Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · The Cats

A new phone, a new Internet connection and lots of cat photos!

Hello dear friends!

I hope you all are doing well!

I’m so excited because I’m starting to be fully active again online these days. There is A LOT to catch up on, but I’m happy to do that.

Since I don’t want to make it a long rambling story, I try to make this update as short as I can.

I’ve been feeling better regarding the daily migraines, which are now down to about two a week on average. Sometimes 3, sometimes less than 2. It’s thank’s to Vitamin B2 in high doses, and Magnesium and Q10 in normal daily amounts, that I’ve been taking and responding to well. Now, when the weather is nice and sunny, without any changes, I’ve had a migraine-free phase of over 2 weeks, which is a miracle almost. Everything is better than having a migraine every single day, or one that goes on endlessly without a break for many days.

Since things can’t be always perfect, something else happened… The internet went silly. Again. We changed providers in December 2019 and it was great for a while. But for some reason, the 4G router, which connects to the internet via mobile phone towers, started having reception problems that got worse, around February. Then the bandwidth itself was getting awful and the speed was too bad to even try and do much online. Thinking it could be due to the lockdown and everyone being at home, I just waited and hoped it would get better. Unfortunately it didn’t and instead it got even worse.

At the same time, my old iPhone was starting to show it’s age, unable to cope with the apps that are getting more demanding on older phones. My phone would shut down or crash when trying to take pictures, or trying to write anything on WordPress, or on other sites. At least I was still able to make phone calls with it! 🤣 So with the internet being awful, my phone being unusable for internet as well, we needed to get it sorted out.

I had us changed to a landline internet connection, which is mostly all fibre optics by now. I was not sure what to expect, but it’s amazing. We’ve got a plan that costs us the same as before, but now we have reliable and fast internet. It’s a huge difference. Since the new router does not have to be near a window for reception, it’s in the hallway, in the centre of our home. Therefore I have now WiFi all throughout our home, including out on the balcony.

Ralph also encouraged me to get a new iPhone as well, which I did. It’s the first time I ever got a new and current iPhone. I usually always bought an older one. But since even the older ones last me many years, this new one will last me even longer now. I’ve been having way too much fun with it. The photos and videos it takes are stunning. I can finally record videos and take photos with a phone in low light conditions.

Of course, I’ve been taking 1000s of photos and videos of the cats within a few days. Also, I can now comfortably post from my phone and do anything I used to only do on the laptop.

What’s going on these days

Hero, Samantha, Lisa and Sonic

We enjoy to sit out on the catio (Balcony) as much as possible. Now I can even blog and do other internet things from out there thanks to the new router!

Hero and Lisa spend the most time outside. Like sweet Murli, they want to go out onto the balcony no matter if it’s raining, cold, storming, hot or ice cold. Hero and Lisa even flop down or sit down right in a puddle!

That’s why I’m going to try and see what they do if I put a basin of water out on the balcony on a hot day. I’ve seen them play with water and I’d be curious to see what they do if they have the possibility of actually going into the water.

As of today, the weather has been like summer again, but with storm winds. Now in the evening, it has calmed down and it’s now a hot summer evening.

All week before the sky looked mostly like this and it was rather chilly…

But if the weather is too bad, we just enjoy our time in our home. The kitties can still watch kitty-TV from the bedroom window, as it’s the closest to the bird feeder.

Hero at the bedroom window

I will end this photo-rich post now, before it gets too difficult to load for some.

Now that I can post a lot easier and with internet that works all day and night, I’ll post a lot more frequently, but shorter posts, just like so many of you do as well. Little updates of our daily life.

It’s now nearly 10pm and I am looking forward to bed. I’m not necessarily going to sleep, but I can be online on my new phone too! It’s so much comfier in bed, with kitties around me.

Sonic, Hero and Lisa leaving no room for us to get into bed
Samantha cuddling with her mousie

Ralph will be watching some videos on the laptop or a movie on the TV.

I hope you had a good start into the new week! Sending love from us all and purrs from the kitties 💖

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News

Covid Update Part 1 March 23

It still took me until now to finish this post. Sigh… sorry about that. The weird tiredness still wasn’t letting up at all and it was impossible to think clearly enough to write in such a state. This post is simply an update about the pandemic and the current situation in Austria.

Like I’ve said, I publish these updates to document the historic circumstances we all are finding ourselves in, to have a record of it for myself and for whoever else is interested in reading about it again later on.

One of my huge worries is now gone! I will not lose access to my pain medication at any point. Everything has been sorted out wonderfully, for everyone.

It would be a long boring description of how everything works and was worked out right now, but basically: The health department and the national health care activated the new electronic prescription system a lot sooner than planned. With this system, people are able to call their doctors and order their prescription over the phone. The doctors office then adds / uploads the prescription into your file on the national health data system. Now people can go to any pharmacy they want, tell the pharmacist that a prescription has been put on their file, which the pharmacist can look up and access through your social security number. Then they simply print out the prescription and give you your medicines.

Narcotic long term prescriptions are not being sent through this electronic system though. They are added to your file and everything, but you still have to get the physical paper prescription from your doctor. At the moment, doctors offices are bringing these special prescriptions to the health department office themselves, as an original paper document. The health department then stamps the prescription, scans them into their computer system, and has them brought to the various pharmacies that the patient is receiving their medicine. Because with this prescription, you have to stay at the same pharmacy for the duration of that prescription, usually 28 days. Of course, most people will stay and not change every month.

So basically, I don’t have to go to my doctors office for the prescriptions for as long as this lockdown is going on. Also, depending on the medication, people are able to fill up to 3 months worth of medications at once. Except narcotics. Also, I am almost sure that not every doctors office will give their patients the 3 months worth of medicine at once, as they generally don’t like to do that. I know, because I have trouble every time my doctor goes on holiday and I need my migraine medication for the duration.

Thankfully, I got 4 weeks worth of pain medication at once. Which is a relief, as I was really worried they would just lock everything down, including pharmacies and the health department, and not care one bit if people get their pain medicine. That worry exists due to my horrible experiences throughout my life, with being in terrible pain, but not being helped. With specialist doctors just shrugging their shoulders, literally, and simply not caring one bit.

4097 Coronavirus Infections, March 23 at 5pm

The governments update from today at 5pm.

Staying home, toilet paper craziness and panic buying

So for whatever reason, toilet paper is still being bought like crazy. All over the western world. Maybe even all over the world. Shop keepers say it’s gone within a short time right after they open in the morning. I wonder if we will ever find out what that is all about? Why on earth toilet paper? Some even managed to buy massive amounts of toilet paper, thinking people will be desperate for toilet paper and that they can sell it to them at a high price.

Despite the fact that grocery stores are still being stocked up normally, people are still panic buying long-lasting food and the stores can’t keep up with it. It would be more than enough for everyone if it wouldn’t be for panic buyers. The panic buying seems to happen right when the stores open. For the rest of the day, there are only very few customers in the stores.

Break-ins

The emptiness in the streets during the night is now increasingly used by criminals to break into stores and to rob the few people that are out. Thankfully it’s not rampant here, but it definitely happens a lot more now.

Even my old pharmacy has been broken into and robbed on the first night of the lockdown last week. I am glad my current pharmacy is in a really public place with police CCTV. My old one was in an area that is always quiet and empty overnight, but especially now.

I know there are hardly any hand sanitizers available anymore, and the few that are sold are sold with massively hiked up prices. But before you buy insanely expensive sanitisers, you can use alcohol like Vodka and Schnapps to disinfect your hands while you’re out, if you fill it into a small bottle to carry with you.

I’ll keep updating as much as I can, about life and the cats and everything else going on. Should anyone ever feel worried about us, or simply just feel the need to contact us, you can always email me directly at:

catlady-natascha@protonmail.com

Everything · Pictures · Places · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats

Austria shuts down – Covid Update March 15

Things continue to move faster than I can keep up with. Measures and restrictions that were planned on Friday, kept changing throughout the weekend.

Restaurants and cafés were supposed to stay open until 3pm starting Monday, so that people would be able to get lunch there. But the government decided to have all restaurants, cafés, pubs etc shut down completely. But not just them, all stores are staying being closed, except for supermarkets, pet supply stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations.

Government offices that are not that important at the moment, will shut down for the public, but they will continue to work behind closed doors. Everything will be handled over phone, online forms, email, fax and letterboxes.

The military reserve is being called up

Although I don’t know what they’re going to be doing yet. But I think they will help to ensure the protection of supermarkets, pharmacies and help to keep the peace in the city.

Stay at home order

The government announced that there are now only 3 reasons to leave our homes and it goes as follows:

  • To get anything that is needed for life, like groceries, medication, pet food. Of course to go to the doctor for medication and treatment that can’t be postponed.
  • To go to work, but this means jobs that are needed to keep the country running. Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters, Police, Military, people working in jobs that are important for the infrastructure (power, gas, water, public transport, delivery of goods, parcels and mail, jobs in the communications industry like phone and internet etc). Anyone that can work from home, has to work from home.
  • The 3rd reasons to go out is to help others. For example, to help disabled or elderly and supply them with food and medications, so that they don’t have to go out to the store, doctor or pharmacy themselves.

People are allowed to walk their dogs though.

Parks and playgrounds are closed.

At first, people were asked to adhere to it on their own. But the government said that this didn’t work, therefore they said, they have to enforce it this way.

In Graz, the 2nd largest city of Austria (Vienna is Nr. 1), the streets were pretty much empty.

So within a very short time, the government decided that the lock-down and the restrictions would have to be enforced.

From what they announced, people walking alone will not be stopped or asked where they are going, only groups. But they said in their press conference, depending on how people behave, this might change. I’m expecting many more restrictions and the lock-down of cities and areas.

More news: Germany is closing it’s borders with Austria

Germany will partially close its borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark as it steps up efforts to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

What Saturday night looked like from the main square webcam

The main square in Graz, which is normally a very busy place on a Saturday evening, was very empty, except for a few people. The main square is usually always busy, especially during the weekend, since it’s right next to an area with a lot of pubs and clubs. But at 7:41pm, only a few people were out that evening. Nothing would have been open anyway.

How we’re doing

Our street was again extremely quiet. The building itself is quiet as well, you hardly hear anything. Only for our sweet cats the world is like always, at least for the most part.

It’s rather cold, unfortunately, but the sun was shining. So the babies were able to enjoy the sun for a little on the balcony. Samantha enjoyed the sun at the window and Sonic on the bed.

Lisa and Hero
Samantha at the bedroom window

That’s what the bed is like every day and every night. I’m able to cuddle myself between all the cats which makes for the best sleep. I can’t sleep without cats. Ralph usually goes to sleep later than myself, but he is able to get in as well. Sonic, Hero and Lisa usually pile up around me and on me, while Samantha cuddles up to Ralph’s legs.

It’s now 11:40pm, and I’ll go to bed after publishing this post.

I’m sure tomorrow will bring many changes again, as probably almost every day in the near future.

Love, Natascha & the cats 💕

Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News

The mood has completely changed – Covid Update March 13

While people and daily life still seemed very normal at the beginning of this week, this has now changed, almost overnight.

Yesterday, everything started changing throughout the day. It’s hard to describe, but the mood is very subdued and strange.

While more new measures and restrictions were being planned by our government yesterday, rumours started spreading.

It started yesterday morning. Rumours that were saying that absolutely everything, including supermarkets, pharmacies and all government offices (including social welfare, national health, health department etc) will close down next week. I knew right away it wasn’t true and I tried my best to keep telling people it’s not true.

The government gave a press conference, announcing that more restrictions are being planned, but that the rumours floating around are false.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, government offices, post/mail and basically everything that is important for the country, daily life, the infrastructure and it’s people will remain open they say. Closures and restrictions will be implemented on businesses and services that people can live without for a few weeks.

Yesterday, a pharmacy in the city was already limiting the amount of people who were able to enter at the same time. Only 3 people were allowed in the pharmacy at once.

Today, that same pharmacy was serving people only through the hatch in the door.

Then this morning, more rumours were spreading which caused widespread panic buying

Early this morning, some more rumours were floating around and spreading like wildfire. Some rumours were still the same as yesterday, while others were new. Today the rumours had it, that absolutely all stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will close down by midday today and that a curfew will be implemented for the night-time starting Monday.

People started panic buying in such numbers, that people were waiting for an hour or longer at supermarkets. It kept getting progressively worse all day. The shelves are now empty pretty much. Even shortly after the supermarkets had opened for the day, shelves were emptied within a short time. Some stores were hit worse than others, depending on their location.

Long lines of people waiting to get into one of the larger grocery stores in a mall not far away from us. It was like that at most supermarkets. (Source: KronenZeitung krone.at/2116507)

I heard from my friend, who lives just a block away from us, that she saw people ripping food out of each others hands at the store. Then we heard that one Aldi store (called Hofer in Austria), located in a rather bad area, had been pretty much wrecked by people ripping open packages and simply being rowdy and selfish.

Mostly it was long long lines in front of grocery stores. People were running into banks and building lines in front of ATMs. In turn, many ATMs were out of order by the early afternoon.

What also did not help was that nothing was being done about people taking way too much at once for themselves in the grocery stores (for example one person/family buying up all the milk).

Basically, people were panic buying and going crazy all day.

My Dad said that all of the bread was gone within a short time after the stores opened in the morning. I hope the panic buying will calm down again over the course of next week.

The new measures that were announced by the government today

  • All schools, including high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens, as well as universities and any education facilities will close by Wednesday. Universities and higher education will be closed on Monday already. But students can stay home already if they can.
  • Restaurants, pubs, cafés etc, have to close by 3pm in the afternoon. So nightclubs and anything else that would be open all night, will stay closed completely. They want to avoid all those many people coming together every night, especially during the weekends, while going out.
  • All sports events are cancelled
  • Some areas in Tyrol, which is especially badly hit by the outbreak in Austria, will be put under quarantine.
  • Supermarkets, banks, pet supply stores, pharmacies, tobacconists, public transport, post and mail services and other essential parts of society, like all facilities and companies that are important for all the infrastructure in Austria (including Telephone and Internet), will not be closed at any point
  • Public transport: Trams and Busses will automatically open the doors for entry and exit at every stop, so people won’t have to use the buttons to open them. Only the trams and busses will be used that have a separate cabin for the drivers to protect them
  • People are asked to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary and can’t be avoided. People should gather with friends and family for now and instead use other means (internet, phone) to stay in contact.

Some news regarding my medication supply

I had put in a request to get my pain medication supply home with me for the next 3 1/2 weeks.

Though I got a call this morning from my doctors office, informing me that the health department has said, that nobody is getting their medicine home for a longer period of time, even if they have plenty of their time allowance left, which I did. No exceptions.

On the other hand, I also got some reassuring news. Apparently, my pharmacy will not close down. In the worst case they said, they will serve everyone through the little hatch. Those hatches exist for the night shifts, where people are being served through those hatches as well.

Our plan for the next month (or beyond if it’s neccessary)

Since I expected panic buying, I had ordered a bunch of food in time. So our supplies last for about two months, including the supplies for the cats. The only thing I can’t get more of in advance is my medicine.

It’s now eerily quiet and empty in the streets

I was out at about 4pm, which is normally very busy on Friday. But even the busiest street was very empty. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. And now at night, nobody is out. It’s totally quiet and empty in the street as far as I can see.

One supermarket I passed earlier was dark for some reason. Looked like they had to close down for some reason. I also saw people with loads of boxes of groceries, and big bags full of the same, entering their apartment buildings, or carrying the shopping home. I also saw long lines in front of Tobacconists in the city centre. Our area wasn’t like that thankfully.

It was already very weird and quiet everywhere. Even our building is quiet. Normally you would hear people getting ready to go out on a Friday night, but there is no one going now. There is no music being heard from anywhere, no friends coming over. People are just in their homes.

I would not be surprised if some rather bad people will try to use the emptiness of city streets for bad things. We are thankfully in a safe area anyway, but I still closed down the shutters in front of our street facing window. I’m always rather safe.

I’ll keep you all updated anyway. Ralph, the cats and I are still perfectly fine ❤ I’m now off to bed, as it’s way past midnight and I’m tired.

Love from us and the cats to all of you!

Good night from Sonic and Lisa in our fluffy comfy bed
Everything · Pictures · Ralph and I · Society and News · The Cats

Life at the moment – Covid Update March 11

I really wasn’t sure if I should write regular updates about how things are going here in Austria and in general, since Covid is now unavoidable and it’s all that’s being talked and written about in the news and on all social media site and I didn’t want to add to that as well. As people are already getting fed up with hearing about it and nothing else anymore.

But then I thought it’s going to be a record of our life, and it’s the details that I would otherwise forget about.

Update for Austria, March 11, 2020 at 3pm

246 cases so far in all of Austria.
Cases for each state: Lower Austria (45), Vienna (50), Styria, our state (25), Tyrol (57), Upper Austria (35), Salzburg (14), Burgenland (4), Vorarlberg (13) and Carinthia (3).

New temporary emergency laws and recommendations during the Corona Pandemic in Austria

  • Anything with gatherings of more than 100 people indoors (which also includes any staff) is temporarily forbidden.
  • Outdoor gatherings with more than 500 people, including staff, is temporarily forbidden
  • Universities and any schools for higher education are being closed
  • No entry into Austria from Italy, except with an up to date document that proves the person is not infected with the Coronavirus
  • Austrian citizens still in the now locked down Italy will be brought home by the government, but they have to stay in quarantine for two weeks in Austria
  • People should avoid private contacts and gatherings and stay home as much as possible
  • Older people and people with compromised immune system should not receive visitors if it can be avoided

Life seems as it always is, in the city and of course at home

While the media is full of panic and fear is spreading from it everywhere, it’s very calm and normal here in Graz and Austria in general. Austrian people usually don’t panic quickly. It has to get really bad before there would be widespread panic.

The late afternoon sun, seen from the balcony with the cat safety net

Today was a wonderfully warm and sunny spring day, with temperatures over 20°C / 68°F. As I went out this this afternoon around 4pm, people were out in the usual numbers. The large park in our neighbourhood was filled with people sitting on the grass and taking walks, enjoying the warm sun. The outside seating area of every Cafe I saw in the city was quite full and the streets were just as busy as always around that time.

Just like last year, the spring flowers are everywhere, the birds are building their nests in the garden, the neighbourhood kitties are walking around in the garden. Hero and Lisa saw two of the neighbourhood kitties yesterday and got all excited. Unfortunately it was past sunset and too dark to take pictures of them.

It was a mostly sunny afternoon yesterday, and you can feel that the sun is getting warmer and warmer now, as the northern hemisphere is getting closer to the summer. Especially this year, we can hardly wait.

The kitties are crowding in every sun puddle, especially on the bed.

Hero, Lisa and Sonic. Lisa is giving Sonic a friendly nose greeting and a few licks on his head.
Lovely warm sun! Samantha is hardly visible, but she is in the top left area of the picture, in the shadow, lying on a white mat under the side table. The sun had been there a while ago, but was now gone.
So Samantha decided she would try to get into the sun puddle on the bed.

Our life is going on as always

I’m sure there will be many changes and restrictions soon, like everywhere else. They are already talking about measures that might need to be taken.

Thankfully, my doctors office, the pharmacy and the health department are all working as usual. I haven’t heard of any more closed doctors offices for Austria and haven’t heard of any pharmacy or other larger health care provider closing down. And there is no atmosphere of panic among people. I hope it’s going to stay that way.

There are just as many people around as always, from what I can tell. People are still sitting in Cafe’s, stroll through the city and stores, people are still doing they’re daily runs along the Mur and the parks, and you don’t really see any panic buying going on in the stores (yet). But the sanitizers, disinfectants, and tinned food are still sold out for the most part, although they’re being restocked.

We still have enough toilet paper in stores.

Even in the smaller stores, like the one I took this photo in, there is no toilet paper missing.

There was more toilet paper stored at the top of the shelf and even more around the corner.

Plans for next week

I will try to talk to my doctor on Monday, to use all my vacation allowance to get a month’s worth of my pain medication, instead of having to go to the pharmacy every day. Because I don’t want to suddenly stand in front of closed doors at my pharmacy one day and have no pain medicine for God knows how long. I’d rather have a few weeks worth of medication right now, while they are figuring out what to do. At the moment, everyone I ask at the pharmacy, or even at the health department, they have no idea what will happen. None of them could reassure me that I would not end up without my medication soon.

Please stay safe, as some people tend to go crazy in times like these and others are bound to try and use the confusion for their own gains.

Lots of love from us all ❤