Residents Financially Helping Residents?

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2020

Our Benevolent Fund (BF) is unique. It’s an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization operated by residents to benefit residents. The Benevolent Fund provides financial assistance to independent 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. BF presents each resident a free SARA® pendant when they become a resident. We press the pendant if we fall or if we’re in an emergency situation anywhere on our campus.

It also funds the three full-time Social Services Advisors through Independent Living Services. Those advisors help us as we age in place. Benevolent Fund began a program to help up to three assisted-living residents with partial financial support. Actually, BF depends on the continuing generosity of our residents, which includes our monetary donations and bequests…and in unique ways!

If we ever end up with things we no longer need(furniture, office items, appliances, home décor, etc.), we call our Stiles-Beach Barn, and/or Encore Furniture and Books 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. They also hold the popular, more-than-huge Panorama Annual Patio Sale with volunteers selling items that were not sold during the rest of the year. But the reverse is to our benefit…when we need items during the year, we head to the Barn or Encore conveniently located right on our campus to shop! No need to look at prices – the costs are too good to be true!

Around Valentine’s Day, we look forward to the Benevolent Fund’s Annual Silent Auction in our Seventeen51 Restaurant. At the fun event, organized to perfection, we get to bid on great items (donated by residents and our faithful local merchants), such as:

  • Gift baskets with appetizers (wines, cheeses, crackers, etc.), fruits and desserts, packaged pasta or salmon dinner items, or combinations of non-foods.
  • Fine wines of every sort
  • Many gift cards/certificates for restaurants, groceries, travel trips, performances, theaters, etc.
  • Framed artwork by Panorama and non-Panorama artists, antiques and fun items
  • Too many other great entries to mention

Tickets for the 50/50 drawing brought a sizable income…split between resident and Benevolent Fun. (I won $500 one year!)

After a hearty lunch just before arriving, I laid my bulging eyes on the expansive food-table topped with large round trays of gourmet shrimp, individual quiches, sliced melons and fruits,  large metal bowls of different varieties of salads, Hungarian meatballs in thick sauce, egg rolls, and on and on.

I don’t want you to drool, Reader, so just draw an “imaginative photo” of the decisions we made with the desserts!

We feasted while visiting and listening to Clint P’s mic articulating the “winners”. My ears tuned in for Diane S’s donated, large basket of specially selected fruits of Hawaiian papaya, mango, kiwi, large organic blackberries, pears, apples, grapes and bananas.

Finally, “Mary Jo Shaw, come up.” Get this! Diane S. will deliver us a seasonal basket three more times! We are indulging in the fruits, especially when cut-up and topped with plain Greek yogurt and slivered almonds or in our cereals and oatmeal. What a treat…our kind of dessert/snack!

On top of these benefits, all of our gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Gail Madden, current president of the Benevolent Fund, says, “We need you, because you need us.”

It’s always a win-win. Thanks again, Panorama and Residents!

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!

Art Guild Class – Pine Needle Basketry

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2019

As I played my weekly Monday background piano music a few weeks ago in Assisted Living, I learned about my friend Harriet Hunter. She has lived 20 years (since 1999) at Panorama and won third prize at the Thurston County Fair not long ago for her piece of ceramic sculpture. Panorama has an updated, beautiful ceramic studio where Harriet returns to “work” regularly. And this is at age 95! This reminded me of the Art Guild classes here at Panorama.

In “My Experience in Arts Walk 2019” blog, you read how excited I was about learning to weave a small coaster as an introduction for Pine Cone Basketry. Well, I showed up to the Quinault Lower Level Art Room with seven more residents who were as eager as I was. I’d been wanting to take the class of 12 hours spread out during several weeks, it didn’t work on my calendar. However, six hours on a Friday followed by another six on Saturday worked! All we had to bring was sharp, pointed scissors, needle nosed pliers, lunch and a minimal fee for materials! 

My unfinished pine needle coaster

We wove around a predrilled wooden center, learning the basic spiral stitch, a unique method of weaving, and created a very attractive-on-both-sides coaster. One woman will hang hers on the wall. I haven’t finished mine yet, but will display the unusual unique in-progress version for fun.

We were fortunate to have learned under resident Jim Shanower. Jim had coiled a pine needle basket he calls “Baleen Fantasy”, and won the Grand Champion Award in the Professional/Master Basket Maker Division at the 2019 Washington State Fair!

Jim Shanower’s Grand Champion Award in the Professional/Master Basket Maker Division at the 2019 Washington State Fair.

That’s the Arts Guild for you at Panorama. It sponsors classes and events throughout the year. They actually invite us to suggest what we are interested in each year. Ideas such as starting an ongoing still-life drawing group. Or more classes in drawing, watercolor or acrylic, fabric arts like wet felting and quilting, or woodworking, encaustic (using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay), jewelry making, glass slumping, etc.

In addition to the huge Arts Walk,the Arts Guild offers much more. Some samplings:

  • The Arts Guild professionally displays residents’ 3D Art in Panorama Hall’s large, shelved, clear case with the artist’s name and title of the piece for several weeks. I love to see the varying media.
  • Besides making and displaying our art, we are welcomed to the Art Happy Hour in our Seventeen51 Bistro. About 30 artists and supporters attend.
  • Every few months, volunteer Arts Guild members display different residents’ works that relate to an assigned theme in Seventeen51 Restaurant’s Gallery. The current theme is PUZZLES (see my blog “Lunch in the Gallery” from 11/12/16)
  • Not enough? Then there is the monthly Arts Guild Alternate Monthly Luncheon with enthusiastic speakers to inspire, present appropriate opportunities to attend, offer ways to exhibit, etc.
Gallery display fabric collage

Thanks to Panorama and the many artists who share their resources and offer us opportunities to continue, extend or discover our artistic talents. Just another addition to our list of THANKSGIVINGS here at Panorama!

Staring Down a Pumpkin

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. November 2019

Up early . . . wearing wiggly skeleton earrings a piano student gave me 30 years ago, orange-flowered pullover shirt with black long sleeves, black leggings, pointy-hatted witch socks with my walker chair . . . I was off to Panorama Hall!

Russ Leno was the center of attention as he knelt on a 2-inch black sponge beginning to carve a huge pumpkin with various Halloween designs. Panorama had chairs arranged in a large semicircle. Josh had sent down from our Seventeen51 Restaurant long oblong platters of round brownies and generous-sized chocolate chip cookies ready for munching. I strolled over to the familiar large coffee machine stocked with packets of teas and hot chocolate. I greeted and sat next to Mary P. in her warm, beautiful teal pull-over, embroidered with shiny orange pumpkins and green-vined leaves.

After a sip of hot chocolate, Mary P. questioned, “Mary Jo, what do you suppose Russ is starting to carve?”

“Looks like maybe the tip of a witch hat.”

In the next few minutes, Russ jabbed, slit, shaved, flipped, dug, and changed knives often. Before long, a witch hat had long, fat strands of wavy “hair” emerging on the left side of a face, eventually repeated on the face’s right side.

Soon, two scary eyeballs bulged out below the hat. A large, long hunk of pumpkin remained in place. An appropriate, well-formed witch NOSE separated the two eyeballs and stretched down her face reaching the center of her mouth!

Little families of residents strolled in. We enjoyed their entertainment, especially Mary B’s little grandboys, about 3 and 7 in age. Their excited jumping, twisting, and skipping back-and-forth from the pumpkin’s new developing figurines put smiles on our faces.

The children paused with outstretched necks to study the almost gargoyle-looking little “trick-or-treater” Russ was whittling. The curved, thin knife, sculpted a mouth of two lined-up-in-perfect-rows of clenched teeth that extended from ear to ear. We chuckled. Maybe the three-year-old was expecting that the figure, now gripping a jack-o-lantern, would jump out and start chasing him!

Time flew by quickly as residents stayed long or short times for the socializing, refreshments, and gazing back at the pumpkin. They remarked on the speed and accuracy of the talented sculptor, the added entertainment of excited little ones, and the sharing of memories of our own childhood experiences -sometimes tricking whether we received treats or not!

Thank you Panorama for giving us more of the many events and displays across our campus, indoors and outdoors, in Panorama Hall, Seventeen51 Restaurant, Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center, Assisted Living, etc. We have something to look forward to and to wonder what would be on the plate for us again each year. You, executives, managers, workers, employees, and volunteers, thanks again.

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

My Favorite “Parking Spot”

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. October 2019

Sometimes I enjoy giving my tablet, craft scissors, and a book I’m currently reading a change of scenery, so I load up my walker, grab an elevator from 5th floor to 1st, and choose my “favorite parking spot” in our Panorama Hall. With the activity sign-up desk to my left, the lovely Chihuly glass fixtures above the huge fireplace looking out at the assortment of large couches, smaller couches, chairs, and magazines neatly lined up yelling, “Pick me, pick me!” I find the perfect round table with large windows of light to my back.

The armchairs to my left and to my right turn slightly to offer a seat to anyone wishing to visit.

While I “work” I have the perfect view of the “traffic” . . . residents and non-residents passing as a single or in groups. Today several dressed anticipating the Luau Dinner tonight. Others hesitated to study maps while they explored the campus on their own as new residents. I smiled as I recalled wearing out our own Panorama map in 2011. “Need some help?” “Oh, yes, the gift shop?”

The half-circular hallway makes a cozy, homey walk, but newbies don’t realize the banks, Gifts Etc., elevator & stairs to Seventeen51 Restaurant, the hallway leading to the Convalescent & Rehabilitation Building, and pharmacy are “just around the corner”.

After tapping out a full page on my tablet, I sensed an increase in volume of excited voices. I returned a nod and big smile back to a couple’s hearty wave. They strolled a few more steps, then jerked a quick U-turn and rushed over to me.

“You’re the lady who writes the blogs for Panorama’s web site! We always look forward to reading about Panorama, your decision to come, how you checked things out elsewhere before coming, and how your husband really didn’t want to come up from your home in Las Vegas to see retirement places in Washington.”

I offered a handshake. “So, you read that when I finally got Chris to come up and look, he whispered, ‘Maybe we’d better sign up!’”

After the laughter calmed down, the lady visitor exclaimed, “We just attended a get-together for other boomers on the ‘list’. We really don’t HAVE to move, but we want to come before we end up like our parents . . . poor darlings . . . they waited so long. Wish we had known about Panorama. They were in wheelchairs, not knowing anyone, unable to get to places on their own, and asking, ‘When can I go home?’ We want to get involved in the tons of activities here. Panorama has everyone getting around so easily. They all seem so happy. We can hardly wait to come.”

He added, “Yeah, and we have two cars. We aren’t ready to give them up, but maybe after we move here, we’ll think about getting along with only one. Do you have one or two cars, Mary Jo?”

“Oh, we haven’t had a car since 2012. We used it only one year. Figured we could be going places in a limo with the money we saved each year . . . insurance, tires, tune-ups, repairs, car washes . . .”

The couple looked at each other with raised eyebrows. “Don’t you miss a car?”

“Are you kidding? On weekdays, Panorama buses take us to grocery stores twice a day . . . and several different stores and shopping centers, no fee.”

“How do you get to church?”

“The Panorama bus takes residents to several churches . . . no fee. We pay only $3 for the trip to our Sacred Heart Catholic Church about three Sundays a month, but we’re praying we’ll be able to ride every Sunday before long, and no fee.”

They asked about other places the Panorama buses take us. Where would I start? I just dove in.

“They take us to Seattle and many other cities to events, operas, musicals, plays, lectures, sport games, shows . . . you name it. We do pay a reasonable fee for those trips. Panorama is always asking where we’d like to go. If enough people are interested, and we ask far enough in advance to get it organized, it’s written in the monthly Panorama News activity calendar.”

We chatted about 15 minutes, having answered many other questions. Finally, “Well, we’ve got to drive back home before it gets dark. So glad to meet you. Keep writing those blogs for us.”

Well, here you are!!

My Experience at Arts Walk

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. September 2019

Our long-awaited day arrived: Arts Walk at Panorama on Thursday, September 5, 2019. 

The 5th floor elevator let us off on the first floor. After about 45 minutes, our table displayed my sets of autobiographies, Convent to Catwalk and the newly printed, Crossroads to Convent, and many all-occasion cards of tangles, paintings and sketches, including an 8” x 10” framed sketch by Chris. We glanced across our assigned area in the newly renovated Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center to the other tables. Judy Murphy fingered lovely background music on the shiny black grand piano.

From 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, current and perspective residents enjoyed the opportunity to share the amazing talent of our Panorama family. Most clutched a 12-page, easy-to-follow brochure providing maps, schedules, details, and locations throughout the campus.

Displays of 80 artists included painting, drawing, fabric art, basketry, woodworking, metalwork, quilting, weaving, clay arts, photography, jewelry and much more. Many sold their work.

Attendees could hear musicians at several locations on the campus on many different instruments after signing up for the optional on-the-hour campus shuttle from their home to all of the desired sites.

Back in our area where we were all day, chairs were set up for an afternoon group, South Sound Recorder Ensemble of nine residents. Also, the long performance of piano duets and violin works, which slowed down sales at our tables, was incredibly beautiful. At noon, two residents appeared with a mobile table. “Here are your bags of lunch!” My tummy growled a loud thank you for the pre-ordered, free for participants and volunteers,box lunch option.

“Whoa, Chris, look!!” I picked up one item at a time. “This huge tortilla wrap has turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese and dressing. A bottle of cold water and a big bag of jalapeno chips. My favorites!” Chris removed the lid from a container of melons, pineapple and grapes. “This makes a great dessert.” By that time, our Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro was already serving a buffet lunch at a reasonable price.

Jim Shanower, along with a couple of advanced students, demonstrated basketry made of long pine needles! For several years, I’ve wanted to learn it, but was too busy writing my books. When Jim said two openings were left for the next class, I was determined to be at the Panorama Activity Desk the next day. GREAT NEWS! I was the last of the eight student limit! The class would be four hours each on two days. I’ll let you know if I “passed” in a later blog!

The day went by fast. I was pleased with my book sales. The staff and volunteers cleared out the display tables, chairs, stand-up directional signs, etc. and ended the day with Happy Hour in Seventeen51 Restaurant and Bistro from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Thank you Panorama staff, employees, resident volunteers, and all others involved for your generous help with supporting us residents who were able to share our music, performances, and writing skills. Blessed over and over once again.

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!

Tooth of the Tale

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. July 2019

Although Chris and I look forward to the Seventeen51 Restaurant soup and salad bar offered two Saturdays each month, one particular supper was a challenge! After serving ourselves and thanking God, I pierced a nice, cold red tomato and piece of crisp Romaine. Oh no! It crunched back at me with a do-not-eat warning!

“Chris, did you hear that?”

“Yes, it sounded like you bit on a piece of glass! Don’t swallow it. Here, put it in this soup spoon.”

We stared at each other, then over to the big portable table of about two dozen fresh compartments containing ice cold, bright colors of bite-sized veggies, meats, turkey, chicken, strawberries, grated cheeses, mushrooms, dried cranberries, croutons, juicy mandarin oranges, candied walnuts…

Our eyeballs bounced back and forth…salad bar, our full plates, salad bar, plates…

Was it just one piece of glass or were there more?

My tongue wiggled curiously.

CHRIS! I BROKE MY TOOTH. The upper back tooth has a vacancy!”

My thoughts raced. When would I have time to take off for the dentist? I have all these projects with deadlines since I was ill. Lord, it’s up to You. This is a long holiday weekend, too.

But Sunday, the impossible happened!

I prepared my huge made-from-scratch enchiladas and at the first bite…same sounding crunch, only this time, a shiny pea-sized souvenir appeared on my favorite enchilada-eating round spoon.

“Chris, what are the odds? Another tooth!! I can’t call the dentist till Tuesday, and they’ll be soo busy.”

Early Monday, I called the dentist to leave a message and get first whack at an appointment for Tuesday. But—I tell you the tooth—the office was open for business and yes, “We are swamped today, but let me see what we can do.” 

Oh, Lord, thanks for your help. You always come through for me.

“Mary Jo, can you come in at 11:40 today?”

“Are you kidding? Yes, that will be perfect!!”

It was drizzling and windy outside (otherwise I would have walked), but I dialed 7725 to reserve a Resident Transit ride for the two blocks.

“You’re our first caller, Mary Jo! The driver can pick you up at 11:30.”

I arrived five minutes early.

The assistant took a picture of  my upper right and the lower left teeth. “Doctor will be with you shortly.”

I asked the assistant, “Can you tell me how serious it is? And how long you think it might take?”

“Well, the caps are both cracked…maybe two…or two-and-a-half hours.”

I tried to catch up with my racing thoughts…another appointment? Maybe two? I’ve lost time already today.

In the reclining chair, I stared at the ceiling trying to review the next several week’s activities and possible lengthy “free” times to return for another appointment. I want to be sure I play piano in Assisted Living, in the Convalescent & Rehabilitation Center for Happy Hour, Gentle Care, and Monday chapel service. Oh, and that lecture, and the two great movies in Panorama Auditorium. I’m thinking about signing up for the Panorama bus to that performance in Seattle. I’d like to walk that campus tree tour. And Chris and I never miss the live resident plays! There’s one coming up soon, and…

At that last thought, Doctor E greeted me. “Mary Jo, let’s check you out.”

She took a few minutes look and immediately flipped off the light!

Thoughts overlapped thoughts. Oh dear! Must be bad news. No hope. Extractions? No dental insurance. How much will this cost?

“Mary Jo, you have parts of two aged porcelain caps that have been broken off. The fillings are still great. If we just file off the rough edges, you will be fine. If you’re happy with that?”

She took a total of about 6 minutes to do the job. Thrilled with the fee, and another Resident Transit ride, I was home within the hour, thanks to our on-campus dentist office! More Panorama blessings! This is not a tale…I tell you the TOOTH! 

Bird’s Eye Talks

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. June 2019

True story with fictitious names

Before I make a right turn into the wing of our 5th floor apartment, I always walk a few feet farther toward the huge window to admire God’s beauty on our campus. I had just played “America the Beautiful” on piano during the Monday Catholic service on the 4th floor. A little later, residents in Assisted Living tapped their feet while I played “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “The Marines’ Hymn”, “Caissons Go Rolling Along”, “Anchors Aweigh”, and “The U.S. Air Force”.

Today was special. It was Memorial Day. I sat on the couch by the window to let my thoughts think. What a beautiful blue sky, in contrast to the years that made today so very necessary. I actually heard real-life events of those who miraculously survived. And I realize that most reveal their stories only when I inquire.

Earlier, Joe’s eyes bulged, “Oh, I’ll tell you!” He subjected himself totally into the action from years past: “deepest pits of hell” when he and his buddies arrived at different beaches, firearms blasting from behind concrete bunkers killing most of them before they reached the sand. The foxholes… He elaborated on and on, but ended to go to lunch.

Back to my window, my thoughts get a needed pick up as I noted several women moving down below my window A woman was moving her chair-walker forward in the half-circle driveway to our Quinault building. Her head scanned the lovely greens, flowered bushes, and tall pines. I automatically waved when her eyes spanned past my window, but I knew she hadn’t noticed. Looking down over at two other womenfolk leaving our building entrance, I grinned as they paused to talk with a couple sitting on the bench on the left.

I also noted a quick, light gait from a woman heading alone toward the back entrance to Panorama Hall. Her small plate was covered with a paper napkin with its corner flapping in the wind. Mary’s probably taking home some of Susan’s fancy dessert. They’re both Gold Star widows. We can’t let the narratives tucked in the hearts of these military survivors fade away forgotten. Stories go to the grave across the nation every day. 

I had just visited with a woman who had given birth to a little girl the day after her husband was deployed. Two years later, when they met him at the airport, the little one reached out, “Daddy?” My 90-year-old friend smiled. “I showed her his photo every day, so she would recognize him.”

My bird’s eye view talks to me each day. Breathing deeply, I smiled and gazed over toward McGandy Park again, dotting a tear as I thanked God and those who died for my freedom.

The spirit of Memorial Day should be in our hearts every day as we honor the heroic men and women who gave their lives and fought to protect our nation, particularly those here at Panorama. Sincere THANKS to each of you.   

Panorama Mothers

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. May 2019

If you are a mother in need of attention, Panorama treats you right.

 Even those who don’t have family members here can’t help but feel part of our big family spirit around Mother’s Day.

Chris honored me with our favorite dinner in Panorama’s Seventeen51 Restaurant the night before Mother’s Day. As we relaxed into our chairs, a waitress welcomed us with the included small plate of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a basket of French bread.

I knew Chris’ preference before he ordered it: Reuben of grilled pastrami, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on marble rye, a big bowl of house-made cabbage soup, and a large salad with vegetables & French dressing

Me? I selected my choice eight-ounce New York steak, rubbed with ground coffee bean, chipotle, garlic, brown sugar and olive oil, along with a real baked (not microwaved like at home!) baked potato and a double portion of steamed asparagus. After an overindulgence of elegant sufficiency, I accepted only a bite of Chris’ large slice of caramel pecan pie.

While enjoying our meal, we were introduced to several little grandchildren and we were welcomed to chat a while at the tables of other families. We remarked how we mothers always get to celebrate more than one day!

Had we not spent a lovely day with our daughter and family here in Lacey, we would have been able to enjoy a delicious brunch buffet at the Seventeen51 Restaurant & Bistro with our friends. Or we could have had our family attend with us, enjoying live piano music playing throughout the day there.

Personally, my day started off on the Panorama-provided bus trip to church, as I exchanged “Happy Mothers’ Day” with each woman on our bus. We chatted about our grands and greats children on the short 10-minute ride. 

During our church sermon, we had a special, inspiring prayer and blessing in thanksgiving for all the patience, guidance, hard work through illnesses, schooling, disciplining, loving, caring, cooking, driving, attending…you know, all those things that a mother lovingly endures to properly raise children from birth through teen years.

Our Panorama bus conversation continued during our ride home as we shared how we were going to celebrate the remainder of the day. One rider explained, “Mary, Ruth, and Carol aren’t on the bus today. They’re spending the weekend with their kinfolk out of town.” Other bus seats were empty because their adult children picked them up to attend Sunday services as a family.

As we passed others in hallways, outside, or events all week, we bragged about how many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren each other had! We mothers felt honored all week. Thank you once again, Panorama!

Blasting Burst-outs!

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. March 2019

How many times have we heard a real burst out? We heard some of them as children.

HEAR (pardon the on-purpose pun!) are a few echoes from the past:

GOOD for you…BIG GIRL…YOUR FIRST STEP. GIVE Mommy a BIG HUG!

You’re PREGNANT!? We’re going to be GRANDPARENTS!

Get out of bed and CLEAN UP this room!   

Ru-n-n, Tommy. Run!!

Do your homework, and I mean N-OW-W!

Go-o-o!….GO-O-O-O!  YEAH! …TOUCHDOWN!!

DAD!…I made all A’s!

Readers, do I see eyeball rolls and head nods?

Surely we’ve experienced the church organ with all STOPS bursting out Lohengrin’s Bridal March as our fancy hankies dotted smiling cheeks. Or maybe we recall when the orchestra played tutti (all, or almost all, the instruments playing at the same time) “How Great Thou Art” or John Phillip Sousa’s “Washington Post”. Then there are the unusual Washington State days: It’s going UP to 90 degrees today! Or what Chris and I seriously teased while living in the Las Vegas desert 25 years: At last, it’s going DOWN to a 100 tomorrow…A COLD FRONT!

We watch as a TV camera zeros in on an announcer holding a microphone as he rings a doorbell. The door opens and the entire family is already assembled and peering from behind the jackpot winner. You hear the squeals of excitement and the announcement, “This could be you, if you just… I have to admit I’d be a little loud too. However, I’m tired of those years. Waiting until the last minute to make the decision to return the entry or not, then caving in and nervously spending an hour sorting what to enclose in the thick, large envelope and being sure all the correct stickers were pasted in their proper places. My heart’s exhausted from pounding as I parted with those precious “15” cent stamps. At 80 years old, I’m blessed I don’t have to make those kinds of important decisions anymore.

My big decisions at Panorama hover over which of the many great activities to select. Will it be a lecture, stage play, concert, luncheon, a visit in our Pan Hall, party, class, or movie? Perhaps I’ll play the piano somewhere to cheer people up, or write, or do my crafts. I hope God has good ears to capture my bursts out of thanks in my heart (and even aloud) every day.

I remember when my friend burst out: I’M FREE OF CANCER! NOW PRAY FOR ME TO REMEMBER TO KEEP GIVING THANKS TO GOD.

And when I waved both hands impatiently…HAND ME MY CAMERA…GOTTA CATCH THIS SUNSET.

Walking around our campus on the first day the temperature went up to 50 degrees after our snowstorm, I dropped my jaw at the rhododendrons waiting to burst with their huge blooms, along with the daffodils. Spring is ready to burst out all over our gorgeous campus. So many plants have their buds’ color peeking out of their little casings. How can our hearts not burst out – HOW GREAT THOU ART?             

So…what’s my last bud almost ready to burst out? My next book, CROSSROADS TO CONVENT memoir is ready for the printer….ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!

The Eyes Have It

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. February 2019

The eyes have it…what my eyes didn’t and did see when it snowed.

While our eyes relaxed in deep sleep, those eyes did not see the deep snow falling on our quiet Panorama campus. It must have been mesmerizing to see the fluffing of such breathtaking scenes in a short span of time.

From our Quinault 5th floor balcony, my eyes spanned thick, white beautiful blankets lying dormant, the size and shape of every rooftop, yet hiding the shingles of those roofs from my eyes. The portrait was in black and white.

Trees taller than our balcony strained to hold tight to the whipped-cream snow mounds on their branches. I saw no green.

Lawns lay in layers of white, except for occasional foot or paw prints.

Autos, small vans, large SUVs, sedans, coupes, sports cars, station wagons…no color or variety…my eyes unable to distinguish my friends’ personal vehicles.

I had intended to use my eyes to finish my new book Crossroads to Convent that week, but the scene from the screen on our door got more attention than the screen on my laptop. I savored sitting, smiling, and meditating.

My eyes did not see–-in the many photos and videos I intended to send home—the real justice due to the Master Craftsman’s unusual sculpting for us that day.

What I did see:

Our loving, faithful maintenance in heavy coats, boots, gloves, hats and ear muffs, during their long day of clearing sidewalks and streets for us residents. Workers played games with Mother Nature…scoop…snow…scoop…snow.

Dedicated staff and employees bundled up, leaving deep footprints from the large parking lot across Sleater Kenny Road to the entrances to Panorama.

We are blessed.

I did eye many other dancing eyes from smiling residents, perked up from the expectedweather-report:  “Weather Man got it right for a change!”

What I did see…the work of the Master Artist painting a self-portrait of His own Beauty for us to behold with our human eyes. What must His Heaven be!

In the Bible, St. Paul says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV.

If you’d like, search for “Eye Has Not Seen – Marty Haugen” and listen and let your eyes see to the very end. To me, it’s a magnum opus.

I could go on and on, but eyes got to stop for now!