Panorama Not Standing Still

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2021

The COVID pandemic has certainly changed some things around our Panorama campus. We can ALL attest to that! But I must say, while we have all been overly cautious about being out and about, at least most of us residents have had our two dose vaccinations. The masks are slowly coming off except for high-risk areas outside campus. But in thinking back on this year and a half, it becomes very clear that Panorama, while being cautious, has marched ahead with improvements when they could be done.

The parking lot across Sleater Kinney finally saw actual start date of cars parking over there, easing staff and resident parking. It was not without many bumps in THAT road, but finished it is.

Our sportsters worked through and got their pickleball and bocce ball courts. Sometimes, even in the lighter rains, you can hear the pock/pock of balls over in the court. The bocce ball field has been less utilized, but maybe as I don’t live close to that area, I haven’t noticed play there.

The Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center (C&R) sorely needed re-roofing and that finally got started and went on and on, but is now done and that should stop the leaks and extend the life of that facility that is there for us.

The expansion on the northeast campus brings us the Willow Lane construction. This complex offers three buildings of four apartments each that should be finished near December. Already these twelve units have been reserved. As a part of checking in for temperatures for use of the pool, we were able to watch the buildings spring up out of the ground. Now we make a special loop over there to see progress. We have made progress in screening for COVID and the station will close as the Auditorium prepares to offer limited seating and events in July (YEA!!!!!). What has been particularly of interest is the solar panels that festoon the roofs of the Willow Lane homes, appropriately facing the direction for best exposure to collect solar power.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Assisted Living addition. The building part proceeded apace and the only inconvenience to us walkers was the blockage of the path from Panorama Hall to the C&R when dropping off things for our friends sequestered there during the COVID lockdown. What has been amazing is watching the landscaping from up on the west and north facing sides of the Quinault apartment building! Many of us and Quinault residents were saddened by the removal of the bigger trees in that area that is being re-landscaped. What is going on there now is worth the time and effort to watch!  The giant boulders rock, so to speak!

Now that access is allowed into the Quinault building by independent residents living in the outer neighborhoods, I have been treated to a fourth-floor view of the proceedings as the water feature is starting to take shape. Yes, there is noise, some days awful in volume, but there has been very little construction dust and keeping track of progress has been fun. Big earth-moving equipment has always interested me. Now there are three sizes of equipment as maneuvering has gotten tricky for the big guys. We watched the huge boulders being off-loaded from flatbed trucks. Now they are being dispersed and seated in the landscaper’s plan. Such finesse.

The amazing plumbing required in a complicated installation like this is mind-blowing! Water will be recirculated and the installation includes spillways and such. There is more plumbing than this picture shows, and I hope the master plan works to perfection!

This addition sports solar panels as well as the new Willow development. The solar panels are perched on the two roofs beyond the pond construction. When asked, Administration said that they have been up and running for a month and collecting power from the sun already. When we are able to access that addition, I think there is a panel to see what the collectors are harvesting and this will be of interest to all of us as well as the Green Team.

What has been a delight to watch is so many residents of the building can be seen out on their balconies or patios watching all this come to life! There was a great clapping and cheering as the boulders came to rest off a truck that needed to back in off Sleater Kinney with the huge flatbed trailer behind it, in a sinuous course between stakes, piles and holes. The workers have been careful and respectful of residents and many have taken the time to talk with them regarding what they are doing.

I think many of us take for granted the care and forward thinking of our administration. While COVID had effectively shut us down, we have marched ahead with what could be done. There are other projects in the wings. But I am so very thankful for all that has been done for us in this community.

Time Change Again!

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. March 2021

The COVID pandemic has seemed to squelch my writing somewhat, odd. But here comes the change in our clocks, just like clockwork! I am never ready for it. I know many of my early morning buddies aren’t either! So much better to wake in the light than to have light late and sometimes find oneself going to bed in the light.

When the talk around our nation comes to maybe scrapping the whole changing thing, I get hopeful. Now is the time of COVID, the days’ activities take on a new light, so to speak. Many of us railed at the closures of our beloved Panorama activities way back last year! Was it time change even then?? But here we are into year two.

I am not sure how we, personally, will embrace the opening up of activities. Panorama has been so successful at getting us all vaccinated; the percentages are amazingly high. We have not had the decimation of COVID hospitalized residents that so many communities have had to weather. The greater community we must deal with are way behind us in getting immunity. This leaves us with some real questions as to how active to get out there.

Everyone I have talked with has made new daily routines, not only to fill the hours, but to actually live comfortably without all the amenities. We have found ways to exercise away from the usual activities of hiking and such. The pool being open again has been a godsend. But I think we are all looking forward to putting the fun stuff back on the calendar and making room for friends and outings.

We have all become intimately acquainted with our yards and the doings of the wild things. I watched a hummingbird scour around the trunk of our huge Douglas fir at the side of our house, just outside the office window. Usually, those little guys work the camelias and mahonia for nectar, so this must be the protein source from little bugs, gnats and spiders? Time surely slowed down.

Now we are hearing of the “reopening” of some things on campus. We are ready and we can stop telling new neighbors how “it used to be.” They always say,” But we don’t know what we have missed,” so they are all in for a treat! If the auditorium can get a procedure for ½ capacity and a repeat for the other ½ of those folks who wanted to see whatever was offered, it will be a great new day!!!

Patience has been a watch-word over this long haul. And we will be marking time for a bit longer. But the sun is out and going into the blooming spring time at Panorama is such a spirit lifter. We look forward to some use of the restaurant again, though they have done yeoman duty providing delivery of hot meals and lunches and heat/serve meals for later. Panorama has been so great at keeping those employed that wanted to be.

Let us all hope that we can live and prosper as things try to settle into a “normal,” whatever that may be. We all are resilient and have been wise in minding the difficult behavior changes that have been necessary. We can keep our Panorama safe and friendly; we know how to do that! Just some thoughts on a soon-to-be-spring with clocks changing.

The Holiday Reception in COVID Time

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. December 2020

We are about to bid adieu to 2020 with the ravaging changes in our lifestyles necessitated by the coronavirus. All of us have been impacted in some way. The amazing thing is that it hasn’t run rampant throughout our community and our neighborhoods! I am crediting our Administrative team in being so far ahead of the curve in preventing widespread and disastrous outcomes from this complex and virulent disease.

Well, step forward to the lovely Resident Holiday Reception that we have enjoyed every year for seven years since moving into Panorama!  Meeting friends from all over the extended campus and enjoying food and treats from Administration is always such a lovely outing and get-together! To be kept at home during this holiday time was going to impact the general holiday spirit.

But wait, even this has been facilitated by folks who have always cared for and about us. This year though, it presented itself at our doorsteps instead of Panorama Hall and Seventeen51 Restaurant! A duo of excursion buses all dressed up in holiday bows with doors open and music playing visited every one of us in the extended community and the three apartments this week of December 14th!!!! 

Such a wonderful assortment of appetizers, salad, main course for heating, eggnog to mix to our liking and then the box of dessert goodies arrived and was delivered to our doors by sprites in elf rig or floppy dog ears and Santa hats!

This was such a bright warm thing to do this week. Each neighborhood will be visited, and that involved a lot of logistics! All week the Seventeen 51 Restaurant elves will be very busy along with tremendous support staff to cook, bake and package fun treats and a collection of holiday recipes in a lovely community cookbook!!! I can’t even imagine the effort put into this wonderful holiday remembrance of times past.

admin

Now it is time to thank fellow residents for closely following the guidelines set by our Administrative team to keep us all safe while trying to keep our spirits up!!! And give a big shout out to all involved in this massive holiday delivery of cheer!!!  We are so very appreciative and while we continue to observe the masking and distancing protocols, we will wait for the vaccine program to further protect our special community. There really isn’t a better place to be during this scourge!!

The Longest Summer

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. September 2020

This 2020 summer may be the longest one we have ever experienced, to say nothing of the spring! When the Coronavirus shutdown began, it seemed an inconvenience and the thought that things would even out and return to normal would be just a matter of a few months.

Now we are in September. 6 months of the shutdown of our favorite activities here at Panorama are behind us. Many of us have cleared out many old closet issues and drawers that needed trimming up or down. Well, some of that took a long week. Then the reality set in.

Long unread books from our shelves found themselves in the “to read” stack as we worked down them. Then we got to reading already read books that we loved. Now that libraries are opening in truncated fashion, we may get some new ones to read!

It turns out that we are grateful for living in a community with a caring administration. Enough to really put strict plans in place for day to day living. The restaurant, being closed, ramped up for meal delivery for lunch and dinner. Shopping for those who can’t drive began in earnest. Where the Lifestyle Enrichment department was arranging fun outings in the old days, they have stepped up to provide grocery shopping and delivery.

Our wonderful bus drivers were repurposed to deliver mail and packages to keep outside traffic down to a minimum. Then they were occupied with screening at locations for use of the pharmacy and bank and for outside workers who check in every day. We all miss the outings with this great bunch, but it is so good to see that they are still employed!!!

Now some of us have worked our way through puzzles that accumulated over time and that has been fun. Those of us who are sport nuts have had a long dry spell, and I just couldn’t watch the national corn hole competitions that some TV channels were running.

So, as we creep into fall, we will see how football manages this pandemic. It will be a fine adjunct to my day, at least, to watch empty stadiums and actual football. Yes, I am a pro football nut and the colleges are trying to decide if they will have a season this year or move it to spring.

We are also grateful for the boost from the return of Kia, our welcoming totem, who is back on her plinth in McGandy Park. She was gone so long for refurbishment. It makes me smile to walk past her on a daily walk. Getting out in the air with a mask and walking has saved many of us from losing what little minds we have left!!!

It was good to see the Walk the Loop activity back for July in a truncated fashion. It has been full-blown in August and September, but with 7 AM to 7 PM times, distancing and masks, and the delightful trivia stations on the bollard lights! A weak excuse for the rousing Trivia nights in the restaurant bistro, but a nod to simpler times.

Another plus of more outside walking is meeting new folks who have joined our merry band in these trying times. They are probably tired of stories we old hands tell of trips out, and lunches and dinners and hikes taken when driven in our buses! We just all hope there will come a time when these activities return and the auditorium can again show movies and have entertainment come in from outside!!!

The Panorama campus is sprouting more bikes, three-wheelers and other devices as folks try to get back to exercise. With the gyms closed at present, home exercises always seem harder to do. Then the pool opened under a strict usage formula and it is wonderful to do 45 minutes of laps again. I’m so grateful, as it is a real boost to re-habbing my fractured/repaired elbow.

This summer has brought us periods of warm to hot weather and as I wrote this, we are due for another 8 straight days of 80s to maybe a 90-degree day or two! With the heat has brought many wild fires in our state and then south of us in OR and CA . . . and we count ourselves so very thankful that we are tucked into a protected environment.

No one I have talked with enjoys this shut-down time, especially as we look at the dark winter hours approaching. But we find that we are an island of safety here by way of procedures put in place to protect us. We are all trying to connect with shut-ins among us as this is a harder time for them.

So the longest summer on record, in my book, is coming to a close. I look forward to the gray and rainy days. Time to get the old flu shot and wait patiently for the new one, if they can make one work. We live in interesting times. Let’s all keep our spirits up as best we can . . . and this too shall pass.

A Cautionary Tale

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makin’ Do

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush – March 2020

The situation today that is affecting so many populations makes me harken back to my bringing up. My grandmother came through the depression and essentially raised me until I was about eleven. She instilled cooking and sewing skills and ways to solve problems, “makin’ do” she called it.

Then my family was a one-earner blue collar family and it was hard some of the time. Polio scare came and went with the vaccine. My dad was a staunch union supporter and we went through long strikes where he wouldn’t cross the picket lines, and that was hard on a young family.

Now, finally in my waning years, I am ensconced in a caring community. Panorama was a life-affirming decision we may in our early 70s. Six years we have enjoyed what the community has offered us. Outings and activities have let us explore a new region and keep fit at the same time. 

Now I am impressed, as we all head into uncharted territory with a new health and public safety issue. I am impressed that our management and board of directors have our well-being out center in their sights.

We are experiencing disruptions to our daily patterns and find we are in new territory as a community. In our various neighborhoods we are readily watching out for those who are less prepared for the deprivations ahead. All of our workers and service people have family issues of their own in this time.  I am so grateful for them all!!!

I am betting on our common sense and abilities to ride this thing out. One hopes this is a passing threat and will resolve as other flus have. But in case this is the new normal, boy, will our frugal and caring ways come to the fore. Limiting our actual contact with friends and neighbors is best, but phones and email work!!!

Everyone is stressed, and that is not so good re: our immune systems fighting what may be a casual contact with this virus. We need to get our books and readers out, work some puzzles, and try to laugh at funny stuff. The media is making most everyone nuts. The less time spent monitoring that is best.

Our TV and Kya functions are keeping us posted with what is important to us. Keep tabs on it and share with those who might not be so electrically hooked up….we really are all in this together. Let’s enjoy the spring and the blooms and now the snow and the rain. We are so very lucky to live in such a place as Panorama.

The Wild Is So Close

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2020

Historically, “It’s the Water” was the slogan that heralded a beer brewed at the Tumwater/Olympia border in the 1800s. It had a long history, and some new owners, and things changed. Then it was sold and lay fallow for years. A disastrous spill of toxic oil from a thieving incident a year or so ago caused much damage to the Deschutes River that runs beside it. That has been cleaned and the walkway along the river on both sides is once again open to the public to walk and enjoy a little wild in the midst of city streets and freeway. This area was deeded to the city long ago, so it isn’t in the park system.

In November, we see Washington’s most rainfall of the year. This past November caused much concern among weather reporters and the public in general when it remained dry but for little sprinkles. But then came December with a big rain incident that caused the river to run full spate. We have loved the access to that river since arriving here in 2013 at Panorama. It is a fifteen-minute drive from our front door. And what a wild place.

It is the site of a fish hatchery that worked with salmon that came up the Deschutes for years. Now that fish hatchery is being updated and completely redone. Fish ladders run along the western side of the river to aid returning salmon up over the falls.

Fast forward to this month of January when another 4+ inch rain filled that watershed and river and what a flow! Panorama offered two outings, a day apart, for lunch at the restaurant that overlooks the river and falls, and a walk along the roaring river. This was truly a wild run

The view from the restaurant
One of the three bridges that span the river
Interpretive signs & displays are helpful to learn of the area’s history. There is also a native planting area that volunteers are trying to restore along the western side.
The padlocks are a new thing to us who have moved here from parts south. These proclaim undying love by those who wish & secure them. This view across from the eastern side looks to the fish hatchery that is being redone & should be ready by next fall’s salmon run.

No one can say that Panorama residents aren’t plucky!!! We often make quite a sight in our weather gear, and often look like dyed Easter eggs! We had some wind, some rain and it was quite cold, but nothing like the previous day’s outing that was brutal by all accounts. We enjoyed learning much history during lunch provided by Steve, who leads such fine outings for us.

We never really understood when relocating here to the Northwest that there would be such accessible wild areas so very close to us. It takes so little effort to get out and enjoy the environment. All seasons are special, but this raging river provided a wonderful day in our Olympia/Tumwater area in the dead of winter.

Fall is Ablaze

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. October 2019

I am always amazed at the color palette that screams out at us from any viewpoint on campus. When we climb the stairs to the 5th Floor of Quinault building, looking for Mt. Rainier and doing exercise for the heart, the overview of campus is breathtaking. The dog walkers who are out more than twice a day surely take advantage of the wonder.

Each neighborhood has its own special array of different trees and bushes that go nuts in the Fall. A quiet walk in different neighborhoods after the grounds crew leave for the day will reward you with splendor.

While some of us take exception to the noise of leaf blowers, it is lovely to get our patios and walkways blown free of dead leaves. This time of year, Grounds folks must get crazy trying to keep up with the long pollen-encrusted pods that fall off some firs and litter the walkways. Our neighborhood has three remodels going full force, so the leaf blowers are lost in the construction noise of saws and hammers and tile cutters. The juxtaposition of back hoes and porta-potties aren’t enough to dull the delight of blazing trees.

The days are getting so short now and around the corner, daylight savings time will have us all reorganizing our minds and the feeding schedules of our family animals. They know stomachs and light, but not clock issues. We are getting more fog now and that also is a blanket that keeps sound muffled. It also seems to intensify some colors.

Too soon, the winter with its cold mornings will be here. That keeps most folks tucked into their homes, but NOT the energetic and committed work-out/gym folks who walk by on the way to the Aquatic and Fitness Center! Winds and rains will remove the deadening colors soon enough. So, we should really enjoy this amazing time of year.

Also coming will be the great pumpkin sculptor, plying his trade in the Panorama Hall lounge. This is always a fun activity. Gathering for a warm cider and watching the pumpkin chips fly as some magical creation pops out of the large pumpkin is always a treat.

So, let us move into the Fall time and get out and enjoy the sights and smells of Autumn on campus. Take time from your volunteer activities and meetings and entertainment activities to savor what our special community has to offer. I hope to see you out there!!!

Wildlife

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. September 2019

It has been a fast-moving month here at Panorama. We are heading lickety-split into September. Some trees seem to be turning color early, especially in some of our hiking trips away from home.

The month has been full of animal happenings. We witnessed an eagle taking a bunny out on Golf Club Road on our eastern boundary. Meanwhile, I have been attending the summer lecture series at Nisqually Refuge every Wednesday evening and one night we had an overview of wolves in Washington.

What prompted this writing about wildlife was the fact that as I was driving friends home from our outing to Nisqually, a large coyote walked down the street I was turning onto. It was also where I had to walk after parking our vehicle. I took my hiking pole with the protective rubber cup off the bottom and headed for home. I figured that if it was lurking and watching me, I’d be ready to at least pound it across the snout, if not just jab it. I know, me the animal lover…..well….It was helpful to learn from the wolf evening lecture that wolves are really best suited to a woodsy habitat away from humans. Coyotes have become adapted to living within city limits and do very well in the urban interface. First People have always looked at coyotes as tricksters and very wily. Suffice it to say, I got home without another sighting.

What amazed me was the good condition of this animal. The one I had seen a month earlier in a friend’s backyard a few blocks away was leaner, smaller and obviously in the middle of a molt, looking very scraggly. The one in our neighborhood looked wonderfully fit.

Now someone on foot as tall as I am would never be approached, I assume. But a friend with a small dog on a leash (and we have so many wonderful little dogs as family members here in Panorama) has been followed by one or two coyotes on occasion. The “dog people” have been alerted about carrying rattling cans to scare a coyote off with the noise. I refer to these people affectionately as I consider myself a “cat person.”

This may alarm some folks, but I think it is a privilege to be able to live among the wild things. A doe and some fawns have been seen in our backyard and perhaps just moving away from a predator. The Chehalis Trail is our western boundary here at Panorama, and there is a fair amount of wildlife traffic over by Chambers Lake at our southern boundary.

It is one thing to enjoy wildlife on the outings and hiking trips offered to us, but it is totally another to experience some wildness right here in our neighborhoods. The seasons are changing and the coyotes and deer are finding it time to disperse to other regions. I am hoping we can give them the space they need to flourish, but not on our little family members!!!  Be alert and enjoy!  

Finding Wild

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2019

What an amazing sight we had on our walk home one night recently. Visiting with friends out on Chambers Lake, we decided to take Golf Club Road home instead of usual Beta Street or Marina route. We had been watching water fowl on the lake. We also enjoyed the bunnies hopping by and munching as they went by. I have always wondered why we see fewer bunnies in the late summer.

We had a direct answer to that question as we watched a raptor circling very high over Golf Club and then a murder of crows banding together, yelling, diving, and harrying the raptor. Finally he/she lowered its circle and then at about 70 feet high, we could see the white head of a bald eagle. Graceful in the face of harassment by the crows, it circled and circled. As we just turned to resume our walk home, it folded its wings and fell out of the sky with talons leading the way.

Quicker than we could comment, it took off from the grass verge with a bunny in its talons, and up it went. This was accompanied by the raucous bombardment of the crow contingent as the eagle disappeared into a tall fir. Then we saw it fly again and thought it was gone However, when we looked up in the high branches, we saw either it or another eagle munching and tearing away at the prey between its talons. A mate? The same eagle? The crows were perching near it and screaming and giving it the business.

I know raptors and probably eagles will raid other nests for eggs and that was my first thought about the mobbing behavior. But crows and birds will mob anything that gets near a nest or just mob for the fun and excitement of it. Predators mostly come from the sky, after all.

We have traveled some and enjoyed Alaskan wilds where eagles foraged along with brown bears for salmon. Being bold, they would often take prey from the big mammals in the streams and rivers.  I know prey is prey and that rodents and smaller mammals will suffice if that is what is available, but I’ve never seen a catch in such a dramatic fashion. Strong legs and stronger talons make deadly weapons. 

We had thought we would miss the wild environment we came from only to find a wonderful wild contingent here at Panorama. Sights of coyote, the odd raccoon, opossums, an osprey perched in our fir tree, and even a deer walking sedately down our street (probably from the local Chehalis Trail) are so very welcome. The variety of birds who visit isn’t very large, but we do get wonderful avian sights. The ability to catch sight of an eagle hunting in our streets is just wonderful.

The little song birds seem to be up and speaking after 4 AM now that we are post-solstice and it gets light so very early. I am awakened early by that little bunch. May they stay clear of the hunting eagle and prosper!!! 

Those Stairwells….

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2019

What is it about those stairwells?

We, as a couple, decided that we are just not into being confined in rooms with lots of folks in exercise or meditation mode. We do our meditation out on the trails we love in NW Washington. We additionally swim laps twice a week.

But we have found that the tall stairs on either end of the Quinault building are excellent for cardiovascular work-outs. We walk all over campus to functions, meals, the bank, the gift shop, and pharmacy, but not ever at the rate that gives your heart an extra push.

We always do one set up and down, mostly in the north stairwell. The south stairwell provides an extra flight up to where Operations folks maintain equipment on the roof. And if you start in the basement, it gives you an extra flight as well. It is enough for us at 76 and 82 to get a heart rate up and build some “wind” for our lungs. If you have heart issues, be sure to check with your MD regarding what is safe for you.

We urge you to wear your SARA pendent and it’s always best to have a buddy along, or just let someone know where you are going. Taking a cell phone with you might also be prudent.

That being said, doing one set of stairs (like those who live in the Quinault building) is always beneficial. I know some folks who save up their flights and log a large number on the recording sheet. Whatever you do, it is beneficial. Some have said it is hard on knees to go down stairs, so going up the stairs and taking the elevator down is a perfectly healthy option. Those with balance problems should hold on to handrails and going down the flights might be more of a safety issue than going up them!!!

We decided to create a form to check off as a good way to guarantee that we actually get over there to do them as we don’t live in the Quinault. I know a lot more people “do the stairs” than are shown in the log results. That is fine; however, our Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator, Erin, logs the number of flights traveled as we turn them in at the end of the month and she often reports the numbers to the Board of Directors.

There is a benefit for making the effort up the north stairwell. On a clear day, in the foyer by the 5th floor elevator, you can see a mostly unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier. Sometimes at dusk, if it is clear, you can see the “Alpine Glow” of pinks.

There are also chairs to sit and catch your breath at the top of that stairwell. I hope you enjoy the views, when they are available, but I also hope you will join us if you are able to add some exercise in your life. Perhaps we will see you there.

A Car Run

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. May 2019

In the old days (listen to me at 76!) we were a part of groups and singles who ran at night for fun with our sports cars (TR-4A for us) all over Wisconsin and California back roads. We still own a small Honda Del Sol (1994) that we sort of inherited from older neighbors in northern California who could no longer drive a manual transmission car. Well, these two six-footers still enjoy taking the top off (it stores in the trunk) and climbing in or “putting it on” and driving on two-lane roads!

A fairly new group has formed called “Car Table.”  It meets once a month in the coffee room in the Quinault lower level and is listed in our Panorama News Bulletin. I’ve not been to a meeting, but my husband has. We have joined the group now in two car outings. The first one we enjoyed was back roads to Centralia in fall of 2018. It was crispy cool, but colors were changing all over Thurston and Lewis County. With the top off, we had to run the heater which, in younger days, was always seen as cheating and wimpy! Ten cars joined the trip. These are always mid-week outings, so traffic is usually not a concern. The leader had a map to follow with mileages and turns marked and few of the 10 cars that ran that day got lost, only temporarily. We all met and lunched at a well-known restaurant serving both breakfast and lunch.

The car run with the gang this month was for spring colors and everything was abloom! Eight cars ran this time: us, a Porsche, a Corvette, an old post-WWII jeep painted bright blue, plus 4 other “civilized” vehicles. This was 45 miles out and 45 miles back along military and back roads in both Lewis and Thurston County. This time, lunch was in Chehalis at McMenamin’s establishment. I have to say the elk burgers were a tremendous success, along with a pomegranate hard cider for me!

Many who live at Panorama are local to the county and state and know of these roads. We, who moved up to the Northwest in 2013, are still finding lovely hidden roads that are a delight! The leaders of these outings do a great job of reconnoitering the routes and planning for the lunches.

We have found that activities that residents come up with are supported by Panorama. The Lifestyle Enrichment department work with you to calendar such groupings and events. We are so very lucky to have such support for our activities here at Panorama.

February – Month of Romance

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. February 2019

What a surprise!!! We emigrated out of Wisconsin and Indiana in 1966. We left the awful blizzards and sub-zero freezing temperatures for a milder west coast climate. We were subjected to a dry climate and then a rainy one that washed out roads. We endured large wind events along the coast. Then we opted for moving to a more forgiving climate in the NW.

Since we have been living in Panorama, we have had some interesting weather happenings. We experienced a microburst a few years back when limbs came down in winds out of nowhere! Five years into our life here and we are watching the landscape turn into a wonderland.

A snow event that has Seattle sort of crippled and freeways a major danger has been forecast and we are in it. Usually, we are protected from winds from the west by the Olympics and winds from the east by the Cascades. This snowfall came quietly, perhaps winds to follow, but it is piling up snow. The snow will stay some time as the temperatures are running into below freezing at night for a week. We have lost three larger limbs of our beloved Magnolia at our patio. Sigh.

Those of us who are lucky to be ensconced in the Panorama community find that we can sit and look at the wonderland and not have to deal with it. It puts our exercise routines a bit on hold as the streets/walks below the snow can be icy. Some activities are being canceled as those watching over us decide what is safe for travel in the buses. But we don’t need to muscle snow and the beauty of it rules. We have lost a couple of branches from our big Magnolia tree in our backyard and a few large branches are down in yards around us. I imagine it is nothing like the ice storm we missed a few years before we moved in, which snapped many tree tops off.

A small blip this morning winked out our DVR until it could reset itself, but power has been pretty dependable. Many in communities north of us will suffer longer inconveniences.  This will slow us down and we can manage to get some of our piled up reading done!

There are concerns for our feathered friends. The robins moved in en masse last week and now find that being puffed up and waiting for the thaw is their daily routine. The hummingbirds will need all those feeders that folks have been offering.

Panorama is keeping us informed of daily changes in the our new resident Senior Portal. Our gates will be open all night for access by any emergency vehicles necessary.

The bottom line here seems to be that we are well taken care of and spoiled, if truth be known. Be careful if you are out walking on ice under fresher snow. And do enjoy this lovely winter landscape. It will melt soon enough.

Musical Thoughts

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. January 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Resident’s Perspective – Returning Home

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. November 2018

Our move to Panorama was five years ago. In many ways, the change to new environment and environs has kept us occupied with local things. However, after seeing a trip through the Canadian Rockies offered at Panorama’s Hopes & Dreams Travel, we decided it might be time to take the train trip we had thought about doing for years. In the 1970s, we drove our little sporty car into Canada to Lake Louise and experienced the area in June. This offered a Fall trip with other residents in an escorted ten-day train and bus tour of the Rockies.

Twenty-four of us enjoyed this trip in early October. I was somewhat concerned that we’d miss the color array of Fall changes here at Panorama, but figured we’d see changes in the northern reaches. Our trip took us to Vancouver, Whistler, Quesnel, Jasper, Lake Louise, Banff and home from Calgary on a quick flight.

The train trip was wonderful. We were situated in the dome car, so views were everywhere. More fir and pine and less deciduous trees meant less color change than I had imagined. The pine beetle has ravaged much of that species and Canada has also had raging wild fires. The wilderness is a hard place to fight these fires, which seem to be more prevalent as the climate warms. Cold, hard and long freezes help kill the beetle, but many dead standing trees were evident.

We had heard about the food service on this train, but we were still surprised at the quality and variety of dishes offered in our “Gold Leaf Service.” When we were last to sit for breakfast, we were served tea and scones. Our car of 48 people was divided so 24 diners were comfortable in the dining car beneath the dome car. That meant that breakfast was after 10 am and we had some early starting times to re-board the train. There was also a wine and cheese serving for those in second seating for lunch.

Elegant “lunch” in the dining car

Train delays were minimal, except as we neared Jasper where we left the train for further bus touring. Commercial cargoes still have priority over leisure touring. Jasper is a main throughway for cargo east-west in Canada and some trains were congested with back-ups. Our train crew just whipped up an unplanned “snack” as the last day was a long one of fourteen hours, but it included shrimp, fruit, hummus, Focaccia bread triangles, and a sweet little dessert square. Restaurants were closed by the time we arrived and detrained in Jasper.

We all were prepared for cold, but in many places where we walked to view chasms and geologic formations, the 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit was manageable. Glacial ice fields are still fascinating, and we got to walk out on the Athabascan Glacier. We had done this 40 years ago and changes were very evident. Our merry band of travelers also noted that as crowded as it was at the closing of the season for rail adventure, we couldn’t imagine train lengths of 10 or 15 more cars that typically run in summer schedules. We were part of a six-car train.

Walking on Athabasca glacier

Hotels and motels were busy, but so much less so than high season. The magical part of this tour was not handling our bags. Now as older travelers, this is a godsend. We never had to lug our bags once they went on the commercial bus service that took us from Panorama Hall to Vancouver and picked us up at Sea-Tac and dropped us off at Panorama Hall. Our bags would show up in our rooms within the hour of getting our keys and going through customs in Canada was fairly streamlined.

Stained glass window décor at Lake Louise

A silliness on my part seemed to be fighting the ever-present duvets! Having experienced these in our hiking trips in the UK years and years ago, it seems they will be a part of travel forever. These devilish linens kept me overheated the entire trip, but it is the only thing I can say was an issue for me. At the very least, in the snowy wilds of Canada, we didn’t freeze at night! We experienced a bit of spitty snow in a few places, but otherwise we had clear viewing and sunny days.

Emerald Lake

Leg stretcher at Maligne Falls

We experienced wildlife from the train, on the gondola at Whistler, and during the walk along Pyramid Lake. We saw a black bear mom and two cubs under the gondola, elk in the openings of trees from the train, white-tailed deer and moose from the train, as well as mountain goats looking over the cliffs at our coach as we motored along. The in-room phone at our hotel in Jasper had a special button to dial to hear elk bugling if you missed the 4 am sounds, as this was rut time! This young red squirrel at Pyramid Lake was chomping away on pine cone seeds preparing for winter that was certainly on its way!

Red squirrel along the Bow River

Our traveling companions from Panorama were easy to travel with. We were also spoiled by having escorts along who smoothed over any rough patches, of which there were amazingly few!

The thing that surprised me as we returned home to Panorama was actually being overwhelmed by the color changes that I was sure we would miss. The green of grass vs. the brown of the prairie around Calgary was eye-popping. And we didn’t miss the changing of our trees and the palette of colors. What a homecoming! Sometimes you need to step back and experience other environments to totally appreciate what we have here in Panorama.