s donated, large basket of specially selected fruits of Hawaiian papaya, mango, kiwi, large organic blackberries, pears, apples, grapes and bananas.

Finally, “Mary Jo Shaw, come up.” Get this! Diane S. will deliver us a seasonal basket three more times! We are indulging in the fruits, especially when cut-up and topped with plain Greek yogurt and slivered almonds or in our cereals and oatmeal. What a treat…our kind of dessert/snack!

On top of these benefits, all of our gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Gail Madden, current president of the Benevolent Fund, says, “We need you, because you need us.”

It’s always a win-win. Thanks again, Panorama and Residents!

The Joy of Learning and Living

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. February 2020

Roupen S. threw a worm into Panorama’s lake and I was one of 50 Panorama fish who took the bait and got hooked. What he offered us was essentially a brief history of music and musical composition. What we got was the enthusiastic musicology course we didn’t have in college. Sounds boring doesn’t it – like a course for uppity nerds. But, if that’s what you think, you are overwhelmingly wrong.

It wasn’t the music that primarily excited my soul; although, honestly, it did. The music came from many disks played on a tiny Bose. I had heard many of them on my own tiny Bose. Roupen had them laid out before him and selected each illuminating sample as it became appropriate in his course outline. He would give us a smattering of lecture and illustrate it with a tiny sample of music. Then, when he had to interrupt the music, he would shudder, smile, and apologize because he hated moving on before the full beauty of the whole piece had been savored.

The course was temptingly presented. The lecture wasn’t in the least boring. It wasn’t as though Roupen had carefully scripted himself and his subject matter in the King’s English. He didn’t use a contemporary razzle-dazzle projector with high wattage that shows stunning photographs. Nor did we pass around magnificent photos of composers and the interiors of church sanctuaries or views of the orchestra and opera halls of the world. He didn’t put an ensemble before us to play superbly. He simply drew black squiggly lines on modern white presentation board to show us how music developed.

What was striking about this presentation was Roupen! His intense eyes…his warm smile…his obvious enthusiasm for music…his deep knowledge of his subject…and the way he gently bared his soul to us about his life’s work of composing, teaching, and continuing to learn. He was so infectiously earnest about what he was attempting to do in this brief course that we came away with little flecks of enthusiasm on us to use wherever we might in life. What a rich experience for those of us in our older years who think we know everything and, then, gently learn through teachers like Roupen what delights still lie before us and how much we have yet to learn.

Roupen helped me look at my own art of writing and telling stories in a different way. Why do I write? Why do I love writing? I’ve been literally writing all my life. I was encouraged to write by two English teachers in high school. They thought I had budding talent. They urged me to become a journalist or author.

Mom and Dad didn’t encourage me to write because Mom didn’t and Dad couldn’t. Mom was a church musician who played piano and organ at our small Methodist church. She had sung solos in her college years and after. Mom didn’t make time to write anything except letters. She wrote lots of them to friends and family. She wrote a letter every week to our family for forty years until she became a resident of a nursing home. She wanted me to be a musician and sing solos. She pushed hard.

Dad was not encouraged to read or write. His poor farm family had little education and none of them except Uncle George graduated from high school. Most of them went to grade school, if they got that far. At an early age, they were put to work either at home or on loan as farmhands or housemaids.

Dad insisted I go to college. He didn’t care what I took. The Drake University College of Liberal Arts introduced me to life beyond Mitchellville, my little hometown. My grade average was 3.67. From Drake, I went to Garrett, a graduate school of theology of the Methodist Church. I was ordained in 1961. My new bride and I moved to our first full-time appointment in the Methodist ministry.

I wrote many sermons in the ministry. I enjoyed writing them and, to some extent, preaching them. But sermons are designed to teach the Biblical story and inspire holy living but, not necessarily, to inspire the writer to bare that which is deep inside him. Whenever I was moved to let what was inside out in the hopes of being either inspirational or pedagogical, the act of preaching inspired some of my parishioners to try to be pedagogical with me. I wasn’t any more enthusiastic about pedagogy from them than they were to receive what I had to give.

I’ve found since being in Pan Writers under Bryan’s gentle guidance that writing is about letting the deepest emotion of my soul breathe free. It’s about releasing the observations, loves, and hates of the author’s life. Writing is a way of opening one’s self in interaction with other humans. It’s about naming what thrills and moves us in our lives. Writing is an emotional act, a releasing act, a creating act. Good writing is like all creative endeavors: it breathes and has a life that can inspire more life. It moves us to name our loves and conquer our misconceptions and hates. It swerves us from the path of “my way is right and yours is wrong” to the road of “let’s help each other find a way that works”.

So, Roupen, your little class was an inspiration to spur me to do some thinking about who I am and why I write. I caught something from your presentation that moved me from beyond myself. I’ve got a few more years to think about it…a few more years to explore this amazing world…a few more years to write. Thanks!

The Wild Is So Close

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2020

Historically, “It’s the Water” was the slogan that heralded a beer brewed at the Tumwater/Olympia border in the 1800s. It had a long history, and some new owners, and things changed. Then it was sold and lay fallow for years. A disastrous spill of toxic oil from a thieving incident a year or so ago caused much damage to the Deschutes River that runs beside it. That has been cleaned and the walkway along the river on both sides is once again open to the public to walk and enjoy a little wild in the midst of city streets and freeway. This area was deeded to the city long ago, so it isn’t in the park system.

In November, we see Washington’s most rainfall of the year. This past November caused much concern among weather reporters and the public in general when it remained dry but for little sprinkles. But then came December with a big rain incident that caused the river to run full spate. We have loved the access to that river since arriving here in 2013 at Panorama. It is a fifteen-minute drive from our front door. And what a wild place.

It is the site of a fish hatchery that worked with salmon that came up the Deschutes for years. Now that fish hatchery is being updated and completely redone. Fish ladders run along the western side of the river to aid returning salmon up over the falls.

Fast forward to this month of January when another 4+ inch rain filled that watershed and river and what a flow! Panorama offered two outings, a day apart, for lunch at the restaurant that overlooks the river and falls, and a walk along the roaring river. This was truly a wild run

The view from the restaurant
One of the three bridges that span the river
Interpretive signs & displays are helpful to learn of the area’s history. There is also a native planting area that volunteers are trying to restore along the western side.
The padlocks are a new thing to us who have moved here from parts south. These proclaim undying love by those who wish & secure them. This view across from the eastern side looks to the fish hatchery that is being redone & should be ready by next fall’s salmon run.

No one can say that Panorama residents aren’t plucky!!! We often make quite a sight in our weather gear, and often look like dyed Easter eggs! We had some wind, some rain and it was quite cold, but nothing like the previous day’s outing that was brutal by all accounts. We enjoyed learning much history during lunch provided by Steve, who leads such fine outings for us.

We never really understood when relocating here to the Northwest that there would be such accessible wild areas so very close to us. It takes so little effort to get out and enjoy the environment. All seasons are special, but this raging river provided a wonderful day in our Olympia/Tumwater area in the dead of winter.

Resident Council at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. January 2020 

I was sorting through the kitchen bargains under the huge white tent.

Above the excited chatter arose, “Hi, Mary Jo. I’m Bob Bowers, president of the Resident Council.”

Resident Council, what’s that? Who IS this guy? He has a Panorama name tag. Everyone greets me with my name these first two weeks. I smiled, but side glanced, “Oh, hi there. This is some Patio Sale . . . so organized.

Someone needs to fill me in on “resident council.”  We had student council at Providence High in San Antonio before I entered the convent.

So, what have I learned since that day in July 2011?

Panorama’s 140 acres is divided into 18 districts, each district electing one representative on the Resident Council for a three-year term. The council elects a president and vice president who appoint a secretary and treasurer. Monthly meetings are open for residents in our Quinault Auditorium, but our Panorama Channel 370 also televises them for closed-circuit viewing the next week.

The Resident Council (RC) is a liaison between residents and the Panorama Corporation. We residents are welcome to use equipment in the RC office, including:

  • Copy machine, including color!
  • Laminator
  • Three-hole punch
  • Laptop computers
  • Stapler

A volunteer is always there to help us.

Resident Council sponsors many of our activities and organizations. These are just a few examples of what they sponsor:

  • Activity Fair showcases the many activities offered and we are able to meet the volunteers.
  • Panorama Arts Guild shares, supports, and encourages creating and enjoying resident arts.
  • Bingo has winners twice a month in Quinault Auditorium
  • Clay/Ceramic Arts Studio promotes unusual, creative clay and ceramics activities.
  • Computer Learning Center (CLC) has up-to-date PC and Apple computers. Resident volunteers offer learning and enhancing opportunities.
  • Employee Appreciation Fund was established to thank eligible employees from residents.
  • State-of-the-Community Meetings and Forums are hosted by the Resident Council during the year to hear and question management and key staff on issues.
  • Garden Club provides the Pea Patch garden area for those enthusiasts.
  • Gifts, Etc. sells items handmade by over 100 talented residents.
  • Green Team promotes environmental sensitivity and wise use of energy and water resources, and promotes two on-campus recycling centers.
  • Lapidary Shop is for residents interested in cutting, grinding, polishing and displaying rocks.
  • Metal Shop has tools and equipment to repair and maintain metal objects and to create with metal.
  • Panorama Chorus provides opportunities for musical study, and for winter and spring performances.
  • Panorama Television Channel 370 is our closed-circuit Panorama broadcasting station delivering a great variety of resident-produced programming.
  • Readers’ Theater offers a venue for creative Panorama community involvement and entertainment through the spoken interpretation of the written word.
  • Resident Emergency Resources (RER) include:
    • Map your Neighborhood (MYN)
    • Panorama Pet Partners (PPP)
    • Emergency Communications Center (Radio Club K71F)
    • Storm Support Team
    • Disaster Supply Center
    • Crisis Support Team
  • Resident Council Transit provides free, on-campus transportation for residents, utilizing volunteer resident drivers and dispatchers.
  • Wood Shop is for all interested and qualified residents. Non-wood shopper residents may bring items needing repair!!

So do you think we kinda appreciate our Panorama Resident Council? I can’t think of a minute in the day when every resident does not benefit from our dedicated members. Thank you, Panorama Council members. Talk about blessings, all of us residents!

The “Blue” Zone

Written by Panorama residents, Alice Falter & Jim DeYoung. December 2019

There are a few places in the world that are known as the Blue Zone. The term refers to geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else. These regions are home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world. Although their lifestyles differ slightly, they mostly eat a plant-based diet, actively move about as part of their regular lifestyle, have good spiritual, family and social networks, and drink moderate amounts of alcohol.

More specifically, these people tend to (a) have a specific purpose in life, (b) are physically active, (c) eat healthier, and (d) have an active social network.

Each of these individual lifestyle factors have been associated with a longer life. By incorporating them into your lifestyle, it may be possible to add a few enjoyable years for you as well. You then share a like lifestyle with those people who live in the blue zones throughout the rest of the world. We might add that they also get enough sleep, an occasional nap, and that is okay.

There are specific areas or zones throughout the world that are considered Blue Zones. They include small communities in California, Costa Rica, Italy, Greece, and Japan. As diverse as these locations are, Panorama could be considered its own Blue Zone for its healthy lifestyle and number of individuals who, by living out the key characteristics listed above, are unknowingly creating their own Blue Zone.

There is a new structure in the Panorama Pea Patch, in the very back of the garden, with the words “BLUE ZONE” across the front of the structure. At the right time on Friday afternoons when the sun is shining, a group of gardeners are enjoying each other’s company as well as a touch of the vino – promoting the concept of living in a Blue Zone.

The Blue Zone structure is a place to meet with friends, or to just quietly sit and contemplate the surrounding gardens and/or the turning of the earth. The name of the C&R Garden is also being changed to the “Blue Zone Gardens” to promote the pleasure that flowers bring to a healthy lifestyle.

In summary, the Blue Zone is not a social club or organization, but is comprised of those individuals who live a lifestyle that includes one or more of the above characteristics.

Free Taxi Service?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2019

“Isn’t there a good movie today in the Panorama Auditorium?” I asked hubby Chris.

He opened our valued Panorama Newsletter to take a look at the Monthly Activities. “Oh, yes, it’s at 1:30 . . . The Imitation Game (2014) . . . ‘During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. Oscar winning, best screenplay.’”

“Sounds good. I’ll call Resident Transit for a ride.” I dialed 7725 on our house phone.

The afternoon resident transit dispatcher Kathy L. answered and asked, “Resident Transit, how may I help you?”

“This is Mary Jo Shaw. Do you have an opening for a 1:20 ride?”

“Oh, hi, Mary Jo, yes we do. Where would you like to go?”

“To the Panorama Auditorium . . . and for Chris, too. And I have a chair-walker.”

She asked our address, our phone number, and repeated the information I gave her.

“Would you like a ride back home later?”

“Yes, but I’m not sure what time the movie is over. I’ll call you when we’re ready.”

Two hours later, I could have dialed 7725 on the Auditorium lobby phone, but decided to call on my cell phone, making sure to include the area code and the complete phone number.

Again, dispatcher Kathy asked the same questions about when and where.

“Chris won’t need a ride. He’s going off campus.”

BUT what happened next?

I quickly said, “Kathy, wait! Maybe someone else would like to hop a ride too.” The lobby had a few residents visiting while taking jackets off the nearby rack.

I announced at a higher volume, “I have Resident Transit on the phone. Anyone else want a ride home? There’s room for two more.”

No takers, but resident Marcene O. quickly offered, “Oh, Mary Jo, I’d love to take you home. We can visit a few minutes on the way.”

“That would be fun . . . okay, thanks, Marcene.”

Dispatcher Kathy overheard our conversation. “That’s fine, Mary Jo. Have a good day.”

When Marcene and I arrived at her SUV, I stopped short. “Oh, Marcene, I forgot that I have this walker. It won’t fit inside your car.”

“Oh, yes, I’m sure it will.” Determined, she worked different positions . . . to no avail.

Marcene bent over, shaking her head with both hands, “Oh, Mary Jo, I am so very, very sorry. I’m so embarrassed.”

“Don’t worry, Marcene. I’ll simply call Transit back.”

She was still apologizing. I gave her a big hug. “It’s good as done, Marcene! Really, it’s no problem.” Disappointed, we still laughed at the situation. Dispatcher Kathy enjoyed the story.

Some residents with cars don’t realize the ease of Resident Transit every weekday from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.

I picked Dave F’s brain for information. Volunteer residents use the two Toyota Sienna vans, using just one van on alternate weeks. Panorama provides insurance, maintenance, gas and wash coupons, using about ½ tank per week. Two members of the committee refuel, wash and vacuum every other week.

Twenty volunteers average about 4 ½ hours. Most work two shifts each month. Some drivers laugh, “The ‘pay’ is not very good, BUT the riders are friendly and grateful, and that means a lot. We work ‘overtime’ on PATIO Sale weekend, and during special events when needed.”

They serve all independent living residents, and will transfer canes, walkers, and even owners with dogs to have fun inside our fenced, great dog park. 

Interesting facts:

  • A single shift might vary from a low of one driver to a high of 16-18 people per shift.
  • They will transport to the three city bus stops that are on Panorama’s campus.
  • Collegiality of volunteers: no feeling guilty or worry about coverage if you have a problem. You can “pay back” later … works great and is much appreciated.
  • They use the VSP (Volunteer Scheduling Program App) that is now shared with other volunteer groups!
  • Ten-minute intervals are all that is needed to make trips to anywhere on our 140-acre campus.
  • Chris and I have not driven since we gave up our car in 2012!

Residents with cars are encouraged to use the rides to realize how simple and convenient the system is. We never know when we might not be able to drive.

Dispatchers and drivers may work through their home, or take the special phone and clipboard with the schedule for the day wherever they want on campus. They know to be prepared and ready to respond for duty.

When my sister was visiting, we used the service to the Auditorium. She opened her purse and whispered during the 4-minute drive, “How much tip do we give the driver?”

I chuckled and told him her inquiry.

“Wow, how nice! I can’t believe it.”

Why Resident Transit?

Dave answers, “Dispatchers and drivers are there to assist Panorama residents to our best ability so that they can remain mobile and independent for as long as possible.”

I always thank my driver, “This one of the best conveniences and necessities on our campus!”

Thank you Panorama and your faithful volunteers who provide this service for us. We are blessed!

Art Guild Class – Pine Needle Basketry

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2019

As I played my weekly Monday background piano music a few weeks ago in Assisted Living, I learned about my friend Harriet Hunter. She has lived 20 years (since 1999) at Panorama and won third prize at the Thurston County Fair not long ago for her piece of ceramic sculpture. Panorama has an updated, beautiful ceramic studio where Harriet returns to “work” regularly. And this is at age 95! This reminded me of the Art Guild classes here at Panorama.

In “My Experience in Arts Walk 2019” blog, you read how excited I was about learning to weave a small coaster as an introduction for Pine Cone Basketry. Well, I showed up to the Quinault Lower Level Art Room with seven more residents who were as eager as I was. I’d been wanting to take the class of 12 hours spread out during several weeks, it didn’t work on my calendar. However, six hours on a Friday followed by another six on Saturday worked! All we had to bring was sharp, pointed scissors, needle nosed pliers, lunch and a minimal fee for materials! 

My unfinished pine needle coaster

We wove around a predrilled wooden center, learning the basic spiral stitch, a unique method of weaving, and created a very attractive-on-both-sides coaster. One woman will hang hers on the wall. I haven’t finished mine yet, but will display the unusual unique in-progress version for fun.

We were fortunate to have learned under resident Jim Shanower. Jim had coiled a pine needle basket he calls “Baleen Fantasy”, and won the Grand Champion Award in the Professional/Master Basket Maker Division at the 2019 Washington State Fair!

Jim Shanower’s Grand Champion Award in the Professional/Master Basket Maker Division at the 2019 Washington State Fair.

That’s the Arts Guild for you at Panorama. It sponsors classes and events throughout the year. They actually invite us to suggest what we are interested in each year. Ideas such as starting an ongoing still-life drawing group. Or more classes in drawing, watercolor or acrylic, fabric arts like wet felting and quilting, or woodworking, encaustic (using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay), jewelry making, glass slumping, etc.

In addition to the huge Arts Walk,the Arts Guild offers much more. Some samplings:

  • The Arts Guild professionally displays residents’ 3D Art in Panorama Hall’s large, shelved, clear case with the artist’s name and title of the piece for several weeks. I love to see the varying media.
  • Besides making and displaying our art, we are welcomed to the Art Happy Hour in our Seventeen51 Bistro. About 30 artists and supporters attend.
  • Every few months, volunteer Arts Guild members display different residents’ works that relate to an assigned theme in Seventeen51 Restaurant’s Gallery. The current theme is PUZZLES (see my blog “Lunch in the Gallery” from 11/12/16)
  • Not enough? Then there is the monthly Arts Guild Alternate Monthly Luncheon with enthusiastic speakers to inspire, present appropriate opportunities to attend, offer ways to exhibit, etc.
Gallery display fabric collage

Thanks to Panorama and the many artists who share their resources and offer us opportunities to continue, extend or discover our artistic talents. Just another addition to our list of THANKSGIVINGS here at Panorama!

Staring Down a Pumpkin

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2019

Up early . . . wearing wiggly skeleton earrings a piano student gave me 30 years ago, orange-flowered pullover shirt with black long sleeves, black leggings, pointy-hatted witch socks with my walker chair . . . I was off to Panorama Hall!

Russ Leno was the center of attention as he knelt on a 2-inch black sponge beginning to carve a huge pumpkin with various Halloween designs. Panorama had chairs arranged in a large semicircle. Josh had sent down from our Seventeen51 Restaurant long oblong platters of round brownies and generous-sized chocolate chip cookies ready for munching. I strolled over to the familiar large coffee machine stocked with packets of teas and hot chocolate. I greeted and sat next to Mary P. in her warm, beautiful teal pull-over, embroidered with shiny orange pumpkins and green-vined leaves.

After a sip of hot chocolate, Mary P. questioned, “Mary Jo, what do you suppose Russ is starting to carve?”

“Looks like maybe the tip of a witch hat.”

In the next few minutes, Russ jabbed, slit, shaved, flipped, dug, and changed knives often. Before long, a witch hat had long, fat strands of wavy “hair” emerging on the left side of a face, eventually repeated on the face’s right side.

Soon, two scary eyeballs bulged out below the hat. A large, long hunk of pumpkin remained in place. An appropriate, well-formed witch NOSE separated the two eyeballs and stretched down her face reaching the center of her mouth!

Little families of residents strolled in. We enjoyed their entertainment, especially Mary B’s little grandboys, about 3 and 7 in age. Their excited jumping, twisting, and skipping back-and-forth from the pumpkin’s new developing figurines put smiles on our faces.

The children paused with outstretched necks to study the almost gargoyle-looking little “trick-or-treater” Russ was whittling. The curved, thin knife, sculpted a mouth of two lined-up-in-perfect-rows of clenched teeth that extended from ear to ear. We chuckled. Maybe the three-year-old was expecting that the figure, now gripping a jack-o-lantern, would jump out and start chasing him!

Time flew by quickly as residents stayed long or short times for the socializing, refreshments, and gazing back at the pumpkin. They remarked on the speed and accuracy of the talented sculptor, the added entertainment of excited little ones, and the sharing of memories of our own childhood experiences -sometimes tricking whether we received treats or not!

Thank you Panorama for giving us more of the many events and displays across our campus, indoors and outdoors, in Panorama Hall, Seventeen51 Restaurant, Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center, Assisted Living, etc. We have something to look forward to and to wonder what would be on the plate for us again each year. You, executives, managers, workers, employees, and volunteers, thanks again.

Fall is Ablaze

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. October 2019

I am always amazed at the color palette that screams out at us from any viewpoint on campus. When we climb the stairs to the 5th Floor of Quinault building, looking for Mt. Rainier and doing exercise for the heart, the overview of campus is breathtaking. The dog walkers who are out more than twice a day surely take advantage of the wonder.

Each neighborhood has its own special array of different trees and bushes that go nuts in the Fall. A quiet walk in different neighborhoods after the grounds crew leave for the day will reward you with splendor.

While some of us take exception to the noise of leaf blowers, it is lovely to get our patios and walkways blown free of dead leaves. This time of year, Grounds folks must get crazy trying to keep up with the long pollen-encrusted pods that fall off some firs and litter the walkways. Our neighborhood has three remodels going full force, so the leaf blowers are lost in the construction noise of saws and hammers and tile cutters. The juxtaposition of back hoes and porta-potties aren’t enough to dull the delight of blazing trees.

The days are getting so short now and around the corner, daylight savings time will have us all reorganizing our minds and the feeding schedules of our family animals. They know stomachs and light, but not clock issues. We are getting more fog now and that also is a blanket that keeps sound muffled. It also seems to intensify some colors.

Too soon, the winter with its cold mornings will be here. That keeps most folks tucked into their homes, but NOT the energetic and committed work-out/gym folks who walk by on the way to the Aquatic and Fitness Center! Winds and rains will remove the deadening colors soon enough. So, we should really enjoy this amazing time of year.

Also coming will be the great pumpkin sculptor, plying his trade in the Panorama Hall lounge. This is always a fun activity. Gathering for a warm cider and watching the pumpkin chips fly as some magical creation pops out of the large pumpkin is always a treat.

So, let us move into the Fall time and get out and enjoy the sights and smells of Autumn on campus. Take time from your volunteer activities and meetings and entertainment activities to savor what our special community has to offer. I hope to see you out there!!!

Panorama Plays Hailey Ukulele

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2019

While I was alternating my crafting, visiting, and writing on my tablet at a table in Panorama Hall, a special couple was passing through and glanced my way. My arms beckoned, “You must come over.”

With teeth-showing smiles, Susan and René Hailey raced over to me.

I exclaimed, “We really enjoyed you entertaining us during the Panorama Birthday Dinner a few months ago. You played many familiar favorites. I also remember when you played here the first time, about two years ago.”

They were as eager for some information as I was about the ukulele classes they were teaching to the residents.

“Mary Jo, you live in the Quinault. What time do the doors to the building get locked from the outside?” They explained about their ukulele class, and how they’d like to have another class in the evening.

After we figured that seven in the evening might be a good time, I wanted to know more about their classes. I’d majored in music while in the convent 13 years, had a guitar, played and sang with a group of seven other nuns for fun and gigs. We were talking the same language.

“Tell me about your classes. I see residents coming to the Quinault with their instruments. Where do you assemble? How much do you charge?”

Susan responded, “Mary Jo, we have 25 residents interested currently. There’s no fee. We also give them fluorocarbon strings and a strap button.”

My eyebrows arched. “No fee? And what is fluorocarbon?”

“Fluorocarbon strings are made of top-grade quality.”

Oh, then everyone’s sound has the same quality, I would think.”

“Yes, and we installed the strings for them before the classes began. We meet in the newly renovated Seattle Room on the lower level of the Quinault every Thursday at one o’clock. The course lasts three months.”

 “So, how does the Seattle Room work out?”

They were both enthused and talked almost in unison. “We can teach lessons with new technology via laptop, through HDMI connectivity to about a 70” TV. At the first lesson, we have simple chords to learn and alternate slowly on a few simple chords with icons shown on the screen. The words have the chord names written exactly when to change chords.”

I laughed, “Just like we two nuns who played the guitar chords did for our group, but we had no such help. I balanced the piece of paper on my knee or on a chair in front of me. Tell me more.”

René explained, “The screen shows exactly what we are to play. We use the pointer if needed. Students can go home to get a print-out from our web of the songs and chords.”  

I recalled, “I know if you want to start a class, club, game group, things like that, Panorama will back you with the room. You’re a perfect example.”

Susan offered to use my tablet to show me. “All songs are available on our website for anyone. No fee/no sign-in.”

I was amazed with their website. Have a look: http://Haileyukulele.com

Partnerships Made in Heaven

Written by Panorama resident, Deborah Ross. October 2019

I am often asked what surprised me the most when I moved to Panorama. As the Resident Council’s Archivist, my answer recently has been that much of the residential amenities we take for granted have been shaped by partnerships between Panorama management and residents. 

A recent example is one that I’ve been intimately involved with. Fellow resident and friend Peggy Jamerson came to me with the idea of developing an interpretive panel that would commemorate the location of the David and Elizabeth Chambers pioneer homestead, currently the site of the Chalet apartment building. I thought it a great idea, and added that the Chalet building itself is an important example of mid-Century modern architecture. Peggy and I brought the idea to Panorama president, Matt Murry, who immediately offered Panorama’s financial and staffing support. We asked for and obtained a generous grant from the Lacey Historical Society and technical assistance from the City of Lacey. For the next two years, Peggy and I have worked with a wonderful team of designers, Panorama Operations staff, and local historians to bring the project to fruition. 

On October 3, Peggy and I had the great pleasure and honor of unveiling the “From Chambers to Chalet” interpretive panel. The panel’s text and images paint a rich portrait of our campus’s history, and I encourage you to visit it more than once as there is much to explore. But to Peggy and me, the project has also been a gratifying example of how Panorama’s management and residents work together to create something truly special. 

My Favorite “Parking Spot”

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2019

Sometimes I enjoy giving my tablet, craft scissors, and a book I’m currently reading a change of scenery, so I load up my walker, grab an elevator from 5th floor to 1st, and choose my “favorite parking spot” in our Panorama Hall. With the activity sign-up desk to my left, the lovely Chihuly glass fixtures above the huge fireplace looking out at the assortment of large couches, smaller couches, chairs, and magazines neatly lined up yelling, “Pick me, pick me!” I find the perfect round table with large windows of light to my back.

The armchairs to my left and to my right turn slightly to offer a seat to anyone wishing to visit.

While I “work” I have the perfect view of the “traffic” . . . residents and non-residents passing as a single or in groups. Today several dressed anticipating the Luau Dinner tonight. Others hesitated to study maps while they explored the campus on their own as new residents. I smiled as I recalled wearing out our own Panorama map in 2011. “Need some help?” “Oh, yes, the gift shop?”

The half-circular hallway makes a cozy, homey walk, but newbies don’t realize the banks, Gifts Etc., elevator & stairs to Seventeen51 Restaurant, the hallway leading to the Convalescent & Rehabilitation Building, and pharmacy are “just around the corner”.

After tapping out a full page on my tablet, I sensed an increase in volume of excited voices. I returned a nod and big smile back to a couple’s hearty wave. They strolled a few more steps, then jerked a quick U-turn and rushed over to me.

“You’re the lady who writes the blogs for Panorama’s web site! We always look forward to reading about Panorama, your decision to come, how you checked things out elsewhere before coming, and how your husband really didn’t want to come up from your home in Las Vegas to see retirement places in Washington.”

I offered a handshake. “So, you read that when I finally got Chris to come up and look, he whispered, ‘Maybe we’d better sign up!’”

After the laughter calmed down, the lady visitor exclaimed, “We just attended a get-together for other boomers on the ‘list’. We really don’t HAVE to move, but we want to come before we end up like our parents . . . poor darlings . . . they waited so long. Wish we had known about Panorama. They were in wheelchairs, not knowing anyone, unable to get to places on their own, and asking, ‘When can I go home?’ We want to get involved in the tons of activities here. Panorama has everyone getting around so easily. They all seem so happy. We can hardly wait to come.”

He added, “Yeah, and we have two cars. We aren’t ready to give them up, but maybe after we move here, we’ll think about getting along with only one. Do you have one or two cars, Mary Jo?”

“Oh, we haven’t had a car since 2012. We used it only one year. Figured we could be going places in a limo with the money we saved each year . . . insurance, tires, tune-ups, repairs, car washes . . .”

The couple looked at each other with raised eyebrows. “Don’t you miss a car?”

“Are you kidding? On weekdays, Panorama buses take us to grocery stores twice a day . . . and several different stores and shopping centers, no fee.”

“How do you get to church?”

“The Panorama bus takes residents to several churches . . . no fee. We pay only $3 for the trip to our Sacred Heart Catholic Church about three Sundays a month, but we’re praying we’ll be able to ride every Sunday before long, and no fee.”

They asked about other places the Panorama buses take us. Where would I start? I just dove in.

“They take us to Seattle and many other cities to events, operas, musicals, plays, lectures, sport games, shows . . . you name it. We do pay a reasonable fee for those trips. Panorama is always asking where we’d like to go. If enough people are interested, and we ask far enough in advance to get it organized, it’s written in the monthly Panorama News activity calendar.”

We chatted about 15 minutes, having answered many other questions. Finally, “Well, we’ve got to drive back home before it gets dark. So glad to meet you. Keep writing those blogs for us.”

Well, here you are!!

My Experience at Arts Walk

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2019

Our long-awaited day arrived: Arts Walk at Panorama on Thursday, September 5, 2019. 

The 5th floor elevator let us off on the first floor. After about 45 minutes, our table displayed my sets of autobiographies, Convent to Catwalk and the newly printed, Crossroads to Convent, and many all-occasion cards of tangles, paintings and sketches, including an 8” x 10” framed sketch by Chris. We glanced across our assigned area in the newly renovated Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center to the other tables. Judy Murphy fingered lovely background music on the shiny black grand piano.

From 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, current and perspective residents enjoyed the opportunity to share the amazing talent of our Panorama family. Most clutched a 12-page, easy-to-follow brochure providing maps, schedules, details, and locations throughout the campus.

Displays of 80 artists included painting, drawing, fabric art, basketry, woodworking, metalwork, quilting, weaving, clay arts, photography, jewelry and much more. Many sold their work.

Attendees could hear musicians at several locations on the campus on many different instruments after signing up for the optional on-the-hour campus shuttle from their home to all of the desired sites.

Back in our area where we were all day, chairs were set up for an afternoon group, South Sound Recorder Ensemble of nine residents. Also, the long performance of piano duets and violin works, which slowed down sales at our tables, was incredibly beautiful. At noon, two residents appeared with a mobile table. “Here are your bags of lunch!” My tummy growled a loud thank you for the pre-ordered, free for participants and volunteers,box lunch option.

“Whoa, Chris, look!!” I picked up one item at a time. “This huge tortilla wrap has turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese and dressing. A bottle of cold water and a big bag of jalapeno chips. My favorites!” Chris removed the lid from a container of melons, pineapple and grapes. “This makes a great dessert.” By that time, our Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro was already serving a buffet lunch at a reasonable price.

Jim Shanower, along with a couple of advanced students, demonstrated basketry made of long pine needles! For several years, I’ve wanted to learn it, but was too busy writing my books. When Jim said two openings were left for the next class, I was determined to be at the Panorama Activity Desk the next day. GREAT NEWS! I was the last of the eight student limit! The class would be four hours each on two days. I’ll let you know if I “passed” in a later blog!

The day went by fast. I was pleased with my book sales. The staff and volunteers cleared out the display tables, chairs, stand-up directional signs, etc. and ended the day with Happy Hour in Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Thank you Panorama staff, employees, resident volunteers, and all others involved for your generous help with supporting us residents who were able to share our music, performances, and writing skills. Blessed over and over once again.

Yoga & Summer Solstice

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. September 2019

Who are those crazy people still in the Pea Patch at 9:30 pm? We weren’t gardening; we’re yoga students celebrating the summer solstice on the longest day of the year. We enjoyed pleasant company in the beautiful gardens at twilight. We also did a little chair yoga and silent meditation. A good time was had by all!

We also had a summer workshop on self care with yoga. Our next event will be high tea on the Fall Equinox & then the Fall Meditation Retreat in October.

Yoga works on many levels. Foremost it is a spiritual practice, whatever your religious beliefs, because it quiets the agitation of the mind. We experience moments of inner peace and contentment through practice. Yoga trains the mind in concentration, which is a precursor to meditation – those transcendent moments of quiet mind and open heart. Compassion is an essential part of yoga as we realize the world is all one family.

And movement is what most people associate with yoga – twisting into pretzels. Of course, our practice is designed for seniors in a way that is accessible to all. In a recent survey the question was – how do you know your class is effective? I responded – because I see people moving like someone 20 years younger. It’s true!

Breath training is also an essential part of yoga. We all have dysfunctional breathing. Yoga helps release chronic constriction around the breath. Breath is the bridge between mind and body. It has a direct impact on emotions as well. Conscious breathing can quiet the mind as well as calm the emotions.

Students sometimes say I didn’t feel like coming this morning but I’m glad I did. I’ve heard that often over the years. Yoga becomes more effective and enjoyable the longer we practice. And, of course, we continually modify and adapt out practice to accommodate any limitations.

Come take a trial class and join the fun. You’ll be glad you did.

Wildlife

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. September 2019

It has been a fast-moving month here at Panorama. We are heading lickety-split into September. Some trees seem to be turning color early, especially in some of our hiking trips away from home.

The month has been full of animal happenings. We witnessed an eagle taking a bunny out on Golf Club Road on our eastern boundary. Meanwhile, I have been attending the summer lecture series at Nisqually Refuge every Wednesday evening and one night we had an overview of wolves in Washington.

What prompted this writing about wildlife was the fact that as I was driving friends home from our outing to Nisqually, a large coyote walked down the street I was turning onto. It was also where I had to walk after parking our vehicle. I took my hiking pole with the protective rubber cup off the bottom and headed for home. I figured that if it was lurking and watching me, I’d be ready to at least pound it across the snout, if not just jab it. I know, me the animal lover…..well….It was helpful to learn from the wolf evening lecture that wolves are really best suited to a woodsy habitat away from humans. Coyotes have become adapted to living within city limits and do very well in the urban interface. First People have always looked at coyotes as tricksters and very wily. Suffice it to say, I got home without another sighting.

What amazed me was the good condition of this animal. The one I had seen a month earlier in a friend’s backyard a few blocks away was leaner, smaller and obviously in the middle of a molt, looking very scraggly. The one in our neighborhood looked wonderfully fit.

Now someone on foot as tall as I am would never be approached, I assume. But a friend with a small dog on a leash (and we have so many wonderful little dogs as family members here in Panorama) has been followed by one or two coyotes on occasion. The “dog people” have been alerted about carrying rattling cans to scare a coyote off with the noise. I refer to these people affectionately as I consider myself a “cat person.”

This may alarm some folks, but I think it is a privilege to be able to live among the wild things. A doe and some fawns have been seen in our backyard and perhaps just moving away from a predator. The Chehalis Trail is our western boundary here at Panorama, and there is a fair amount of wildlife traffic over by Chambers Lake at our southern boundary.

It is one thing to enjoy wildlife on the outings and hiking trips offered to us, but it is totally another to experience some wildness right here in our neighborhoods. The seasons are changing and the coyotes and deer are finding it time to disperse to other regions. I am hoping we can give them the space they need to flourish, but not on our little family members!!!  Be alert and enjoy!