Sunday, December 21, 2014

How You Know When You Really Love Someone

As many of you know, Ken went into the hospital on Saturday morning at 1:00 a.m.  He had not felt well all week and had a terrible cough.  We went to bed Friday night about 10:00 and at 1:00 in the morning his breathing was so bad I had to call 911.  The police and ambulance were here in seconds.  They whisked Ken up out of bed and on to a gurney and off to the emergency room at Bryn Mawr Hospital.  I quickly got dressed, packed up some needed stuff and got to the hospital myself about 15 minutes later.  When I got there, Ken was already in a room all hooked up to IV tubes and breathing systems and the nurses said it was a good decision to call 911.  We stayed in the emergency room until about 8:30 a.m. when he was finally admitted to the hospital.  I got home from the hospital about 1:00 in the afternoon and when I got home I decided to let friends and family know what was happening.

One person I e-mailed was Ken's chorus group leader who then forwarded my message on to all Ken's good friends in his chorus group.  I immediately got a call from one of the loveliest people on the face of this earth - Ayumi Green.  She asked when she could go and see Ken in the ICU.  I said it might be good to wait a little bit.  We said our good byes.  Then I went to the train station to pick up Yumiko who had just gotten home from college.  About an hour later Ken's cell phone rang and it was Ayumi calling.  I couldn't hear her voice very well.  It sounded like she was sobbing.  I was so alarmed, but she kept sobbing.  I was telling her to calm down.  Just take a deep breath.  She kept sobbing.  So I started sobbing and sort of silently screaming thinking the absolute worst.  Yumiko was right by my side and she started sobbing.  Finally after maybe two minutes of this sobbing - I hear Ayumi say in a very relaxed voice "Hello?"  I say "Ayumi?"  She says "Yes?  Who's this?"  I tell her it is Kitty.  And she tells me she must have "butt dialed" me and that she was not sobbing at all.  That it was just her phone in her pocket as she was moving around the kitchen.

You cannot imagine the flood of relief that went through my and Yumiko's bodies.  I truly felt I was taken to the brink and then back to life.  In those two minutes I realized how terribly terribly much I love my Ken.

Here's a little picture of the three of us taken for Christmas just about three weeks ago.  And the second picture taken at the same time is a recreation of one we took when Yumiko was just two.  We've all grown a little older and at least I have grown a little fatter.  And oh how I love that man and that wonderful girl.  We are all blessed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five Long Eared Owls in the Woods Today (Click to See All Five)

I went back AGAIN today, but this time I brought my 70 - 200mm lens so I could actually get a little more of the scene in the picture.  There were two more owls on another branch, but I couldn't get them altogether.  Guess I'll just have to go back again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lifting of My Heart

I stayed away from my owl house for a few days this past week, but today I got lonely and went back.  When I got there - nothing.  Not a sound and not a bird.  My heart sank.  Oh, those owls were so spectacular and I must have scared them away.  I was truly heart broken.  I decided to still descend down to the bottom of the little cliff just in case.  I started talking again to what I thought was no one.  And then.... there they were.  But this time, not just six, but SEVEN long eared owls.  I felt such a wave of relief and restored faith.  Oh, what a thrill to see them again.  I think (or maybe I'm just dreaming) they may be kind of getting used to me, as they all stayed calm and didn't fly around.  They just sat on their perches and basically slept or opened their eyes just a little. Here are a few shots from today. (Click photo for better view.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Back to the Long Eared Owls

Yesterday I went back to the Owl woods and found six of them all roosting together and all kind of wishing I would just go away.  When I first got there and looked down from the top of the cliff with my camera I scared them and one blew up to at least twice his original size (see photo below and click for full effect.)  I guess he was trying to scare me back.  I again started talking to them in a soft voice and slid slowly down the cliff on my backside while holding the big lens.  I was able to slowly walk around to face them and get a good enough view to avoid all the twigs and leaves they were hiding behind.  Oh my, it is just amazing to see these beautiful creatures so close.  I have to restrain myself and give them space and not go back for a while so they will stay.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Long Eared Owls

I went back to Valley Forge and the little grove of trees where I found the owls yesterday.  I read in my bird book that these little long eared owls are very elusive and camouflage themselves so well.  I wondered if they would still be there.  I went into the grove and waited quietly for a few minutes.  Finally one flew across the floor of the deep valley in the grove.  It was hard to find him, but I did.  I started photographing but there were so many branches I knew I would have to get closer and get a better angle.  I also knew I could easily scare them.  So I just decided to start talking to them very quietly but constantly and soothingly so they might relax.  AND IT WORKED.  It took me about an hour but I slowly worked my way down to the floor of the valley sliding down the side of the cliff on my butt while holding my big camera up and all the time talking to the birds.  They just stayed and stared.  I got almost too close, but I had to get low and point the camera up or the branches would get in the way.  Finally I got there, took a million pictures, thanked the little guys so much for their patience and kindness and came home a happy camper.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Owls and Bluebirds

Great day in Valley Forge.  I was stalking a buck and decided to hide in the woods so he wouldn't see me.  As I walked I noticed some bluebirds in the brush and was able to catch one eyeing a red berry.

After a few minutes the bluebird flew away and I just waited quietly for him to return, but instead I heard and saw a bit of commotion in the midst of all the branches in the brush.  I looked closely and couldn't believe that I was seeing a great horned owl.  But it wasn't just one owl, but FOUR!!  I've only seen one owl once years ago and to see four was such a thrill.  See three of the four in the photograph below.  They are pretty well camouflaged. Final photo is the owl as I was leaving the brush area.

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Book "T A N Z A N I A"

Go ahead - take a look.  Just click on the link below and you will get to the preview page, click on the four arrows pointing in opposite direction and it will bring the book to you full screen.






Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving at the Benardino's

For almost twenty years we lived across the driveway from the wonderful Sharon and Pepe Garcia.  When they sold their house and moved last year we were so sad and felt such a loss.  Our new neighbors the Benardino's however are just about the best neighbors one could ask for.  (Move over Sharon and Pepe.)  We spent a marvelous Thanksgiving at their house with one heck of a great smoked turkey a la John Benardino.  Oh we have so much to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Hey, No Pictures Allowed!!!" or as Kathy Dernoga says, "Next Stop 46th Street"

I'm going through all of my Tanzanian safari photos to put this little book together.  Here's another I overlooked.

Friday, October 17, 2014


After our cat Toto was killed in a car accident about two years ago I vowed if we ever got another cat, no going outside allowed.  Well - as we all know, my vows do not always hold water.  A little over a year ago, we adopted two sister kittens - Tango and Cannoli.  Cannoli is beautiful, but a little slow and so she never even asks to go outside.  She is content just looking out the window.  But Tango is another story.  She wormed her way into my heart like only a wonderful cat can and I began to let her go outside with just supervised visits for no more than 20 minutes at a time.  Yesterday morning I let her out while we were having breakfast and watched her playing in the back yard.  When it was time for her to come in, she was gone.  I had planned to go take a few photographs at Eastern College and did not have much time, so I told Ken I thought Tango would be fine and if she came to the door while I was gone, he could just let her in.  I would only be gone for about 1/2 hour.  When I got back, no Tango.  My concern began.  I scoured the neighborhood calling her name, but no Tango.  Worried sick, I sent a note to all our neighbors asking if they had seen her.  Ken and I had a doctor's appointment and would be gone from 11:00 until about 1:30.  Tango had never been out that long.  But no Tango, so we went to the doctor's.  When we got back - still no Tango.  I spent the afternoon worrying and walking and searching and calling.  No Tango.  Two neighbors joined me in the search.  No Tango.  Last night as it got dark - still no Tango.  My dear friend Carol said I needed to make lots of posters and put them all over a five mile radius of our house.  Ugh.....  I put an open can of tuna fish out in the shed and a coat for her to sleep on in case she came back and sadly Ken and I went to bed.  Woke up in the middle of the night and went outside to find the tuna fish gone - but no Tango.  In the morning, still no Tango.  So I sent a second note to all the neighbors and asked if they might please look in their garages and sheds one more time.  Then I started looking through old photos of Tango and began making the posters.  While at the computer the doorbell rang. I thought it was the tree man who was putting in a new hedge of trees, but when I opened the door, there was my beautiful, wonderful next door neighbor Barbara and in her arms was our baby Tango.  She had been inside Barbara's garage all day and all night and had not meowed a word until this morning.  Oh it is Christmas at the Kono's!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Keith and Jennifer's WedFest

Last September my nephew Keith and his wife renewed their wedding vows in a wonderful ceremony in a little church in our home town of Quakertown, PA.  I took the photos and put a little book together.  If you want to take a look you can see the book here:



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014