A Resident’s Perspective – Smart Decision in Our Retirement? – Part 1

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw, on February 7th, 2014.

Having lived at Panorama since July 3, 2011, have we made the smartest decision we could have made, or were we taken in by marketing, first impressions and hype?

Our daughter Melody, and husband John, with 4 year old Hope, were lining up job interviews and making trips for interviews in Lacey, WA. They’d stay with his Aunt Terri. They wanted to move so Hope wouldn’t have to start school in Las Vegas.

Out of curiosity came my laptop and retirement websites in many areas in WA. Taking copious notes from e-mails and phone calls, I wasn’t sure we’d have enough income to live in a retirement facility. Why?

Chris’ employer, a major airline, had left us stranded with off-and-on work, finally filing unnecessary “bankruptcy” leaving us with only $219 a month retirement income after Chris’s work for 34 years. All we had now was social security and savings. Not enough to last for possible 30 years! I shared this with Melody and John. They offered to check out some of my researched retirement places anyway on their 5th job-interview trip to Washington.

“Maybe your parents should check out Panorama here in Lacey. I’ve heard many good things about them.” This was Aunt Terri’s cheerful advice to them to take home to us.

Oh, dear. No way can we afford Panorama. This homepage must be doctored up. There’s no retirement place this beautiful. WOW. That lighting on the bench at night. Those huge, beautiful leaves on the ground. Definitely too perfect to be “real.” If other residences are not affordable, Panorama’s GOT to be much more expensive. (I didn’t look much past the homepage). Maybe I’ll just keep on looking elsewhere. Bound to be some place we can afford.

Month later: “Mom, we’re flying up again in January to Lacey for job interviews. Sure you don’t want us to check out Panorama for you? Maybe you oughta look at the web again and e-mail or call. You never know.” I did.

I spent many hours with paper, pencil and calculator. Finally numerous e-mails to Rachel Dobry, Retirement Advisor at Panorama. But Chris was not at all interested in going to a retirement place: sort/throw out things, get the house ready to sell and SELL IT, pack, move again. All that in the worst economy of Las Vegas history.
Thinking again: We DO have great, loving friends, a few in the neighborhood and many at church. I’ll miss volunteering at church…and Jerri (my sister) lives around the corner from us and Mel, John and little Hope. I’ll miss walking over there. Our house IS nice and big, twenty-five hundred square feet, two stories, on that green belt with our big three car garage…so much space! AND it’s paid for. Why would we want to move? Chris doesn’t want to move. What do I do?

I will share more about our journey in future posts. Stay tuned for my monthly column.

Mary Jo Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Snow and the California Guy


Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner           February 9th, 2014
Mike's First Snow

Being a native Californian, snow was something you “went to” and then “came home from” afterwards.  It was never something that was on your lawn, on the sidewalk, in the trees, something you had to think about before venturing off to Fred Meyer.  So I was really excited about my first “snow at home” experience.

My partner Jay and I just celebrated our first year here at Panorama.  We were “warned” by our friends and former Sea Ranch neighbors, none of whom by the way, had ever lived in Washington, to expect long cold winters, with constant rain, snow and ice.  Well last winter wasn’t so bad….did it rain?  Sure, but we didn’t need to get out the ark or even the kayak.  But it never snowed.  So I was thrilled this winter when we actually had some real snow that stuck around for awhile.

Now I will admit that I have not seen it snow that often.  So yes, I was on the porch watching it snow, going out in it and looking up to get the full experience and effect.  It was beautiful…..I loved it.  So where was Jay all this time.  Being a native of Wyoming, this snow thing was not quite as big a deal for him.  He stood at the door, with the screen closed, staring at me like he expected me to howl at the moon any second or perhaps, in a moment of madness, make a snow angel.  I still got a thrill out of it and hope that it comes again, which I imagine it will.

One last item.  Of course I had to take pictures of it to commemorate our first snow at our new home and to send to friends and relatives back in California.  Now I thought I would be the only one out there snapping away and being talked about behind closed doors “Look at Mike, he acts like he’s never seen snow before.”  That would have been fine with me but what I saw was not only the beauty that snow can make of a landscape but a whole bunch of my neighbors, all long time Washingtonians, out there as well taking pictures.  I guess even those hard core natives recognize and want to capture the beauty that is Panorama when Mother Nature adds some white.


Mike Turner



A Resident’s Perspective – Our First Winter Walk


Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush   February 6th, 2014

Warming up on a winter walk

The year can be marked by seasons in the scheduled walks here at Panorama. We are or at least have been long-distance walkers in the UK and such. However, we are finding a lovely way to learn of this area new to us. From the Midwest to California for our working years, and now enjoying retirement in the NW, we have joined, when we can, the leader-led walks and hikes. We’ve taken advantage of the bus ride to and from the walks and it has given us a good “lay of the land” primer.

The first walk of the year was February third to Wapato Park in SW Tacoma. This wasn’t a long ride and we found a park we might never have found on our own. The two-mile or a bit more walk around the lake and up past a big dog and separate little dog park made a nice short walk to break in the legs. Two of the co-leaders walked with us. But, it was COLD, just above 32 degrees!! We were dressed in layers and layers and packed a “brown bag lunch” to enjoy with the other nine walkers. I have been on walks and hikes here with as many as 20 folks but my guess is that the cold actually accounted for the fewer numbers. Wonderful to get out and stretch the legs and down wind wasn’t as cold as into the wind, of course.

On returning to the picnic pavilion, Steve the hike leader many of you know, had a wonderful little scrap wood fire burning in a barbeque pit. Was that welcome, or what??? Plus, as we neared the lunch stop, a fine sifting of snow started to fall. We know we get snow here, not much, and it doesn’t stay, but it settled on spider webs on the trunk of the sequoia tree as we got into our lunches!!! Usually we have a camera along but I talked George out of taking his. Big mistake or I’d have a nice photo to accompany this telling. Really artfully lovely. Twenty minutes later it seemed colder and the snow had stopped. We got a bonus walk along the Sound near Wapato as an introduction to a longer walk coming up in March. Just a side note of a luxurious find. Steve knew of a WARM bathroom facility between the two area walks. Let me tell you how welcome that was!!!

Learning happens on all the walks and hikes here. Wapato is, in scientific terms, Sagittaria latifolia, but to a lay botanist like me, it is “duck potato or Indian potato” and grows in marshy areas. Local tribes used this root in the way back history as a source of starch.

When you have time in your busy schedules and good enough legs for a walk, do look into the walks offered in the Activity Outlines we get monthly. You will be glad you did and you meet new people while having a great day out. Happy Trails!!!

Sandy Bio