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

Archive for January, 2017

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump”

President-Elect Trump:
I’ve decided to write this open letter today, not out of protest the way others have done. Unless some evidence is found that the Russians tampered with the election, it appears you have won fair and square. I wasn’t a person out calling you names after the election, because I knew it would only reflect badly on me. I didn’t vote for you, but you will be just as much my President as you will for those who voted for you. You are blunt, so I’m going to be just as blunt. I’m scared!!!
I am not a rich, able-bodied white male, so I’m asking myself if you really care about me. I have a disability blindness and a mental illness depression. I’m female and not the ideal body type by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t agreed with other Presidents, but I have always had the sense that if I stepped up to shake their hands, they would be civil and at least act like they cared about me as a citizen. Could you stand to shake the hand of someone like me without muttering something later about me? 
I should clarify that I am not fearful that you’re going to take benefits away from me. Although I don’t have a full time job, my husband does. I bring in a little extra from playing music, and we are well above the poverty line. This doesn’t mean we don’t have struggles as middle class people with disabilities. You’d probably love my blind, double amputee husband, because like Hillary, he’s a stubborn fighter. I haven’t forgotten you said you admired the quality of never quitting. He doesn’t profess to be a Christian, so that may be a strike against him.
By the way, I do profess to be a Christian, although a liberal one. I go to Mass with many undocumented immigrants and see they are trying to do the best they can for themselves and their children. I empathized with the children of these people, as they were in tears the day after you were elected.
If I could ask you one question, it would probably be something like this. What qualities must a person have to be respected by you? Do you have to earn a certain amount of money, profess to be a Christian, or be a certain body type? From comments you’ve made in the past, I get the impression the answer to at least one of these requirements may be yes. I am not asking for sympathy but simply that you keep in mind the majority of your citizenry who are not white, able-bodied and rich as you make decisions about the direction of this country. You are going to be making decisions affecting more than a company or a small group of people. How you conduct yourself and your administration will reflect on this country as a whole, but it will also affect many individuals and families which comprise your constituency. Finally, I will pray for you and hope you can respect the diversity of people which make up these United states. 


Phil Threw Down a Down Throw.

Phil reminded me I neglected to talk about ‘one of my Christmas presence and probably the one I’ll use most often. My husband’s body temperature runs hot, and I often feel cold. I’m in a sweater, and he … let’s just say he wears as few clothes as possible. I have blankets but nothing seemed to do the trick. Phil had me try a microwavable wrap around my neck and shoulders. Although the temp felt good,, the weight on my neck and shoulders. didn’t.
Now I own a chocolate brown down throw under which I can bury myself when I get cold. Lancer seems to be attracted to the down, because up to this point, he’s never climbed in my chair where the throw hangs. I’ve had to chase him off the chair a couple times now, and I hope he never destroys my down throw. When the sun shines in or the fire is going, I’m OK temperature wise, but now I finally have something to help me through the rest of the time while sitting in my chair. 

The year of the “Smart Bulb”

It’s a common enough question when we meet someone after Christmas to ask how our Christmas was. Despite my depression the short answer is I received some neat colored lights from my husband. Two out of three are controlled by my phone., and I’m still learning how to work them. One bulb is in my Tiffany Lamp, so I’m relieved to be able to turn it on white for normal use. Phil gave me an Architect’s Lamp and mounted it on the head of our bed. I didn’t know there was such a lamp which is so flexible in pretty much every direction. This light bulb in the Architect’s Lamp not only changes color but it also has a speaker in it. I can have the light on a solid color and listen to a book, or if music is playing through the speaker, an “auto” setting puts on a colored light show as I listen. One of the most unexpected things about the Architect Lamp light is how bright its white setting is. Sometimes when feeling really down, I bring the lamp as close to my face as possible and just let that white light shine in my eye. It’s not set-up to be an official light box for treatment of depression, but it does seem to help. With all the colors it can put out, I’m wondering if its close to full spectrum.
The third light I received is portable and rechargable. It has a wonderful setting for colors, but it also has three different levels of white brightness. That will be great for being on the deck after dark — particularly for our sighted friends.
Every year Phil seems to come up with new colored lights for me. I can’t imagine he can continue this forever, and am amazed when he finds more. This was the year of the “smart light bulb”. 

Nothing like a good Countdown!!!

Many Saturday nights I tune in” to my friend Eric on his station to hear him count down Billboard’s On Air chart for the week, and of course, at the end of the year, Eric does the chart for the year. On New Year’s Eve I was tucked up in bed hearing that countdown, and it made me remember all of the other New Year’s Eve’s I spent listening to countdowns of pop songs in the past.

There’s something about a countdown which makes me forget all of of whatever negative is happening in my life. The dog has gone out for the last time and is hypnotized by the fire or lying beside me on his bed. Nothing matters for those hours except the music. Usually with my depression , I can hardly wait to end another day by going to bed early whenever possible. Some of you know this isn’t my usual pattern, as I’m a night owl when not depressed. Eric’s show starts at 9 central, and especially if I don’t play at church on Sunday, you’ll find me either with ear phones in by the fireplace or in bed with one of my new lights going.
Country music of today is like the rock and sometimes even pop of yesterday. Singers even mention rock bands I grew up hearing, as some of them are around my age. There are songs and singers Eric and I really like and others which are almost villains. We call one particular singer “Puke” because he isn’t as good to us as others make him out to be. We root for the songs and singers we love to move up the chart and groan when they don’t. It’s a little like watching a sports game I imagine, although I’m not a sports fan.
I’m always a little sad when the countdown is over, because then things start flooding back. It does help when it’s over it’s time for bed. I used to have that same feeling Sunday nights after the last weekly Countdown finished. I monitored three or four back then. But with the Malt Shop, Sunday is a work day for me and of course the last day Phil is home. There was a pop song with lyrics “Back to life. Back to reality”. That’s a little how I feel when a countdown ends. It’s nice to have something which can suspend reality for a couple hours as The American Music Country Countdown does for me.

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