The Other Side- Friday’s Phlog for January 29th, 2016

the fence of life

life can be like a fence,

walking the straight and narrow,

brings certainties,

never wavering from the

straight line ensures

your safety,

fearing the other side,

makes you crazy,

forever pondering life’s

uncertainties makes

you linger,

wavering from the straight and narrow,

facing reality through

all the uncertainty,

confronting your fears,

embracing your passions,

by stepping into

the other side.

Johanne Fraser




















Free Will

“Life is a combination of destiny and free will.  Rain is destiny; whether you get wet or not is free will.”  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Lately I’ve been having many conversations with my boys about free will.  I  believe whole heartedly in free will and I live my life by free will.  This past summer we adopted a beautiful Belgian Shepherd from the SPCA.  He had been neglected and was at least 25 pounds underweight when we took him home.  It didn’t take me long to figure out that he had been abused as well.  The name on his chart said Chaos but the SPCA changed his name to Kenny to make him sound more attractive to potential adopters.

The boys loved the name Chaos but I wanted to change his name.  Finally after bouncing different names back and forth we decided to keep the name Chaos but I changed the spelling to Kaos.  From the moment I met Kaos it was apparent that he and I had a connection.  We spent time with Kaos in an enclosed room and he kept snuggling up to me and placing his body in my space the entire time.  When we finally got him home I spent the first week giving Kaos his space and letting him come to me when he wanted to.  I never forced him to come to me,  I gave him complete free will.  He willfully followed me around the house in those first few days.  Everything was new to him and he needed the space to get comfortable with his new environment.

My youngest son does not understand free will, he annoyingly gets in your space and if you don’t give him the response he wants he tries to force you  by being ultra annoying.  He does the same thing to Kaos and the dog does not like it.   Kaos lets Matt know that he is annoying him by ignoring him, growling  at him or hiding in the other room.  One day Matt says to me “how come Kaos doesn’t like me mom?”  “Because you are always in his space Matt and you don’t give him free will.”  “Free will he says, what do you mean?”  “Matt you force  Kaos all the time, if he doesn’t come to you, you use force,  if he is sitting by himself minding his own business, you get in his face, you pull at his ears while petting him even though he doesn’t like it  and you push him out of his chair and steal his space.”  “You have to give him the free will to come to you, you have to stay out of his personal space and you have to give him the time he needs to chill.”

At the beginning Kaos and I struggled with the furniture as I don’t want him on the furniture and he really liked the couch in the living room.  When he lies on that couch, I know he is taking time out because the living room is off the family room and away from the hustle and bustle.  Every day Kaos and I would struggle, he would go on the couch and I would ask him to get down and as soon as  I walked out of the room he would climb on the couch again.   It dawned on me that he needed that space to retreat to, so I covered the couch and let him have his space.   If Matt finds Kaos on that couch, he gets into Kaos’ space by practically lying on top of the dog.  Kaos usually warns him with a growl and then will abruptly leave the couch and hang out somewhere else.

Watching the struggle between Matt and Kaos has been interesting because Kaos makes no bones about the fact that he is not impressed with Matt.  Matt is clearly frustrated by this situation and when I repeat to Matt about giving the dog free will, he says to me “I’m using my right to free will to bug the dog.”  “Well then Matt, Kaos is using his right to free will by growling and ignoring you.”

As much as Kaos likes his couch he remains on the floor at night, he doesn’t climb into our beds to sleep, he lies at the foot of our bed on the floor.  For some reason one night Kaos climbed into Matt ‘s bed and made it so difficult for Matt that Matt ended up sleeping on the floor.  The next morning Matt came down to breakfast complaining that the dog had kicked him out of his bed.  He told me “every time I tried to get Kaos off my bed he growled and when I asked him nicely, he ignored me.”  The dog then used all of his body weight and pushed Matt off the bed.   “Is that free will mom?”  “No Matt, that is called Karma.”






In-Between – Friday’s Phlog for January 15, 2016

sun and trees

a winter’s day,

chills me to the bone,

watching my breath,

awakens my senses,

gives me clarity,

 confirms that life

is about

the in-between,

the time we spend,

in-between work and


is what gives us life,

and fulfills our purpose.

Johanne Fraser


“But no matter how much planning you do, one tiny miscalculation, one moment of distraction, can end it all in an instant.”  Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses

I never make new year’s resolutions, don’t believe in them.  All my life I’ve listened to people say they were going to do this or that in the new year and most of the time they never do.  I believe in living my life everyday, it’s  that simple. I don’t live in the past, I try hard not to live in the future and I try equally hard to stay in the present.

I ended last year with severe back pain and started the new year with the same back pain.  I’ve been slowly getting myself back into the gym, walking, running and playing hockey.  The other night I decided to see if I could run, I couldn’t run without some pain, so I took it slowly walking a bit, power walking a short distance and then walking again.  Every day I walk my dog, Kaos, at least twice a day.  He is a beauty and Kaos is my solid companion when I’m walking and running.  He was with me that night when the two of us innocently stepped into a crosswalk without the slightest inclination how that simple act could lead to a life turning event.

It was dark and I’m always careful crossing any street in the dark, we were on a busy street but the cross street was quiet and not many cars turn into that area.  There  were no cars in sight when I stepped into the lit cross walk but halfway across the street I noticed a vehicle turning left and the vehicle appeared to be turning slowly towards me giving me the space I needed to cross with the dog.  I was in front of the vehicle when the driver stepped on the gas and crashed into me and the dog.  I managed to jump out of the way in the nick of time but I realized at that point that Kaos was behind me and there was nothing I could do to protect him.  I instintively let go of his leash hoping he’d drop and roll with the force of the vehicle.  As the suv hit Kaos, the terrible sound of a body hitting a car echoed in the darkness, I still shudder when I think of that thud as the vehicle rolled over him.

Miraculously, Kaos managed to free himself and came shooting out from under the truck and ran down the street.  He was completely spooked, so I dropped to the ground and remained calm as I quietly called him back.  It took me a good 15 minutes to get him back and he was terrified.  Meanwhile the truck drove by where I was sitting and parked in an adjacent church parking lot.   My initial thought was that he was getting himself together and then coming over to make sure I was ok. How wrong I was, he never got out of his car.

I checked Kaos over thoroughly and he seemed good, no broken bones not even a scratch.  I then headed to the man’s truck.  As I was walking toward his vehicle he looked my way and mouthed “fuck” as he furiously texted on his phone.  As I approached his side of the vehicle, he was already rolling down his window.  He stared at me for a few seconds and I said to him “the dog is fine, I’m fine but I’m floored you never got out of your car to check and see if we were ok.”  He looked at me straight in the eye and said in a very withdrawn tone “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I said “you just about ran me over and you hit my dog.”  The man then says “I didn’t see a dog, ” and then he says ” I came from the other way.”  If he didn’t know what I was talking about then how did he know which way I was coming from?   He was denying it but he wasn’t, every time he said something he was digging his own grave.  I was talking to him calmly because I was happy that both the dog and I were ok.  I said to him, “look I’m just happy the dog and I are ok and I’m not looking to report you because shit happens, but I have to admit it upsets me that you are denying your part in this.”  Again in a submissive tone he says to me “I’m here to pick up my daughter, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  I look over at the church where he’s parked way over at the back of the parking lot, parallel to the location of the accident, where I was sitting on the ground calming the dog and his vehicle was the only car in the parking lot.   I said, “there’s no one in the building, it was you, you are the one who hit me, it was this vehicle, you are the guy.”  He continued to deny it and I said to him, “I know it was you because right now you are shitting your pants, I can feel the fear radiating from your body.”   I was completely bewildered that he would continue to deny his actions.

I decided to leave the situation behind as there were no witnesses and to be honest if the police said to me did you see the make of the car, or the person driving, I would have to say no because after the accident I was so focused on getting Kaos back and calming him down.  I was not directly focused on the driver or the car, I just instinctively knew it was him who drove by me slowly and parked in the church parking lot watching him from my peripheral vision as I was calming Kaos.  Before I walked from the scene, I looked at the man straight in the eyes and stared at him for a long time making him very uncomfortable and I said, “I’m going to leave you in your thoughts and I suggest you go home and examine your conscious because you are the poorest excuse for a human being I’ve ever met.”  As I walked out of the parking lot, I ducked behind a row of trees planted at the edge of the property and within seconds the man started his car and slowly drove out of the parking lot not waiting for his daughter!

It took me a long time to get Kaos home as he was dropping to the ground every time a car came any where near us or made a loud noise driving by and each time I stopped to console him and assured him it was ok.  Each time I thought of the driver and the reasons why he denied; was he in shock, did he have some kind of record, was he scared or could he simply not admit to his mistake.  The incident renewed my simple philosophy of living for today and not living in the past, or the future.  The time is now to connect with your love ones, live healthy and stay true to yourself.   You just never know when a miscalculation, a moment of distraction or an error will be your last thought. I hope the experience wasn’t lost on the man driving, I hope he is living his life more in the moment and not lost in his phone or thoughts while driving.