Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marital Stress On The Mend Thanks To A Tazi Suggestion!

Dear Tazi:

I want to thank you for the advice you gave about “Fred” and his Elf of the Shelf antics. You told the letter writer if Fred’s forgetfulness about lowering the toilet seat was “the biggest problem in her marriage” she should consider herself lucky. Your advice has me looking at my marriage in a whole new way.

My husband of seven years, “Barry”, is a plumber. This is the second marriage for both of us, so we are not young kids with stars in our eyes. Every day Barry returns home from work and his clothes are filthy, smelly, or otherwise in need of laundering. Barry does his best to aim for the laundry hamper when changing, but misses almost every time. He claims that when he gets home from work all he wants to do is toss off his clothes and relax; that he spends the greater part of his day kneeling under sinks, next to toilets, or working on underground pipes and the last thing he wants to do is bend over to pick his laundry up off of the floor. He feels that the fact that he makes an effort should count for something.

Barry’s attitude would annoy me to no end, especially since I am a busy stay-at-home Mom (we both have custody of our teenage children) who works hard to keep the house clean and presentable, in addition to everything else that must be done to keep the household running smoothly. I had reached the point where I was ready to blow my stack with him when my mother forwarded me a link to your Elf on the Shelf on the toilet letter. I showed the letter to Barry and asked if this was what was becoming of us – were we turning into a couple who fought against each other instead of with each other?

Thanks to your column, Barry and I had a long talk. He felt that I did not appreciate how hard he worked and how achy his muscles were when he returned home; I felt that he was being disrespectful of how hard I worked to keep the house looking nice for him. Together, we talked through our aggravation and have been working on improving our relationship, working with each other instead of against each other. It has only been six weeks, but Barry’s “aim” has greatly improved and he is even keeping a score-sheet to record how many “points” he scores. Turning this chore into a game has improved both of our moods, and should Barry lapse I remind myself, as I pick up his clothes without complaint, that my marriage could have much bigger problems. Our children have all noticed the difference in our attitudes, and have commented on how much happier we seem since starting “Laundry Basketball” and have suggested other “games” to make the drudgery of chores fun.

Thank you, Tazi!

Happily Married The 2nd Time Around

Dear Happily Married The 2nd Time Around:

I am so happy to hear that my column assisted you through your marital stress! It is rewarding to know that my little kitten self played a small part in helping you with the heavy lifting of improving your relationship with your husband. I am purring all over!

I like to think Vince Lombardi came back as a cat

Please spread the word that is the place to go for advice, entertainment, and a little break from your own reality!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bad Memory Can Be Compensated For With A Few Small Tricks

Dear Tazi:

I have a horrible habit of losing things. Car keys, sunglasses, my wallet – even my car at the mall! I usually manage to find whatever I am missing, and it is generally in the strangest places (sunglasses in the freezer; my wallet in the glove compartment of the car; my car keys in the linen closet).

My most recent loss is the dearest of all. I have misplaced my wedding and engagement rings, and I cannot find them anywhere! I have checked all of the usual places, but to no avail. I remember taking it off to wash the dishes, so I took apart the pipes to make certain it had not gone down the drain (it did not). I checked the dish towel on the counter, but my ring was not wrapped in that; I checked the laundry hamper but it was not there, either. My husband has asked me why I am not wearing my rings, and I told him my fingers are swollen from the humidity (I live in the Midwest and we are experiencing a brutal heat-wave). My excuse is plausible, so he has not asked any more questions, but I hate lying to my husband!

Tazi, do you have any suggestions on how to improve my memory; as well as any suggestions as to where I should look for my rings?

Snuggles to you,
Forgetful Frannie

Dear Forgetful Frannie:

Has it occurred to you that your husband may have already found your rings and is holding them, waiting for you to admit to him that you misplaced them? This could explain why your rings have seemingly disappeared into thin air. I appreciate the snuggles, so I will not chide you too harshly about lying to your spouse; no paw slaps for you, just a gentle nudge in the right direction. I suggest that you tell your husband the truth and search together for your missing rings. You may be surprised to find them in your husband’s sock drawer.

As for your problem with memory and the odd places your belongings finally show up, your problem is not an uncommon one. Some people’s brains are hard-wired differently, and to them it makes perfect sense to put the car keys in the freezer. Many of us (on more than one occasion) have accidentally thrown food in the trash can and put garbage in the refrigerator. This is an example of misfiring synapse that occurs when our brains are over-stimulated as we attempt to multi-task.

You ask for suggestions on how to improve your memory, and I unfortunately have none. Difficulties with the brain are notoriously difficult to solve. I can suggest that, when you lose something, you start your search for it by looking in all of the unusual places. Once you find your lost item, write down the location where you found it and post the note to your refrigerator door. If you lose things as often as you imply, you should have a nice sized list in no time at all and will be able to see if there is a pattern to your behavior. Do you frequently put the car keys in the freezer? If so, this should be the first place you look for them; ditto with other items that show a regular location pattern. In a short enough time you should be able to quickly find your misplaced items – with the exception of your car at the mall. I suggest you write down the section where your car is parked, and put the note where you will not lose it.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fear Of Wednesdays Is Controlling Reader's Life

Dear Tazi:

My whole life I have had a problem with Wednesdays. If something bad is going to happen to me, it happens on a Wednesday. Would you like to hear a few examples? I have been in two car accidents in my life and both occurred on a Wednesday; when my husband left me he left on a Wednesday; my father died on a Wednesday; and last Wednesday I got fired from my job – for taking too many Wednesdays off of work!

Tazi, is it possible that this one day of the week is cursed for me? I have considered counseling to get over my fear of bad things happening on Wednesdays, but I am afraid that would just leave me unprepared for all of the bad things that are in store for me on Wednesdays. Do I need help? Or is my fear of Wednesdays healthy?


Dear Wednesday-Phobic:

It does seem that Wednesday holds bad luck for you, so I am printing your letter on a Wednesday in hopes that this little bit of happiness brings cheer to an otherwise feared day!

I can see why your employer fired you for taking too many mid-week vacation/sick/unpaid leave days during the middle of the week – but to fire you on a Wednesday? Did you receive any kind of warning that the next time you called out on a Wednesday you would be immediately terminated? If so, then you had a fair warning that something bad was going to happen on a Wednesday and could have prevented it from occurring. This is the key to avoiding bad luck: preparing for it.
If all bad things occur on a Wednesday, you must ask yourself if you are somehow inviting them to occur on that day. The fact that your husband left on a Wednesday is odd indeed. Most people who choose to separate from their spouses wait until the weekend to pack and leave. Could it be that your husband thought a Wednesday leave date would soften the blow of his departure, since you expected something bad to occur that day anyway?

There are those who scoff at the power of positive – and negative – thinking, but there are also those who swear by it; I fall somewhere in between, believing that it offers some control over what occurs in our lives. For example, in the wee hours of the morning, I know that if I stare at Mommie long enough and concentrate hard enough she will wake up and get me a kitty treat! Of course, if this does not work I am also positive that a good, loud, me-OWWWWWW will get her attention and me a treat.

Rather than approach life with a fear of Wednesdays try to look at the day as a challenge to be overcome. Professional counseling would be a very good idea to help you with coping mechanisms for when bad things do happen, and will help you to understand that the timing of some events (car accidents, your father’s passing) is simply coincidental and has nothing to do with a particular day of the week being “cursed”.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Celebrate World Cat Day With Tazi-Kat!

Dear Readers:

Today is World Cat Day, a day to celebrate cats and all that we do for you humans! For example, do you think anyone could make you feel as insignificant as a cat can make you feel? This is just one of the many services a cat provides (we keep you humble!) and one of the many feline-esque accomplishments that we celebrate today!

Much ado has been made about cats throughout history, from ancient myth to modern literature. Popular author Lillian Jackson Braun (1913 - 2011) will forever be remembered in the hearts of cat lovers for her charming Cat Who…series, about two Siamese cats who assist their human companion in solving mysteries. For those who prefer talking cats, Shirley Rousseau Murphy writes the Joe Grey Mysteries, about a large grey tom-cat and his lady friend who have the ability to talk (a secret that is poorly kept from their human companions). Lloyd Alexander (1924 - 2007, of The Black Cauldron fame) sets aside medieval fantasy for fantasy of a different sort in The Town Cats and Other Tales and then there is T.S. Eliot’s (1888 - 1965) Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the inspiration for the Broadway musical CATS!

Oh! How could I forget about Mrs. Murphy, the mystery solving cat that is the star of Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie's books! Sneaky Pie is my hero, having co-authored every one of the Mrs. Murphy mysteries! No, I have not forgotten the most famous cat of all, Dr. Seuss’ (1904 - 1991) The Cat in the Hat; I just saved him for last because he gives me the creeps! (To those who have read the book: don’t you agree that that babysitter should be fired?). Are there any more famous literary cats that I am forgetting? Please mention them in the comments section below!

In addition to being literary rock stars, cats have had to fight the bad rap we get through superstition. Ailurophobes (that’s a person with a fear of cats) will tell you that a black cat is bad luck; that all cats will suck a baby’s breath because they are jealous of the new arrival; and that we are all familiars of witches! Not true! It was during the dark ages that people stopped worshiping us cats as supreme beings and associated us with evil – something to do with us liking the dark and having glowing eyes and having the ability to scream like a demon and…okay, I get it! I guess we cats can be scary!! Since I have come to realize that people love a good superstition (or explanation of folklore), here is a list of “catty beliefs” for your reading pleasure:

• In Norse mythology, cats were believed to have great influence on the weather. Cats were thought to cause storms (which is crazy, because everyone knows we hate rain!). The dog, an attendant of the storm king Odin, was a symbol of wind. Cats came to symbolize down-pouring rain, and dogs to symbolize strong gusts of wind; thus the saying "it's raining cats and dogs"! ( will give you the truth on the thatched-roof “folklore” story!)

• The expression “Cat got your tongue?” has a particularly gruesome origin: during the ancient years of the Middle Eastern cultures, a sometimes punishment for prisoners was to have their tongue cut out of their mouths and fed to the King’s cats.

• Sailors used cats to predict the outcome of voyages. Loud caterwaulers predicted a stormy voyage. A playful cat meant a safe passage. They also believed that to throw a cat overboard was to guarantee stormy weather, so they always kept their ship’s cats happy and well-fed – and away from the rails!

• A bride will have a happy and successful marriage if a black cat sneezes near her on her wedding day (Note to Mommie: don’t leave me behind if that day should ever come!)

• In many cultures, cats are symbols of fertility! Some cultures put a cat in a cradle and give it to a newlywed couple to ensure the birth of children.

• In the Dark Ages, a live cat was buried in the foundation of a house to ensure good luck to its inhabitants (not so lucky for the cat, though, huh?).

• In America, it is bad luck if a black cat crosses your path and good luck if a white cat crosses your path. In Great Britain, it is just the opposite! (This might explain why the British love my column!).

• Once upon a time, people believed that cat’s blood cured all ailments. (This could explain Charlie Sheen’s claims of “tiger’s blood”).

• In Transylvania, if a cat jumps over a corpse, the corpse will become a vampire!

• A medieval superstition states that a cat sitting on top of a tombstone meant that the dearly departed was actually possessed by the Devil

• Another medieval superstition states that two cats fighting on a gravestone are an archangel and a demon, fighting for possession of the soul

• Legend has it that Mohammed cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than disturb his cat from resting on it. (Are you listening, Mommie?)

• A Thai legend states that cats guarding a sacred temple from Burmese invaders saved the temple treasures by hooking their tails together in a circle and refusing to allow anyone to pass.

I hope you have enjoyed this list; feel free to pass it on to others, and always remember that “Cats are cats...the world over! These intelligent, peace-loving, four-footed friends – who are without prejudice, without hate, without greed – may someday teach us something”. –James Macintosh Qwilleran (via The Cat Who Saw Stars, by Lillian Jackson Braun)



Gracious thanks to fellow blogger Maya Lynn Lincoln for reminding my Mommie of this important holiday!

Professional acknowledgement to the Dictionary of Superstitions, by David Pickering.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tazi's Corner #5: Thoughts On Reading (Part I)

Happy Sunday Readers! Today I share my thoughts on reading! I won't bore you with introductory blather - today I get right down to business by bringing you Issue #5 of

Tazi's Corner
Life As Your Pet Sees It!

Something only a few people know about my Mommie is that she practices her professional speaking voice by reading aloud to me. I snuggle in her lap and hear whatever story she happens to be reading. On one recent day it was The Running Man by Richard Bachman/Stephen King and I was startled out of my lull by a jarring sentence: “Who reads anymore?” Who reads anymore, indeed! It seems that we are so tied up with our electronics (even books are electronic now!) that the question – written over thirty years ago in a setting that takes place in our near future – had an eerie sense of omniscience.

Who reads anymore, indeed? This week’s passing of literary giant Gore Vidal brought out the painful truth, as Facebook flooded with regret of the passing of the world’s most famous hairstylist. For the record, they were thinking of Vidal Sassoon, who passed away this past May. Here to explain the difference is my dear friend Derek P. of North Carolina:

Friend of Derek P.: OMG, Gore Vidal just died - I LOVED his shampoo!!

Derek P.: That’s Vidal Sassoon you idiot.

Friend of Derek P: Oh - I get them confused ALL the time.

Derek P.: Yeah I can see why - Gore Vidal is a GAY WWII Vet, Brilliant Writer, Activist and Politician!! While Vidal Sassoon was a STRAIGHT guy who was famous for being a hairdresser!!

I’d give those who confused the two men a Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust, but I think the Gay Verbal Beotch-Slapping just administered will suffice.

Now that I have dispensed with the formalities, the question of the day remains: What makes a book a classic? What do some books have that make generation after generation identify them to the point where even people who do not enjoy reading enjoy them. What is it about these books that make people who have no time to read find the time to read them? What is it about their appeal that makes Hollywood turn these books into movies, giving them an even greater following? As a writer, one who seeks fame and fortune enough to make it onto Page Six of the New York Post, these are questions to which I need answers. Is there anybody out there who can give them?

A part of me would guess it is because we can relate their storylines to our everyday lives; but then I wonder: Who exactly can relate to the Marquise de Merteuil of Les Liaisons Dangereuse and why are they walking free? (For those unfamiliar with the book or the movie version of it, Dangerous Liaisons, it was modernized into the Reese Witherspoon movie Cruel Intentions, with Ms. Witherspoon in the Marquise de Merteuil role). Which of us would ever put up with the meddling ways of Jane Austen’s title character Emma? Amusing as her matchmaking is in the book, which of us would put up with it in real life? (For those of you unfamiliar with the book Emma, you can rent the Gwyneth Paltrow movie based on the book). I am not even going to touch The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne (and played marvelously by Demi Moore in the movie version). If we read as a form of escape, why would we wish to be faced with our own shortcomings through the printed word?

Several years ago Nintendo DS (yes, the video game people; ironic, huh?) came out with a list of 100 Must Read Classic Books. In looking through it, my Mommie realized she had read about eighty of them; starting with Little Women (#1) when she was a child, home sick with the flu, and finishing with Treasure Island (#90), a college reading assignment. When she heard that the average person has only read six books on the list, it made her very sad. Why were people not reading these wonderful stories? There is more to books than Twilight and Harry Potter! Simply put, a child’s childhood is not complete without exposure to Long John Silver (the literary character, not the fast-food restaurant); Christmas is not complete without a reading of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As awesome as I find Muppet Treasure Island (Mommie has a crush on Tim Curry!) and A Muppet Christmas Carol (Michael Caine at his best!) the levity of the performance leaves behind the deep emotional connection that occurs with the printed word. Perhaps this is what makes a book a classic: It brings about an emotional connection between the reader and the story; one that must be shared, and can be shared across generations. Mommie’s favorite book collections are C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; she gave copies of both to the boys she used to babysit, now college students, and one of her cherished memories was the look on their faces when they received them: Pure unadulterated joy.

A good book is timeless! Do your part to pass on the wonder to a new generation!


P.S. If this column sounds a bit truncated,m that is because it is! Come back next week for Part II of this column, when I will present Tazi’s List of 39 Must Read Modern (and Not So Modern) Classics!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.