A Resident’s Perspective – Now We Have Seasons

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2014

Having lived in California from 1966 to 2013, I tried to convince my sister, forever in Wisconsin, that we DID have seasons there. Granted, we lived in pretty temperate places over our working years and then our first retirement years. The changes were oh, so subtle, but we always considered them seasons.

Well, if she were alive now, I would have to eat crow about that. With the early fall cold snap and a few days ago, light snow that disappeared in a few hours, I must say I am very delighted to be here in the South Puget Sound environment.

Coming soon to us all will be a bit longer days. I’ve not minded only 8 or so hours of daylight. Now that the deciduous trees have lost their leaves, there is much more light coming in our windows and the night lights are seen more easily.

Recently, while out attending Olympia Little Theater’s December play, we experienced a howling wind and rain storm. Most of the patrons came prepared with flashlights and the crew and actors all had them handy if the play was called due to lights out. But the power never wavered and it was a delightful evening with rain pelting down.

Panorama is somewhat protected from long sweeping expanses that allow wind to rush through. However, two more branches from our Doug Fir came down and were lying parallel to our house and the neighbors. A new ding in the eave trough is evident where they bounced off before hitting the ground. We wondered if we were being singled out!

The streets were littered with fir leavings and good that we were in our Jeep so we could drive right over the larger limbs. Olympia itself had many trucks out and chainsaws going kept streets open and the power on.

The wind that hit our loop neighborhood certainly tossed our patio furniture about. Bush PatioNever were the sounds of the blowers and sweepers and chainsaws so welcome! The grounds crew had the downed limbs in a pile at the edge of the street in no time, soon after it got light. You can become so very spoiled by all the effort put into keeping our little community neatened up.


We have become spoiled living here. We are enjoying the wonderful cloud build-ups, the rain, the snow, and the wonderful colors arrayed in the fall. Many things seem to bloom in our area in the winter. I know it is just short of December 21st as I write this with true winter ahead. More cold and rain and perhaps snow is in our future, but yesterday when we did our exercise climb to the top of the Quinault building in the north-most stairwell…the late afternoon view of Mt. Rainier with the low sun on it was amazing.

Mountain from QuinaultOf course we look forward to spring, but the walks around campus in the crisp air are wonderful. Even the fog that is forming some mornings is a soft experience. I hope if you can, you will get out and enjoy what we have here.

Sandy Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Christmas Present or Christmas Past

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. December 2014

Recently a busload of Panoramans went to the 5th Street Theatre to see the Broadway musical “A Christmas Story”.  This delightful musical is based on the 1983 film of the same name and is a, wait for it, wait for it…. a story about Christmas.  Both the movie and the musical have a narrator that takes you through memories of one of his most memorable childhood Christmases.

On the way home, Jay and I discussed the show and some of our Christmas memories.  Here are some of the ones from the movie and musical, not that we had these particular ones, but they are certainly a spring board to memories of Christmas as a child that look so differently after so many years.

  • The pink bunny suit pajamas sent to the 10 year old boy from the aunt that thinks he is a girl.


  •  The turkey dinner that fails horribly….this time because it was eaten by the next door neighbor’s dogs.  Don’t ask…rent the movie, it is hysterical.


  • The little brother getting dressed for a cold winter school day in a snowsuit that makes him look and walk like the Michelin man.


  • The longing for that special Christmas present that just won’t go away.  In this case it’s a bb gun that his mother won’t buy for him because “you’ll shoot your eye out”.


  •  The essay that always had to be written before Christmas vacation….”What I want for Christmas.” 


  • That trip to the department store on Main Street to stare at the Christmas displays of toys and the inevitable sitting on Santa’s lap to tell him what you want.

And all those other wonderful memories we have of Christmases past.  Everyone has them.  The childhood memories that after all these years have those faded, blurry edges and seem so nostalgic and fun.

I’m certainly not saying don’t love and appreciate your present Christmas experiences since they become those soft, heart touching ones in years to come.  I guess what I am saying is it’s sometimes nice just to sit back, think about and relive those memories, even the ones that perhaps weren’t so good at the time because now they are all soft edged, just a little hazy, and the not so happy memories are always not quite as bad looking back on them. And most of all they feel so good to remember.

Have a wonderful Christmas and share a childhood Christmas memory with someone.  You will be amazed at the conversation it will start because we all have them.

Mike Turner

A Resident’s Perspective – My Place in the Panorama Chorus

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers. December 2014

One of the most meaningful and productive things I do on campus is hold down a spot in the bass/baritone section of the Panorama Chorus.  In February when we gather to begin preparation for the Spring Concert I will be starting my 14th year as a chorus member.  When I first sang with the chorus and for a number of years we always sang in the Quinault Auditorium.  The chorus and its audience were crowded together in what seemed like a very small place. We still made wonderful music.  Now we perform in Panorama’s spacious auditorium with its superior sound and lighting systems.  What a treat for both the audience and the chorus!  December 5th and 6th we brought a concert of some of the best music of the Christmas Holiday as well as some humorous musical comments on fruitcake and the “Twelve Days After Christmas”.  It’s one of the great offerings of our Panorama home.

Bob Bowers Bio

Smartest Decision in Our Retirement? – Are Grandkids Welcome?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2014

After arriving from Austin, Texas, our son Christopher with wife Teresa, 7 year-old Sarah and 5-year-old Emily rang our doorbell for their first visit at Panorama:  to celebrate my 75th birthday.  “Hi, Granny, can we go swimming?  Can we do crafts?”

I laughed, “Yes, yes! But first, let’s get a snack and get some sleep.  It’s one-thirty in the morning!  Pawpaw has blankets and pillows on our floor, just like old times.   Your mommy and daddy have a queen sized air-mattress in my craft room.”

They toured our little garden home. “Mary Jo,” Teresa laughed, “you finally got your small kitchen with lots of cabinets and drawers.  Wow, look at those pull-outs under the counter tops.  And those big drawers are so handy.”

After a quick night’s sleep, I shook my hubby (Pawpaw), “Chris, wake up, I heard the front door.  They must be leaving.” I sprang out of bed and glanced down the hall.

Sarah and Emily came running, “Granny, we just went for a walk in your park and saw the putting green.”

“’n, Granny,” chimed in little Emily. ”Sarah played hide ‘n seek with me in back of those b-i-g trees.”

“Thought we’d sneak in,” apologized Christopher. “We walked on the Chahalis Trail.  It’s so close by.”

Panorama Aquatic and Fitness CenterTeresa unpacked swim gear for the family, and we walked to our Aquatic and Fitness Center.  Daughter, Melody, husband, John, and 4-year-old Hope, who live in Lacey, met us.  Grandgirls’ showed off swimming skills in two of the large pools with plenty of pool-exercise items and toys, and spa for adults.  We appreciated the swimsuit drying-machine, pristine clean state-of-the-art dressing facilities, two family-dressing-shower rooms, built in hair-dryers and lockers.

Hungry tummies stopped growling in our Chambers Restaurant.   We heard:  “Mommie, can I have the chicken fingers?”  “I want the quesadillas.”  “I’m getting the hamburger with sweet potato fries.” “Wow, they have prime rib?” “Mexican plate is my order.” “That man over there has the hearty house salad.”

“Mom, Dad, the waiters and residents are so friendly, and we don’t feel we have to rush.  We can actually sit and visit,” Christopher said.

Pawpaw agreed.  “You see why we enjoyed the gift certificate you sent us for Christmas to eat in here!”

Little later a resident snapped our family picture in the community living room, Pan Hall.  Sarah teased, “Free coffee and hot chocolate, magazines and newspapers and a huge fireplace?   No wonder Pawpaw likes this place.”

After a couple of hours in the Quinault basement game room with miniature machine-operated bowling lane, we had to pull the gang out to go home for the night. “We’ll have to come back to play table pool and use the game tables,” Granny said.  “Chalet has a much bigger game room like this and also has ping pong and exercise machines.”


Games in McGandy Park

We mostly delighted in the outdoors in the sunshine that summer.  From the Fitness Center we had a great selection to check out: bocce ball, ladder ball, bad-mitten, fabric Frisbee, putt-putt golf, and croquet to play in McGandy Park.  Their eyes bulged when they learned we have 88 miles of sidewalks on our campus that are appropriate for walkers and wheel chairs.

Panorama Gift Shop

Panorama Gift Shop

The gift shop was a big hit with the hundreds of items for babies to adults–made by residents.  Christopher helped himself get roped-in by the guys in the metal, lapidary and, especially, the woodshop—talking shop!

Two weeks was not enough to do all Panorama welcomes families to do.  The auditorium with movies, lectures, concerts, travel slides presented by residents and picnics in the park or on tables by the auditorium—those are on our list for another trip.

I had teary eyes with my little family as we attended Catholic Mass on Monday in the on-campus non-denominational chapel.  We have many blessings here to share with our little ones.  Are they welcomed?  You decide!

Mary Jo Bio