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

Great Day Take 2.

Last Thursday January 21 was one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time. Even though chronologically, they happened in reverse, I’m going to write about the main events which made the day so good in the order of great and greater. Thursday evening, I attended the University of Minnesota’s 35th anual MLK tribute concert. It included a cappella group Committed and, a jazz singer, Chicago native Pippi Ardennia who now calls the Twin Cities her home base. I’d been to see Committed in 2012 when they sang for that year’s MLK tribute, so I knew what to expect. They surprised us with an a cappella version of one of my favorites of 2015, Uptown Funk to start the show. In addition to their a cappella arrangements, individual members had solos of songs reflecting Dr. King’s message. Adele’s Hello and other current songs were performed, but the biggest surprise of the evening came toward the end ofthe concert. One of the singers acknowledged his girlfriend and asked her to come to the stage. Then he revised the words of the last song to include something about her making him the happiest man, and … he proposed to her getting down on one knee and everything. The whole performance was rock solid, but that was the most emotional moment of their show. I was only sorry Phil wasn’t with me. It seems proposing during concerts is becoing a bit of a pattern. Two friends of ours who took us to the Stevie Wonder concert last year became engaged that night.
The opening act was my biggest surprise, as I’ve never heard her. Jazz isn’t usually my thing, but something about the way she drew in her audience and encouraged participation really resonated with me. She also had a brilliant pianist, and I marvelled at both of their talents. In style, I’d compare her to a young Della Reese. She and her pianist made some innovative jazzy arrangements of songs I wouldn’t have expected. Rain Drops Keep Falling On my Head was one example. I bought a CD with this arrangement on Amazon the next day and played it on my Keyboard Kaleidoscpe Internet radio show. I was listening to headphones and waiting for a ride when Pippi came to me saying she could hear me sing from where I was in the fourth row. She also told me she could feel my energy, and I was really into it. She gave me a big hug, and as I promised, we are now Facebook friends. I am no jazz pianist, but I hope someday we’ll meet again. I can never have too many fellow musician friends. As wonderful as the evening was, it pales in comparison to earlier that day. Right before leaving town for Phil’s mom’s memorial service, I got an email from Triumph Technology an adaptive technology dealer in town. When Phil brought up the same email, I told him I was salivating over the braille displays. Phil encouraed me to go take a look at them. I didn’t think with all ofthe medical bills, we could afford it. He and I agreed on a limit, and Thursday afternoon I arrived at Triumph Technology’s office in Columbia Heights. I gave Earle our price point, and he showed me this beautiful machine on which I’m typing right now. Google “Smart Beetle”, and you’ll see a red machine with white keys and 14 black refreshable braille cells. It bluetooths with my iPhone, and su.enly what’s on the screen is under my fingers. I type, and it appears on the screen. Speech is wonderful, but there’s nothing like being able that see writing under my fingers. It also allows me to multi-task without having speech get in the way of enjoying the music as I do so. It’s hard to tell you how cool this is, but maybe a good analogy would be having blindcak and white pictures and su.enly being able to see them in color. It’s more realistic. I’ve figured most of it out myself and am still learning. My writing still may not be perfect, but with two methods of checking it, the writing should be better.         


Comments on: "Great Day Take 2." (4)

  1. That is absolutely so cool. I’m trying to picture it, and I think I have it right. Modern technology is truly amazing. Maybe you could get a picture of the set up. I am very interested. So happy for you!

    Nora in Florida Golden Rescue Molly age 13 1/3 THDX,CGCA,CGCU,ATD,Delta Pet Partner,R.E.A.D.

    Tyler age 1 year SDIT

    Sent from my iPad 3


    • Hi, Nora. A friend of my husband’s googled the name of the product “Smart Beetle”, and a picture of it came up. Probably better than any I would take. Lol!

  2. Hey Nora, great to see you are friends with Rebecca. She is one neat lady, smile.

    Becky and Jake in sunny warm WA, giggle

  3. KathyZolo said:

    Hello Rebecca,

    I’m so glad that you finally some good news to share! I am very glad that the concert was so wonderful, but I am even more glad that you now have a Braille display that truly fits your needs!

    Kathy and Dixie

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