Gifts and More Gifts Galore!

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2021

Just where are these “Gifts and more gifts galore?”  

They are in Gifts, Etc. – conveniently located close to Pan Hall, which some of us call the Senior Student Union Center. The lounge area in Pan Hall has a large fireplace, couches, comfortable chairs at tables for visiting, reading, writing, stirring hot coffee or chocolate, and convenient access to our executive offices, Lifestyle Enrichment department, Activity Desk, Timberland bank, etc. Whew!  

In the hallway close to that lounge hangs a sign called Gifts, Etc! During COVID, the shop was closed, but received remodeling and updating. The grand re-opening was September 7, 2021.  

Counters and walls display practical, useful, and gifts for all ages. All are handmade only by our residents, including professional resident artists’ works.

Seasonally, they have large selections for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday, graduation, and other event gift giving times. Prices vary from a few dollars to as far as the SpaceX’s orbit into outer space! (I exaggerate a tad, but you get my drift!)

Approximately 30 volunteers look forward to working behind the scenes, managing, operating the new cash register, helping residents, substituting, etc.  

Curious? Take a look at some of the kinds of items:  

Bags – Drawstring. Small to large. Various uses.

Basketry – Pine needle & fabric.

Blankets – Baby. Soft cotton fabric or baby crochet yarn.

Books – Autobiography, children, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, etc.

Cards – Hand painted. Photographs.

Egg ornaments – Uniquely design painted, glued & glazed. Triangle gift box included.

Framed – Paintings. Cloth hand-work.

Honey – LOCAL . . . the more local, the better for you!

Jewelry – Fused glass. Braided. Chained, etc.

Kitchen – Clever aprons. Decorated hand towels. Pot scrubbers. Cotton-knitted wash cloths. Padded pot holders, etc.

Pottery – Unique, beautiful, shapes. Cups. Kiln baked.

Scarves – Out of this world Batik. Yarn. Curly.

Stamps – Actual value price.

Woodshop offerings – Pens, boxes, bowls, etc.

Wool felting — Animals, etc. Too clever to explain!

Reader, if you enlarge the photos with your two fingers, you will see many items and details. I can hear your, “WOW, I had no idea!” Enjoy!  

By the way, consignors keep 80% of sales. The 20% is split between Resident Council and Gifts, Etc. 10% goes into the Resident Council fund that supports many activities. The other 10% goes into the gift shop’s activity fund to cover operating expenses (equipment, software, and office supplies).  

Thank you, Panorama, for this popular, fun space with a galore of items called Gifts, Etc. for our convenience and socializing!

Encore to Panorama’s Lamp

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2021

You know what an encore is. Everyone applauds with an encore at the end of a great piano concert. We MUST HAVE “MORE! MORE!” And we stand smiling from ear to ear, applauding at a higher volume, as the pianist returns nodding a head. I realize the fingers must be exhausted, but still applaud . . . selfishly. I absorb and treasure every nuance of every note. This IS the final to take home.

So, what does this have to do with my title Panorama’s Lamp?

Remember, I wrote about our Stiles-Beach Barn where we turn in those goodies and tons of smaller items like crafts, small kitchen appliances, office supplies, pictures, frames, etc. that we finally realized we don’t need, but they’re too good to throw away. Or we’ve asked, “Why am I keeping this?” Well, Encore is a large, very organized sparkling warehouse of larger items for just about anything you need, such as tables, chairs, cabinets, open or closed shelving, big lamps, etc. At the back . . . shelves of too many books to count.

I really needed a card table for my craft room, also realizing that it would take up valuable real estate in the center of the room. I was tired of working on those three wobbling white plastic TV trays that constantly tipped over when I inched by or hit with my foot.

“No, we have no card tables today, but keep checking . . . you know we get things all the time,” the volunteer resident said, trying to cheer me up.

“Oh, yes, I know,” I whimpered. “I’ll look around for whatever else I might need.”

The guy volunteers belted out teasing-laughter, pretending to help me, “Oh, here, Mary Jo, you must have whatever this is.” Neither I nor they knew what it was, so, Reader, I can’t tell you what the weird thing was. I can’t even recall its shape for description!

Then what to my wondering eye should appear? A crafter’s lamp, the likes of which I didn’t even know existed . . . and several twin look-alikes.

“OH, I’ve never seen anything like this before. I have such little space for a floor lamp, but really need more light. This is exactly what I need. Where has it been all of my 82 years of life?”

Lady Volunteer beamed to help & tapped the toggle. “NO light!” She toggled again. “NO LIGHT. I can’t believe it wasn’t tested as we do when they come in.” I observed the long, connecting light bulb-pack. Volunteer removed and replaced the set, and TOGGLED AGAIN. “You probably can go online and order a set,” she advised.

My heart sank. I don’t order online. “Lord, please, help us in our situation,” I said aloud.

Then there was Jerry! Who is Jerry? He is the volunteer who drove me over to the Encore warehouse, and was going to take me back home if I was going to have a short visit. If he received a call on his special phone to pick up someone else, he could easily go do that and come back for me. Rides are made in 10-minute increments, since that is plenty time to go anywhere on our campus. He was helping with our predicament. And did he!!

Jerry belted out, picking up the cord.  “Well, it might help if we plugged it into the wall!”

WAA-LA! We all cheered!

My arms flew up. “Let there be light!”

This is a Verilux long-neck, and can be angled any direction. I’m sure other people have heard of it, seen it, or own it. Where has my long neck been all this time . . . in my turtle neck or in the sand? I’ve needed this baby for years!

But . . . Encore put me on their list to be called when a card table comes in! 

Panorama deserves encores of thanks for the Encore building. Volunteers there and the Resident Transit drivers who pick us up to take us anywhere on the campus deserve encores of thanks. Blessed once again.

NOTE:  Encore volunteers deliver our larger items to or from our homes or apartments, but Jerry slid my precious treasure right into the back of the SUV . . . next to my walker!

Recall Panorama Good or Bad

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021

This Fourth of July proved not only different, but special for Chris and me.

First, Panorama explained in a nutshell. Since preparations had to be started months in advance, we really didn’t know how “open” we’d be with restrictions. So, this year would be “re-imagined to make the most of loosening restrictions before we fully go back to the ways we celebrated in years past.” We residents surely understood, and we’d be grateful and appreciate whatever they came up with. 

Second, Chris and I recall our first morning of waking up here.With no cooking utensils yet, we found our way, just a short distance, to the entrance of our campus McGandy Park, heading for “that big building where the restaurant is, and where we were told much of the action takes place” (happens to be our Quinault where we presently live since 2017!).

“Oh, Chris, look at those huge white tents way over there at the end of the park! Maybe someone is having a wedding or reception. I hear mariachi music. Reminds me of when we were in San Antonio, Texas.”

Chris shuffled to a stop. “Golly, there must be at least 200 people.”

“Yes. Look, the sidewalk goes right through the crowd. There must be other ways to get to that big building, but I don’t know how yet. We gotta go this way. I hope they don’t think we’re gonna crash their party. Maybe they will see our Panorama name tags and realize we’re just passing through.”

We picked up our pace, heading directly into the center of the crowd, noticing other Panorama name tags and red, white and blue trinkets, hats, pins, you name it. Then we just stopped, smiled and looked around, until a few closest to us, asked, “Hi! Are you new residents?”

Chris and I started breathing normally again. “Yes, we are!”

“How long have you been here?” another asked.

I paused, studied. Then looked up from my wrist, “Well, almost 13 hours, maybe?”

Among the laughter, someone pointed to a table at another entrance to the park, “If you’d like to join us, you can go over and purchase two tickets and we’ll let you in line in front of us.”

We really appreciated that just about everyone wore a name tag. Being 10 years younger and NOT having gone through the year 2020 yet, it was much easier to remember names!

Catered by our Chambers Restaurant (name changed to Seveenteen51 Restaurant and Bistro), the BBQ brisket, chicken, hot dogs, sweet corn on the cob, huge bowls of baked beans, best-of-the-West slaw and potato salad, cold drinks, and ice cream cart were all-you-can-eat. 

New names, faces, questions and answers, lively mariachi music with three guitarists in black, silver-studded Mexican suits and three-foot-round, bright-colored, embroidered sombreros heightened the excitement.

Onlookers clapped, cheered and clicked pictures. The games, contests, winners and prizes were not what impressed us the most. It was the genuine love and care that the staff, employees, and residents had for each other. Not a bad for a first meal! We knew we were blessed.

Our 10th Anniversary at Panorama is in 2021. The best ever! The menu: BBQ combination plates to select from ribs, pork, chicken, two sides and a roll. We could order pounds of the smoked meats and sides this year! We could pick up or have them delivered to our homes.

Celebrate with music from noon to 2:00 pm meant live professional performances occurring at multiple locations around our 140-acre campus. We could pick some festive red, white and blue accessories (hats, sunglasses, jewelry, etc.) from tables at each of the five locations.

Two ice cream trucks drove campus streets between 11:00 am to 2:00 am with choices of complimentary ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, drumsticks and cups. We were kids again, but we did not have to hand over our nickel (or dollars in today’s rate)!

Third, and most important, we had the most perfect cool weather for us. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Panorama!

Talking Tags

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2021

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

Surely our many faithful Security persons are grateful to “recognize” those familiar 3-inch items that identify us as residents and don’t need to inquire if they can “help” us.

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 I was off campus visiting with our family. Again, no use to return it. No one else could use it! Now, I have one for my heavy jacket.

Recently in the grocery store a gray-haired couple spied my little three-incher. “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!’”

Lady shopper asked, “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 is like family. We are blessed.” From the side of my purse, I grabbed a Panorama Marketing 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.”

Since we are “opening up” after whatever it was that kept us “covering up” the nose and mouth, I feel like I’m a “new resident” once again. Everyday I seem to ask, “You look and sound familiar, but I’m sorry. I don’t recall your name or how I know you.” They glance at my faithful tag and smile saying something like, “Oh, MARY JO, we were neighbors on Woodland Court before you moved over to the Quinault.”

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!

One more little, but important, item to tag onto our list of thank-yous to Panorama!

SIGNED,

Tired of the Word “Pharmacies”?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2021

The entire planet is probably familiar with (and probably tired of) the word pharmacies. I’m dizzy observing millions of purple-capped little bottles kicking sides with each other as they race with the flow on machine belts to be packaged and distributed around the world.

What’s my view of the Puget Sound Pharmacy at Panorama (see there’s that word again)? Let’s peek in after getting screened and earning a tag that expires at the end of the day. The tag also allows my entry into the bank, hair salon, pharmacy, and bears my name, date and time of screening. The screeners are our re-positioned dependable, friendly employees who catch up on computer work and also switchboard the telephones for questions from residents, or prospects, etc. My tag’s tagged onto my right shoulder.

I wheel my walker a few feet around the corner of the hall into our pharmacy.

“Good morning, Mary Jo! So good to see you. How are you today?” I see a forehead looking up over the rows of pharmaceuticals on shelves facing me.

“Oh, am I blessed to have this pharmacy! Maybe you’re not ready yet, but you should be receiving a prescription from the Providence Clinic here on our campus any minute. I just walked over from there,” I responded.

“Well, I’m just finished filling your order,” Cheryl said. She handed Courtney the little brown plastic container with new pills. After finding out it was a med I’d not taken before, Courtney asked for Isaac, the pharmacist, who explained the instructions and handed me a printout of the side effects. What service!!

I turned and walked the aisles of groceries, canned foods, desserts, cookies, chips, fruits bananas, tangerines, pears, apples, frozen dinners, ice cream assortments, dairy products, wall of hygiene products mainly for our needs, bathroom items, ATC medications, baking needs . . . you get the idea!

Several times a week I fill my walker with several items. Some days either Kate or Nancy will do my check-out.

Hubby Chris uses the excuse to go down to the pharmacy to take his blood pressure. He takes the opportunity to buy a frozen ice cream sandwich or the famous Nestle Drumstick. About that drumstick, Google says, “It’s Over 90 Years Old, But Forever Young!” At 89, I suppose Chris wants to stay young, too! Have to admit, I did go with him a few times for the ice cream sandwich.

As restrictions let up, we were allowed to have families and friends to our apartments. Our daughter, Melody, her hubby, and their 14-year-old daughter accepted our last-minute invitation to come the next day for Melody’s birthday for a simple get-together of Jell-O with strawberries and banana slices.

The day of the simple “big event,” Melody called, “We’ll be there in 25 minutes.”

Feeling we wanted to offer more, but had nothing else to serve, I grabbed my walker. “Chris, I’m going to the pharmacy for bear paws and cinnamon rolls, peanut butter cookies . . . I don’t know what all I’m getting . . . something . . .”

At check-out, Cheryl heard my story about my “bad, goodie” stuff I normally don’t purchase.

Back upstairs in 10 minutes, Chris asked, “Are you back already?

“Yes, thank God for our pharmacy.” I ripped open the packages, placed goodies onto platters, and answered the BING text on my iPhone: “We’re parking outside!”

We raced down to the Quinault entrance where our family was just appearing at the door. Saved by Puget Pharmacy, goodies and all!

Am I tired of the word pharmacy? Three guesses, and two don’t count!

Fun in Panorama’s Barn?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

I got up early on Friday to get to the Barn. Glad restrictions are lifting . . . I can call to get a ride with Resident Transit. Drivers started up again too (only on-campus transports). I can hardly wait. So much fun over there!

Timed to a TEE! As I strolled my walker through the automatic entrance doors, Jerry looked up waving with his sanitizing wipe and called through his colorful mask, “Oh, hi, Mary Jo! Good to see you again. I’m getting the backseat ready for you! You are my first passenger since we just started driving again. We have a few new things to remember to do.”

After he put my walker in the opened rear door, we headed toward the Barn.

“Jerry, thank you for volunteering to drive. Since we came in 2011, I’ve always said this is one of the most appreciated services for those residents who would not be able to walk far and then walk back home. Especially to and from the Barn.”

In four minutes, two Barn volunteers, seeing Panorama Resident Transit’s dedicated SUV, actually came out to welcome me!

“May I bring my walker inside? Or should I leave it out here. I know it’s usually a tight squeeze inside.”

“On no, not anymore. Sure! Bring it in.”

“Whoa! This is amazing. I knew you were doing an overhaul and sprucing up, but this place looks soo much bigger, tidier, organized, and the white floors are immaculate. I know I only have 30 minutes, so I’m going to get started.” 

One volunteer counted the bodies in the room. “I’m going to step outside until the resident paying at the cash register leaves. We don’t want to go over our guidelines.”

Sure enough, it was rather quiet, since we had no time to visit and lists were long. I had to bite my lips to keep from exclaiming and thanking. I passed small appliances, office supplies, crafts, fine china, kitchen, tools, and car/garage things. No more lugging large, worn-out cardboard boxes from under tables to rummage for items that did not win a place on the table. Notice in a photo the yellow pull-down electric outlets hanging from ceilings for testing purposes!

When I asked where some items were, my answer came immediately.

So why a Barn . . . where does all the STUFF come from? Where does the money go?

Panorama has a unique Benevolent Fund (BF). It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent living and assisted living residents who have outlived their financial resources. Since starting in 1972, it has given more than $2.5 million directly to residents who were in need. The Benevolent Fund presents each resident a free SARA® pendant the first day they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or are in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors in Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place.

When ending up with things we no longer need, we may call our Stiles-Beach Barn and/or Encore Furniture and Books on campus to make an appointment for pick-up. A large white truck, with several Benevolent Fund volunteers, show up at our door to haul our items away to the appropriate building to be priced and sold . . . by other happy, cheerful volunteers.

To add to the Benevolent Fund in normal summers, they typically host the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. No need to look at the price: it IS too good to be true!

Driver Jerry arrived on time. I buckled my seatbelt, but immediately unbuckled it. “Jerry, I can’t leave yet. Gotta go inside the Barn again to take some pictures for the blog. I must write about this experience and the improvement Panorama and the volunteers did to get this going for us during COVID.”

I tore inside again! “Hey, I need to snap a quick picture of this place for my next blog.” Kathy, Roxanne, and Larry gathered per my request, so you, Reader, could have a glimpse of how we are blessed here at Panorama.

Do you see why I was excited to get up on Friday to have “fun at the BARN”?

Diane Stiles (left) & Jo Love Beach (right)

Note: Diane Stiles and Jo Love Beach were the two most lovingly dedicated women who spent their years at Panorama improving and running the Barn until their deaths in 2020. Jo Love Beach was Benevolent Fund President from 2003 to 2008. The Barn was renamed “Stiles-Beach Barn” in honor of them in 2016.

What Pops?

Written by Panorama residents, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2021

As teenagers, we dreaded popping those irritating pimples, days before attending a birthday party. On arrival, I remember a mouth full of bubble gum. At the event, I remember the bags of popcorn or poppycock we devoured while chatting with our school buddies. Often that led to a bubble gum blowing contest, bubbles popped and . . . what a mess! Seems invariably that the boys formed their own “contest” to get laughs from the girls by blowing frantically into their tall glass of root beer. The tiny layered bubbles foaming over his hand onto the outside of the container grow bigger before popping.

As the finale, we’d pop the many balloons around the room or backyard before our parents arrived.

Now decades later, I experience our Panorama campus overflowing with botanical buds on the verge of popping out. Individual flowers, bushes, vines and trees abound. Others have already given us pleasure and are popping off their stems onto the ground. Thank you Jody Sangder for the TLC that you and your Grounds Team give to our campus.

Before COVID, each year Panorama offered an Activity Fair for prospective or new residents, as well as for veteran residents who may want to explore possible activities. Booths with photos and a representative to answer questions about their activity occupied every available space within a perimeter of walking space for ease of participants. Every Wednesday for one hour in April, we had Activity Fair Reimagined on Zoom, organized by residents Carolyn Odio, Chair, and Linda Crabtree, Co-Chair. The event offered a set of 15 different activities in one hour each week and was offered virtually for residents and prospective residents this year. We could pop in or out of any activity room as long or as often as we wanted, to listen, or to ask questions. Between the staff and/or residents, (and at least a wee prayer!) the fun, learning, and opportunities are always able to happen! That’s Panorama for us.

Another April event we enjoyed before COVID was gathering for Volunteer Day in our Seventeen51 Restaurant for recognition, lovely table of goodies, and employees and staff serving and waiting on us. This year, what fun to wave while watching the special Volunteer Parade weaving through our 140-acre campus! Dedicated Panorama staff with busses, cars, vans, trucks decorated with balloons, Thank You signs, banners, pompoms, teddy bears, and streamers, popped their horns or rang bells on their bicycles!

This time of year, my do-list always reminds me to pop outside with my walker to visit with other residents soaking in some Vitamin D. But this day I was in an area and alone smiling at all of the huge, opened flowers, and whispering to the numerous flowers’ buds on our campus, “Oh, you’re trying so hard to pop out. Won’t be long! The lovely rains we have in Washington are on the weather report for tomorrow. I’m going to take your picture. SMILE!” 

I smiled, too, and took an alternate route back to the Quinault . . . to talk to more opened blossoms, and to whisper to the buds. All this because I recalled popping pimples for the birthday parties . . .

Anyway, thank you once again, Panorama, for the care of our Gardens of Paradise!

Sunshining Times

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. April 2021

Sunshine means sunshine! Right? But the last few months, despite restrictions (I’m glad I don’t have to be specific or define that word to anyone on the entire planet), “sunshine” has labeled several events for me in 2020 (a year that needs no explanations either). Where to start?

The most recent experience first: being in REAL sunshine with my walker with resident Monika for the first time in 2021 this past week. “Oh, look at the tall trees waving at us. And some of the bushes are full of red, white, and yellow blossoms. The ones behind us with buds are waiting to pop open.” Excited exclamations radiated like the sun shining on us while walking to one of our many lovely benches.

As lots of friendly residents passed, I’d wave my arm with my fleeced long-sleeve pushed up almost to my armpit soaking up some Vitamin D. “Hi, there! Your eyeballs look familiar, but forgot your name.”

They’d “introduce” themselves and laugh, “Oh, I know you. You’re Mary Jo. I recognize your Texas accent!! Your mask really sparkles in the sunshine!”

“Oh, thanks! My 13-year-old granddaughter bought it for me for Christmas! It has little decorative gold beads in a web-like lace. But you can see the layers of cotton behind it.”

This year’s Easter began as a dark, gray-cloudy, drizzly day. But blue skies, bunny-fluffy clouds and the bright sun shone by noon. The greens on our campus and more flowers welcomed walkers by surprise.

The smile on my face on a previous dreary, cold, rainy day in March, nevertheless, brought sunshine to my entire psyche: AARP Tax set-up for free! In their 8th year, residents Dave and Kris proved faithful once again . . . all of us behind masks, with appointed times, and distancing (another word the world knows). We met outside our Panorama main entrance. Panorama had two large overhead warmers with a chair under each, at least 12 feet apart! Kris, just inside the doors, scanned copies of our readied paperwork and also of our prepared totals of income/expenses. In a few days . . . you can imagine why I emitted sunshine!

Kudos shine on you, Dave, Kris, Panorama and other volunteers who worked behind the scenes for us.  Once again, we are blessed at Panorama.

2020 Holiday Offerings at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. December 2020

Where do I begin to tell the story of holiday happenings on our campus? I can’t possibly mention all of them, so here are some that I personally experienced.

Hallway Door Decorating Contest

Nicki, manager of our three resident apartment buildings, sent notices for the hallway door decorating contest. All residents in their respective building may vote on the assigned days. We simply walked the halls with our included ballots and selected one door for each of four categories: Most Clever, Best Theme, Most Festive, and Your Favorite. Designing our Quinault building door drew me to my craft room. Something simple, with Christ, the real meaning of Christmas: our HOPE of 2020.

Holiday Greetings

Resident Paul E. from Panorama TV studio welcomed residents, activity groups, and staff to give a shout out solo or as a group. I shared a quick story of the year Mom asked us six girls whether, instead of getting lots of gifts, we would like to purchase a nice manger/creche scene. We unwrapped Mary, Joseph, infant Jesus, and sheep, shepherds, kings, camels and one angel. We would have it as a legacy for future family generations. I followed my story with the photo of our hallway-door decoration. Paul produced the final great total product! Thanks so much, guys.

Videos Filming Campus Holiday Lights

We were mesmerized with the night scenes, as well as the daytime and other fun holiday views, taken from the ground and from the air!

Staff Parade

Lead by one of our Panorama buses catching our ears with snappy high-volume carols, we could watch from our patio, balcony, driveway, window or any curb as our staff drove with assorted, clever decorations wishing everyone a safe holiday/Christmas season.

Turning of the Tide

Apartment manager Nicki sent notices to each building resident. Residents constantly call or email staff to say thank you and comment on changes in the buildings. “Do not underestimate the power of positive words in your life as well as the lives of others.” On each floor’s bulletin board next to the elevator, we found cards provided to write on and post our expressions of what we are grateful for. We will continue this well into 2021, making this “not just a Season of Gratitude, but rather an on-going Tide of Gratitude…” I love viewing the hallway resident door decorations and reading each floor’s added thank you notes. Thank you, Nicki, for the great idea.

Large Christmas Balls from Christmas Cards

Carolyn O., Quinault resident and Resident Council District Representative, sent us handout/instructions to make beautiful balls attached to a long ribbon. She offered to give Zoom help (everyone’s COVID mental health saver, right?). I see them hanging on several hallway doors.

Seventeen51 Restaurant’s Generous Banquet & Staff’s Bag of Goodies ­

You’ve gotta read Sandy Bush’s blog about these gifts!

The 4th Annual Holiday Giving Tree

Megan Vu from our Office of Philanthropy says “The miracle of the holidays is spread through the joy of caring and sharing – and not even COVID-19 can stop us from supporting local families in need.” Panorama has again partnered with three major service centers. Residents used Megan’s simple instructions for selecting a “Giving Tree” item, and after shopping, delivered them to our Panorama screening station for proper distribution.

Zoom Live Musical Concerts

Twice a week, our Lifestyle Enrichment Department alongside Office of Philanthropy presented performers from Emerald City Music with viola, violin and cello; jazz and classical piano; and flute. Other concerts included unusual talent on saxophone; flute; duo violin and cello; and classic singers. An Elvis Christmas with his look-sound-passion-alike is always a winner. Finally, a Christmas crooner who independently became an international entertainer entertained our apartment too. Talk about being blessed!

Dressing Panorama for 2020 Christmas/Holiday

Panorama went all out to make this year special with extra holiday decorations including more wreaths, Hanukkah menorahs on each floor, and Christmas trees with extra numerous lights and glittering beautiful balls, inside and outside our buildings. I’m looking forward to next Christmas when we will be considered for a Christmas creche/manger scene on each floor on the Advent days leading up to Christmas.

Some say we are spoiled. I say we are blessed above and beyond.

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.

My Drawing Ticket – A Grand Piano

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2020

In the treasured years of formation in a convent for 13 years, I looked forward to our group wheeling the retired nuns to our postulate study room to play cards or games. It was a win-win, although very elderly Sister Helen left happy, only if she had won! I loved volunteering to play with her and escorting her back to her room to hear . . . through her loose dentures, “I have a 100% track-record of winning . . . every time I come!”

I’d smile. “O-h-h, ye-s-s, Sister Helen!”

Getting along well with the aged, I loved hearing stories of before and after they were nuns. I have visited the convent many times after leaving and still communicate and receive their quarterly newsletters.

My fondest dream has always been to share my music with residents in retirement homes. After I was married, I had many talented students of all ages coming to our home before and/or after school, even on Saturday mornings.

Was it permissible to call the retirement homes asking to allow my students to entertain? Would the parents be available and willing to take the children at the appropriate day and time? You’ve probably heard that we are to work as if it all depended on us, but to pray as if it all depended on God. I stormed heaven for an answer.

About ten minutes later, Wendy showed up for her daughter Elise’s piano lesson. Wendy asked, “Mary Jo, we just moved my mother into that nice new retirement center about a mile away from you. The activity director is looking for entertainers of all kinds. We love your recitals . . . your students always play well, and selections are fun with lots of variety. Would you consider having your students perform about a half hour?”

My jaw dropped. I shared how I had just finished my prayer.

“Sounds like an answer to your prayer.” Wendy and Elise said in unison. “I won’t say anything to the director, Mary Jo. I’ll just let you take it from here.”  What memories!

That was then. This is now:

In 2011, hubby Chris and I toured and retired at Panorama. During our initial tour, I was drawn to the shiny black grand piano in the newly opened Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center (C&R). WOW! I wonder if I will be able to play that piano if we move here.

Many residents are drawn to Panorama because of their interests and hobbies, such as their green thumbs aching to exercise planting and harvesting in the large Pea Patch area. Woodworker and metalworker ears eager to hear the buzz of their own saws and machines in our organized, well-kept woodshop & metal shop. The well-equipped art and weaving studios for classes given by professional residents! A dedicated BLOG of our two auditoriums would necessitate shorting if describing all that residents experience: choirs, recitals, talent shows, Readers’ Theater, resident-written plays, professional concerts, movies, lectures . . . you get the basic idea!

Then there is the Aquatic & Fitness Center! And our own many announcements and campus-videoed events to view or review on Panorama TV Channel 370. Oh, yes, and our library?  An extensive remodeling invited residents who didn’t read much to check out and enjoy books. The selections, varieties of books and reviews on their own website make it easy to use and reserve, if desired. Residents and former librarians train helpers, and on, and on . . . how did I digress onto that bunny trail?

Back to tickling my piano keys . . .

Would you believe? I never realized my major volunteer service here could be entertaining my background piano music for resident activities! These include monthly birthday dinners and other events held in our Seventeen51 Restaurant.

It was the first time I played in our Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center recreation/lunchroom, when a resident wheeled in his chair (almost touching the piano) to listen. At the end of 45 minutes, I tapped OFF on the electronic piano. He leaned forward, “Oh, won’t you please play that Nocturne again?”

I responded, “If they let me come play again, I certainly will!” And I did, many times. On Mondays I look forward to playing my favorite inspiring hymns and compositions shared during our Catholic communion service in our chapel.

My repertoire varies for 45 minutes to make sure to include something for each resident in Assisted Living: jazz, old-time favs from several eras, boogie, classics, rags, waltzes, tangos, inspiring, etc. A bit disappointing, since there is never enough time to play all I have selected!

Most often, residents come to the piano and whisper, “Mary Jo, we just love your variety of pieces . . . and the way you play. Thank you so much!”

The more I simply make others happy by sharing the gift of music, the more joy I receive. I pray to be able to bear all of my godsends from my convent days until to the present, especially for my 55 years of teaching music.

During COVID, I practice piano and patience, but feel empty not getting to play and distribute my joy to others. Those gifts are what kept me eager to get up in the mornings. Truly I’ve been blessed over and above. Thank you, Panorama!

Washing Window Watch

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2020

Yea! Window washing day!!

NO! Not by me! I’d rather wade in my piles of stuff filling my craft room, or play a couple of hours at my piano in our family room, or spend hours writing blogs and books tapping on my tablet. In previous years during window washing day, I’d been in one of our auditoriums attending performances or lectures, entertaining piano background music during various happenings or visiting in our park, or enjoying the free coffee (and often cookies) in Panorama Hall. I had assumed our outside apartment building windows were washed with a squeegee and left to dry.

Another big, NO!

This time, we were experiencing stay-at-home months of COVID-19. Quickly jumping out of bed, I was eager to shower, dress and welcome the washing event from our 5th floor balcony at 8 a.m. with my iPhone . . . for the first time! I was a senior kid in a candy store! I snapped at least 30 photos to share for this blog and to send some to my families and friends.

Seth started on the building side perpendicular to ours. We’d be the last row of the two building sides. He worked his way down a fifth-floor apartment to the fourth, third, second and finally, first floor. The cherry picker moved him back up to the adjoining apartments.

Without missing a beat, he washed quickly as he conversed with residents who had come out onto nearby balconies with built-in-six-foot distancing to snooper-vise! Speaking at top volume over the large hum of the rolling cherry picker machine below (on the parking lot asphalt in the otherwise quiet Saturday 8 o’clock cool morning), chats were easily overheard!

When Seth finally made it to our windows, I joked, “Hi, I’m Mary Jo! I hadn’t visualized you would be so close to OUR balcony. I’m taking photos for the Panorama BLOG. I hope it’s okay with you!”

His big smile and wave to the camera spoke louder than the machine’s roar. He posed quickly with his drying towels. But what he asked next surprised me. “Would you like to get on board?” (I certainly would have, but at 81….well?? Besides, I figured he was teasing.)

Changing the subject quickly, I asked, “You seem so efficient and do such a good job. How long have you been washing windows?”

“I’m so glad you asked,” he proudly announced. “This is my 20th year, and I really enjoy doing it, BUT…this is my 15th year at Panorama. And I sure do look forward to coming here.”

Just another perk for us. Thanks for this blessing, Panorama!

Posting the Positives

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2020

Today presented no excuses for anyone “bored” at Panorama! I sprang out of bed, showered, and donned my bright yellow t-shirt with a slogan in black lettering:

WALK THE LOOP GROUP

Why? IN A NUTSHELL…for 2 reasons:

First reason!

For the last four years, residents have walked the ½ mile loop around our McGandy Park on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 in the evenings in August (and several weeks longer, depending the weather). Everyone was welcomed! Some arrived on walkers, electric scooters, or were caretaker-aided. Others made the effort to do part of the loop and then sat on benches or walkers to greet and enjoy the passersby. More energetics did multiple laps.

Around the loop, residents Kris and Dave had faithfully posted themed trivial questions we’d try to answer. It was neither a race nor a prize for the most loops, but each week we checked a large updated poster with how many laps each resident had done!! Each did what each could do. Amazing how much our endurance improved week to week!

So, what happens in 2020 with COVID-19?  This is not an event for distancing. But leave it to brainstormers! The announcement was out. On Wednesdays, the slogan tweaked to a clever:

WALK THE LOOP

BUT NOT IN A GROUP!

Instead of one hour, we’d walk anytime from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I packed my iPhone and ice water into my walker and punched ONE in the elevator from 5th floor Quinault Building and headed out for the…

Second reason!

McGandy Park’s large Y-shaped sidewalk was having a complete repaving! Because of the noise, I knew no one could hear the “Wow!” I yelled under my mask as I neared the west entrance to the park. A huge stabilizer/reclaimer’s rotor blade had already cut and pulverized at least 30 yards of the old pavement. I looked forward to observing each part of the three days of fun, learning how the repaving happens, and snapping photos.

I mused at how many rolling or electric walkers, footsteps and stories the briefly exposed dirt had heard and counted after so many years! Until next time! Just posting the positives of Panorama! Blessings!

In My Eyes Photography

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2020

So little new stuff to say, so much time to say it? No, not at Panorama. Lots of new, clever, creative things to talk about and do! For instance, for six weeks, Panorama Lifestyle Enrichment planned In Your Eyes Photography Project. Each week had a theme that our photo should relate to. The notice on our resident portal called Kya stated all residents were invited, not just experienced photographers. I was excited; I’m not a pro, but love to take tons of photos.

We looked forward to watching our Panorama closed-circuit Channel 370 or to tapping computers at any time to view the slideshow. The creative interpretations were snapped all over our campus.

Week one’s theme? Heart. I was amazed at the many entries! The first photo showed Patricia at her sewing machine lovingly making some of the over 3,000 face masks for others. Then there was the cute brown teddy bear with a red heart on its chest. Hearts were tucked inside decorations year-round, hanging on hallway door-hooks in the Chalet, Chinook, and Quinault buildings.

Even though I keep remarking on how our campus reminds me of the lush beauty of pictures of the Garden of Paradise, I must admit, I did not realize how many leaves were in the shapes of hearts! All shades of solid greens, red and green combinations, etc. Plantain Lilies shot up from heart-shaped greens outlined in cream. There was the ironing board striking a pose on its straight edge wearing a covering with outlines of various colors of hearts!

Week two sent us looking for Beauty. I smiled viewing the first photo: a headshot of a resident honoring her beautiful, serene, soft-smiling mother. Her bright red lipstick and lovely hairdo announced the 1920s era.

With over 600 varieties of flowers on our Panorama campus, many are difficult to find, hiding in unusual corners, small and inconspicuous, or seen for a short time.

Magenta roses as large as my hand appeared too gorgeous to be real. (Remember the last time you spotted a nylon rose and asked if it was real or artificial?) We viewed at least 4 versions of tulips, violets and pansies. Then the strong red chrysanthemum morifolium with large bright yellow center! This week’s slideshow was bulging with real winners.

Week three featured Support interpretations. Most were various fun plant-supports for tomatoes and flowers. Purple, red, orange, yellow vined-blossoms hung from patio rafters, arches, and a gazebo!

I snapped a photo in the driveway of Bill’s garden home. Oversized black hand-grippers supported a 3-foot long paper sign with 1-inch wording to a pole in his driveway: “Why can’t your nose grow twelve inches long? Because it would be a foot.”

So clever was the photo of the label in an undergarment that read SPANX!!! Talk about support!

I couldn’t resist sending a picture of an intersection on campus that gives resident and off-campus drivers great support.

One of my favorites was the last slide of a resident leisurely lounging while he was supported in a large, heavy-duty hammock in the shade of a tree . . . in a lush green lawn (manicured by Panorama Grounds crews, of course).

Fourth week’s slide named CHANGE began with a comfortable outdoor Panorama bench covered with about 2 inches of snow, immediately followed by a dramatic photo of outdoor bright shades of autumn oranges, yellows, browns, and reds! And then cleverly returning to the snow bench again!

Someone had arranged four different Lime Leaves in seasonal colors: one in dark green, the second in multi-colors from yellow to lime to brownish red, the third in red with a splash of yellow, and the last in white!

From our 5th floor balcony, we have panoramic views above tall treetops of the Northwest skies. I snapped both a beautiful blue sky punctuated with large fluffy white clouds AND, in the same view, heavy dark gray clouds ready to explode. 

I noticed the big contrast in a simple photo of an empty outdoor bench (COVID-19!) to the complicated photo of the large construction of our Assisted Living addition.

As week six approached, I was disappointed the project would be ending.

It’s poked me more than just a nudge to get outside, despite my never-ending TO DO fun list at home. Writing for many venues, including this monthly blog, my new in-progress book, Goofies and Goodies, piano practice a couple of hours, strolling outside while my walker appreciates the beautiful perfect sun, cleaning our humongous small floor plan which I sincerely love, trying and mending new recipes, climbing over and cleaning up the mess when I’ve turned over a TV table with unfinished projects in my tiny craft room, keeping clean the great love-to-look-through 5th floor window-view of tree tops. I had to reread this last paragraph to find out what blessings I have been numerating. Oh, yes, why I needed the poke to get out for the In Your Eyes Photography Project!

But just recently, the Lifestyle Enrichment Department has listed more themes to interpret! Yea! I wanna get outside!

Remember going to drugstores or Kodak kiosks with our films to be developed, paying extra for “next day pick-up”, then being disappointed with the color, angle, or lighting? Sometimes I take for granted the ease of grabbing my iPhone, snapping or videoing instantly to my family, or forwarding my gems to the designated Panorama staff person to set up a slideshow!

Thanks so much Panorama for all the suggested fun activities. We are blessed again!

STOP, POP & GO: Banking on Foods at Panorama

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2020

Standing with my walker about 30 yards outside the exit of our Quinault Building, I knew something special was going on in the northwest area of our Panorama campus. Thurston County was moving to Phase Three, but Panorama was opening, thankfully for our benefit, with narrower, firmer guidelines. 

That special day, residents seemed to be leaking from nicks and crannies – enthusiastically aiming for the same destination. Some clung to plastic or paper bags. Others gripped envelopes. Cars were neither bumper-to-bumper nor inching along, but they too were headed toward the same destination.

I smiled, returning energetic arm waves, as my walker turned into the identical direction. I hadn’t been outside much, so instead of my daytime PJs, I actually “dressed-up”in my jogging white-striped black pants and matching top. No need to figure out how to apply make-up again – my mask covered my nose to chin, as did masks of all shapes, colors, and designs of my family of friends. I didn’t recognize eyeballs of many, but called out a Hi there!!  

“Oh, Mary Jo, it’s you. Clever signs!” I kept forgetting I was wearing my quickly hand-printed sign I had made for fun. It read: “I’m Mary Jo Shaw!” When I’d see my reflection, I didn’t recognize myself. My big floppy hat covered my forehead. My glasses turned brown outdoors, and I was wearing that mask.

We were traveling between 10 o’clock to noon to the Thurston County Food Bank Drive-Thru Donation Drive in the covered entrance of our Aquatic & Fitness Center. Cars, canes, walkers, scooters delivered non-perishable food items. Others gripped sealed envelopes with checks made out to “Thurston County Food Bank”.

Drivers who steered under the extended covering would STOP under the covered entrance and POP their trunks open to drop off their donation without leaving their car. Staff and employees removed bags of foods or an envelope with a donation check from the trunk. In a matter of seconds, the drop-off was completed for that resident and they would GO on their way. The energy at the tables with donated items was eclectic and exactingly organized.

The warm sunshine, cool-in-the-shade weather that God shown down on us enticed our walking and greeting – while distancing to chat with friends we hadn’t seen in months!

What an outing! I’m going to make myself get out more often to walk.

It had been a day of giving to the Thurston County Food Bank, but I had received more – blessings of visiting with lovely friends, refreshingly perfect weather, and knowing that Panorama cares about us as they remind us of the restrictions necessary to keep us well. We still have 0 cases of virus on our campus of over 1,200 residents, including the hundreds of staff on our campus daily.

Thank you Panorama for your care for us and helping us care for our off-campus community in need.

I started to tap SEND to this Panorama BLOG when on our Panorama closed circuit TV, News with Lu, announced that in addition to 32 large boxes of foods, those envelopes added up to $10,326!

AMEN . . . let’s go for it again!!