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.

A Cautionary Tale

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2020

We all know the fear of falling at our age . . . and in preparation for a possible unforeseen happening, we signed up for the “Learn How to Fall” class that was given by our fitness coordinator. That was last Fall before the coronavirus shut down gatherings, lectures and classes. I am so grateful for the tips I learned. Our instructor suggested falling on soft things. That was not in the cards when I fell on a hardwood hallway floor! Due to the tips I learned, I was able to save wrist damage, head damage, and no broken hip.

Much damage can be done when one keels over, and the first instinct is to brace yourself thinking you will break your fall. However, protecting your head should be the first consideration in that insane second and a half you have from upright to flat down. Falling backward requires you to tuck your head forward. Falling forward (in my case) you must keep your head/face from hitting the floor. Tilting your head back as you go down will save dangerous and unsightly damage.                            

I have always moved too fast, for no real reason. I am tall and that is just how I move, indoors and outdoors. Well, I was moving too fast when our beloved cat raced along in front of me, perhaps thinking I was on the way to her food bowl. She has literally never done this before!

Finding me sprawled on the floor . . . we were all alarmed. I tried assessing the damage and just wanted to get up, which I did by myself, only to feel a terrible pain in my dominant arm elbow. Carefully, I felt a bone piece moving about and went directly to the freezer and got the frozen peas. Not being a mom, I only learned of using frozen pea packages from friends in the face of an awful injury.

What is a lifesaver, or at least a comfort to us at Panorama, is the closeness of a Providence outlying clinic for urgent care about 12 blocks away that has x-ray and lab capability and immediate care with no long waits that can occur in the main emergency room at Providence St. Peter’s hospital 6 blocks away. Coming from a community where medical help was 2 hours away, this is such a luxury. This is not to say our walk to our Panorama Clinic in 4 minutes isn’t helpful . . . it is wonderful. But trauma as I was expecting this to be is best seen where x-ray is available.

My x-ray did show a displaced fracture of the olecranon (in medical-ese) and the provider I saw sent a referral to the Orthopedic department for follow-up and probable surgery. To make a long story shorter, I was seen and booked for pinning and wiring of the bone piece back onto the lower arm bone from where it broke off. An interesting side-bar to treatment options came to light. Fractures are looked at in terms of a patient’s usual modes of living. Sedentary lifestyles may result in less invasive procedures. Active lifestyles result in repairs destined to give the patient as close to 100% mobility as was experienced before the injury. Who knew?

In due course, I showed up for the outpatient/same day surgery under general anesthesia.

This brings up my morbid fear of general anesthesia, having worked for years in a post-anesthesia recovery room, seeing patients waking from it. It IS poison of a high order, after all. The anesthesiologist explained it was a total arm block of numbing and I was relieved, as I imagined this would be with me awake. No, it was to give me 24 hours of pain-free post-op time before it wore off and I was aware of all the damage that had been fixed! I dreaded the block needle, but it seems that it was done with me asleep, using a sonogram to identify the main nerve in my comfy pre-op bed!

Looming over me was a cheerful nurse offering me some ice chips! I said no and that I couldn’t have any as I was due to have my surgery. She laughed and pointed to my arm in a splint and sling that was bigger than my leg and said, “You already have HAD surgery!”

The entire process of the block, moving me onto the operating room table, then off the table into a post-operative bed happened while I was just not there!!! It seems that anesthesia and procedures are way advanced from when I retired from nursing in 1992. Well, of course, it is now 2020, 28 years of advances have happened! I was admitted at 7 AM and home at 12:45 PM same day!

So, what is the point of all this rambling and what is this woman getting at, you ask? I think we can all be grateful for the services we have locally. Then we can be grateful for medical advances that are a slam-dunk, mostly. And last, but not least, is the concern of our Social Services department here at Panorama. With a husband, I had plenty of help at home, but they were there and wanting to know the progress and what they could do to help.  I am further grateful that I could muddle along, albeit a LONG healing process ahead. I worry now about 77 year-old bones healing properly. I am minding all the doctor’s orders and waiting until I can do things again! I took myself off the opiates that were prescribed after day two and have done well on Tylenol. Shifting a standard transmission vehicle seems daunting just now.

I’d like to let everyone know; you aren’t in trouble on your own! Reach out to the services and help that we have here. It is a blessing. You can rest easier if you know bad things can happen and guard against them, but be grateful you are in this caring community with services so helpful.

Panorama Penthouse?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2020

One day during this stay-at-home restriction, I stepped outside onto our balcony and eyed a woman walking through the covered parking lot for Quinault residents. “Hi there!!” I called out at a proper level of hearing that far away. She looked around, continued walking until hearing, “Hey…I’m up here!”

She gazed up, doing a complete 360.

“You missed me. I’m at your right. Look up to 5th floor.”

“Oh! Hi, there, Mary Jo! How are you doing?”

“I’m doing great! But who ARE you? I don’t recognize your eyeballs!”

She laughed heartily, pulling her mask down from her face, and responded, “I’m Pat! You have a great view from up there, don’t you?”

“Oh, yes, and we’re blessed in many other ways.”

I watched as she headed toward Circle Loop. What she didn’t know!

One example: We selected a very small apartment on the top floor of the Quinault Building. All my 50 years of marriage, I’ve wanted the smallest kitchen possible, but it needed to have lots of storage.

Reader, see you grinning, “Sounds like an oxymoron, Mary Jo!”

Hey, we got it! My husband calls it the Panorama Penthouse. With pantry pull-outs, I can double stack cans, front to back, in each of the four long drawers. Cabinets have things we really don’t need to keep…containers that I might need sometime!  Why have a large kitchen floor to keep clean?

I can stand at my kitchen sink, turn, and stir a cooking pot without moving a foot!Yes, the exercise would be good, but I have the option of walking through the hallway, family room, etc. for extra mileage. I actually do that at times, with my iPhone in my pocket to tract my distance. A quarter-mile walked trumps a quarter-mile in a recliner watching TV. Even then, if I want to watch or just listen, I can easily be tuned-in in this convenient, small place.

I turned to come back inside the apartment, but noticed Assisted Living activity coordinator, Stephanie, assisting a resident getting started on a walk. Pointing to the opposite side of the parking lot, they headed my way. I called out, louder than I had for Pat.  “Hey, Stephanie!” She, too, looked around.

“Over here…up high!” Both arms swung huge curves over my head right to left.

Stephane’s body language told me she was clueing in Ms. Assisted Living Woman. They nodded toward each other, waved back, and headed my way…a tad more than just moseying along. For about 20 seconds, we could not see each other because of the garage roof blocking the sidewalk view.

However, when they could see me again, they both wore big smiles and returned more arm-greetings. Emotionally I “heard” their hearts of happy excitement.

Their alert, quick pace remained until they turned and were just below my balcony. Now I could use a lower volume, “I miss playing piano on Mondays during lunchtime in Assisted Living.”

Stephanie’s response stirred up my thoughts. “Hopefully, it won’t be long!” was music to my ears…way up in our Panorama Penthouse!

Caring For Our Neighbors During the COVID-19 Crisis

Submitted by Resident Emergency Resources Group – April 2020

Map Your Neighborhood and the other Resident Emergency Resource groups have been helping Panorama residents prepare for natural disasters for many years, never thinking that we would find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic.  Yet here we are, surviving the unexpected!  Here are some ways in which we can all help and care for each other in this difficult time.

  • Contact your neighbors by email or phone to stay connected and make sure that everyone has what they need.
  •  If you find that a neighbor is struggling in any way, please contact social services to let them know of your concerns. There is also a group of resident volunteers who have professional experience in helping people in times of distress. This Emotional Support Team is available to answer questions or just chat – call x6006 to leave a message and one of them will return your call.
  • Remind your neighbors that Jerry Gjovaag, Resident Council President, is the person to contact if you have any questions or concerns about what’s happening here at Panorama: councilpresident@panorama.org  For residents without internet access, the Emergency Hotline has the most current messages: x7777.
  • If you are able to support our neighbors outside of Panorama, donations to Thurston County organizations such as the Food Bank, Interfaith Works and the Thurston County United Way Covid-19 Response Fund are always welcome.

We would like to offer a standing ovation to the wonderful Panorama staff who are going “above and beyond” every day to help us through the current crisis.  We greatly appreciate each and every one of you!

Remembering Jo Love

Written by Panorama resident, Bob Bowers – March 2020

Recently, on a lovely Saturday afternoon, the Panorama Community gathered to pay honor to one of our own, Jo Love Beach. She and her partner, Diane Stiles, moved to Panorama City (that was its moniker then) in November 2000. They became active in the Benevolent Fund bringing a spark of new energy to its work of helping those in the ebbtide of life have the resources they need for living. It is no secret to those living at Panorama that life in our fourth quarter often has some uncertainty:

Will we have enough to live our lives without fear?

Will our health continue to be robust?

Will we find something to do besides sit and wait?

Who will care when we age and need assistance with living?

Jo Love was active in helping others allay their fears about the future. Testimony was given by many at the memorial gathering concerning Jo Love’s involvement in making Panorama among the best places to age in our country. The memorial gathering was our way of saying thanks to Jo Love: Thanks for her leadership…thanks for her involvement…thanks for her positive personality.  Volunteering and leading is the way residents of Panorama can add to the richness of the community. There’s a place for everyone. As one who has lived here for 19 years, I can testify that it’s a dynamic place, full of energy and life. I can also say that Panorama will never be finished just as life is never finished.

The memorial gathering itself was marvel. I’ve seen and participated in many memorial gatherings but this one in honor of Jo Love outdid them all. In an easy, relaxed atmosphere those of us who attended shared with each other around elegantly set tables in the Seventeen51 Restaurant. We remembered Jo Love and honored Diane. We got to know the Beach family as they told us about their mother and grandmother. We shared with each other and went home with a quiet inner feeling of satisfaction, knowing that this is a good place to be at this time. Thanks, Jo Love, for having lived and worked among us. Your life is a challenge to our own to do what we can to make our world a better place.


Resident Council at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. January 2020 

I was sorting through the kitchen bargains under the huge white tent.

Above the excited chatter arose, “Hi, Mary Jo. I’m Bob Bowers, president of the Resident Council.”

Resident Council, what’s that? Who IS this guy? He has a Panorama name tag. Everyone greets me with my name these first two weeks. I smiled, but side glanced, “Oh, hi there. This is some Patio Sale . . . so organized.

Someone needs to fill me in on “resident council.”  We had student council at Providence High in San Antonio before I entered the convent.

So, what have I learned since that day in July 2011?

Panorama’s 140 acres is divided into 18 districts, each district electing one representative on the Resident Council for a three-year term. The council elects a president and vice president who appoint a secretary and treasurer. Monthly meetings are open for residents in our Quinault Auditorium, but our Panorama Channel 370 also televises them for closed-circuit viewing the next week.

The Resident Council (RC) is a liaison between residents and the Panorama Corporation. We residents are welcome to use equipment in the RC office, including:

  • Copy machine, including color!
  • Laminator
  • Three-hole punch
  • Laptop computers
  • Stapler

A volunteer is always there to help us.

Resident Council sponsors many of our activities and organizations. These are just a few examples of what they sponsor:

  • Activity Fair showcases the many activities offered and we are able to meet the volunteers.
  • Panorama Arts Guild shares, supports, and encourages creating and enjoying resident arts.
  • Bingo has winners twice a month in Quinault Auditorium
  • Clay/Ceramic Arts Studio promotes unusual, creative clay and ceramics activities.
  • Computer Learning Center (CLC) has up-to-date PC and Apple computers. Resident volunteers offer learning and enhancing opportunities.
  • Employee Appreciation Fund was established to thank eligible employees from residents.
  • State-of-the-Community Meetings and Forums are hosted by the Resident Council during the year to hear and question management and key staff on issues.
  • Garden Club provides the Pea Patch garden area for those enthusiasts.
  • Gifts, Etc. sells items handmade by over 100 talented residents.
  • Green Team promotes environmental sensitivity and wise use of energy and water resources, and promotes two on-campus recycling centers.
  • Lapidary Shop is for residents interested in cutting, grinding, polishing and displaying rocks.
  • Metal Shop has tools and equipment to repair and maintain metal objects and to create with metal.
  • Panorama Chorus provides opportunities for musical study, and for winter and spring performances.
  • Panorama Television Channel 370 is our closed-circuit Panorama broadcasting station delivering a great variety of resident-produced programming.
  • Readers’ Theater offers a venue for creative Panorama community involvement and entertainment through the spoken interpretation of the written word.
  • Resident Emergency Resources (RER) include:
    • Map your Neighborhood (MYN)
    • Panorama Pet Partners (PPP)
    • Emergency Communications Center (Radio Club K71F)
    • Storm Support Team
    • Disaster Supply Center
    • Crisis Support Team
  • Resident Council Transit provides free, on-campus transportation for residents, utilizing volunteer resident drivers and dispatchers.
  • Wood Shop is for all interested and qualified residents. Non-wood shopper residents may bring items needing repair!!

So do you think we kinda appreciate our Panorama Resident Council? I can’t think of a minute in the day when every resident does not benefit from our dedicated members. Thank you, Panorama Council members. Talk about blessings, all of us residents!

Free Taxi Service?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2019

“Isn’t there a good movie today in the Panorama Auditorium?” I asked hubby Chris.

He opened our valued Panorama Newsletter to take a look at the Monthly Activities. “Oh, yes, it’s at 1:30 . . . The Imitation Game (2014) . . . ‘During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. Oscar winning, best screenplay.’”

“Sounds good. I’ll call Resident Transit for a ride.” I dialed 7725 on our house phone.

The afternoon resident transit dispatcher Kathy L. answered and asked, “Resident Transit, how may I help you?”

“This is Mary Jo Shaw. Do you have an opening for a 1:20 ride?”

“Oh, hi, Mary Jo, yes we do. Where would you like to go?”

“To the Panorama Auditorium . . . and for Chris, too. And I have a chair-walker.”

She asked our address, our phone number, and repeated the information I gave her.

“Would you like a ride back home later?”

“Yes, but I’m not sure what time the movie is over. I’ll call you when we’re ready.”

Two hours later, I could have dialed 7725 on the Auditorium lobby phone, but decided to call on my cell phone, making sure to include the area code and the complete phone number.

Again, dispatcher Kathy asked the same questions about when and where.

“Chris won’t need a ride. He’s going off campus.”

BUT what happened next?

I quickly said, “Kathy, wait! Maybe someone else would like to hop a ride too.” The lobby had a few residents visiting while taking jackets off the nearby rack.

I announced at a higher volume, “I have Resident Transit on the phone. Anyone else want a ride home? There’s room for two more.”

No takers, but resident Marcene O. quickly offered, “Oh, Mary Jo, I’d love to take you home. We can visit a few minutes on the way.”

“That would be fun . . . okay, thanks, Marcene.”

Dispatcher Kathy overheard our conversation. “That’s fine, Mary Jo. Have a good day.”

When Marcene and I arrived at her SUV, I stopped short. “Oh, Marcene, I forgot that I have this walker. It won’t fit inside your car.”

“Oh, yes, I’m sure it will.” Determined, she worked different positions . . . to no avail.

Marcene bent over, shaking her head with both hands, “Oh, Mary Jo, I am so very, very sorry. I’m so embarrassed.”

“Don’t worry, Marcene. I’ll simply call Transit back.”

She was still apologizing. I gave her a big hug. “It’s good as done, Marcene! Really, it’s no problem.” Disappointed, we still laughed at the situation. Dispatcher Kathy enjoyed the story.

Some residents with cars don’t realize the ease of Resident Transit every weekday from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m.

I picked Dave F’s brain for information. Volunteer residents use the two Toyota Sienna vans, using just one van on alternate weeks. Panorama provides insurance, maintenance, gas and wash coupons, using about ½ tank per week. Two members of the committee refuel, wash and vacuum every other week.

Twenty volunteers average about 4 ½ hours. Most work two shifts each month. Some drivers laugh, “The ‘pay’ is not very good, BUT the riders are friendly and grateful, and that means a lot. We work ‘overtime’ on PATIO Sale weekend, and during special events when needed.”

They serve all independent living residents, and will transfer canes, walkers, and even owners with dogs to have fun inside our fenced, great dog park. 

Interesting facts:

  • A single shift might vary from a low of one driver to a high of 16-18 people per shift.
  • They will transport to the three city bus stops that are on Panorama’s campus.
  • Collegiality of volunteers: no feeling guilty or worry about coverage if you have a problem. You can “pay back” later … works great and is much appreciated.
  • They use the VSP (Volunteer Scheduling Program App) that is now shared with other volunteer groups!
  • Ten-minute intervals are all that is needed to make trips to anywhere on our 140-acre campus.
  • Chris and I have not driven since we gave up our car in 2012!

Residents with cars are encouraged to use the rides to realize how simple and convenient the system is. We never know when we might not be able to drive.

Dispatchers and drivers may work through their home, or take the special phone and clipboard with the schedule for the day wherever they want on campus. They know to be prepared and ready to respond for duty.

When my sister was visiting, we used the service to the Auditorium. She opened her purse and whispered during the 4-minute drive, “How much tip do we give the driver?”

I chuckled and told him her inquiry.

“Wow, how nice! I can’t believe it.”

Why Resident Transit?

Dave answers, “Dispatchers and drivers are there to assist Panorama residents to our best ability so that they can remain mobile and independent for as long as possible.”

I always thank my driver, “This one of the best conveniences and necessities on our campus!”

Thank you Panorama and your faithful volunteers who provide this service for us. We are blessed!

Panorama Plays Hailey Ukulele

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2019

While I was alternating my crafting, visiting, and writing on my tablet at a table in Panorama Hall, a special couple was passing through and glanced my way. My arms beckoned, “You must come over.”

With teeth-showing smiles, Susan and René Hailey raced over to me.

I exclaimed, “We really enjoyed you entertaining us during the Panorama Birthday Dinner a few months ago. You played many familiar favorites. I also remember when you played here the first time, about two years ago.”

They were as eager for some information as I was about the ukulele classes they were teaching to the residents.

“Mary Jo, you live in the Quinault. What time do the doors to the building get locked from the outside?” They explained about their ukulele class, and how they’d like to have another class in the evening.

After we figured that seven in the evening might be a good time, I wanted to know more about their classes. I’d majored in music while in the convent 13 years, had a guitar, played and sang with a group of seven other nuns for fun and gigs. We were talking the same language.

“Tell me about your classes. I see residents coming to the Quinault with their instruments. Where do you assemble? How much do you charge?”

Susan responded, “Mary Jo, we have 25 residents interested currently. There’s no fee. We also give them fluorocarbon strings and a strap button.”

My eyebrows arched. “No fee? And what is fluorocarbon?”

“Fluorocarbon strings are made of top-grade quality.”

Oh, then everyone’s sound has the same quality, I would think.”

“Yes, and we installed the strings for them before the classes began. We meet in the newly renovated Seattle Room on the lower level of the Quinault every Thursday at one o’clock. The course lasts three months.”

 “So, how does the Seattle Room work out?”

They were both enthused and talked almost in unison. “We can teach lessons with new technology via laptop, through HDMI connectivity to about a 70” TV. At the first lesson, we have simple chords to learn and alternate slowly on a few simple chords with icons shown on the screen. The words have the chord names written exactly when to change chords.”

I laughed, “Just like we two nuns who played the guitar chords did for our group, but we had no such help. I balanced the piece of paper on my knee or on a chair in front of me. Tell me more.”

René explained, “The screen shows exactly what we are to play. We use the pointer if needed. Students can go home to get a print-out from our web of the songs and chords.”  

I recalled, “I know if you want to start a class, club, game group, things like that, Panorama will back you with the room. You’re a perfect example.”

Susan offered to use my tablet to show me. “All songs are available on our website for anyone. No fee/no sign-in.”

I was amazed with their website. Have a look: http://Haileyukulele.com

Partnerships Made in Heaven

Written by Panorama resident, Deborah Ross. October 2019

I am often asked what surprised me the most when I moved to Panorama. As the Resident Council’s Archivist, my answer recently has been that much of the residential amenities we take for granted have been shaped by partnerships between Panorama management and residents. 

A recent example is one that I’ve been intimately involved with. Fellow resident and friend Peggy Jamerson came to me with the idea of developing an interpretive panel that would commemorate the location of the David and Elizabeth Chambers pioneer homestead, currently the site of the Chalet apartment building. I thought it a great idea, and added that the Chalet building itself is an important example of mid-Century modern architecture. Peggy and I brought the idea to Panorama president, Matt Murry, who immediately offered Panorama’s financial and staffing support. We asked for and obtained a generous grant from the Lacey Historical Society and technical assistance from the City of Lacey. For the next two years, Peggy and I have worked with a wonderful team of designers, Panorama Operations staff, and local historians to bring the project to fruition. 

On October 3, Peggy and I had the great pleasure and honor of unveiling the “From Chambers to Chalet” interpretive panel. The panel’s text and images paint a rich portrait of our campus’s history, and I encourage you to visit it more than once as there is much to explore. But to Peggy and me, the project has also been a gratifying example of how Panorama’s management and residents work together to create something truly special. 

80th Birthday Bundle

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2019

A huge bundle of birthday gifts and surprises arrived for me for my 80th birthday. It also included offerings for my hubby Chris’ 87th birthday too!

I had the table set. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, and syrup were just about finished when DING. DING. DING. DING!! Our son CW, his wife Teresa, and our granddaughters, Sarah and Emily, flew into my opened arms when I swung the door opened. After two years, the girls had grown almost as tall as me. They drove straight here from SeaTac Airport after traveling all night.

I ran to the stove about 20 feet from the door, “Oh, the last pancakes are ready. Wash your hands.”

After cozily gathering around our small table (expanded with our card table), we bowed our heads as CW voluntarily offered up a prayer.

“Granny it’s so hot and humid in Austin. We’ll get used to this nice cool air, but this hot chocolate is just perfect.” Emily sipped slowly.

Sarah asked, “Last time we were here, you had just moved into this neat place in the Quinault. I forgot how updated the fixtures are and all the storage for such a small place. I like how the cabinets and drawers close automatically after a little nudge.”

We chatted about school, camp, and their exciting attendance at Steubenville Catholic Youth Conference. After breakfast, exhaustion set in. The parents’ eyelids drooped, despite the noticeable efforts to keep it secret. Hearing I had prepared our bedroom for a nap, they needed no mother-hen wings to push them down the hallway.

We matched the teens’ adrenalin-high and looked forward to Granny-Pawpaw bonding for a couple of hours. The girls were not little ones anymore. They were attentive, caring, helpful and considerate of my needing a walker on this visit. After two years, they had overcome shyness, as they were friendly and personable to the elder residents, smiling, asking, and answering questions.

Another present in our bundle of birthday blessings: our daughter Melody, her husband John and their daughter Hope, who live in Lacey, all enjoyed our Aquatic & Fitness Center’s large pool, warm pool, and the spa several of the 10 days they were here. What a perk to have built-in, indoor pool entertainment that is refreshing, beneficial, and fun with all the extras: fins, sponge balls, rods, spin machine to dry swim suits, and dressing rooms for men, women and family.

One of my most memorable and highlighted gifts was on Monday when my little Shaw family attended our Panorama Chapel for Mass with pastor Fr. Tim from Sacred Heart Church. Afterward, we had a delightful walk through our McGandy Park, recalling hide and seek behind the large trunks of the tall trees when they were younger. We packed a picnic in baskets and strolled over to the Panorama Auditorium porch where lovely tables with umbrellas kept us shaded. The cool breezes inhaled smells of our juicy ham, lettuce, bacon, cheese sandwiches, bugle chips, cookies, and watermelon.

They tried out the new electronic piano in the Assisted Living dining room where I entertain during lunch on Mondays. We peeked into Panorama’s closed-circuit TV studio that films “Meet Your Neighbor” interviews, announcements, residents’ picture stories, and loads of other interesting things for our closed-circuit Channel 370. Most of the main events on our campus that are held in our large Panorama Auditorium Theater, the Quinault Auditorium and McGandy Park are filmed for future showing on our television channel. Run by volunteer residents who have learned a new skill, it’s under the daily supervision of a professional.

The men in the Wood Shop had kept in touch with our son CW by phone, photos and emails for two years. So he spent a couple hours on two different days with them, exchanging knowledge and skills, especially on the CNC machine. “How old are you, Chris?” they asked.

“Oh, I’m only 47, so it’s going to be a while yet before I can be a Panorama resident. I can’t believe all the activities and opportunities Mom and Dad have here. I hear even some staff members are on the wait list.”

Our package of birthday gifts included being able to share our annual Panorama Patio Sale, an event our Texan family had only heard us try to explain. They stood in amazement and wonder. “The organization is mesmerizing. How long did it take to set all of this up? Where do we begin to shop? What happens if it rains? Oh, my! I’ve always wanted this kind of waffle iron. Whoa, Granny, didn’t your grandmother have one of these nutcrackers? Good thing we flew here, otherwise, we would have stuffed our car with so many of these treasures. The prices are sooo reasonable. We don’t even have to look at the price tags.”

I remarked that the proceeds of the event come back to us residents. The remarks went on and on.

I was busy finding items I “needed” at the sale, when over the crowd I heard, “Granny, hurry, it’s almost one o’clock and we’re supposed to meet in the Seventeen51 Restaurant at one. Pawpaw just called. He’s already there and he’s waiting for us.”

“Oh, okay, I’ll hurry and pay for my things!”

Chris is there already?!? He’s late for EVERYTHING!!!

CW walked from the Patio Sale with me and my walker. He carried my treasures the short distance to the restaurant, but the rest of the family hurried ahead.

When we entered the Gallery room at the restaurant, my eyes bulged, my jaw dropped, and my palms hit my cheeks.

SURPRISE, GRANNY! HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY!”

Sitting around 4 tables formed into one, Melody’s family had decorated with balloons and curled shiny streamers. Emily and Hope each held a 4-foot, shiny, gold, inflated balloon: one was shaped as the number “8” and the other as the number “0”. Appetizers, entrees, desserts…all gourmet from our Panorama kitchen! What convenience it was! No calling to restaurants to reserve a room, no time limitation to sit and visit, waiters and waitresses with familiar TLC smiles. Familiar residents were in the room looking on, sharing in the fun, taking pictures and videos to send later, and chiming in the singing for me.

Other items at the bottom of that bundled box of birthday-package-stuffers included:

  • Seeing the film/photos of Granny Jo (me) winning the July 4th pie eating contest in our park.
  • Visiting in Panorama Hall and Quinault Coffee Room with complementary coffee, hot chocolate, and even some cookies at times. Where else but Panorama!

At one point, Sarah’s jesting eyes danced, “Granny, are you still happy about your move to Panorama and to the Quinault?”

Ha! What do you think?

A 3-inch Short, Polite Story

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2019

I ran into a neighborhood resident. The resident glances at my name tag. “Oh Mary Jo, I want you to meet my family.” The next week, the 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.

I’m sure our many faithful Security officers are grateful to “recognize” those familiar 3-inch name tags that identify us as residents.

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 off campus visiting with our family. Again, no use to turn it in. Now I have one for my heavy jacket.

Recently in the grocery store, a gray-haired couple spied my little name tag. “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!’”

“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 are like family. We are blessed.” From the side of my purse, I grabbed a Panorama Marketing retirement advisor’s 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.”

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!

Musical Thoughts

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2019

It seems we are coming out of the dark now in January. Soon the flowering lovely spring trees will be blooming and the gardeners will be marching to the Pea Patch to ready their soil for planting.

Me? I have been reminded about some changes since we moved into Panorama. We are now into our 6th year here. Not yet old timers or pillars of the community, but certainly not new anymore.

What struck me the other night, as I listened to the Monday Night Program with the South Sound Trio in our lovely auditorium, is that times are changing. What a thought, eh? But I reminisced about our first year here (2013-2014) and the many programs featuring music from the 20s, 30s and 40s.

What crossed my mind was that my previous active community of friends maybe were right when they said, “You are going into a care facility way too early!” Well, the surprise to them was how much we loved this active community right off the bat!  Panorama, as we all know, is far from being solely a senior care facility.

Then a year or so ago, I realized that we were rocking to 50s, 60s and 70s music, which had sort of morphed out of the war years. Performers in our McGandy Park were bringing MY old music to the fore. Music from my old favorite rock and folk bands and groups were indeed being heard more and more. What a revelation!

Now, I can imagine the “boomers” coming and wondering, “Why in the world are they playing this old music for, anyway?” Their music will be 80s, 90s, and 00s!!!! I must tell them to take heart. We always urge friends and folks to come to Panorama earlier than later to take advantage of all that this community offers. And they will find that their music will catch up and make us older folks wonder what they see in it! Isn’t that always the way of passing the torch?

So, I am hoping you all enjoy the musical performances offered to us here and with no charge to us. It is such a bonus! And if you are one of those younger whipper-snappers…know that soon you will be rocking to YOUR beats. We are all in this together. Enjoy!!!

Panorama Welcomes My Unknown Cousin

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2018

In a few days, I’d be meeting a 2nd cousin who I didn’t know even existed. Our maiden names are both Italian: Barbera, which is not a common surname here in the USA.

There are many options of where we can meet on Panorama campus, but some are regularly used on Monday afternoons. I wanted a place other than our Quinault apartment. I wanted her to observe the friendly residents and their goings on, and yet not be in an isolated room where we might feel claustrophobic.

I prayed. Lord, You’ve never let me down. I know this mercenary, but You know the perfect spot for us to meet my cousin Nicole and her husband, Bruce, when they come tomorrow. I place this situation into your hands and I thank You in advance.

That evening, I observed a crowd leaving our restaurant. That’s it! The Panorama Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro! However, would they accommodate, understand, and allow us to occupy a large table for the four of us with room for our memorabilia and photos? We’d have access to meals, snacks, drinks—whatever—with no need to prepare them and clean up.

I ran upstairs to our apartment to gather and write down my thoughts and questions. I called our restaurant. Restaurant employee Erin seemed as excited as I was. “How fun, Mary Jo. We could push two tables together in a T-shape in the Bistro. You could be away from other tables and have a good time. We’d be nearby to wait on you when you are ready. You may have all afternoon to visit.”

The set-up was perfect.

We enjoyed our lunch, dessert, and drinks while sharing photos.

Nicole had pictures of herself and her little brother as youngsters standing at the side of a large inboard motor boat with the business name on the side in bold letters: Barbera Sports.

I belted, “Hey, that’s our boat!” Dad (her cousin) had taken the picture at the sporting goods store back in the late 1970s.

In several photos of my grandfather, Barbera Sr. (her uncle), I recognized the wallpaper in rooms at his birthday party, but I couldn’t remember where I had seen it. I took a cellphone image of the page in her album, and I sent it to my sister Jerri. She was excited, “That’s my house.”

Members of Nicole’s family, including her 80-year-old mother, called from out of town saying they wanted to come to Panorama to meet us. What a privilege and compliment! I could go on and on about our several hours of fun. Our families know Panorama is available with the hospitality to handle our next family reunions. Everyone can relax and let it happen—repeatedly!

How did Nicole track me down?

She had traced my name through ThurstonTalk online, which aired March 16, 2018. It ran a story by Anne Paxton Hammond of me and my book, Convent to Catwalk. The story was titled “Mary Jo Shaw: How a Nun Became a Fashion Model and Mom.”

Seek and maybe ye shall find an unknown relative. And thanks to Panorama!

A Resident’s Perspective – Name Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. August 2018

It is time to talk about the name tags we were provided when we moved into Panorama. I know many of us at our age sort of rail against being identified in the manner of a name tag. We’ve all been to conferences and stuck with a “Hello! My Name is ____”.  At those functions, the name tag often admits you to planned sessions or gatherings as a crowd control device.

Well, I’d like to add my take on name tags for here in our community. We all recall when we first moved into this amazingly large community of new faces! Boy, was the name tag a boon to not only meeting new folks but attempting to put names with faces. We don’t NEED them for admittance to functions and activities, but it surely makes it easier for us. It also helps new folks know us! We all get to know so many through our volunteering and joining in activities. But we forget that new residents find themselves sort of left out socially as we greet each other at activities. Just by way of a suggestion, it is always good to see folks introduce themselves to people who seem new, at least to them.

What we put under our names on the tag is also of interest! I know many put the most recent community they lived in as being “from,” but some folks have put their origins under their names. This is always a conversation starter if nothing else. Resident Council members also have a special addition to their name tag to identify them.

Recently, at a Resident Council meeting, our head of Security suggested wearing name tags as we move around our many acres of Panorama in our various activities. It helps Security, who can’t know us all, know if we belong here or not. Trespass is not a big problem here but it does occur.

The other side of this coin is personal. I prefer to not wear the name tag out away from Panorama. It is merely a thought that I’d like to not lose the tag somewhere as I take off or put on an outer wrap. I know we can get another, but it just seems prudent. It makes it a bit awkward on bus trips out to meals/brunches/dinners-at-their-best, but a quick introduction to tablemates is always a good idea. When the hiking groups gather with Steve, he always has us all introduce ourselves and it is a nice gesture.

Now a sobering factoid, if you’ve not kept up. I always save the “New Residents at Panorama” listing in our monthly newsletter until we get the updated pages of the newest edition of our directory. Since January of this year, we have 75 (!) new residents! This includes the nine people listed in our August newsletter.

May we all try to wear our name tags and give the newbies a break, and ourselves as well, with our many creaky minds in the remembering department.

A Resident’s Perspective – Booking a Panorama Bus

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2018

For some reason, our church was in the “back pew” when Panorama buses began providing transportation for residents to churches of specific denominations years ago. In the meantime, we have been blessed with resident Maurie L. He attends Mass at Sacred Heart on Sundays and again on Mondays to obtain and bring the sacred, consecrated wafer-hosts to our Catholic Communion service at 10:30 a.m.

When resident Annie (fictional name) initiated and shared her inspiration of asking Panorama for transportation to the church for Sunday Mass, several of us threw our hands up. “What a great idea! We’ll be happy to help spread the word among residents to see how many might be interested.”

We prayed intently each day and we all began networking. Annie worked behind the scenes with proposals and answers to questions that Panorama might ask her. She gathered information, did a test bus trip herself, looked at bus drop-off locations on the church campus, etc.

Annie discussed her questions with us. We prayed with more effort that if God wanted it to be, it would happen. She finally presented the proposal to Grace Moore, Lifestyle Enrichment Director.

“Absolutely!” Grace responded, “You’ll need at least five riders to reserve a van or bus. I’ll work with you on details and get back with you.”

Annie with a teeth-showing smile and beaming, bulging eyes revealed the good news to us. I’m sure that glow on her face was the same when she received the “absolutely” from the Lifestyle Director.

Our goal was to find at least five residents required for the ride, and in a week or so we had a pool of about 15. Others still drive but wanted to be on the list, in case they suddenly are not able or don’t want to drive. The bus picks us up and returns us to our homes, but no need to pay on the spot. The small riding fee is then charged to our monthly account the Sunday we actually sign and board the bus. How easy is that!?

We call Annie by Thursday to let her know if we won’t be going the following Sunday. We realize not everyone at our age will be able to attend every week. We are not charged if we do not ride, but the opportunity is there. So far, we have had about 10 regulars each Sunday.

Of course, we will continue the Monday morning services for those unable to ride the Panorama bus and for those who wish to attend Sunday and/or Monday! Another simple-for-us-to-do blessing from Panorama!