Best Decision in Our Retirement – Extra Day in My Life

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. January 2015

I wrote this to my friend Patricia here at Panorama on Jan. 2, 2015.  In the letter, Verl is the 87 year-old man I sponsored in 2014 to become a Catholic:

Hi, Patricia.

You won’t believe.  I got up early at 7 this morning to wash my hair, put on a nice pull-over sweater for church tonight and had to leave the message for Verl to pick me up for church.  He called back late this afternoon and insisted it was Friday, not Saturday.  I began to feel sorry for him—he must be losing it.  I looked at my calendar, and it said Friday.  Poor Verl!

I started to call Elaine to take me tomorrow for Sunday Mass.  But then I began to ask myself whether I was wrong.  I rechecked the calendar.  Yes, it said Friday.  But how did I know I was looking at the right square?  I had my DO-LIST with Saturday written at the top.

AHA!  My computer would tell me.  I melted.  I had lost it and needed to go find myself.  But where do I go?—and should I go Friday or Saturday?  I still can’t believe that yesterday was New Year’s Day.  Verl was right.  It is Friday.


I practiced piano for a new DVD for Panorama TV, then plopped into my recliner by my patio door with my laptop.  I had that extra day to work on my book My Life Stories.

I glanced outside–it was dark.

You asked how my day was.  Go figure.  Let me know whether it was a good one.  Gaining an extra day is always good.  I discovered it for myself, and hope I get another one…SOON!

My new year has started out great!

Mary Jo

Mary Jo Bio

A Resident’s Perspective – Polar Bear Plunge

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2015

Where did the holidays go? We are finding, here at Panorama, with all there is to do, time is just galloping along! We have enjoyed our second Christmas here and heading into the New Year.

This engendered a fun ritual that I have for ringing in the New Year. For sixteen years, I have celebrated with a hearty group of N. Californians, in our previous home along the Pacific coast, by jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day. It was our version of The Polar Bear Plunge that is enjoyed around the world. I have a polar bear watch cap that marks the event.

It was delightful to find (last year and this year) that the City of Lacey holds its own Polar Bear Plunge in Long Lake! Last year was cold, this year was colder! The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air temperature was 38 degrees! Mind you, along the Pacific Ocean there is a moderating effect of the current so that ocean temperatures there were in the low 50s. I know, it sounds cold no matter…but trust me, Long Lake was very cold. And now I have two buttons from Lacey, Long Lake plunge pinned on my watch cap.

Two youngsters were chipping sheets of ice that had formed along the beach to get them out of the way of us waders. Yes, waders. No way would I jump into 42 Degree water and think I’d live through it! However, about 500 souls DID jump off the pier. The organizers kept the number at 200 at a time, leaping at 1 PM. The second 200 jumped at 1:10 PM and the third phalanx of 100 jumped at 1:20 PM so as not to break down the pier due to weight. I noticed the number was about 100 less than last year! Sad that the sun was so very bright across the lake, and we were beneath lovely old, big trees, which effectively kept us in the cold!

Polar Plunge (1)I managed to talk a friend from Panorama into joining me, though of course this isn’t a Panorama sponsored event. Our guys held the towels and warm clothes. Neither of them do cold nor wet!!!!!! And someone needed to document this event. The local radio station D.J. was spinning songs at a level louder than you could talk over. The EMTs and fire department were out monitoring all of the crazy folks. Fire pits were burning to help warm a radius of folks clustered around them. Cans were collected for the food bank and donations for lunch programs were accepted when you signed the waiver for being foolish. Hot chocolate and hot cider were also available for donations.

The costumes that folks wore certainly added to the frivolity.

Polar Plunge (2)And we all had a great time. There were as many watchers as plungers or waders. Yes, it was cold, but only 20 blocks from warmth of home here at Panorama.

We are still exploring the areas around our new home and loving the diversity of things you can get yourself into!! I recall a previous blog by Mike T., about rituals being things that you remember always. This one is a special one for me.

Sandy Bio

Yoga and Meditation Workshops

Written by Panorama resident and Yoga instructor, Charles Kasler. January 2015

Did you know we have four yoga and meditation workshops each year – free and open to the Panorama community? Past topics have included arthritis, grief, breathing, insomnia, brain fitness and mindfulness, and stress and pain management. These workshops are enjoyable and well attended. In addition they are all recorded and posted online, as well as on CD in the audio library for residents to check out.

moving meditation 2Yoga and meditation are now considered complimentary medicine and are respected by the medical community. There is research showing that yoga can benefit in such conditions as heart and respiratory problems, MS, anxiety, PTSD, the side effects of chemotherapy, and a host of others. Yoga is therapeutic – for body, mind, and soul.

There were two milestones to open the door for yoga to be accepted and embraced by the medical community. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor at the U. of Mass,  introduced his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program around 1979, using both yoga and meditation. Dr. Dean Ornish published his groundbreaking research on reversing heart disease around 1990, again with yoga as a major part of his program. Increasingly some medical and health professionals are not only practicing yoga but teaching as well.

People are sometimes concerned that they aren’t flexible enough to do yoga. No problem – we fit the posture to the person. We stay focused, breathe, and explore our individual range of motion. It often  improves, which benefits our agility and balance as well.

Remember you can always do a trial class or use a drop-in card to test out the different classes. Join the growing yoga community at Panorama. Enjoy the increased well-being and quality of life.

Smartest Decision in Our Retirement – Part 12 – Any Christmas Celebrations?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2014

While waiting for an eye doctor appointment, a lady asked me whether Panorama celebrates Christmas.  (I felt like saying, “Lady, don’t get me started!”)  When I got home, I was curious enough to make a list of options on and off campus.  The list astounded me.

The celebrations hubby Chris and/or I personally attended:

Resident Christmas Party 2014 - Table Setting* Christmas full-plated gourmet meal in our Chambers House Restaurant – Chris and I were treated like kings and queens at the annual event for all residents, with live piano entertainment and the staff helping to serve and host.






Christmas tree 2014 copy* Silver Bells – program benefitting the Providence St. Peter Hospital Center – Panorama bused about 15 of us.  We enjoyed a delicious plated-breakfast among the beautifully decorated trees in a hotel ballroom.  Panorama purchased a lovely tree, displayed this year in the Convalescent/Rehabilitation main entrance.

*Festival of Carols – provided each year with almost full auditorium attendance.  Our granddaughter, 7 year old Hope, went with us to hear retired resident ministers read Bible verses of the Christmas story and hear Panorama Chorus members sing artistic arrangements of carols between the readings.  That’s the highlight of all of the Christmas events I’m blessed to attend with my other Panorama family members.

* Sixty-member Panorama Chorus – we enjoyed exceptionally impressive renditions of carols and holiday songs in our state-of-the-art auditorium designed especially for seniors.

* Christmas Bazaar – is a two day sale of handmade Christmas items usually sold in our Gift Shop, but on a larger scale in the narthex of our auditorium.  Many of my own items got sold…Yeah!

* The monthly Christian Hymn Sing Breakfast in our Garden Restaurant – Les played the piano while we sang our favorite carols, ordered from the menu and visited with old and new friends.

* Seniors in Retirement – a men’s group welcomed spouses for their Christmas luncheon in the Garden Room

* The annual Holiday Remembrance – was a special time hosted by our campus Social Services to honor and pay tribute to the life of a loved one and to provide an opportunity to share their loss with those who understand it the most.  I volunteered to play inspirational carols.

* Our neighborhood Christmas Buffet/White Elephant Party – what fun we had in our Garden Room Restaurant, planned by Lu N. with Helen W. at the piano for carols to sing.  A big Panorama family affair to remember!

* Jammin’ Strings – formed by Carol D, a dedicated volunteer, invited all residents to sing carols in the Panorama Auditorium narthex while other residents played stringed instruments and drum.  She drew numbers to pass out lots of prizes.  What a delight visiting with punch and tons of donated cookies afterward!

* Luncheon hosted by Activities Director Jean – for Activity Desk volunteers.  She provided white elephant gifts and lead the festive game.  We walked away with all kinds of nice little prizes and lovely goodie bags holding a large Panorama cup, candies, and a certificate toward a meal in our restaurant.

* A private party – hosted by our good, fun, faithful friends, Carol and Joe, in their lovely and big Panorama single family home with holiday refreshments for lots of new and old friends.

* My own piano holiday playing opportunities – I personally got to volunteer on campus in Gentle Care, Assisted Living, in the C&R main entrance lobby, PC Care fund raiser and Sunday Vespers.

* Our closed circuit Panorama TV – provided us with holiday music, stories and piano music that PCTV volunteer Paul E. invited me to film.

* The Edward Jones Christmas buffet – on-campus investment advisor, Ted and wife Timmi Poulakidas, hosted their annual gourmet foods and goodies catered by our Chambers Restaurant.  Tables extended from the Panorama entrance, through the hallway and into Panorama Hall.

* Resident Adele Smith’s family – entertained in her honor to a huge audience in Pan Auditorium when her family of professionals played stringed instruments and sang.  Our granddaughter, Hope, Chris and I didn’t want it to end!

Remember, those above are only the celebrations Chris and I attended!               

There were many additional campus and off-campus events that residents attended by riding our Panorama busses.

A few included:

Washington Center for the Performing Arts – Olympia:  Irish Christmas, and White Christmas Sing Along with Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby

5th Avenue Theater – Seattle: “A Christmas Story, the Musical”

Seattle Symphony – Seattle Pops – Seattle: Holiday Pops with Cirque Musica

On Campus in the Barn:  Christmas Comes Early – buy donated items from residents for very low prices: trees, good china, silver, ornaments, wreaths, etc.

Lacey Presbyterian Church: JoySong Victorian Carolers

I’d say, “Yes, I think we have a large selection of Christmas celebrations available on our campus.”  Thank you, Panorama, for all you do for me and my large Panorama family.  We are blessed beyond our ability to say thanks sufficiently.

Mary Jo Bio