Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? Part 4

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2014

We made our first trip to Washington from Las Vegas, had a great tour of the Panorama campus with Rachel, our advisor, and loved everything about it.  But we still had to consider hubby Chris’ feelings about not wanting to pack up and move.  (Don‘t miss great blogs of Feb., Mar., Apr., 2014.)

In the campus Chambers Restaurant, David and Jean said they’d been residents at Panorama since 2001 and had no complaints.  We were surprised: all our questions had positive answers.  Residents came to our table to greet them, and us.  Bob complimented on the beautiful bowls David had made in the woodworking shop.  Another couple thanked David and Jean for the time put into David’s Bible class on Thursdays.

We asked residents what they thought of Panorama:

 “Wished we’d come sooner.”

“My parents and my grandmother live here…we’re not the only three-generation-couple residents, either!”

 “We spent months traveling the United States in our motor home, staying weeks at other places, studying everything.  Best decision we made in our sixty-one years of marriage.”

 “No hidden fees.”

We had appointments at other retirement places.  They were nice, but just didn’t “hit the nail on the head” for us. At Panorama we wouldn’t pay for meals we’d miss if we went shopping, were off campus to eat, or when on vacation.  Sometimes we sleep past normal breakfast hours.

Panorama had the grounds suitable for safe, beautiful, comfortable walking by foot or with canes, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters.  The employees and all residents were happy and friendly and showed and lived it.

During our two-week stay in Washington, we’d visit Panorama often. Two days before our departure, Rachel called.  “Mary Jo, I’m not pushing you but the garden home with the floor plan you liked in Woodland Court just became available. The man who lived there was moved to the Quinault building which will make it easier for him to go to the restaurant, Pan Hall, basement activities, things like that. The place is vacant, not even cleaned up yet. But I don’t want you to fly home without the opportunity to see it. I know how Chris feels, yet had to let you know.”

Chris agreed to look, “But we’re not signing anything.”

Melody and John were eager to see it too.  We all looked, studied the price, location, floor plan, square footage, and views. Three of us were ready to explode.  Rachel assured us, “Panorama will fix it up like new.  You may select paint and floor coverings.  All new appliances will be installed.” It was perfect, but Chris showed no feelings. We left for the day.

The next day, Chris agreed to go back. While we were there, he must have rethought home upkeep/repairs, gutters, lawn, combined with getting older because he whispered to me,

                           “Maybe we’d better sign up.”

Camouflaging my joy and excitement, I hesitated and slowly asked, “You think so?”

Tune in next month!

Mary Jo Bio


A Resident’s Perspective – Just Go For It

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. May 2014

I enjoy theatre, all kinds of theatre.  Along the way I have learned a few lessons about being an audience member.  One:  Don’t sit in the front row of a Gallagher concert unless you want to be sprayed by large chunks of watermelon and other fruit.  Two:  Don’t sit in the front row of an insult comic’s show unless you want to be publicly embarrassed.  Three:  Don’t sit in the front row for a magic show, because you will either end up on stage being hypnotized or as the butt of some “magic” joke.

I never thought I would make it to lesson Four, but it happened.  My new lesson Four is: Don’t sit in the front row of the Utah Ballroom Dance Troupe show unless you want to be up on stage dancing in front of 200 friends and neighbors.  I learned that one the  hard way.

During the April 25th performance of the Utah Ballroom Dance troupe I was sitting with friends in the third row, seemed safe at the time.  I did notice that most people don’t like sitting close to the stage so the row in front of us was pretty empty.  At one point the Director of the show talked about going to other locations, giving shows and sometimes teaching ballroom dance steps.  About that time I noticed three female dancers walking down into the audience.  My first thought was that they were going to do their next number and the dancers would be dancing in the aisles.  NOPE, that is definitely not why they were there.  They were there to choose three men to go on stage with them.  OK, now I’ve been in a number of plays and don’t have stage fright so that’s not an issue.  I have some level of rhythm so I can keep up with the music, you know tap my foot, move to the music.  Definitely not a dancer, but in my youth appeared on American Bandstand and some other local Los Angeles television dance shows, so a little movement with the girls was fine with me.  So because of all this I thought I was safe.  What more could they ask of us other than standing there while the girls danced around us or perhaps hold our hands while they did all the work.  And once again I was wrong.

They played three different kinds of music; pop, the chicken dance and gangnam style and we were to “show our best moves”.  OK even on my best day my “best move” is just below a 5 so I had these two thoughts rush through my mind.  One, just stand there like a ninny and do nothing like I couldn’t think of anything.  OR….Just go for it.  Just listen to the music and see what happens.

I chose number 2 and just went for it.  Whatever the music sounded like I just moved to it.  Didn’t care what it looked like and certainly did not think about how embarrassing it might be.  I guess it worked because after the three dances were over their was an audience applause vote.  I won!!  Now I must admit I did have my posse all in the third row who stood up, applauded, wolf whistled, and “who, who, who’d”.Mike - on stage

OK we’re done and are escorted off the stage.  Turn right, back to the audience, turn left, into the dressing room.  I chose right and back into the audience but was pulled into the dressing room by one of the female dancers and was told “Oh, you’re not done yet.  You are the star of the next number.”  You have got to be kidding??  Nope, they put a leather jacket on me and told me for the next number that three of the female dancers would take turns dancing with me and that I should just let my arms go limp and let them move me around.  OK, I can do that.

Mike - Dancing

Well, she forgot one part.  She missed the part where the next number began with the stage lights out and when they came up there I would be sitting center stage ALL ALONE.  Now I must say that got a response from the audience.  They thought they were done with my gyrations, but weren’t they surprised?  So I let the dancers do their thing with me with some of my added hip action and facial expressions to the audience.  When the song was over, we were (I mean I was) finally through and I returned to my seat none the worse for wear.

Mike - Dancing 2

Now why did I tell you about my little dancing adventure?  Just to reinforce the whole idea of JUST DO IT!  I could have refused to go up on stage, I could have just stood there on the stage and done nothing or just swayed to the music.  NOPE, I happily went up there, went all out and had a great time.  I think sometimes we don’t do or try things because we might not know how to do them, or we might be embarrassed, or what might people think.  In the bigger scheme of things, who cares!  Just Do It for yourself, to experience new things no matter your age or what misgivings you might have.  You might just have some fun and perhaps win a dance contest.

Mike Turner

A Resident’s Perspective – Pea Patch Art Gallery

Written by Panorama resident, Neil Harris. May 2014

Last Summer while “Walking the Loop” Alice F. told me about all the work she was doing on her new pea patch plot. This included a shed that needed a lot of work. She intended to not only spruce up her shed but to add artwork to it. She had an idea for the artwork she envisioned for her shed. She said, “I was looking for a quilt block that would represent something that would tell the value of the pea patch. This star of nutrition said it all to me.”

star of nutrition

She then asked if I would be interested in painting a piece also. It took me a moment and I agreed. In the weeks that followed I was thinking about what I would paint and by happenstance a neighbor, Don M., approached me and asked if I wanted a piece of 1/2 inch plywood he wanted to get rid of. The piece was approximately 2 feet by 4 feet. I agreed because I realized that I could use this as a canvas for my painting. I cut the piece of plywood into two pieces 2 feet x 2 feet.

I then began to work out what I would paint. I had a vision of a tree of life with local birds and a colorful abstract background. I wanted the tree to not be the main focus so I kept it simple; however, I wanted the birds to be realistic, local native birds. I had many pictures of local birds which I used as examples. When I finished the painting I presented it to Alice. She then coated the painting with an outdoor polyurethane finish and, with help of her husband Terry, drilled holes in each corner of the painting. It was now ready to be mounted on the shed.


A few weeks ago I noticed the other piece of plywood and asked Alice if she wanted another painting. She readily agreed. About this time I was experimenting with paintings of different botanicals and fruits. I had just finished a sunflower which I did face on, but for the pea patch gallery I wanted something more dramatic. I considered a sunflower that would be sideways or drooping. I decided on the drooping sunflower and after a few preliminary drawings I arrived at the color arrangement.


After I finished the painting I sent Alice a photo of my painting. She liked it and came over and picked it up. I asked her to let me know when the painting was coated and hung up. Alice recently sent me an email that the “pea patch art gallery is open for display”.

shed 1

The shed is located on the left at the end of the gravel path where it turns right near the perimeter fence.

A Resident’s Perspective – “Pooling” Our Thoughts

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. April 2014

Panorama Aquatic and Fitness Center A wonderful “extra” became apparent when we toured Panorama for the first time. Rachel Dobry, our retirement advisor, knowing our interest in swimming, took us through the Aquatic center. In addition to the pools, the center includes three separate gym or physical activity rooms across the hall. We have never been “gym rats,” and I mean that in the nicest sense, but the pool complex (and it IS a complex) delighted us.

We’ve been lap swimmers for years and years, and for the last 20 years, we used a year-round outdoor pool within walking distance of our home. The water temperature always said “80 degrees,” but there were days when we KNEW it was more like 75!!! I have to say we enjoyed winter rain in our face and ambient temperatures of 40 degrees, and the odd hail, and wind. However, then we arrived at Panorama. Now we are spoiled!

Lap swimming is great exercise for lungs, backs, upper arms and legs, but isn’t weight-bearing, so works great for folks with joint issues. We are in a twice a week schedule to do our laps after 3 pm when the many exercise classes and water aerobics  have finished. The pool is a two block walk for us, as are most activity things here at Panorama.

“Retirement with Upgrades” as a selling point surely fits the bill in this facility.

Well, what a luxury!!! The pool picture on the website doesn’t do justice to the size and scope of the pools. The lap pool is 86 degrees, the shorter warmer pool is 92 degrees, and the spa (which my husband endures so he can enjoy the soak) is 102 degrees. After a ½ hour of laps, I can actually be sweating at that temperature; we have gotten so spoiled with it. No need to feel you will be cold, as we used to in our previous open-air pool!!

Many times there is pleasing music piped in and makes the laps very enjoyable. The other thing that I have to comment on is my mention to friends that I enjoy swimming with the fish. Never having seen the Sopranos TV show, I was not totally in the know re: what “swimming with the fishes” could actually mean. I have added a picture here. We ARE in a trout and salmon environment! These are perched high on the wall overlooking the main larger pool.


Aquatic Center Fish

There is a schedule of when lifeguards are in attendance and works for those who feel safer with someone looking over them. They are helpful in operating the hydraulic chair lifts that allow residents with leg strength issues to enjoy both larger pools. Water exercises, even walking in the water if you don’t swim, are beneficial to the entire circulatory system. There are fins and float boards provided so you needn’t tote them to the pool. We find the pool fun as exercise, as we have never found using gym equipment fun. The pools are all shallow, so standing up gets you out of trouble instantly.

The changing rooms and showers are nicely situated with many safety bars and seats. The showers have moveable shower heads so that everyone can safely use them. For the fashion conscious, there is a wall-mounted hair dryer. The added bonus is the water extractor for swim suits, taking less time at home with wet suits drying.

Melissa Thoemke, the aquatic center director, has instituted a fun extra, and that is a card to have initialed any time you use the gym or pool, and when the card is full it goes in the “hat.” She will draw one a month for a free dinner for two.

Aquatic Center schedule print-outs are available for all the activities that this wonderful facility promotes. Stop by if you are new or even is you are a longer time resident and see what might suit your fitness fancy. And don’t forget to wave at us slaving away doing our thirty minutes of laps!!!!

Sandy Bio