Living without my laptop taught me to swim like a dolphin and dive like a loon

Bitstrips Source

Bitstrips Source

I can not believe I went two whole months without a laptop.  It was painful but also allowed me to become intimately familiar with my other devices.  I borrowed an iPad and used my iPhone as a back up – but posting via an iPad to my blog was challenging. Sometimes the iPad screen would not display correctly or the typing on the screen’s keyboard was cumbersome – I’m much faster on a regular old keyboard. The iPad would be slow at times – for whatever reason, I could not figure out.  And the iPhone, it is small and difficult on the eyes. Handy as it may be, I can’t use it to post content easily.  It would take F–O–R-evvvv-errr.  It was hard to bold my text, add links, insert photos, or fix spelling errors.  And, although these irritations happened when I used either device, I still opted to post to my blog – and not completely give up, because I like to blog. I’m actually somewhat addicted to it.  But, I started to feel like a dolphin.

“Blogging without a Laptop was like being Stuck in an Aquarium”

Stuck without a laptop feels like being in an aquarium

Poor guy – bet he wishes he had full connectivity to the outside world

I felt stuck like a dolphin in an aquarium tank.  I could make do and adjusted, making the best of it — but it didn’t feel free or easy to enjoy my surroundings. I started to swim along within my confines.  Trying to live without “full” technology was difficult, but also allowed some freedom too.  It gave me a break, from sitting in my office and being tied to a laptop screen, and sometimes, when we take a break from technology, we pay more attention to the live things around us. That is why when I took a long weekend away to a place with no connectivity, it actually felt good.  I started to get comfortable living without it – for the short term that is.  Living without it forever, well, that is just plain impossible these days.  So much of what we do is online, sad but true.

A Land without Connectivity?  Here it is…

Our Cabin - JK

Our Cabin – JK

When I went on a long weekend with my siblings this year, we stayed in cabins up north, way up north, as in like 10 miles from the Canadian border.  And our lodging had no connectivity, as you can see why above. Just Kidding. This was a house down the street from our cozy cabins.  It was an old home that one must stop to take photos of. The funny part of this story – stopping for photos that is – is there was a small garden to the right of the house that was in good shape – as in someone was tending to it.  But who? We wondered.  We didn’t stick around to find out.  Just took a quick snap with the iPad and took off quickly.

Anyhow, back to our lodging (cabins).  We spent three nights at a place where we could not text or check our twitter tweets, email accounts, or post to anything.  And in this case, this situation was a good thing.  It gave us a chance to enjoy the view of lakes in front of our cabins without distractions, and “pay attention” when special things happened.  Like when my niece ran up to show us the fish she caught.  Our noses weren’t stuck to our iPhones (me being the most guilty of this of my family members), but focused on our real surroundings, fresh air, and in person opportunities. And how convenient!  My hand was also free to hold other good things, like my wine glass (rather than my iPhone).

“Catch of The Day – A Fish and Wine”

Eyes on fish catch of the day

One of us finally caught a fish!

However, I must admit I did take my iPhone along with me when kayaking on this weekend trip which I promptly dropped in the water at one point as I was entering my kayak, but by some miracle, it did not malfunction or die after getting wet briefly. I dove my hand into that water faster than a loon dives after a fish in a lake.  I dried it on a boulder and it started functioning again, then I quietly snuck up in my kayak to a loon sitting on a platform. She was NOT HAPPY and squawked at me loudly, and I almost dropped my iPhone again, but fortunately did not.  This again freed up my hands for more important things, like paddling away before that loon attacked me. She started to jump into the water and approach my kayak, and at that point, I was the one squawking.

“My Close Up Shot of a Loon in North Country”

Loon Lady sitting on her egg.  She did not like me!

Loon Lady sitting on her egg. She did not like me!

After kayaking a while, and returning to our cabins, I started to realize I wasn’t reaching for my iPhone anymore for anything other than capturing photos of the beauty surrounding us, but without connectivity, it was hard to share until I was back online again.  And sharing is what I like to do.  And now with a new laptop to replace the one that finally broke permanently, I can get to fixing my errors and updating my blog.  First to be updated was updates to my schedule of events.  See Cathy T’s Classes to learn about the next two classes in the fall and winter.  And next was a new page called SOCIAL, because it can’t be helped, but should be paused from time to time.

In the meantime, bare with me as I learn the new technology of my brandy new laptop.  Thanks for your patience.

Written by Cathy Testa

View without connectivity, but taken with my iPad

View without connectivity, but taken with my iPad

Arts and Crafts at a CT Nursery this Weekend

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The Gledhill nursery in West Hartford, CT is holding an Arts and Crafts fair this weekend on August 2 and 3, 2013 from 10 am to 4 pm. I happened to visit this nursery for the first time yesterday (as part of my goal to visit nurseries listed in the CT Garden & Landscape Trail.)

On my way to this place, I did run into some roadway construction coming from Bloomfield but it moved quickly and perhaps will be done by Saturday. But also be on the lookout for the entrance. It can be tricky to see the enter versus exit road. Look for the street sign. As you drive down it, you will feel as if you are entering a private residence. The driveway into the back parking area is very narrow and lined with beautiful plants and trees. This nursery has an immediate park like feel to it.

RoadA friendly nursery staff person greeted me immediately as I entered the grounds, admiring the small water gardens in particular. She apologized for the mix of plant areas as she explained they were organizing spaces for the 30 vendors participating in a crafts fair this weekend. It is held annually. So I thought I need to post this immediately to let everyone know about it.

The nursery staff person also told me their landscape department has a knack for water gardens as she noticed I was taking photos of them. This garden center has some small greenhouses, a nice gift shop, and displays such as a path leading to an arbor. If I were able to go this weekend to see the crafts show, I would but other commitments prevent it. If you decide to go, let me know what you think. Oh, I also noticed they had some organic products on their shelves for bugs and fertilizers.

Water gardens

The plant areas had little garden decor here and there too. It seems like a fun place to browse, plants very healthy all around, and I’m sure in the height of the season there’s more to enjoy. There’s lots of inspiration for those taking notice of all the details all around the premises.

Organically at Gledhill

The address is 650 Mountain Road, West Hartford, CT 06117. 860-233-5692.

Just be sure to drive carefully into the area. I suspect they will have additional parking during their event this weekend with all the vendors planned.


Their website is


Overall, park like, tranquil, and secluded. When I commented that folks from my area may not know about Gledhill, she replied, neither do some locals to West Hartford. Perhaps, now, they will.

written by, Cathy Testa

Water garden Gledhill

Capturing the Beauty of Flowers


Look at this stunning photo taken by a local Professional Photographer, Catherine Cella of Joyful Reflections Photography.  Catherine is my next special guest speaker on May 9, 2013 – Thursday.  To read more about this opportunity, click on the CLASSES above and take a look at the “Class Flyer” with all the details.  You don’t want to miss this chance if you love photography, plants, and the beauty of flowers.  You will learn special techniques on how to use natural light, the importance of camera settings, and more. Plus I will share information about the plants as we learn from Catherine.  We will be meeting at a local garden center at 9:00 am for this class.  Sign-up today to join us.  Looking forward to seeing you there.

Magnolia Tree Blooms by Catherine Cella of Joyful Reflections Photography

Magnolia Tree Blooms by Catherine Cella of Joyful Reflections Photography

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy Cathy T

Want to win a $10,000 Dream Landscape?

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You do?  Wouldn’t that be the bomb?  Winning a landscape worth $10,000!

Just click on the link below to take a look at the information on the CT Garden and Landscape Trail page.  I happen to stumble upon it today as I was filing my copy of their trail map.  A map that I plan to follow this year – another goal for 2013 – go visit these places more!

The information indicates you may pick up your PASSPORT for this 2013 offer at the upcoming CT Flower & Garden Show.  The show starts on Thursday, February 21, 2013 this year in Hartford, CT.  The last day of the flower show is February 24th, Sunday.

Welcome to the Connecticut Garden & Landscape Trail!.

Last year, I organized a “To the Flower Show We Go” group ride starting with breakfast, and it was much fun.  Thinking of doing something similar for this year’s show.

I’ll keep ya’s posted here on my blog.  If you think you may like to join me, e-me soon!

Container Crazy Cathy T

Cathy T and Hubby Steve the morning of last year's CT Flower show.

Cathy T and Hubby Steve the morning of last year’s CT Flower show.