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.

Time Change Again!

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. March 2021

The COVID pandemic has seemed to squelch my writing somewhat, odd. But here comes the change in our clocks, just like clockwork! I am never ready for it. I know many of my early morning buddies aren’t either! So much better to wake in the light than to have light late and sometimes find oneself going to bed in the light.

When the talk around our nation comes to maybe scrapping the whole changing thing, I get hopeful. Now is the time of COVID, the days’ activities take on a new light, so to speak. Many of us railed at the closures of our beloved Panorama activities way back last year! Was it time change even then?? But here we are into year two.

I am not sure how we, personally, will embrace the opening up of activities. Panorama has been so successful at getting us all vaccinated; the percentages are amazingly high. We have not had the decimation of COVID hospitalized residents that so many communities have had to weather. The greater community we must deal with are way behind us in getting immunity. This leaves us with some real questions as to how active to get out there.

Everyone I have talked with has made new daily routines, not only to fill the hours, but to actually live comfortably without all the amenities. We have found ways to exercise away from the usual activities of hiking and such. The pool being open again has been a godsend. But I think we are all looking forward to putting the fun stuff back on the calendar and making room for friends and outings.

We have all become intimately acquainted with our yards and the doings of the wild things. I watched a hummingbird scour around the trunk of our huge Douglas fir at the side of our house, just outside the office window. Usually, those little guys work the camelias and mahonia for nectar, so this must be the protein source from little bugs, gnats and spiders? Time surely slowed down.

Now we are hearing of the “reopening” of some things on campus. We are ready and we can stop telling new neighbors how “it used to be.” They always say,” But we don’t know what we have missed,” so they are all in for a treat! If the auditorium can get a procedure for ½ capacity and a repeat for the other ½ of those folks who wanted to see whatever was offered, it will be a great new day!!!

Patience has been a watch-word over this long haul. And we will be marking time for a bit longer. But the sun is out and going into the blooming spring time at Panorama is such a spirit lifter. We look forward to some use of the restaurant again, though they have done yeoman duty providing delivery of hot meals and lunches and heat/serve meals for later. Panorama has been so great at keeping those employed that wanted to be.

Let us all hope that we can live and prosper as things try to settle into a “normal,” whatever that may be. We all are resilient and have been wise in minding the difficult behavior changes that have been necessary. We can keep our Panorama safe and friendly; we know how to do that! Just some thoughts on a soon-to-be-spring with clocks changing.

Yoga: A Moving Meditation

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. February 2021

We are still under quarantine and have not held classes in a year. Panorama is doing an excellent job keeping residents and staff safe. Many students are practicing at home with audio recordings, some practicing daily! It is time for the spring meditation retreat and again we will send out audio recordings and instructions for people to follow at home. Hopefully, the fall retreat will be back in our chapel. Students miss our quarterly social gatherings almost as much as class. We bond with each other in silence during practice, and then enjoy the companionship when we get together.

People commonly think yoga is about stretching into different positions. We do that of course, but that’s the least of it. Yoga is really about inner peace, and that comes from a steady, calm and focused mind. Many people say they can’t meditate but they have no problem moving. Yoga postures are really a moving meditation. The yoga mat is a great place to cultivate energy flow and breath, both of which focus and quiet the mind. The mat becomes a refuge for peace and contentment.

Mind and body are inseparable. We can work with the body to release chronic tension, improving energy flow, quieting the mind. We can practice breathing to steady both mind and body. And we can do meditation observing our thoughts and their effect on the body. There are many different gates to enter the experience of yoga, not to mention the collective group experience. The shared silence is a healing balm. You don’t have to be good or accomplished; everyone works at their own level. And the fruit of practice does not end when class is over, but we integrate into daily life – walking, gardening, housework, relationships. We get insight into our experience of life, how to use the body harmoniously, aware of the thought process and emotions. They say we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are. As we deepen in yoga practice, we begin to see with greater clarity and speak and act with greater discrimination. We become more grounded, centered, and in touch with reality in the present moment.
Training our awareness is really essential for aging – to remain alert, prevent falls, and stay engaged with life. We can practice at any age; we simply modify and adapt practice to fit our own needs. Yoga is about embodiment, making friends with this body we live in, and listening to the wisdom of our bodies. This takes practice and the rewards are well worth it.

New Tool Available for Panorama History

Written by Panorama Resident Archivist, Deb Ross. February 2021

Last November, during my webinar on mid-Century modern architecture at Panorama, there were a number of requests for a map that would show the build-out of neighborhoods and key buildings on our beautiful campus. I am excited to share that resident mapmaker Brian Hovis has now created an interactive map that provides this information and more. The map uses tools developed by the ESRI mapping service and is available at this external site: https://hovisross.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/minimalist/index.html?appid=bf19cb307a6847d991dc3ab8fc628940

For readers with access to Panorama’s Kya portal, the map can also be accessed from the “Map” page under the “More” menu heading.

The map is color coded for the seven decades of our existence, with over thirty zones representing the build-out dates of neighborhoods and key buildings. I need to add that this task was not “a walk in the park,” as there is no one-stop repository for this information. I am grateful to and relied on many sources, including Berta Kasmar’s history of Panorama, early videos preserved by the Panorama television crew, scrapbooks and notebooks, and Jeff Sprengel’s collection of photographs and newsletters. Errors, however, are my own! 

2020 Holiday Offerings at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2020

Where do I begin to tell the story of holiday happenings on our campus? I can’t possibly mention all of them, so here are some that I personally experienced.

Hallway Door Decorating Contest

Nicki, manager of our three resident apartment buildings, sent notices for the hallway door decorating contest. All residents in their respective building may vote on the assigned days. We simply walked the halls with our included ballots and selected one door for each of four categories: Most Clever, Best Theme, Most Festive, and Your Favorite. Designing our Quinault building door drew me to my craft room. Something simple, with Christ, the real meaning of Christmas: our HOPE of 2020.

Holiday Greetings

Resident Paul E. from Panorama TV studio welcomed residents, activity groups, and staff to give a shout out solo or as a group. I shared a quick story of the year Mom asked us six girls whether, instead of getting lots of gifts, we would like to purchase a nice manger/creche scene. We unwrapped Mary, Joseph, infant Jesus, and sheep, shepherds, kings, camels and one angel. We would have it as a legacy for future family generations. I followed my story with the photo of our hallway-door decoration. Paul produced the final great total product! Thanks so much, guys.

Videos Filming Campus Holiday Lights

We were mesmerized with the night scenes, as well as the daytime and other fun holiday views, taken from the ground and from the air!

Staff Parade

Lead by one of our Panorama buses catching our ears with snappy high-volume carols, we could watch from our patio, balcony, driveway, window or any curb as our staff drove with assorted, clever decorations wishing everyone a safe holiday/Christmas season.

Turning of the Tide

Apartment manager Nicki sent notices to each building resident. Residents constantly call or email staff to say thank you and comment on changes in the buildings. “Do not underestimate the power of positive words in your life as well as the lives of others.” On each floor’s bulletin board next to the elevator, we found cards provided to write on and post our expressions of what we are grateful for. We will continue this well into 2021, making this “not just a Season of Gratitude, but rather an on-going Tide of Gratitude…” I love viewing the hallway resident door decorations and reading each floor’s added thank you notes. Thank you, Nicki, for the great idea.

Large Christmas Balls from Christmas Cards

Carolyn O., Quinault resident and Resident Council District Representative, sent us handout/instructions to make beautiful balls attached to a long ribbon. She offered to give Zoom help (everyone’s COVID mental health saver, right?). I see them hanging on several hallway doors.

Seventeen51 Restaurant’s Generous Banquet & Staff’s Bag of Goodies ­

You’ve gotta read Sandy Bush’s blog about these gifts!

The 4th Annual Holiday Giving Tree

Megan Vu from our Office of Philanthropy says “The miracle of the holidays is spread through the joy of caring and sharing – and not even COVID-19 can stop us from supporting local families in need.” Panorama has again partnered with three major service centers. Residents used Megan’s simple instructions for selecting a “Giving Tree” item, and after shopping, delivered them to our Panorama screening station for proper distribution.

Zoom Live Musical Concerts

Twice a week, our Lifestyle Enrichment Department alongside Office of Philanthropy presented performers from Emerald City Music with viola, violin and cello; jazz and classical piano; and flute. Other concerts included unusual talent on saxophone; flute; duo violin and cello; and classic singers. An Elvis Christmas with his look-sound-passion-alike is always a winner. Finally, a Christmas crooner who independently became an international entertainer entertained our apartment too. Talk about being blessed!

Dressing Panorama for 2020 Christmas/Holiday

Panorama went all out to make this year special with extra holiday decorations including more wreaths, Hanukkah menorahs on each floor, and Christmas trees with extra numerous lights and glittering beautiful balls, inside and outside our buildings. I’m looking forward to next Christmas when we will be considered for a Christmas creche/manger scene on each floor on the Advent days leading up to Christmas.

Some say we are spoiled. I say we are blessed above and beyond.

The Holiday Reception in COVID Time

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2020

We are about to bid adieu to 2020 with the ravaging changes in our lifestyles necessitated by the coronavirus. All of us have been impacted in some way. The amazing thing is that it hasn’t run rampant throughout our community and our neighborhoods! I am crediting our Administrative team in being so far ahead of the curve in preventing widespread and disastrous outcomes from this complex and virulent disease.

Well, step forward to the lovely Resident Holiday Reception that we have enjoyed every year for seven years since moving into Panorama!  Meeting friends from all over the extended campus and enjoying food and treats from Administration is always such a lovely outing and get-together! To be kept at home during this holiday time was going to impact the general holiday spirit.

But wait, even this has been facilitated by folks who have always cared for and about us. This year though, it presented itself at our doorsteps instead of Panorama Hall and Seventeen51 Restaurant! A duo of excursion buses all dressed up in holiday bows with doors open and music playing visited every one of us in the extended community and the three apartments this week of December 14th!!!! 

Such a wonderful assortment of appetizers, salad, main course for heating, eggnog to mix to our liking and then the box of dessert goodies arrived and was delivered to our doors by sprites in elf rig or floppy dog ears and Santa hats!

This was such a bright warm thing to do this week. Each neighborhood will be visited, and that involved a lot of logistics! All week the Seventeen 51 Restaurant elves will be very busy along with tremendous support staff to cook, bake and package fun treats and a collection of holiday recipes in a lovely community cookbook!!! I can’t even imagine the effort put into this wonderful holiday remembrance of times past.

admin

Now it is time to thank fellow residents for closely following the guidelines set by our Administrative team to keep us all safe while trying to keep our spirits up!!! And give a big shout out to all involved in this massive holiday delivery of cheer!!!  We are so very appreciative and while we continue to observe the masking and distancing protocols, we will wait for the vaccine program to further protect our special community. There really isn’t a better place to be during this scourge!!

Panorama’s Dog Parade

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2020

This year, I felt a little odd not being eager to select a mask for October 31, 2020! Looking forward to covering my face seemed an OXYMORON. But what got me up in the morning was the Panorama DOG PARADE. Having experienced animals in near-traumatic instances as a child, I’ve grown to love looking at cute puppies and kittens, but sometimes hesitate to touch. However, our granddaughter’s big Labradoodle George and I share our affection with big multiple hugs when we visit.

My iPhone read 100% power when I showed up in front of Panorama’s main building entrance, where the dogs began their big show off. Some were more interested in the other pooches than posing for my camera. Except for the dogs visiting dogs, we were all social distancing, of course.

Several dedicated masters had dressed their pets in a Seahawks navy, gray, and white jacket or wrap. Go Hawks!

One pooch donned a wide black, soft fuzzy pad on his back with three or four, one-inch-thick long, trendles (representing legs) hanging down each side so the dog looked like a huge black spider. Clever!!

As kids, we called our neighbor’s dog a “wiener” dog, but I Googled . . . a Dachshund flaunted a perfect black and orange Batman outfit.

I came home with a photo of a wheeled-walker draped with orange & black fabric & pushed by a resident, who was disguised in a large orange jacket, black knit hat, sunglasses, and a long, Halloween scarf face mask. I can’t decipher who the person is!! Actually, the clothing is what we usually see when we walk outside daily during COVID. Anyway, his/her beautiful, jet-black, shiny dog sported an orange and black scarf stylishly tied on the side of the neck!

During COVID, my normally very short hair has grown long enough for a curly ponytail. It’s challenging to spend so much time shampooing, conditioning, and water caring for it. But when I eyed the two most beautiful long-haired Collies?! Suddenly my hair didn’t seem so long.

I’m including the photo of a white Poodle looking so regal and posing majestically. Be sure to take a close look at the costume of the disguised person at the other end of the Poodle’s leash!

I wish I could include all the darlings, the German Shepherds, and the various breeds of little Yorkies. I felt I could have hugged each one, but the parade had to march on.

God has blessed us with animals which feel our emotions of joy, loneliness, entertainment, sadness, and illness. And we may cuddle them all year round.

Thank you, Panorama, for drawing us out once again – for the anticipation and experience of enjoying our lovely, autumn, sunny afternoon of fun and visiting, at a distance, of course! Eyeballing many seasonal masks gave us a pick-us-up during the challenges COVID-19 in 2020.

My Drawing Ticket – A Grand Piano

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2020

In the treasured years of formation in a convent for 13 years, I looked forward to our group wheeling the retired nuns to our postulate study room to play cards or games. It was a win-win, although very elderly Sister Helen left happy, only if she had won! I loved volunteering to play with her and escorting her back to her room to hear . . . through her loose dentures, “I have a 100% track-record of winning . . . every time I come!”

I’d smile. “O-h-h, ye-s-s, Sister Helen!”

Getting along well with the aged, I loved hearing stories of before and after they were nuns. I have visited the convent many times after leaving and still communicate and receive their quarterly newsletters.

My fondest dream has always been to share my music with residents in retirement homes. After I was married, I had many talented students of all ages coming to our home before and/or after school, even on Saturday mornings.

Was it permissible to call the retirement homes asking to allow my students to entertain? Would the parents be available and willing to take the children at the appropriate day and time? You’ve probably heard that we are to work as if it all depended on us, but to pray as if it all depended on God. I stormed heaven for an answer.

About ten minutes later, Wendy showed up for her daughter Elise’s piano lesson. Wendy asked, “Mary Jo, we just moved my mother into that nice new retirement center about a mile away from you. The activity director is looking for entertainers of all kinds. We love your recitals . . . your students always play well, and selections are fun with lots of variety. Would you consider having your students perform about a half hour?”

My jaw dropped. I shared how I had just finished my prayer.

“Sounds like an answer to your prayer.” Wendy and Elise said in unison. “I won’t say anything to the director, Mary Jo. I’ll just let you take it from here.”  What memories!

That was then. This is now:

In 2011, hubby Chris and I toured and retired at Panorama. During our initial tour, I was drawn to the shiny black grand piano in the newly opened Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center (C&R). WOW! I wonder if I will be able to play that piano if we move here.

Many residents are drawn to Panorama because of their interests and hobbies, such as their green thumbs aching to exercise planting and harvesting in the large Pea Patch area. Woodworker and metalworker ears eager to hear the buzz of their own saws and machines in our organized, well-kept woodshop & metal shop. The well-equipped art and weaving studios for classes given by professional residents! A dedicated BLOG of our two auditoriums would necessitate shorting if describing all that residents experience: choirs, recitals, talent shows, Readers’ Theater, resident-written plays, professional concerts, movies, lectures . . . you get the basic idea!

Then there is the Aquatic & Fitness Center! And our own many announcements and campus-videoed events to view or review on Panorama TV Channel 370. Oh, yes, and our library?  An extensive remodeling invited residents who didn’t read much to check out and enjoy books. The selections, varieties of books and reviews on their own website make it easy to use and reserve, if desired. Residents and former librarians train helpers, and on, and on . . . how did I digress onto that bunny trail?

Back to tickling my piano keys . . .

Would you believe? I never realized my major volunteer service here could be entertaining my background piano music for resident activities! These include monthly birthday dinners and other events held in our Seventeen51 Restaurant.

It was the first time I played in our Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center recreation/lunchroom, when a resident wheeled in his chair (almost touching the piano) to listen. At the end of 45 minutes, I tapped OFF on the electronic piano. He leaned forward, “Oh, won’t you please play that Nocturne again?”

I responded, “If they let me come play again, I certainly will!” And I did, many times. On Mondays I look forward to playing my favorite inspiring hymns and compositions shared during our Catholic communion service in our chapel.

My repertoire varies for 45 minutes to make sure to include something for each resident in Assisted Living: jazz, old-time favs from several eras, boogie, classics, rags, waltzes, tangos, inspiring, etc. A bit disappointing, since there is never enough time to play all I have selected!

Most often, residents come to the piano and whisper, “Mary Jo, we just love your variety of pieces . . . and the way you play. Thank you so much!”

The more I simply make others happy by sharing the gift of music, the more joy I receive. I pray to be able to bear all of my godsends from my convent days until to the present, especially for my 55 years of teaching music.

During COVID, I practice piano and patience, but feel empty not getting to play and distribute my joy to others. Those gifts are what kept me eager to get up in the mornings. Truly I’ve been blessed over and above. Thank you, Panorama!

The Longest Summer

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. September 2020

This 2020 summer may be the longest one we have ever experienced, to say nothing of the spring! When the Coronavirus shutdown began, it seemed an inconvenience and the thought that things would even out and return to normal would be just a matter of a few months.

Now we are in September. 6 months of the shutdown of our favorite activities here at Panorama are behind us. Many of us have cleared out many old closet issues and drawers that needed trimming up or down. Well, some of that took a long week. Then the reality set in.

Long unread books from our shelves found themselves in the “to read” stack as we worked down them. Then we got to reading already read books that we loved. Now that libraries are opening in truncated fashion, we may get some new ones to read!

It turns out that we are grateful for living in a community with a caring administration. Enough to really put strict plans in place for day to day living. The restaurant, being closed, ramped up for meal delivery for lunch and dinner. Shopping for those who can’t drive began in earnest. Where the Lifestyle Enrichment department was arranging fun outings in the old days, they have stepped up to provide grocery shopping and delivery.

Our wonderful bus drivers were repurposed to deliver mail and packages to keep outside traffic down to a minimum. Then they were occupied with screening at locations for use of the pharmacy and bank and for outside workers who check in every day. We all miss the outings with this great bunch, but it is so good to see that they are still employed!!!

Now some of us have worked our way through puzzles that accumulated over time and that has been fun. Those of us who are sport nuts have had a long dry spell, and I just couldn’t watch the national corn hole competitions that some TV channels were running.

So, as we creep into fall, we will see how football manages this pandemic. It will be a fine adjunct to my day, at least, to watch empty stadiums and actual football. Yes, I am a pro football nut and the colleges are trying to decide if they will have a season this year or move it to spring.

We are also grateful for the boost from the return of Kia, our welcoming totem, who is back on her plinth in McGandy Park. She was gone so long for refurbishment. It makes me smile to walk past her on a daily walk. Getting out in the air with a mask and walking has saved many of us from losing what little minds we have left!!!

It was good to see the Walk the Loop activity back for July in a truncated fashion. It has been full-blown in August and September, but with 7 AM to 7 PM times, distancing and masks, and the delightful trivia stations on the bollard lights! A weak excuse for the rousing Trivia nights in the restaurant bistro, but a nod to simpler times.

Another plus of more outside walking is meeting new folks who have joined our merry band in these trying times. They are probably tired of stories we old hands tell of trips out, and lunches and dinners and hikes taken when driven in our buses! We just all hope there will come a time when these activities return and the auditorium can again show movies and have entertainment come in from outside!!!

The Panorama campus is sprouting more bikes, three-wheelers and other devices as folks try to get back to exercise. With the gyms closed at present, home exercises always seem harder to do. Then the pool opened under a strict usage formula and it is wonderful to do 45 minutes of laps again. I’m so grateful, as it is a real boost to re-habbing my fractured/repaired elbow.

This summer has brought us periods of warm to hot weather and as I wrote this, we are due for another 8 straight days of 80s to maybe a 90-degree day or two! With the heat has brought many wild fires in our state and then south of us in OR and CA . . . and we count ourselves so very thankful that we are tucked into a protected environment.

No one I have talked with enjoys this shut-down time, especially as we look at the dark winter hours approaching. But we find that we are an island of safety here by way of procedures put in place to protect us. We are all trying to connect with shut-ins among us as this is a harder time for them.

So the longest summer on record, in my book, is coming to a close. I look forward to the gray and rainy days. Time to get the old flu shot and wait patiently for the new one, if they can make one work. We live in interesting times. Let’s all keep our spirits up as best we can . . . and this too shall pass.

Meditation

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2020

Classes are suspended until the COVID situation resolves. I have been recording audio practices for students to follow at home. My annual summer workshop was recorded as well & posted for students to listen. If need be, we will do a virtual session for the Fall Meditation Retreat.

How many retirement centers hold meditation retreats? Very few I would guess, and we are one of the leaders in the field. With over 3,000 papers and research studies showing the benefits of meditation, it’s well worth it. Invariably participants comment on what a difference the group experience makes. Each person’s presence supports everyone else. Not to mention that meditation and yoga postures are two wings of the same practice, and many students do both.

One of the greatest benefits of meditation is that we realize we are not our minds. Fortunately! We can have a distinct (even if momentary) experience of pure awareness beyond the mind. We all love those moments of inner peace and quiet. But most of the time, the mind continues its job of generating thoughts. Our work is to observe those thoughts, seeing how they influence the choices we make.

It is essential for students to feel safe in yoga class, both physically and emotionally. We use walls, chairs and other props for support when needed. There is no forcing, competition or judgment around our practice. We’re all students. We’re all in this together. In addition, there is continual emphasis on concentration, presence and breath awareness as we practice. In this safe and relaxed atmosphere, students can thrive.

Connie Ruhl is retiring from leading the chair yoga class. Connie began teaching in 2009 and has since taught many classes and workshops here for our community. She will still be involved in the meditation retreats and the New Year’s workshop. Thank you Connie for a job well done!

Welcome to Lynn Erfer, the newest member of the Yoga Team. Lynn did yoga training in Sacramento and Santa Cruz, California, Maui, Hawaii and Lacey with Firefly Yoga. She taught various fitness and movement classes at Island Spirit Yoga, the Hyatt Regency and the YMCA, including gymnastics, core fitness, belly dancing, swimming and yoga. Lynn loves teaching yoga classes because of the benefits a balanced practice provides to students, such as enhanced breathing, improved focus, better balance, as well as increased flexibility and core strength. She is excited to share her passion for fitness and yoga with Panorama students so that they too can experiences these benefits.

Washing Window Watch

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2020

Yea! Window washing day!!

NO! Not by me! I’d rather wade in my piles of stuff filling my craft room, or play a couple of hours at my piano in our family room, or spend hours writing blogs and books tapping on my tablet. In previous years during window washing day, I’d been in one of our auditoriums attending performances or lectures, entertaining piano background music during various happenings or visiting in our park, or enjoying the free coffee (and often cookies) in Panorama Hall. I had assumed our outside apartment building windows were washed with a squeegee and left to dry.

Another big, NO!

This time, we were experiencing stay-at-home months of COVID-19. Quickly jumping out of bed, I was eager to shower, dress and welcome the washing event from our 5th floor balcony at 8 a.m. with my iPhone . . . for the first time! I was a senior kid in a candy store! I snapped at least 30 photos to share for this blog and to send some to my families and friends.

Seth started on the building side perpendicular to ours. We’d be the last row of the two building sides. He worked his way down a fifth-floor apartment to the fourth, third, second and finally, first floor. The cherry picker moved him back up to the adjoining apartments.

Without missing a beat, he washed quickly as he conversed with residents who had come out onto nearby balconies with built-in-six-foot distancing to snooper-vise! Speaking at top volume over the large hum of the rolling cherry picker machine below (on the parking lot asphalt in the otherwise quiet Saturday 8 o’clock cool morning), chats were easily overheard!

When Seth finally made it to our windows, I joked, “Hi, I’m Mary Jo! I hadn’t visualized you would be so close to OUR balcony. I’m taking photos for the Panorama BLOG. I hope it’s okay with you!”

His big smile and wave to the camera spoke louder than the machine’s roar. He posed quickly with his drying towels. But what he asked next surprised me. “Would you like to get on board?” (I certainly would have, but at 81….well?? Besides, I figured he was teasing.)

Changing the subject quickly, I asked, “You seem so efficient and do such a good job. How long have you been washing windows?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” he proudly announced. “This is my 20th year, and I really enjoy doing it, BUT…this is my 15th year at Panorama. And I sure do look forward to coming here.”

Just another perk for us. Thanks for this blessing, Panorama!

Posting the Positives

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2020

Today presented no excuses for anyone “bored” at Panorama! I sprang out of bed, showered, and donned my bright yellow t-shirt with a slogan in black lettering:

WALK THE LOOP GROUP

Why? IN A NUTSHELL…for 2 reasons:

First reason!

For the last four years, residents have walked the ½ mile loop around our McGandy Park on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 in the evenings in August (and several weeks longer, depending the weather). Everyone was welcomed! Some arrived on walkers, electric scooters, or were caretaker-aided. Others made the effort to do part of the loop and then sat on benches or walkers to greet and enjoy the passersby. More energetics did multiple laps.

Around the loop, residents Kris and Dave had faithfully posted themed trivial questions we’d try to answer. It was neither a race nor a prize for the most loops, but each week we checked a large updated poster with how many laps each resident had done!! Each did what each could do. Amazing how much our endurance improved week to week!

So, what happens in 2020 with COVID-19?  This is not an event for distancing. But leave it to brainstormers! The announcement was out. On Wednesdays, the slogan tweaked to a clever:

WALK THE LOOP

BUT NOT IN A GROUP!

Instead of one hour, we’d walk anytime from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I packed my iPhone and ice water into my walker and punched ONE in the elevator from 5th floor Quinault Building and headed out for the…

Second reason!

McGandy Park’s large Y-shaped sidewalk was having a complete repaving! Because of the noise, I knew no one could hear the “Wow!” I yelled under my mask as I neared the west entrance to the park. A huge stabilizer/reclaimer’s rotor blade had already cut and pulverized at least 30 yards of the old pavement. I looked forward to observing each part of the three days of fun, learning how the repaving happens, and snapping photos.

I mused at how many rolling or electric walkers, footsteps and stories the briefly exposed dirt had heard and counted after so many years! Until next time! Just posting the positives of Panorama! Blessings!

In My Eyes Photography

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2020

So little new stuff to say, so much time to say it? No, not at Panorama. Lots of new, clever, creative things to talk about and do! For instance, for six weeks, Panorama Lifestyle Enrichment planned In Your Eyes Photography Project. Each week had a theme that our photo should relate to. The notice on our resident portal called Kya stated all residents were invited, not just experienced photographers. I was excited; I’m not a pro, but love to take tons of photos.

We looked forward to watching our Panorama closed-circuit Channel 370 or to tapping computers at any time to view the slideshow. The creative interpretations were snapped all over our campus.

Week one’s theme? Heart. I was amazed at the many entries! The first photo showed Patricia at her sewing machine lovingly making some of the over 3,000 face masks for others. Then there was the cute brown teddy bear with a red heart on its chest. Hearts were tucked inside decorations year-round, hanging on hallway door-hooks in the Chalet, Chinook, and Quinault buildings.

Even though I keep remarking on how our campus reminds me of the lush beauty of pictures of the Garden of Paradise, I must admit, I did not realize how many leaves were in the shapes of hearts! All shades of solid greens, red and green combinations, etc. Plantain Lilies shot up from heart-shaped greens outlined in cream. There was the ironing board striking a pose on its straight edge wearing a covering with outlines of various colors of hearts!

Week two sent us looking for Beauty. I smiled viewing the first photo: a headshot of a resident honoring her beautiful, serene, soft-smiling mother. Her bright red lipstick and lovely hairdo announced the 1920s era.

With over 600 varieties of flowers on our Panorama campus, many are difficult to find, hiding in unusual corners, small and inconspicuous, or seen for a short time.

Magenta roses as large as my hand appeared too gorgeous to be real. (Remember the last time you spotted a nylon rose and asked if it was real or artificial?) We viewed at least 4 versions of tulips, violets and pansies. Then the strong red chrysanthemum morifolium with large bright yellow center! This week’s slideshow was bulging with real winners.

Week three featured Support interpretations. Most were various fun plant-supports for tomatoes and flowers. Purple, red, orange, yellow vined-blossoms hung from patio rafters, arches, and a gazebo!

I snapped a photo in the driveway of Bill’s garden home. Oversized black hand-grippers supported a 3-foot long paper sign with 1-inch wording to a pole in his driveway: “Why can’t your nose grow twelve inches long? Because it would be a foot.”

So clever was the photo of the label in an undergarment that read SPANX!!! Talk about support!

I couldn’t resist sending a picture of an intersection on campus that gives resident and off-campus drivers great support.

One of my favorites was the last slide of a resident leisurely lounging while he was supported in a large, heavy-duty hammock in the shade of a tree . . . in a lush green lawn (manicured by Panorama Grounds crews, of course).

Fourth week’s slide named CHANGE began with a comfortable outdoor Panorama bench covered with about 2 inches of snow, immediately followed by a dramatic photo of outdoor bright shades of autumn oranges, yellows, browns, and reds! And then cleverly returning to the snow bench again!

Someone had arranged four different Lime Leaves in seasonal colors: one in dark green, the second in multi-colors from yellow to lime to brownish red, the third in red with a splash of yellow, and the last in white!

From our 5th floor balcony, we have panoramic views above tall treetops of the Northwest skies. I snapped both a beautiful blue sky punctuated with large fluffy white clouds AND, in the same view, heavy dark gray clouds ready to explode. 

I noticed the big contrast in a simple photo of an empty outdoor bench (COVID-19!) to the complicated photo of the large construction of our Assisted Living addition.

As week six approached, I was disappointed the project would be ending.

It’s poked me more than just a nudge to get outside, despite my never-ending TO DO fun list at home. Writing for many venues, including this monthly blog, my new in-progress book, Goofies and Goodies, piano practice a couple of hours, strolling outside while my walker appreciates the beautiful perfect sun, cleaning our humongous small floor plan which I sincerely love, trying and mending new recipes, climbing over and cleaning up the mess when I’ve turned over a TV table with unfinished projects in my tiny craft room, keeping clean the great love-to-look-through 5th floor window-view of tree tops. I had to reread this last paragraph to find out what blessings I have been numerating. Oh, yes, why I needed the poke to get out for the In Your Eyes Photography Project!

But just recently, the Lifestyle Enrichment Department has listed more themes to interpret! Yea! I wanna get outside!

Remember going to drugstores or Kodak kiosks with our films to be developed, paying extra for “next day pick-up”, then being disappointed with the color, angle, or lighting? Sometimes I take for granted the ease of grabbing my iPhone, snapping or videoing instantly to my family, or forwarding my gems to the designated Panorama staff person to set up a slideshow!

Thanks so much Panorama for all the suggested fun activities. We are blessed again!

A Cautionary Tale

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2020

We all know the fear of falling at our age . . . and in preparation for a possible unforeseen happening, we signed up for the “Learn How to Fall” class that was given by our fitness coordinator. That was last Fall before the coronavirus shut down gatherings, lectures and classes. I am so grateful for the tips I learned. Our instructor suggested falling on soft things. That was not in the cards when I fell on a hardwood hallway floor! Due to the tips I learned, I was able to save wrist damage, head damage, and no broken hip.

Much damage can be done when one keels over, and the first instinct is to brace yourself thinking you will break your fall. However, protecting your head should be the first consideration in that insane second and a half you have from upright to flat down. Falling backward requires you to tuck your head forward. Falling forward (in my case) you must keep your head/face from hitting the floor. Tilting your head back as you go down will save dangerous and unsightly damage.                            

I have always moved too fast, for no real reason. I am tall and that is just how I move, indoors and outdoors. Well, I was moving too fast when our beloved cat raced along in front of me, perhaps thinking I was on the way to her food bowl. She has literally never done this before!

Finding me sprawled on the floor . . . we were all alarmed. I tried assessing the damage and just wanted to get up, which I did by myself, only to feel a terrible pain in my dominant arm elbow. Carefully, I felt a bone piece moving about and went directly to the freezer and got the frozen peas. Not being a mom, I only learned of using frozen pea packages from friends in the face of an awful injury.

What is a lifesaver, or at least a comfort to us at Panorama, is the closeness of a Providence outlying clinic for urgent care about 12 blocks away that has x-ray and lab capability and immediate care with no long waits that can occur in the main emergency room at Providence St. Peter’s hospital 6 blocks away. Coming from a community where medical help was 2 hours away, this is such a luxury. This is not to say our walk to our Panorama Clinic in 4 minutes isn’t helpful . . . it is wonderful. But trauma as I was expecting this to be is best seen where x-ray is available.

My x-ray did show a displaced fracture of the olecranon (in medical-ese) and the provider I saw sent a referral to the Orthopedic department for follow-up and probable surgery. To make a long story shorter, I was seen and booked for pinning and wiring of the bone piece back onto the lower arm bone from where it broke off. An interesting side-bar to treatment options came to light. Fractures are looked at in terms of a patient’s usual modes of living. Sedentary lifestyles may result in less invasive procedures. Active lifestyles result in repairs destined to give the patient as close to 100% mobility as was experienced before the injury. Who knew?

In due course, I showed up for the outpatient/same day surgery under general anesthesia.

This brings up my morbid fear of general anesthesia, having worked for years in a post-anesthesia recovery room, seeing patients waking from it. It IS poison of a high order, after all. The anesthesiologist explained it was a total arm block of numbing and I was relieved, as I imagined this would be with me awake. No, it was to give me 24 hours of pain-free post-op time before it wore off and I was aware of all the damage that had been fixed! I dreaded the block needle, but it seems that it was done with me asleep, using a sonogram to identify the main nerve in my comfy pre-op bed!

Looming over me was a cheerful nurse offering me some ice chips! I said no and that I couldn’t have any as I was due to have my surgery. She laughed and pointed to my arm in a splint and sling that was bigger than my leg and said, “You already have HAD surgery!”

The entire process of the block, moving me onto the operating room table, then off the table into a post-operative bed happened while I was just not there!!! It seems that anesthesia and procedures are way advanced from when I retired from nursing in 1992. Well, of course, it is now 2020, 28 years of advances have happened! I was admitted at 7 AM and home at 12:45 PM same day!

So, what is the point of all this rambling and what is this woman getting at, you ask? I think we can all be grateful for the services we have locally. Then we can be grateful for medical advances that are a slam-dunk, mostly. And last, but not least, is the concern of our Social Services department here at Panorama. With a husband, I had plenty of help at home, but they were there and wanting to know the progress and what they could do to help.  I am further grateful that I could muddle along, albeit a LONG healing process ahead. I worry now about 77 year-old bones healing properly. I am minding all the doctor’s orders and waiting until I can do things again! I took myself off the opiates that were prescribed after day two and have done well on Tylenol. Shifting a standard transmission vehicle seems daunting just now.

I’d like to let everyone know; you aren’t in trouble on your own! Reach out to the services and help that we have here. It is a blessing. You can rest easier if you know bad things can happen and guard against them, but be grateful you are in this caring community with services so helpful.

STOP, POP & GO: Banking on Foods at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2020

Standing with my walker about 30 yards outside the exit of our Quinault Building, I knew something special was going on in the northwest area of our Panorama campus. Thurston County was moving to Phase Three, but Panorama was opening, thankfully for our benefit, with narrower, firmer guidelines. 

That special day, residents seemed to be leaking from nicks and crannies – enthusiastically aiming for the same destination. Some clung to plastic or paper bags. Others gripped envelopes. Cars were neither bumper-to-bumper nor inching along, but they too were headed toward the same destination.

I smiled, returning energetic arm waves, as my walker turned into the identical direction. I hadn’t been outside much, so instead of my daytime PJs, I actually “dressed-up”in my jogging white-striped black pants and matching top. No need to figure out how to apply make-up again – my mask covered my nose to chin, as did masks of all shapes, colors, and designs of my family of friends. I didn’t recognize eyeballs of many, but called out a Hi there!!  

“Oh, Mary Jo, it’s you. Clever signs!” I kept forgetting I was wearing my quickly hand-printed sign I had made for fun. It read: “I’m Mary Jo Shaw!” When I’d see my reflection, I didn’t recognize myself. My big floppy hat covered my forehead. My glasses turned brown outdoors, and I was wearing that mask.

We were traveling between 10 o’clock to noon to the Thurston County Food Bank Drive-Thru Donation Drive in the covered entrance of our Aquatic & Fitness Center. Cars, canes, walkers, scooters delivered non-perishable food items. Others gripped sealed envelopes with checks made out to “Thurston County Food Bank”.

Drivers who steered under the extended covering would STOP under the covered entrance and POP their trunks open to drop off their donation without leaving their car. Staff and employees removed bags of foods or an envelope with a donation check from the trunk. In a matter of seconds, the drop-off was completed for that resident and they would GO on their way. The energy at the tables with donated items was eclectic and exactingly organized.

The warm sunshine, cool-in-the-shade weather that God shown down on us enticed our walking and greeting – while distancing to chat with friends we hadn’t seen in months!

What an outing! I’m going to make myself get out more often to walk.

It had been a day of giving to the Thurston County Food Bank, but I had received more – blessings of visiting with lovely friends, refreshingly perfect weather, and knowing that Panorama cares about us as they remind us of the restrictions necessary to keep us well. We still have 0 cases of virus on our campus of over 1,200 residents, including the hundreds of staff on our campus daily.

Thank you Panorama for your care for us and helping us care for our off-campus community in need.

I started to tap SEND to this Panorama BLOG when on our Panorama closed circuit TV, News with Lu, announced that in addition to 32 large boxes of foods, those envelopes added up to $10,326!

AMEN . . . let’s go for it again!!