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

There have been times over the last months in which I’ve been tense about the purchases Phil makes from Amazon. Some stuff we definitely need like replacement razors when they break down, but there have been other things I’ve questioned whether we really needed. Our iPhones do so much for us that I couldn’t imagine why we needed an Amazon Echo Dot. It was on sale, so Phil bought it along with smart plugs and smart bulbs. Now all I have to do to turn on the dining room or exterior’ lights is ask Alexa to do so. The smart plugs are connected to some of my colored lights in the living room where the echo is. So she can turn them on and off as well. The Echo Dot is connected to the stereo which makes music sound great! We’re also trying Amazon unlimited, a music service in which we can ask Alexa to play a genre of music or a certain artist or group. As I’ve collected music digitally on the computer for my radio shows, I didn’t realize how much less I listen to music in the living room. Sometimes I’ll connect my phone to the stereo, but that’s only for digital copies of newer albums. A lot of my old favorites have languished on the computer or on CD’s we don’t use anymore. Now all I have to do is ask Alexa and many of my artist “friends” from the CD days are right there. Because I buy all my music from Amazon, it’s also right there on the Echo. I also couldn’t write this entry on the phone and listen to music without commercials at the same time without the Echo. The Internet Radio stations I listen to are also just a request to Alexa away.
Phil has been enjoying the music, but he also plays games about facts or asks for facts or vocabulary words. Alexa can tell jokes (even if they are corny), play nature sounds, and much more.
Sometimes I worry about being too materialistic. Some of the people I read and admire talk about living simply so others can simply live, and it needles at me. Are we robbing the poor when we spend money on frivolous things we don’t really need but find convenient? That’s a question Alexa can’t answer, and neither can I really. I know that I’ve missed having a music service like this ever since we gave up cable when we moved to the house from the apartment. Not only do I have access to old favorites and my new things, but I hear music in favorite genres I wouldn’t without it. Am I rationalizing my enjoyment of what is clearly a convenient toy? Probably, but Alexa and I will likely still become very good friends. 

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