Everything · Ralph and I · The Cats · Videos

Our 2 New Years Eve Videos

I filmed these little videos while lying on the bed, to be able to film the fireworks from the surrounding apartments. You can see Lisa’s silhouette, when she sat on the window sill, watching the fireworks. Hero was to the right, on a lower level of the kitty tree, because he was worried. Sonic was right next to me, to my left. He absolutely LOVES colourful lights, especially flashing or blinking lights. The fireworks were an amazing sight for him and he was mesmerized by them, not looking away the whole time. He’s deaf, so he isn’t scared or worried about the noise. Little boy absolutely loved it. Samantha is never worried about the fireworks, and she simply continued to sleep on the rocking chair next to the radiator.

Part 2 – You can hear little Lisa talking to Ralph in the 2nd video

There was no official firework by the city. Also, we’re under lockdown Nr 3 with general stay at home order and most of everything closed. In addition, there is a strict curfew from 8pm to 6am, including on New Years Eve. So people launched their fireworks from windows, balconies and patios, even more so than the other years, since everyone had to stay at home.

Thanks for all your wonderful and kind comments and wishes in the last post! You are the sweetest! So glad to have you all. I’ll start replying to you tomorrow.

Hugs!!!

Everything · Pictures · The Cats · Videos

Hot summer days

Hello dear friends! I hope you and your loved ones are all well! I continue to feel great! But I’ve been seriously busy every day, with just the usual chores, that are more exhausting due to the heatwaves we’ve been having. The heat would not be a problem, as it’s not extremely hot compared to other places, but the humidity is through the roof constantly.

The kitties, who love to hang out on the balcony cation when it’s nice, have been flopping all over the place during the day.

Eating and drinking is done as comfortable as possible…

Aside from the humid heat, we’ve had a couple of really severe thunderstorms, with unbelievable amounts of rain, high winds and hail.

The storm in the video below came through in the afternoon of August 14, 2020. It rained so heavily at times, that all you saw was white when looking out of the windows.

The flower tray below, filled up within 15 minutes, if not sooner and was then simply overflowing. It was empty because I took the flower pot with my Lavender out of it before the storm.

We’ve had some severe thunderstorms here, but I’ve never seen that amount of rain within such a short time.

The leaves on all the trees and bushes look like they’ve stood in a war zone. They are completely ripped to shreds by the few hail storms we’ve had recently. The leaves are just shreds or have multiple round holes in them.

The photo below is from August the 5th, after just one severe thunderstorm with hail. It’s the bush to the right of our balcony. By now they look much worse and are simply shredded. I still need to take photographs of how it looks currently.

Though as I mentioned, for the most part, all of August has been very hot. In the morning and the late afternoon, the kitties and I love to hang out on the balcony catio. It’s just lovely.

In the following photos, it’s pretty much obvious that it’s really hot and humid. The kitties are just simply totally flat out and try not to move at all.

Thankfully the living room window is always a cool spot. The sun moves to the west and the whole street is in the shade after midday. But even before then it’s lovely and cool. There’s always a nice breeze and the cats just love to watch what’s going on out there.

These blinds are absolutely wonderful in creating shade and keeping the heat out. The living room and the bedroom are always nice and cool. The old wooden shutters on the bedroom window keep the bedroom perfectly cool, even though the sun is on them all afternoon. It’s quite amazing.

Covid19

We’re still staying at home due to Covid19. The case numbers have been going up and down. Recently they went up again quite a bit, as vacationers came back from other countries infected with the Virus. By now I just hope they find a vaccine, so this plague will finally come to an end.

In other news

I’m full of ideas.. and there are so many things I enjoy doing and want to do. Like crocheting and learning how to sew clothes. It’s all a slow progress, as my energy allowance for each day is rather low and easily used up. I will find a way to sort it all out and plan my days a bit better. Now that my migraines aren’t as frequent, I want to do all kinds of things at the same time. There are also about a million jobs to do just around the home, like organising the wardrobe in the bedroom, the books, paperwork and bits and pieces in the living room and the kitchen.

Although all of the mentioned comes after what’s most important: Ralph and the cats, all daily tasks, then the blog and all the wonderful friends we made. Love and friendship are where I get my energy from!

I will leave you with this photo-filled post now and we wish you all a lovely Sunday evening! Big hugs and purrs!

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 and the Covid19 situation is improving where you are.

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 · The Cats

Spring has fully arrived and the lockdown is ending

Time flies as always, even during the lockdown and while we’ve all been under lockdown, spring has fully arrived here. The trees have blossomed, the first spring flowers have come and gone and now everything is turning green and lush.

And more flowers and blossoms from the garden in the following slideshow

The weather has been lovely and warm for the most part during the last couple of weeks. Of course, the cats love it!

Now that the sun is rising higher every day and it’s getting quite warm, I need shade for our balcony. I fenced in the balcony on all sides with netting that adds about 1 1/2 meters on top of the railing. Therefore, I can’t use my parasols like I did in previous years, as they’re too big to fit into the fenced-in area.

The safety net around our balcony

I was thinking about all kinds of things you can do, but the easiest way was to get a shade sail, which I’ve ordered yesterday. I’m really looking forward to having shade again on our balcony.

Before Hero and Lisa, we didn’t need to fence in our balcony so high, because the older cats didn’t care to jump onto the railing or do anything silly. With young cats like Hero and Lisa however, I knew I have to make sure they are safe and can’t do anything to get themselves hurt or lost, if they were to jump off the balcony.

Pollen everywhere!

While the cats have been enjoying their time on the balcony, I noticed that the amount of pollen increased over the days. It’s gotten so bad, that the balcony and everything else is covered in yellow pollen. Heaps of it even on the sidewalks and on cars. Even though I kept wiping the balcony floor down every two hours, it was no use. The air was absolutely saturated with mostly Birch pollen, as well as some Ash tree pollen.

Lisa after rolling around on the floor. It didn’t help that it was windy and all sorts of plant material was being added to the mess.
Hero and Lisa

I gave them all a good long brush a couple times a day and tried damp towels to get them cleaned up. It was really difficult to get it out, as the pollen mess went deep into their fur and stuck to it.

Thankfully after a couple days with heavy rain, it seems a lot better. The kitties fur is also clean by now.

Coronavirus Pandemic update

Now with the temperatures rising, we would normally leave the street-facing front window fully open, with the cat safety net on it, or at least leave it slightly open like in the following photos with Samantha:

But due to Covid-19 worries, we rather keep this one closed. I only open the front window to get some fresh air in for a few minutes, when the street is not busy every day, but that’s it.

The cats always love to sit there and watch the street, especially with the window open. Hero and Lisa didn’t even get to experience this yet, since they came to us in November and it’s just now getting warm enough.

That window is a little more than 2 meters up from the ground. So people could be a source of infection, possibly, when they walk by and happen to cough right underneath our window. The rest of our apartment faces out the back, towards the garden and there are no people hanging around or passing by in the back.

I see that other people with windows even lower than ours, who don’t seem to worry at all and leave their windows open.

The lockdown is ending now, but people started to act like it was over back during Easter

After Easter, our government announced that by the beginning of May, the lockdown will be lifted gradually. Ever since then, people started ignoring the lockdown measures more and more. Well, the majority of people still adhered to it, but the number of people who don’t was increasing steadily.

Every week since, I saw more and more people on the street and I noticed people were starting to have visitors over again increasingly. Some neighbours in our hours, for example, have been doing so for weeks now, even having parties with multiple people over at least twice a week.

Last week, as I went to pick up Samantha’s medicine from the Vet, I saw that the streets were full of people again. It looked just like before the pandemic.

Thanks to the full lockdown though, the number of infections has gone down and the curve has been flattened most definitely.

Our state of Styria is by now the 2nd worst affected with 382 active cases, after Vienna, which still has 567 cases in Austria. The numbers are of course lower than what they had been and we only get a few new cases every day.

But now with a bunch of stores opening again, as well as restaurants, pubs and cafes and the end of the stay at home order, I can’t help but feel it’s too soon for all of that. The schools and universities are probably going to open again before the summer break, which makes even less sense, since they would close by the beginning of July anyway.

There is, of course, the requirement for everyone to wear face masks in closed spaces and now there are many who simply always keep their masks on when out and about. The majority of people, however, remove them as soon as they get out of a store, despite meeting up and talking with other people outside of the stores.

It was pretty obvious that the chancellor and health minister would have rather kept the lockdown going for longer, as they have been warned and are still being warned by many doctors that this is too soon and a 2nd wave is being risked. But the pressure from business owners has been increasing and they are worried about the economy. I just think that the economy is going to take an even bigger impact if we get hit by a 2nd wave.

Social distancing is still being enforced as much as possible, but people are now allowed to visit each other again.

Ralph and I are still going to stay at home and I will be the only one going out to get what we need from the store every week or less. I’ve only been visiting one single store close to us, which is never overrun by people and they are disinfecting every shopping cart in front of your eyes and then they squirt a bunch of hand sanitiser into your hands. Everyone wears a mask, which is given out for free at the store entrance. People are also very good at keeping their distance in there. I still carry my own bottle of hand sanitiser or sanitising alcohol with me anytime I go out and I use it a lot.

Ralph, the cats and I are all well thankfully. We will keep doing everything the same way, until the Pandemic is actually over for good, or until there is a vaccination available. I am so thankful that we didn’t get sick when the virus was spreading like wildfire through our country.

But so many other countries are still experiencing the worst of it.

How are you all doing? How are things where you are?

Lots of love from us! Big hugs and purrs!

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

Austria shuts down anything that is not important and people have to mostly stay home – Corona Pandemic 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, because the infection rate keeps going up faster and faster.

As of 3pm this afternoon, we have 860 confirmed Coronavirus Infections. In our state of Styria, they doubled over the weekend. We have 111 here.

Restaurants and cafés were supposed to stay open until 3pm starting Monday, so that people would be able to get lunch there. But since the number of new Coronavirus Patients is multiplying at increasing speed, with 100s more every day over the weekend, the government decided to have all restaurants, cafés, pubs etc close completely. But not just them, all stores are staying closed, except for supermarkets, pet supply stores, pharmacies and gas stations.

Basically, anything that is not needed for daily life, like food for humans and pets, and medications is being closed down. Government offices, that are not needed, will shut down for the public, but they will continue to work behind closed doors, and things can be worked out through phone, 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.

Only 3 reasons to leave the house (enforced)

The government said that there are now only 3 reasons to leave our homes:

  • 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.

This will be enforced by police. So when I go out to the pharmacy as always, I will have the copy of my current prescription with me, as well as the receipt that shows that I paid for it, just because it proves which pharmacy I’m going to.

There are high fines if groups of people are found to hang out outside and walk about for no good reason. People are supposed to go out by themselves for important things.

No going for runs, no going for walks, no hanging around outside, except to go straight from A to B. People are allowed to walk their dogs though.

Parks and playgrounds are closed, as well as anything else that isn’t necessary.

At first, people were asked to adhere to it on their own. But as I expected, there were still way too many people who are not taking it seriously. Especially in Vienna, people went out to parks in large numbers, sitting together in groups, walking in groups and hanging around in groups. Even parents went to the playgrounds with their kids. Basically these people were doing everything they were begged not to do.

Many of the groups that were hanging around in parks and the city for no reason were the usual troublemakers.

In Graz, the 2nd largest city of Austria (Vienna is Nr. 1), the streets were pretty much empty. But there were people who ignored the pleas from the government to stay home, just not as many as in Vienna. Most groups were hanging around in the bad areas of Graz, like always.

So within just a day, it became clear that the lock-down and the restrictions would have to be enforced.

For now, people walking alone will not be stopped or asked where they are going, only groups. But depending on how people behave, this might change. I’m expecting many more restrictions and the lock-down of cities and areas, to stop the movement of people and stop the spread of the Virus.

Since it can take up to two weeks for people to actually become ill from the Virus, and many will still have become infected before the restrictions, and they’ll also infect their families most likely, the peak of the outbreak will most likely be in about 3 weeks. I’m no expert and have no idea, but maybe that’s about how it will be.

One thing is for sure, the drastic measures are now going to stop more people from becoming infected. So hopefully, after 3 weeks, we will see the effect of it in decreasing numbers of new confirmed cases, while the number of people who recovered will have increased.

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

Neither Ralph, nor I are surprised by the measures the Austrian government is taking. Seeing how things are going, it was to be expected. I am actually glad that they’re putting these restrictions in place, because then hopefully, the outbreak can be stopped.

I feel very tense and anxious, just like countless others, but I hope we can get through this alright.

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. I’m certain they can sense how tense I feel.

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

My anxiety treatment

That’s what the bed is like every day and every night. I’m able to cuddle myself between all the cats, and then I feel a whole lot more calm. 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. Once everyone is in bed, I feel relaxed enough to sleep well for a few hours.

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 well as sadly another huge increase in confirmed cases. But maybe soon, there will be good news again. Until then, stay safe, stay home if you can and keep in touch. I’m thinking about everyone, and send out lots of love and hugs.

Love, Natascha & the cats 💕