News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Many times my blog entries are about Phil’s health, and in this one, all I have to say is that he had his follow-up test (the TEE I talked about in my last blog), and things look fine. Garron stayed home and lay beside me in bed this morning. He was just as happy to see Phil this afternoon as if they’d been apart for days.

The majority of the entry focuses mostly on the other half of the family — me and Zane. I was given complimentary tickets to an acoustic concert of Christian artists which was also a fundraiser for two ministries for people with disabilities. I asked my friend and canter Gina if she wanted to go, and since it was advertised as having desserts, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea, we stopped and ate some fast food along the way. I guess it was because Zane was in harness that he didn’t bug us for food. I can’t say the same about yesterday when Phil oiled the counters and covered the table with things from the counter. We normally don’t eat in our living room, but Zane was right there when the food was on the TV tray and table on our couch. Phil threatened to make oiling the counters a Super bowl Sunday tradition.

Anyway, the evening gave Gina and me a chance to catch up. Her first child is due in April, and as with a lot of relationships, I’m expecting that her having a kid will probably bring change to our friendship. So this was our special girl time before whatever change may come. Like Phil, Gina’s husband is not a church goer, so sharing this evening was special for both of us on that level too.

It was very nice to get a Braille program, although I could have kicked myself for leaving it behind Afterward. My friends Theresa and Ken Taylor run Seek the Son Ministries. I’ve gone to Ken and Theresa’s for Bible studies, worship services, game nights, social time and combinations of the above. All of the activities are adapted for blind people and those with other disabilities. Blindness and other disabilities affect their entire family, and they’ve done such a beautiful thing in people in the Minnesota disability community for sacred and secular time. Their family is very into beading, and the tables had clear beaded snowflakes to remind us about our uniqueness and colorful beaded roses to remind us that pretty things — like joyful situations — can be accompanied by pain. I brought one of the roses home as a reminder of the evening.

I’m less familiar with Walk Right In Ministries , but it tends to center around parents/caregivers of those with profound disabilities. Although I saw a few of my friends, we sat at a table with a woman who had some pretty profound disabilities. The man with her had to constantly tell her to tone down her voice, and I believe the part of her brain that edited comments before saying them may have been missing. I grew up with a lot of people like this at the school for the blind and used to be so embarrassed. I cringe when I think I may have had a few of these tendencies as an adolescent.

Three musicians featured shared their gifts. Maureen Pranghoffer is a notable song writer, and she and I serve on our library’s advisory committee together. Our Black Labs seem to be buds. Erin Jaimison’s parents run Walk Right In, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her music. She seems pretty young, yet has a lot to say in her writing and performing. I was reminded of my own family when Erin’s sister Alex harmonized with her during some songs. Ginny Owens was the most famous performer on the program. Like Maureen, she is blind and on Seek the Son’s board of directors. Ginny has six or seven albums (all of which I own) and has won several Dove Awards — the Christian equivalent of the Grammies.

After the program, I introduced Gina to the iPhone Game Hanging with Friends while we waited for the crowd to thin out a little. Then we talked to Ken and Theresa for a few minutes. Ginny was really busy with the crowds, so I was hesitant to take any of her time. I also found myself having a weird combination of shyness and not wanting to be one of those overwhelming talkers. She was surprisingly enthusiastic when I told her I was a secular solo pianist. She seemed to understand the dilemma I had — that my genre is called New Age which scares away Christians who think that’s my religion. She was so sweet to talk to and loved on Zane a little.

When I returned home, I walked in the door and discovered three things almost simultaneously. I was scared when Phil didn’t answer me, and it turns out he was reading an audio book and didn’t hear me. He apparently had a similar moment earlier in the evening. The house was redolent with onions and meat. After talking to Phil, I learned that he didn’t realize Zane and I were gone until he was halfway through preparing dinner. He was sleeping when we left, and I didn’t think to remind him about our trip. The good news is that I have a wonderful onion, pork, BBQ sauce, pasta dish for lunch tomorrow.

Then — and to my horror –, I found a big old ragged rip in my favorite emerald green sweater I’d worn all evening in the middle of the chest area that just about lined up with my bra! Gina doesn’t really notice stuff like that, and I hope no one else did either. The good news was that I was wearing a white lanyard and clasp holding my iPhone which probably covered and/or blended most of it. Because of my own disability, I tend to try to avoid situations like that, and when it’s a favorite piece of clothing, it not only brings out my vulnerability but also my materialism. I don’t think I am materialistic like needing to keep up with the Joneses. But when something that brings me joy is no longer in good shape, there’s a grieving which probably is more shallow than I’d like to acknowledge. I recently replaced my worn-out talking book player, and I’m dying to replace my favorite colored light with the short. I guess these were a couple of reminders to try to instill some humility and remind me to consider the perspectives of others.


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