Talking Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIGNED,

Tired of the Word “Pharmacies”?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panorama Not Standing Still

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun in Panorama’s Barn?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Pops?

Written by Panorama residents, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunshining Times

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.