Attitude of Gratitude – December 14, 2017 – For the Love of Pi

My sister is a math whiz and a phenomenal math teacher for both the math phobic and the math gifted.   She found her calling early in life – before she even looked like she her self was out of high school.  In her first teaching job, she was routinely asked if she had a hall pass and some of her students were just a couple years her junior.   She’s been at this math teaching gig for 32 years now.  She is now teaching the children of some of her students, and for those that liked to multiply early, maybe even their children.

She loves to celebrate Pi day (3/14) – in some pretty unique ways.   Yes this is her head and it’s remarkable how little gray hair she has from teaching teenagers for the past 3+ decades.  It’s her sense of humor and overall zen approach to life that keeps her happily in that game.  It’s very much fun to hear her stories about her Math counts groups and the other little genius’ who grace her days. I asked her how many student’s she’s had and it’s over 3000.  What an impact she’s made.

I figured on 12/14,  I would celebrate and appreciate her as after all 12/14 has the number 12 and if you add the digits – 1+2=3.  Okay this is a stretch – but she’s worth celebrating nevertheless. Besides being a dedicated professional, she has been a fantastic friend and the best sister I could ever hope for.  I got to enjoy her company several times this year.  Even camped in my “moho” in her driveway for the weekend camping trip in the CT burbs.  She lives in a wonderful park like setting, has the occassional bear visit and has some majestic trees that call her yard home.  It was a very nice place to camp for a couple days.  I wonder if she ever got the electrial fixed from that visit…..

Attitude of Gratitude 2017 – December 12, 2017 – Unicorns


Unicorns welcome me on my drive home from ear surgery. This I took as a very good sign.

Because of my ear surgery, the doctor did not want me doing any travel that would require elevation changes.  This meant I got to enjoy Portland for three weeks since to get back to my home in Carson City I’d have to go over a mountain range.  Lucky for my recovery, it rained the entire three weeks.  I didn’t have a choice but to take it easy.

When I finally got the all clear to head home, I took the route back to Nevada that was on the eastern side of the mountain range.  Crossing the mountains in northern Oregon is lower in elevation gain than further south.  I’ve only done the drive one other time on the eastern side of the mountains.  It was during some pretty rough weather, solo, in the motor home.  This time, the weather was calm and I had a fun friend along for the ride.

My friend encouraged me to stop to enjoy the scenary more than if I was just driving alone.  She noticed these very cute white horses and wanted me to turn around.  They look very much like unicorns.  The gorgeous scenary was enhanced by lots of laughs and I was happy to have the company.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 11, 2017 – Moving Through Life With Dogs

My three best friends – Coco, Rosebud, and Daisy.

My parents had six children.  I only had two (since they were perfect, I stopped).  And I’ve made up for it with having several dogs.  Here are my three best friends in a rare moment when we were all together on a walk near our home in Carson City last March.  This year,  Rosebud the middle one kept the manager of the Cheetah Corporate Retreat Center company while I traveled around North America. Daisy’s job is to hold down the fort with the manager at our corporate retreat center in Alaska.  Coco has the perfect temperment to be my traveling companion.  She is fantastic with small children and quietly stays put while they tug on her.  When things change as much as they do in my life, it’s nice to have them as my constant.

They are all doodles.  Rosebud was my first doodle.  She joined me as a puppy in May 2008.  Rosebud is an Australian Shepard Poodle mix and can play ball for hours, if indulged.  Coco is a minature Berniedoodle – a cross between a Bernaise Mountain Dog and Poodle.  She joined me as a puppy in January 2016.  Daisy is a full size Berniedoodle.  She loves to sleep out in the snow – which is why her duty is in Alaska.  She joined me as a puppy in May 2016.

I am very thankful we are moving past the puppy stage with both Coco and Daisy.   I might be able to start knitting again….

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 10, 2017 – For the Love of Titanium


My hearing improved dramatically with a new titanium implant in my middle ear.

In February I had a reconstructive ear surgery to fix a collapsed ear canal.  I had a surgery 27 years earlier to fix a congenital defect that had eaten away the bones in my middle ear.  The repair had failed and I was suffering from a six month chronic ear infection.  I never heard very well after that first surgery- even with hearing aids.  I got used to reading lips, and nodding and laughing a lot – even though I had no clue what people were saying.  It is no wonder I much prefer texting and emailing to talking on the phone.

I did not know going into that ear surgery that they even had a titanium implant that could replace the middle ear bones I had lost 27 years earlier.  I guess they just came out with this two years ago.  When my daughter talked with the doctor after my ear surgery, he said that my hearing might be improved.  I’m glad he did not tell me ahead of time as I had gotten used to my quiet world and may have declined it.

It’s been very interesting learning how to hear again.  Sometimes life is way way way too loud – I hear all types of things I had not heard in a very long time.  I do very much like though hearing the rain on the metal roof.  With certain sounds,  it seems like I’m listening to a cheap speaker with major reverberation.  This happens especially when I am talking too loud.  I still need people to be in the same room when they are talking to me – but at least now I can hear they are even talking to me.  I just can’t make out what it is they are saying.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 9, 2017 – The Pioli’s

I met these two 33 years ago. We’ve gone through much of our incredible adult lives together. I’m so lucky they are such a huge part of my world.

Last year my good friends Dave and Mary Jane Pioli threw my double nickel birthday party.   I’ve had the wonderful good fortune to have met these two souls in 1984 when I was stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  We have moved through our adult lives together.  These two took the huge leap and moved away from their families to pursue their dreams in the Pacific Northwest.   They did a post card campaign to my husband and I to entice us to move there as well.   We followed a year later.

Dave and Mary Jane had a zest for exploring the Pacific Northwest and often cajoled my husband and I into going camping during some pretty gruesome storms.  One weekend in January back in 1989, we went camping on the Washington Coast.   We had taken our Nissan mini-van with our three dogs.   The last morning in a down pour, Dave successfully lobbied us to leave early to go to breakfast.  It really wasn’t very hard to convince any of us to go along with this idea.  On the way out of the campground, we hit black ice and the mini van went off the road and rolled down a hill.  No one was hurt.   Oddly enough, the only thing that went flying out of the Mini-van was Mary Jane’s birth control pills.  Dave in surveying the scene found them perched on a shrub about 50 feet from the upside down van.

The mini-van was totalled and too damaged to drive back to Seattle.  Dave, Mary Jane and my husband found a bar to watch football while I found my way to the closest town to get a rental car so we could get back to Seattle   That was a very crowded trip with the four of us, our camping gear, and the three dogs in this tiny rental car.  We were quite grateful though to even have a way home.

Two months after this accident, Mary Jane picked me up at the airport on the way home from a business trip.   The first thing I said to her – I feel like I’m going to toss my lunch.  I think I might be pregnant.  Even though Mary Jane was the one who lost her birth control pills in the accident, I lost something else, my inhibition with having children.  While my husband and I were not trying to have children, we also were willing to start a family in several years.  We had actually discussed this the night before we rolled the mini-van.  We just had no idea it would happen so fast.

For the duration of the pregnancy, I said I was pregnant because of Dave.  It was his desire to go out for breakfast that started the whole situation that lead to the start of our family.  My husband and I had been very successful in preventing pregnancy as I had a very routine cycle.  But the accident changed all that.  It threw off my cycle.  A power outage after a couple glasses of red wine several weeks later, during a time when I thought it would be safe not to use any “protection” – brought our new daughter into being.  Dave thought this was the craziest assertion.  Yet it was hard to refute the validity of this story when she was born on his birthday.

Dave and Mary Jane have been in my life in so many helpful and profound ways the past 33 years.  They have known me every step of my entrepreneur’s journey.  They believed in me when I did not even believe in myself.   I am very fortunate to have the love and friendship of these two very special souls.


Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 8, 2017 – Closing the Gap


My friend Diane on our adventure to San Francisco in February. It was quite the journey to get there because of all the flooding in California. But we made a fantastic lunch for the journey over Donner’s Pass to make sure we would not suffer the same fate as the Donner Party.  Gourmet self-preservation at it’s best.

In early February my friend Diane from Haines, Alaska came to visit me in Carson City.  I met Diane several years ago through this phenomena called “Oneness” I learned about when visiting Kauai in 2014.  It’s an experience you share with a group of people that helps you feel more connected to existence – at one with the world.  Diana had been to India several times where this “Oneness” movement started and is certified to teach people how to share the experience of “Oneness” with others.  There is a large Oneness community in San Francisco and we wanted to go to a couple of their events.

I’m calling this Attitude of Gratitude “Closing the Gap” because it is what Diane helps me do.  My spiritual practice is to live in the innate goodness of others and to be a presence of love and joy in action.  Yet I have not always been as gracious to myself.  In our visit to San Francisco, Diane took me to a class taught by one of her teachers – Patricia Keel.  It was in the class, I could start to feel things shift inside of me and could feel my own innate goodness.  It was a good start.  Thank you Diane for suggesting we go to Patricia’s class.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – Dec. 7, 2017 – My Birthday Twin Madison

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

My birthday twin Madison and I out on a promotional photo shoot the day before our birthdays.

Here I am on February 1st with Madison.  I met her when she was handling the social media for Anne with her  Yoga Anne project.  When Anne decided to go to school to learn how to program mobile apps, Madison joined Cheetah Learning to handle our social media.  Madison and I have the same birthday – February 2.   In this picture we were out looking for hats for some promotional stunt we were considering – I don’t even recall what it was.  What I do recall is we split our sides laughing over these hats.  We took the pictures we needed and put the hats back – that was even more funny.

It was very much fun hanging out with a millenial with a shared birthday.  We worked together for several years and then like most social media positions, parted company to go ply our craft with others in other ways.  I have learned over the years that marketing folks need to stay on the move to stay current.  It was time for Madison to go grow in more ways beyond what Cheetah Learning could offer.  She is creating magic in her own magical ways out in the world.  I’m very grateful we could part company as friends and have stayed in touch.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – December 6, 2017 – My Fondness for Studded Snow Tires

Once I got the lovely studded snow tires on my Honda last January, I busted out of Carson City and headed North. This is Mt. Shasta on I-5 in California.

In late August when I was a kid, I’d start getting my school game on.   Now, I start to think about which of my vehicles in Alaska needs studded snow tires.  Up here, if you don’t have them ordered by mid-September, it’s can be tough to get them.  With the snow, thaw freeze cycle that happens – you’re stuck in your house most of the winter without studded snow tires.  I even have studded snow boots.

Last January though I did find myself house bound. But not in Alaska. Down in Carson City.  It had snowed so much that it was actually accumulating and icing. The snow boots with the ice field crampons I had on when I left Haines to head to Carson, came in very handy when I had to dig out my four wheel drive truck when it went off the steep driveway.

I had plans to head North to meet with some colleagues in Seattle,  and had to drive because I was on flying restrictions due to an ear infection. With three mountain passes to cross between Carson City and Seattle, there was no way my smaller all wheel drive Honda was going to do much better than the four wheel drive truck on the snow packed roads. I called Les Schwab and inquired, “Any way you can get me studded snow tires for a Honda?”  They said, “No problem, we’ll have them here for you by noon tomorrow.”  Best news I had heard in a while.

I got the tires on the car and was off the next day North.  For a wanderlust like me, being stuck at home, while fun for a day or two, gets claustrophopic really fast.  I had places to go, people to see, things to do.  With the flying restriction and the biggest snow year in almost a decade – those studded snow tires were the lifeline to the world as I like to move through it.

Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – Dec 5, 2017 – Annie Bananie My Best Friend

Annie Bananie my best friend, adventure buddy, daughter and inspiration for all types of fun things in life.

I had wanted to go on the Women’s March on Washington in January.  I reached out to Anne to see if she wanted to join me as she had us going to the Million Women March On Washington when she was just 13 and wow what a life experience that was.  It must have had quite an impact as she said “Mom I really don’t think it’s safe for you to be there.”  Okay, maybe I got a little too into the spirit of the protest when we went to that one back when she was 13.  (and I wonder why my friends say Anne is my voice of reason?).

I was going to go to the March in Reno – but I ended up with a crushing ear infection.  For which I had to have surgery a month later.  So I stayed home and knitted the pink kitty hats.  Anne went to the march that was held in Portland.  A week later, after getting studded snow tires for my car, I drove up to Portland to see a specialist there for my ear and visit with Anne.   (I could not fly because of the ear infection).  Here we are wearing our Pink Kitty Hats in the spirit of that time.

There comes a time when your children start to care for you as you cared for them and this happened for me this year with my ear surgery.  Anne was with me for every part of it.  I think the part where my dog Daisy ate my pain relieving medicinal marijuana pot brownies and had to have her stomach pumped may have been just a little much though.  Anne truly is just like the little book that I used to read to her when she was a baby and toddler – Annie Bananie my best friend, said we’d be friend ’til the end.  It’s not the end for me by any stretch of the imagination, but Anne truly is a fox hole buddy and I’m so thankful and grateful she picked me to be her mother.



Attitude of Gratitude for 2017 – Dec. 4, 2017 – Making Changes

Thank God I didn’t end up with a hairstyle like this…..

I’m the type of person who finds a hairstyle I like and sticks with it – for YEARS.   How I look is not something I fixate on as I tend to live in the world behind my eyes.  So it was a very significant decision to do something different.  For seven years, I had what I called “business women hairstyle number 5” – shoulder length, straight, a little longer in the front then the back.  I wanted to move into something different than business woman 5.

Mid January, I downloaded one of those change your hairstyle apps and tested out a bunch of different looks.  Yeah that is entertaining – try it some time if you haven’t seen them.  I was thinking of going shorter with curls.  Not having a stylist in the area, I checked on yelp and called the salon in town with the best reviews.   The shop I called, the stylist preferred text – PERFECT.  I sent her some of my ideas, she said just come in we will see what we can do.

And this is where I met Kim – who now almost a year later has become a great friend and a fantastic dog and house sitter.  When I first came in she had no idea who I was from Adam – except I had innuandated her with these crazy images of myself with these various hair styles.  And I was wearing my all purple outfit (I have this penchant for dressing monochromatically – must be from my Air Force Days).  She didn’t really know what to make of me at first (I think my brand of eccentricity may be an aquired taste).

This is a couple days after my first perm in about 30 years. An event that would change my life in ways I couldn’t even yet imagine.

Kim had other ideas – as all good stylists do.  So we permed my hair at the length it was.  And then we stopped.  No she wasn’t going to cut it – she wanted to see how I liked it.  We didn’t go too curly the first go round as afterall it was a big step breaking out of pin straight hair business women number 5 to something new.   I totally loved the new look.  My life changed from that point forward in some ways I had to yet to imagine.  Stay tuned…..