dogs, funny stories, technology

Healthy habits spurred on by butt sniffers and smartwatches…

I have a couple of issues to address today. They aren’t really related, but I don’t feel like composing two posts. I hope you’ll bear with me, anyway.

Our dog, Noyzi, who came to us from Kosovo last fall, has really been turning into quite a charming beast. When we first got him, he was pretty terrified of most things. He was used to living outside with many other dogs, so he’d never encountered glass before. He bumped his head several times on the glass door before he learned that he couldn’t go through it. Now, he knows how to deal with the door and the mesh fly screen we put up earlier in the spring, although that scared him at first, too.

When Noyzi first joined us, he didn’t really know how to walk on a leash. I gave him a few lessons in the backyard before we took him out for his first walk around the neighborhood. He now walks on the leash like a champ and, in fact, even seems more secure when he’s on a leash than when he’s not. He’s become very civilized in that regard, willingly walking behind or beside me. He never pulls or barks, although sometimes if he’s excited or scared, he will freak out a little bit and backpedal. But those incidents are becoming fewer and further between.

Noyzi is a perfect gentleman when anyone rings the doorbell. Almost all of our other dogs, save for C.C. the beagle/husky mix, have barked like crazy when someone comes to the door. Now, Arran barks as usual, but Noyzi stays quiet. He doesn’t rush to the door, trying to get out or greet the stranger. In fact, he really doesn’t bark much at all, except for when the next door neighbor’s Labrador, Tommi, is outside. I have rarely heard him utter more than a few high pitched yips, which I feel pretty sure aren’t the extent of his full on barking capabilities.

I have yet to see Noyzi be food aggressive or aggressive, in general, at all. He patiently tolerates Arran’s figurative rolling pin waving antics. Arran bitches Noyzi out regularly, trying desperately to cling to top dog status, which he never really had when we had Zane. Arran could really only dominate Zane when Zane wasn’t feeling well. But Noyzi, who is several times Arran’s size, puts up with Arran’s bossiness like a champ. I have noticed a little eye rolling, now and again, and Noyzi will sometimes sneak upstairs even though Arran often bitches at him when he tries to invade. But, for the most part, Noyzi quietly and patiently respects his place in the hierarchy and doesn’t make waves.

I couldn’t have asked for a more naturally obedient and intelligent pet. Noyzi doesn’t counter surf, and his begging for food is minimal and endearing. Noyzi didn’t even need to be house trained, which was a hugely pleasant surprise! It was like he was born to be an indoor dog, despite his size. He even enjoys being bathed!

The one thing Noyzi does do, however, is something that is taking a little bit to get used to. You see, Noyzi is the tallest dog we’ve ever had. He’s almost as tall as my hip. That puts his head at just the right place for sticking his nose right in my ass. He doesn’t do this every day… it’s mainly when he’s wanting to take a walk or be fed. Noyzi, like most of the dogs we’ve ever had, now knows how to tell time, more or less. He knows when he usually gets fed or walked.

Noyzi enjoys part of our longer walking route, thanks to the other monitor in my life… Our local Rewe does its part to encourage the bees to do their jobs.

Usually, Arran will come and tell me when it’s time for either of those activities, if I haven’t already gotten started. But now, I’ve noticed that when I go and get dressed for a walk, Noyzi will come upstairs and wait. Then Arran will lead the way downstairs, stopping and pausing on the way to make sure I’m following. Noyzi will station himself behind me and stick his nose where the sun don’t shine. He does it to Bill, too, though not as often as he does it to me. Sometimes, he also gooses me in the ass when I’m putting on my shoes. It’s like he sees my butt as a target… a funny smelling target… and sticks his nose there to light a fire under my ass, so to speak. It’s kind of like a G rated canine version of the “Shocker”. If you don’t know what the Shocker is, Urban Dictionary is your friend.

I probably shouldn’t allow or encourage this behavior, but honestly, I find it kind of funny. Like I said, in the past, we’ve always had medium sized beagle mixes who have been too short to engage in such antics. This is the first time we’ve had a dog large enough to be a legitimate “ball sniffer” or in Noyzi’s case, “butt sniffer”. George Carlin had a hilarious comedy routine about such dogs… Behold:

Noyzi doesn’t do circumcisions… yet.

I guess as long as Noyzi doesn’t push me as I walk downstairs, I’m alright with being spurred on to success. I did manage to get a cute animation from my new Apple Watch the last couple of days. I’m not sure I’ve dished much about my latest toy, and I originally didn’t realize Noyzi and Arran had anything in common with the watch. But now that I think about it, it occurs to me that the watch and the dogs do have something in common. Both the dogs and the watch are spurring me on to take better care of myself. I don’t think either of the dogs do it for my sake. They spur me on for their sakes. But my taking the dogs for a walk is a mutually beneficial and healthy activity for all of us.

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago, when I was sitting here at home alone, I decided to order an Apple Watch. I don’t really even need a regular watch, let alone a “smart” one. I don’t have anywhere to be, so I don’t need to know what time it is. Besides, I usually have my phone or iPad with me, or I’m sitting at the computer. Still, I’d been reading about all the nifty stuff on the Apple Watch and decided to order one as a TDY consolation prize/early birthday present. Since we haven’t been traveling, I had the money mostly saved.

The new Apple Watch does indeed have a lot of nannyism health gimmicks that remind users to take care of themselves. For instance, this watch is capable of checking my blood oxygen levels. It prompts me to take a moment to breathe deeply and will pause the exercise if I’m not focused, still, and breathing properly, and encourages me to try again. It reminds me when to go to bed and get up, not that I need any help with that, being married to a man whose brain goes down with the sun (seriously, Bill is practically comatose by 9:00pm, and he’s always up by 5:00am… consequently, so am I). Today, I got a chastising message when I neglected to wash my hands for a full twenty seconds. The watch wanted to know why I hadn’t scrubbed for the right amount of time– was it just a rinse?

Your Grace! Isn’t it nice to be addressed respectfully? I’ll probably subscribe to Apple Fitness+ once my three months are up.

When I take walks and forget to tell the watch I’m “working out”, it will buzz my wrist and ask me if I want it to record my walk. It’s already been recording, mind you. If I answer affirmatively, it will show the time of the walk already in progress, so I don’t miss those precious early minutes before I asked the watch to count the walk as exercise. The new watch comes with three free months of Apple Fitness+. There are three wellness ring goals that it encourages me to meet every day: exercise, standing, and moving (which seems kind of strange, since I mostly stand and move when I exercise). As I get closer to meeting the goals, each ring– light blue for standing, maroon for moving, and light green for exercise– get closer to closing in perfection. I get a cute animation as I meet each goal and a really exciting animation when I reach all three. And if the day is closing and I haven’t moved, stood, or exercised enough, the watch will send me an encouraging message, reminding me to get up off my ass.

Aww… thanks for caring, Apple Watch. Maybe it’s time I named you.

I also get a warning if my heart rate is dangerously high, or the noise in an area is too loud and could damage my hearing. I got a message yesterday asking me if my period has started yet, since it’s overdue… but I am getting old and will soon turn 49, so I expect that my once Swiss watch regular cycles will go horribly awry soon. I read yesterday that the next incarnation of the Apple Watch will even be capable of checking blood sugar.

Of course, I could disable some of these features. I think if I had real life things to attend to, like a job or a child, the constant reminders for every little thing might get very annoying in a hurry. It’s bad enough that the watch reminds me when it’s time for me to play Words With Friends or sends me notices when some strange creep on Facebook wants to “connect” with me. I probably will start to shut down some of the “services” as I get to know the watch better. I probably will keep the exercise reminders, though, because it’s encouraging to keep track of how much I move… and it’s good to be reminded to move.

I’m sure Arran and Noyzi also appreciate that the Apple Watch gives me a reason to take them for a slightly longer route, since the weather is better. I wish I’d had this watch when we lived in Jettingen, where our walks were twice as long, because we were next to a huge forest. I would have definitely had no problem meeting and exceeding the exercise goals there.

Anyway… I appreciate the help and concern from my dogs and Apple Watch for helping me maintain my physical health, especially since I haven’t seen a doctor in about ten years. But I might need one if Noyzi pushes too hard as he herds me toward the door for his daily walk or victuals. I might fall down and bust my ass or break my face. At that point, since this watch is also capable of sending and receiving phone calls (once I connect it to my cellphone plan and pay the fees), it might automatically call 112 for me (Germany’s equivalent to 911 for an ambulance).

Not that I expect anyone to click the link before buying an Apple Watch, or even to buy one from Amazon, but that would sure make a nice birthday gift in sales commissions from Amazon. 😉 As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from Amazon on anything purchased through my site… and my birthday is on the 20th!

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complaints

Thanks tips…

I remember when I was studying for my MSW, I had a professor who was a real stickler about people who state the obvious. He taught the Capstone course, which was basically about tying together all of the skills and methods we learned during our program to solve problems. The class required writing a lot of papers rather than passing tests. Not surprisingly, I excelled, because I like writing more than taking tests. I got an A in the class, while a few of my friends struggled to pass it. I remember the professor was very harsh about grading the papers and would mercilessly take off points for those who “stated the obvious”.

Years later, I’m sitting here thinking about that class I took seventeen years ago and how this professor, whom I recall was not popular with my colleagues, would talk about how we should avoid stating the obvious. Why was it such a big deal to him? Probably because time is a precious commodity and stating the obvious is a waste of time. There’s no need to say or write something as a point if people already know and understand it to be a given. This professor had been both a licensed professional counselor and a social worker– he had master’s degrees in both disciplines, as well as a Ph.D. in social work. He was also an Army veteran. I can imagine that he was very busy. Reading master’s level papers full of poorly written drivel, particularly when the analyses contained mostly obvious points that everybody already knows, was probably extremely irritating for him. And so, to teach his students what not to do, he graded very harshly and took off massive points for “stating the obvious”. Hopefully, a lot of his students quickly learned a valuable lesson.

By the way, although my colleagues didn’t like Dr. W., I enjoyed his class very much. I even liked the weekly papers. I found them challenging and even kind of fun. Basically, he would give us narratives of a client we might be working with and we had to come up with a plan for them. I seem to recall that we’d also trade our papers and have our colleagues read our plans and offer comments on whether or not the plans were viable.

This topic comes up this morning, which has gotten off to a somewhat rocky start. I had trouble sleeping last night, so I was up earlier than usual. I did my normal Tuesday morning chore of cleaning the bathrooms. Then I read some comments left for me on Facebook that stated the obvious.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t ever work as a “ground zero” social worker with individual clients. I don’t have a lot of patience for some things. A few days ago, I posted a picture of a glass of non alcoholic beer I had at a sushi restaurant. A friend of mine, who knows of my love for beer, wrote, “Don’t they send people to prison for that sort of thing in Germany?”

I responded that this was the only kind of beer they had available at the restaurant. It was actually not bad at all. I could barely tell it wasn’t the usual leaded version of beer. I probably ought to drink more of it.

But then… days later, I got this comment from someone else who wrote: “Near-beer or table beer, with minimal alcohol, is widely available in Europe, mainly but not exclusively, for children.”

I don’t know why, but this comment irritated me. First of all, I’m not sure what it had to do with the subject at hand. We weren’t discussing the availability of non-alcoholic beer in Europe. The first comment came from a friend who follows my travels and knows I really enjoy beer and wine. He was making a joke about my choice to drink non-alcoholic beer. What the hell does the availability of “near beer” in Europe have to do with anything?

Secondly, the comment was posted days later, after the discussion had already died. I wondered what prompted the guy to chime in, especially since his comment didn’t seem to have much to do with anything except to inform us of something kind of obvious. I mean, I’ve been living in Europe for several years this time, and I lived here a few times before this latest stint. I know there’s near beer here– just like I know there’s a telephone. So, I guess, I’m just sitting here scratching my head.

I probably should have ignored the comment, but I chose not to. Instead, I wrote “Thanks for the tip.” Remember, I have kind of a low threshold for annoyance.

That led me to wonder if someone had posted “Thanks for the tip” on Urban Dictionary. I find that a lot of times, when I’m being snarky or sarcastic and I leave a comment to that effect, someone has already posted a hilarious definition of my comment in Urban Dictionary. Surprisingly enough, this time no one posted “Thanks for the tip.” However, someone did post “Thanks tips”. I hadn’t heard of it before this morning, but now I’m informed, and I’m sharing my new knowledge with all of you.

Maybe what happened wasn’t really someone stating the obvious, per se. Maybe it was more akin to “chiming”. I wrote a post about that phenomenon on my old blog. It’s basically when someone butts into a conversation on social media, particularly when they haven’t read other comments. The end result is that their comment is non-sensical, has already been stated (and usually more than once), or is completely irrelevant.

Although social media is different than talking to someone face to face, I tend to see unrelated comments in a Facebook thread the way I might see someone butting into a private conversation. For instance, say you’re having a discussion with a friend. You’re in public, but the chat is just between you and the other person. Suddenly, another person comes up and offers an opinion or a comment that has little to do with your conversation. He or she kind of smiles at you and acts as if you should appreciate their input, even if it’s irrelevant, inappropriate, and/or pointless and stupid.

I will admit, I probably notice these things a lot more than other people do. And I will admit that most of it probably shouldn’t faze me as much as it does. I probably should call myself the “oversensitive” housewife, because I am sensitive about a lot of things that probably shouldn’t annoy me as much as they do. But everybody has their quirks. I have a couple of friends who suffer from misophonia, which is a condition that causes people to become annoyed or even enraged by certain sounds. A lot of people with misophonia can’t stand the sound of people eating, or babies crying. Actually, now that I think about it, I probably have a touch of that myself. I can’t deal with really off key singing, although I don’t get annoyed when people chew loudly. People who don’t have that condition might not be able to understand it or empathize with people who have it because it’s beyond their comprehension. However, just because you don’t have it, doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing.

Anyway… just thought I’d share this today. If anyone’s wondering, yes, I do feel sort of bad when I get irritated about these things and write about them. I know from experience that sometimes people’s feelings are hurt when I vent like this. If it helps anyone to know this, I’m sure I’d be upset if I read anyone’s thoughts about the many things I do that are irritating. But, because I know I’d be upset, I make a point of not searching out other people’s thoughts about me. They’re none of my business, and reading them is not likely to lead to anything good. On the other hand, I’m sure people can relate to today’s gripe. At the very least, they’re the kind of people who would post snarky definitions on Urban Dictionary.

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