Karen Pagliaro
Karen Pagliaro received her training at Auburn Cosmetology School in Seattle, and now has 20 years of experience behind the chair. After returning to school, taking classes in marketing, computers, business law and hair design, Karen has opened her own salon. Karen Does My Hair in Liberty Lake specializes in hair design and colouring techniques. Karen is a Redken specialist and has mastered the art of hair design, color, symmetry, and shape.

She has made her mark in Liberty Lake. Her clients and other local residents recognize her salon has become one of the social centers of the growing town. Her weekly ads can be found in the Liberty Lake Splash, where she has been featured as the profile story. Karen is actively involved in the community with her advertisements in the Splash and the Liberty Lake Community Directory.

Karen is passionate about her work and the relationships she has with her clients. She considers herself an artist and loves to create design lines that address the hair needs of each of her clients. For Karen . . . It's All About The Hair!

Life lessons of hope often come from the people we meet

By Karen Pagliaro

Certain people and experiences play a profound role in shaping who we are who we become. We meet people by chance or by design. It may be a brief encounter or a lifelong relationship. Someone may impact us immediately or influence our lives over time. At some point, we each acknowledge people who have served a great purpose in our lives and recognize we are better for having known them.

I met Dax Johnson during the winter of 2003. It was right after Thanksgiving Day when stores are crowded with shoppers. At that time, I didn't go anywhere crowded and busy, because I suffered from social anxiety disorder. I would get severe panic attacks, so I avoided places like the mall and other stores.

However, on this winter day in 2003, I got into my car and drove to the mall. When I arrived, I circled the mall looking for a parking spot. When I finally found a spot near the front door, I sat there for a while trying to convince myself to go inside.

People were everywhere as I walked through the mall. I felt my anxiety level begin to rise. Panic set in. There were too many people and too much noise. That's when I heard the music and followed the sound until I saw him.

He was so beautiful-Brad Pitt good looks. I sat on a bench next to his piano for a long time and listened. He took what looked like a guitar pick and picked at the keys. He was an artist and a musician. He smiled at me. I think he knew I was afraid, and so we talked.

His name was Dax Johnson. I picked up a brochure that told of his life. Somehow I knew he "got it", he got me. I felt that he had known sadness, depression, confusion, pain, and fear. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. I was so comfortable talking with him that I forgot I was afraid. I told him that I never came to the mall. I told him that I was in the middle of a terrible divorce and that I was trying to pull my life together. I told him that I am a hair stylist and that my passion is helping others look their best.

I bought a CD of his and tickets to his upcoming concert, even though I knew I probably wouldn't attend. I told him of my dreams...to become a "Redken specialist" and to open a hair salon. He listened to me, and I knew he was a gentle, kind spirit who understood my pain.

I didn't make it to his concert, but I know it was amazing. I listened to his CD "Levity" over and over. I did become a "Redken Specialist", and I did open a hair salon in my home. I played his music for my clients, and smiled when one of my clients recognized his beautiful and calming music.

Around Thanksgiving in 2005, Dax Johnson died. Dax was a special, thoughtful, deep and caring person. I still listen to his music, and long to tell him how meeting him and talking with him touched my life and changed it forever.

That day at the mall, he signed the CD, "To Karen the hairstylist, see you on Oprah!" He believed, and wanted me to believe, that I could be a success at whatever I chose to do.

Dax Johnson touched my life. Passion and sensitivity was part of his life and his music. I believe his parents, family, and friends must miss him greatly. While his life was cut short, I know he touched many lives, and I am so thankful that he touched mine.

I still find it amazing that I conquered my fears that day in 2003. I guess it was meant to be. I was destined to meet Dax Johnson at the mall that day. He gave me courage and hope. His influence has helped define my life and who I am today.

During this time of giving thanks, I wanted to share this story to give thanks for the life of Dax Johnson and others like him. I am thankful for those who reach out to others. I am thankful for people who are not afraid to give of themselves, help others without judging, find the good in every person and look to leave a positive mark on the world and each person they meet.