Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tazi Recommends: On Sandwiches

Dear Readers:

Some people knowingly carry dogs in their purses; others unwittingly tote their cats around. My Mommie is the latter, as she did not realize I was napping in her tote when she went out to dinner the other night. Consequently, I overheard her reminiscing over the very first time she had a French Dip sandwich. She mentioned that she was 10 and had no fondness for cold cuts (some things never change) but she liked the idea that the sandwich was both French and dippable, so she gave it a whirl. She ended by saying an oft heard phrase around my house, "A sandwich tastes better when somebody else makes it". If you have ever witnessed her attempts at making a sandwich, you will understand why this is so. Anyhow, in honor of my Mommie's love of sandwiches crafted by other people, this week I review

On Sandwiches
Sandwiches I Have Eaten And Would Like To Eat


The subject of this site makes me think this blog is written by Homer Simpson, but the fact of the matter is that the blog is more of a food review board than a "Mmmmmm....sandwich" kind of place. The author is obviously based out of California, so many of the sandwiches he has eaten have been crafted at California eateries. Each review comes with a full color picture of the sandwich being discussed, so you might not want to go to this site if you are hungry. Otherwise, it is a gustatory wonder! With categories like "Porkstravaganza" to "Vegan" you are bound to find a sandwich that perks up your appetite. I suggest you check it out to add inspiration to your menu! As for me, I do not like people food but the idea of a Fried Catfish Po' Boy caught my eye. Cat...fish? A fish just for a cat? I am all over that like the Sunday paper. Speaking of which, it's about time you put it down so the feline in your life can nap on it!

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

The Elf On The Shelf Is Back...And Causing Mischief For One Family

Dear Tazi:

My husband is driving my crazy with his bathroom toilet seat antics! “Fred” has a bad habit of leaving the toilet seat and cover in the up position after use. I have told him that this is gross and unattractive for several reasons: it is unsanitary; it allows the dog to have a drink from his own private “wet bar”; and it tells people exactly what he was doing in there (#1 or #2) based upon the position of the seat. Fred just laughs off my reasoning.

I have tried putting a fancy, rug cover on top of the cover to weigh it down, so it will eventually close on its own, but Fred keeps taking it off and hiding it in various places around the house (last time, I found the cat sleeping in it!). I have tried a cute, embroidered sign that states “Put down the seat, ladies present! A wet behind is most unpleasant!” but Fred refuses to take the hint. Instead, he hung my bikini bottom from the towel rack with a note about “going swimming”.

Fred thinks his antics are funny, but they wear thin very quickly. It is his latest antics that have sent me over the top. Fred decided to dig through the Christmas decorations and pull out our two-year-old daughter’s Elf on the Shelf. Can you see where this is going, Tazi? Thus far, I have caught “Sparkle” holding a fishing pole over the bowl; sitting on the edge of the bowl and wearing a tiny SCUBA mask (Fred found it among my scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies); lounging on the edge of the bowl with a washcloth “beach towel” and more of my beach-themed scrap-booking and shadowbox supplies, including a tiki bar!

The final straw came this morning when I discovered the entire toilet seat missing and Sparkle sitting on the top of the tank, holding a ransom note that demanded “sexy time for Fred” before the seat would be returned. I thank Heavens my daughter is too young to read! Speaking of my daughter, she finds her “Elf’s” behavior to be hysterical and looks forward to seeing what he will do next. I am a busy Mom, and do not have the time to start Elf on the Shelf throughout the year traditions! I do not wish for Fred’s antics to set this precedent. I do want for Fred to start acting like a responsible adult and put the toilet seat and cover down when he is done using it! Do you have any ideas on how to make this happen, Tazi?

Signed,
All Wet

Dear All Wet:

Your daughter named a boy elf “Sparkle”? Do the other elves tease him about this? I’m sorry; this news just sent me a bit off track…on track to your issue – before the Elf “rears” his head again!

The time and effort that Fred is putting into the creativity he is using to annoy you tells me that this issue is more about having the upper hand and less about the placement of the toilet seat. I have to admit your “private ‘wet bar’” comment gave me a giggle, so I can only imagine how much it amused your husband. I am picturing the tiki bar scene now and wondering if I can somehow incorporate a more sanitary version into my family’s Elf traditions.

You are correct in saying that a closed toilet lid is more sanitary. With every flush, droplets of toilet water can spray up to 13 feet – which means your toothbrush might be getting doused with toilet water. Depending on how often you clean/freshen your bowl, you may be getting more than just water on your toiletries. Even if you clean the bowl regularly and use an in-tank germicide, these chemicals will be in the water and entering your pooch’s system every time he takes a drink from his “private ‘wet bar’”. Plus, you do have a point that nobody wants to know what was last occurring behind the closed bathroom door. Personally, I bury my waste so nobody can see what I was doing; humans have a toilet seat lid and a flush to cover evidence of their bodily functions. Both should be used accordingly. This is my ruling on the matter; now onto Fred and his sophomoric but amusing behavior.

It is obvious that Fred does not like to be told what to do; it is also obvious that Fred is enjoying the attention his antics are getting him. Child psychologists sometimes refer to what they call the rule of the broken cookie: to a child, a broken cookie is better than no cookie at all. So it is with attention, with negative attention being better than no attention at all. It appears that your husband is seeking your attention and is doing it in the only way he knows how – by teasing you. By getting to the root of your toilet seat problem you will be able to solve the much bigger issue of why your husband is feeling neglected (the ransom request for “sexy time” leads me to believe he is feeling ignored).

Being the mother of a two-year-old is a very hard and exhausting job and having to clean up after a husband does not make this job any easier. How involved is Fred in your daughter’s life? It is obvious that he enjoys amusing her. Perhaps he could take on some of the chores that involve raising your daughter in order to give you a break – her bath, getting her dressed, assisting with her meals can all be made fun and amusing while freeing you up to do something else, even if that something else is doing absolutely nothing for 20 minutes.

Once you have been relieved of some of the stresses of being a busy Mom, you may feel less resentment towards my next suggestion: put the toilet seat down yourself. Once you change your response to Fred’s behavior, he may start to change his behavior. Every time you see the seat up, pause to ask yourself, “Is this the biggest problem in my marriage?” If the answer is yes, consider yourself blessed and think of all the reasons you love your husband. Then calmly and politely remind him that two-year-olds like to throw stuff like cell phones and TV remotes into the open toilet bowl.

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Adoption Should Not Be Kept A Secret

Dear Tazi:

Next month is my daughter "Kiri's" birthday. She will be 5-years-old. Next month will also mark the 4th anniversary of the day that I adopted her from a Chinese orphanage. She was only one-year-old when I took her home, so Kiri does not know she is adopted. I know this will sound strange to you, since you do not know me, but I am Asian American so Kiri does not look very different from me. I realize that one day I will have to tell her that she is adopted; do you think she is still too young? Should I wait until she starts asking questions about where she comes from? I was told that her parents were killed in the 2008 Chinese earthquake, only a few days after she was born. Isn't this information a little harsh to tell a young child?

Signed,
Kiri's Mom

Dear Kiri's Mom:

You do realize that not all Asians look alike, right? Because unless you are Chinese American, like your adopted daughter, she has probably already noticed the differences in how the two of you look. Like most parents and children, she will see the similarities between the two of you (dark hair, dark eyes), but you most likely have variant skin tones and facial structures. Although this is not something a 5-year-old can express, it is something they will notice.

My next question for you is, why do you feel the need to keep your daughter's adoption a secret? Her parents untimely demise and the horrors surrounding it, yes, but her adoption? Adoption is a wonderful institution and one should not feel the need to hide the truth about it - especially from the child who has been adopted. Usually when a young child asks about where they came from it means one of two things: it is time to have the "how humans reproduce" talk with them (this usually occurs between the ages of 7 - 10) or they want to know where they were born and/or once lived before living where they are now. I came from the local animal shelter!

If Kiri is not curious about where she came from or why Mommy's face looks different than her own you could institute a new celebration in your home: Adoption Day, to commemorate the anniversary of the day you brought your daughter home. For this first Adoption Day celebration, you can explain to Kiri that she was chosen by you to be your daughter; that you flew halfway around the world to come get her; and that you would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe and happy. Answer any questions she has with just enough information for her to process, and answer on her level. A 5-year-old processes things differently than adults. If she asks what happened to her real parents, you can say that they are living in Heaven right now, or whatever your spiritual beliefs teach about death.

As Kiri gets older she is bound to have more questions about her birth culture and her birth story. Share with her what you know; research with her what you do not. If possible, contact the orphanage and/or adoption agency you worked with to bring Kiri home to you. In time, Kiri may decide she does not like the idea of celebrating adoption day as it might make her feel different, or she may look forward to it like an additional birthday celebration. Take your cues from Kiri as to how to move forward with any information she seeks, if she seeks any information at all. Know that the longer you wait to tell Kiri she is adopted, the more difficult it will be for her to process this information. I say start sharing this information now, bit by bit until the entire story unfolds.

Snuggles,
Tazi

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Much Parenting Is Too Much Parenting?

Dear Tazi:

Three years ago, when I was a senior in high school, my mother noticed that I was interested in attending a prestigious out-of-state college. At first, Mother thought nothing of it since she doubted that I would actually move across the country, so when my acceptance letter arrived it was quite a shock to her when I told her I was prepared to accept the school’s offer of admittance. Going to this college would have meant a great deal of financial sacrifice on my part, as well as student loans, but I was prepared to follow my dream. Mother was very upset with my plan, and offered to pay – all expenses – for my junior and senior years if I took my freshman and sophomore years at the local community college. After giving this idea much thought, I agreed. I excelled at my community college, graduating with highest honors and many accolades as well as re-acceptance into my first choice school and the knowledge that it would not cost me anything, thanks to my agreement with Mother. Here is where my problem starts:

Mother is very upset that I still wish to finish my education at my first choice school. She was hoping that the extra two years spent locally would “work things out of my system”; that I would have met someone by now and considered my education complete after only two years. Although I have dated, there has never been anyone serious in my life. I preferred to concentrate on my education, knowing that I would be moving across the country as soon as I graduated community college. I am prepared to go, and Mother is reluctantly holding up her end of the bargain, with a twist: she is insisting on leaving our home and moving across the country with me!

My Papa thinks Mother is being too clingy and has told her so, but she refuses to change her mind. She has told Papa that he can stay here if he wants but she will be moving with me. She has even started looking for apartments near my school so we can live together! Tazi, one of the goals I have for myself is to learn how to live independently of Mother. This is one of the reasons my out-of-state school is so attractive to me, in addition to the excellent scholastic program it offers. Obviously, I cannot force Mother to stay here at home while I am away at school, but I refuse to take an apartment with her. I am also worried about Papa. He loves Mother so much; it would break his heart if she were to move out on him. Do you have any advice on how to mediate this whole crazy mess?

Signed,
Future Bulldog

Dear Future Bulldog:

Congratulations on your acceptance to your first choice college. You have shown maturity beyond your years by deciding to complete your first two years of college at an affordable community college and graduate debt-free. Your grades and your achievements also speak to this maturity, which is why I believe you are ready to try life on your own terms, even if your mother is not ready for this to happen.

I am not sure if your mother realizes this, but she is being what college administrators call a “helicopter parent”, hovering over her child and trying to control your every move. Not only is this unhealthy for you – since you are no longer a child and are trying to live like an adult – it is unhealthy for your mother. Now that you are grown and ready to take the next steps in your life it is time for your mother to do the same. This can be very scary for a mother, who has spent almost half of her life (or more) caring for her children. While you are trying to establish a new identity as an adult, your mother is trying to cling to her identity as a Mom.
If your community college has an Advising and Counseling department it would do you well to make an appointment with them to discuss the life changes you will be experiencing at your new college. Your mother should go with you; this way, she can hear first-hand what is going on and ask any questions she might have. The counselor will reassure her that you do not need – nor would it be healthy to have – your mother by your side during this transitional stage of life. If your community college does not have an Advising and Counseling department, a clergy member or social worker should also be able to offer guidance in this matter.

If you are planning on living off-campus in an apartment, you might want to move in a few weeks early and ask your mother to come with you to help you get settled into your new place. This would offer a compromise between her moving in with you (and leaving your father behind) and feeling like she has completely abandoned you to a whole new world – one that does not include her. From there, I suggest that you set a day and time to call your mother each week. This will give her something to look forward to, as well as give you the chance to tell her how well you are doing on your own. Your reassurance that she raised her daughter to be a capable woman is the best gift you could possibly give her. As for what she can give you, it has been said that the best gifts a parent can give their child are roots and wings. Use both accordingly.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. Yale? Gonzaga? Georgia? UC - Fresno? All are Bulldogs, and I am curious as to which one you will attend!
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

EXTRA EDITION: A Happy Birthday Wish To Tazi From His Mommie

Dear Readers:

This is "Tazi's Mommie". I am hijacking this space today to wish my cat a very happy birthday! My "little cat" is nine years old today! Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday he stuck his paw out of that shelter cage and hooked me - literally and figuratively. One look into that adorable kitten - with his paw-claw on my shirt sleeve and his eyes looking up at me - told me I had to take him home. I have no children, so Tazi became my surrogate.

Few of us know the actual birthday of our rescue pets, and I am no exception. According to the vet, Tazi was born sometime in late June. Tazi was born the year my beloved dog Jellybean died, also in late June. I assigned Tazi this birthday to commemorate the day my Jellybean passed - as one life ends, a new one begins; the circle continues.

Although I grew up with pets, Tazi-Kat has brought more joy to my life than I ever imagined an animal could. He is 12 1/2 pounds of snuggles, adventure, and mischief. (He should be 10 pounds of snuggles, adventure, and mischief which is why he is currently on a diet). Whoever said that black cats bring bad luck has never met my Tazi-Kat. He is the most loving cat I have ever met, and I am blessed to be his caretaker and human companion. I would say "owner", but can anyone ever truly own a cat?

Thank you for indulging me on this special day!

"Tazi's Mommie"


Happy Birthday, Tazi!!



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

Custody Battle Over The Pet Requires Special Considerations

Dear Tazi:

You are a cat and your Mommie that you often speak of is a cat owner, so I am writing for your opinion on a very upsetting matter. My wife, "Monica" has decided that our marriage of eight years is no longer worth fighting for and she has left me. She has told me I can keep the apartment, but she wants to take the cat with her. I absolutely refuse to allow her to take "Boots" from me. I was the one who brought Boots home from the litter, so even though he is the family cat I feel that I have that claim on him. Plus, my wife is the one leaving; why should Boots suffer the stress of being uprooted from the only home he has ever known?

"Monica" thinks I am being a jerk (what else is new) and is demanding custody of Boots, saying that he loves her best and would want to come with her; that if he could say anything other than "meow" he would say he wants to live with her. She claims to know this because she has a "psychic connection" with Boots.

In order to keep Monica from stealing Boots, I have informed the landlord that she has moved off the property, and taken her name off of the lease. This is something she needed to do anyway, in order to attain a new lease on a new apartment, so I wasn't being a [censored] as she claims. She was also required to turn in her keys, but I know that she had a secret spare set. When I informed the landlord of this, he changed the locks so she could not enter the property when I am not home. I will not have her kidnapping Boots!

Monica has discovered that the locks were changed and is throwing a fit. I KNEW she would try to steal Boots; she claims she was stopping by to see if she had mail and that I was wrong to change the locks and to accuse her of attempted catnapping. She is threatening to sue me for both a divorce and custody of Boots.

Tazi, Boots is very close to the both of us. It has only been two weeks since Monica left, and we both miss her so much. Boots has been looking for extra affection during this time, so I am starting to wonder if sending him to live with Monica would be best for him. Do you think a shared custody arrangement would work? All I want is what is best for my cat. Monica and I have no children, so Boots is all I have now. Do you think I could win custody in a court battle?

Signed,
Bootsie's Poppy

Dear Bootsie's Poppy:

Is Boots a show cat of some kind? Or is he an American Short Hair, like me? This distinction is what the court systems in most states look at when deciding who gets the pets in a divorce. Sadly, we are seen as nothing more than property; so if our cash value is negligible the courts will usually refuse to rule on the matter. Of course, cash value means nothing when it comes to the love between a pet and its human companion; there is no way to put a price on something like that!

I realize that both you and Monica love Boots and can understand the need for extra snuggles during this period of adjustment. Perhaps you could allow Monica to have supervised visitation until you decide how to handle full-time custody of Boots? Paw to God, I know one couple that worked out their marital woes this way because neither one wanted to give up custody of their cat, "Baby". Lucky kitty! He didn't have to move!

If there is one thing cats hate more than anything it is moving. A human can simply pick up their stuff and go; for a cat, it is not that simple, not to mention most humans refuse to pack our treasured belongings. (When I moved, you should have seen the look on my Mommie's face when I asked her to pack the decomposing chipmunk I had been saving in the crawl space!) A cat's home is its territory. A cat knows all the secret places where he can hide (like the aforementioned crawl space); has a favorite napping place (the crawlspace); and has an understanding with the other cats in the area about where his territory ends and where theirs begins. Even an indoor cat has a certain outdoor radius that they consider theirs (generally several feet from their favorite window, in either direction).

Nobody likes to be the new kid on the block, and cats don't make new friends very easily; so moving them from this carefully balanced system can stress them in ways that can take weeks or even months to fully recover. Because of this, I would ask Monica to please consider Boots' needs and to put them before her own. If she insists on a court custody battle, please advocate for Boots and not yourself. That is the sign of the true love a human has for his or her four-legged companion.

Snuggles to you and Boots,
Tazi

P.S. If Monica insists on taking Boots with her before custody can be legally decided, pack all of his things in order to make the move easier on him. Be sure to include his favorite napping blankets, his kitty bed, his feeding dishes, and the rotting animal he probably has hidden under your bed. Something tells me you will especially enjoy packing that one. --T.K.

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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Special Edition: Tazi-Kat Takes On The "Bus Monitor Bullies" (And Their Parents!)

[Ed. Note: The YouTube video referred to is below. Understand that it is included for reference purposes only. The language used in it is very raw and not suitable for polite society].



Dear Readers:

My domestic tranquility has been disturbed by recent events, so I have decided that today I am going to use this forum to address the very serious problem of bullying in schools, specifically American middle schools and junior high schools. As a cat, I have a special understanding of bullying – we are the bullies of the animal world! What other animal will casually jump up on your dining table, stick their head in your plate, and start eating your food – and then scratch you if you dare try to push us away?

I understand the craziness of those teenage years; we have all been there. However, the craziness that prior generations experienced has been compounded by technology. Once upon a time embarrassing incidents reached a limited audience and could be quickly forgotten; now, they are videotaped using smart phones and uploaded to YouTube for the entire world to see. Today, I would like to speak of one particular bullying incident that has been uploaded to YouTube. I think you all know which one I am referring to: the bullied bus monitor, Karen Klein. I am hoping this message reaches those who were on the bus that day – those who participated in the bullying, and those who stood by and did nothing – as well as the parents of those students. This open letter is for them:

Hi! My name is Tazi-Kat, and I write an advice column for humans. I have dealt with many letters on various subjects, from how to hang the toilet paper (over or under) to important parenting issues. Today, I have an important question for you: Are the children in this video the type of person you raised your child to be? If so, this must be your proudest hour, and I congratulate you on reaching your penultimate goal of raising a self-centered bully who puts others down so they can feel good about themselves (or, as PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com would call them, a [feminine hygiene product] canoe. Yes, I was being kind just now; much worse things are being said about your child. Tell me, how does that make you feel? Offer as many excuses as you would like; I have heard them all before. The truth of the matter is that your child’s behavior rains shame upon you. That ugly, angry feeling you have in the pit of your stomach should be directed inward, not outward; there is no defense for how your child acted.

Your daughter called Miss Karen fat? I would like to see her figure after she has grown up and had a few children of her own. I want to be there when her husband tells her that she needs to lose weight because he no longer finds her sexually attractive and is embarrassed to be seen with her in public. If you think that no man would ever have the stones to do that, think again. I have received several letters on the subject, not just the one linked here. Mothers, maybe you should ask your husband what he honestly thinks of your figure. Or better yet, ask your child or any one of their friends who was on that bus – none of those kids seemed to have a problem with expressing their unvarnished opinions. Or is that kind of truth just too painful for you to hear? You may not be overweight, but I am certain you have some tender insecurities about your looks. How would you like it if your child exploited them for entertainment, and then posted video of it on the Internet? Do you now have an inkling of a clue as to the cruelty your precious child inflicted upon an elderly woman?

Before you say that your child would never have participated in such cruelty, listen closely to the video. Is your child’s voice on it? Is that their laughter? Every mother knows the sound of their own child, so do not try to deny what you are hearing. Even if it is not your child that you hear, all that this means is that he or she sat idly by and watched the abuse take place. Either way, you have done a bang-up job raising such a fine, upstanding young citizen! (I do hope that you understand my sarcasm. I would hate for this message to be lost to abject ignorance).

Speaking of this cruel video – which, in case you have not noticed, is over ten minutes long – I would like to know which child filmed it. Was it your child? I am wondering how you have decided to punish him or her. Please tell me that you have taken away their iPhone, or whatever smart phone they used to document and upload the entire event. Please tell me you have revoked their Internet access for even thinking it was okay to upload this type of filth to the web. Most of all, please tell me that you did not raise your child to be this kind of person. To paraphrase a line from the movie Animal House, inhumane and stupid is no way to go through life.

To those of you who sat and watched the bullying unfold, I have a few questions for you, too. Why did you just sit there? Were you afraid someone would start picking on you? Were you glad to see someone other than you was being bullied for a change? It takes a lot of courage to be a hero; courage that none of you have. Please do not try to defend your reputation now; your cowardice is painfully obvious. As news that you were on that bus travels (and believe me, it will travel) this event will become as painful for you as it was for Miss Karen. The world will know all of you for what you are: cowards and bullies, devoid of character. Care to put that nugget of information on your college application essay? I think that is something admissions counselors would like to know, so don’t try to pass yourselves off as anything different, or try to excuse your behavior as the folly of youth. The world looks poorly upon liars, too.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to address the person in charge on that bus. No, not the bus monitor; the bus driver. I want to know what, in the name of all that is sacred, were you thinking! Why did you not stop the bus? Were you in a hurry to get home and watch Oprah re-runs? Miss Karen is your co-worker, your partner in keeping order on that bus! You did worse than those who sat back and did nothing – you just kept on truckin’, like nothing was out of order. You disgust me the most of all, because you are supposed to be the adult, yet you acted no better than any of the children in your charge. You could have stopped the abuse; taken names; and reported the incident to the school principal who had disciplinary jurisdiction over the matter. I guess getting home five minutes faster was more important to you than standing up for your co-worker, who was obviously raised during a time when women were taught to take the abuse rather than stand up to it. Your behavior perpetrates the cycle of abuse that needs to end. How does it feel to be a part of the problem? I hope your employer and union boss both remember this incident when it comes time to renew your contract.

I am fairly certain that my words will not reach the ears of those who need to hear them, and that even if they do those involved will probably fail to recognize their part in this travesty. However, just in case this letter does reach you, I want you to know that even in my anger I have remained relatively kind towards you; telling it like it is without the use of obscenities or sexual slurs (but only because I advertise a family-friendly column). I have said my piece, and am done. The rest of the world is prepared to spend the rest of your lives judging you, and the court of public opinion can be a lot harsher than I have been here. If you think I am exaggerating, think again. Thanks to that YouTube upload, your actions will be haunting you for the rest of your life. For Miss Karen’s sake, I hope that none of you ever decide to run for President while she is still alive because she does not need to relive the horror of that video being played over and over during your campaign, a tool of your opponent to remind the world of who you are and what you did. As it is, I am sure Miss Karen will be reliving the horror of it every day for a long time. The world can be a cruel place, but you do not need me to tell you that. I have a feeling you are about to find out on your own just how much the world hates someone who picks on a Grandma.

I hope that the $500,000+ in donations that Miss Karen has received, offered to finance a well-deserved retirement, is a reminder to her of the kindness of strangers; not the cruelty of acquaintances.

Extra Snuggles to Miss Karen; Paw-Slaps of Disgust to the rest of you (with my claws out),
Tazi
















Photo courtesy of ICanHasCheezeburger.com


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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tazi Recommends: Kickin' It Old School

Dear Readers:

Are you a child of the '80's? Do you love the '80's? Are you so stuck in the 80's that you named your child Prince? Than you will want to visit the blog I will be reviewing today,

Kickin' It Old School
80's and More


I have no idea who write this blog - his profile tells me he is some married dude from Wisconsin, so as far as I am concerned this is the 5th best thing ever to come out of that state - right after the Green Bay Packers, beer, cheese, and That '70's Show. Kickin' It Old School offers some pretty amazing stuff that you won't find anywhere else - like actual interviews with real '80's celebrities; memory lane stuff like the Geraldo Rivera career killer that was Al Capone's empty vault; and those great, horribly awful, '80's commercials! (How many bikers do you know that dress like the Capitol One viking warriors?)

Whether your thing is a tribute to Freddy Krueger or a Top Ten List of Sidekick Characters from 80s Movies (be sure to check out Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli!), Kickin' It Old School has what you love about '80's pop culture. Here is where I stress pop culture; the closest thing to rap you will find on this blog is Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith's A Nightmare on My Street.

My one complaint about this site is the way it is organized: it needs work. Each blog is listed by the month and year in which it was written; meaning there are no title links to click on, so if you are looking for something specific you may have to do a little searching, but that's also a part of what makes this site so fun - searching through all the cheese that made the '80's so great. If you stop by Kickin' It Old School be sure you have a few hours to kill because the archives are extensive, dating back to January 2008. As a bonus, if Kickin' It Old School doesn't offer you enough '80's stuff, there is also a long list of blogs that are referenced throughout the site, so you can go directly to the source material. I'm telling you, this blog is stuffed fatter than a Thanksgiving turkey and it's full of all things '80's. So what are you waiting for? Don't make me go Rambo on you! Put that Sunday paper down and get on over to Kickin' It Old School! In the meantime, I'll be taking a nap on your stonewashed jeans (I mean your Sunday paper!).

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. Here is something you will not see on Kickin' It Old School but should! Enjoy!



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

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Texas Hold 'Em Player Has Big Dreams Of Success On The Circuit

Dear Tazi:

When I read your letter about the guy who has been hustling pool for a living I knew that I had to write to you. My boyfriend, "Buddy", has decided to quit college and try his hand on the Texas Hold 'Em Poker circuit. I will admit that Buddy is good, but could he be good enough to go pro?

Buddy learned how to play Texas Hold 'Em after pledging his fraternity last year and has been hooked ever since. He quickly abandoned his academic curriculum in favor of courses that improved his poker game - a lot of math classes, a lot of psychology classes, and other courses like Statistics that have helped him to strategize and read people but that will not lead to a degree. Over the semester break this past winter, Buddy started competing in the Texas Hold 'Em tournaments held at the local casinos, and he did very, very well. He has made quite a deal of money, as well as a name for himself, playing cards. However, this success has not been without cost. Every weekend without fail he is in a tournament, which means less time for us to be together. Plus, these tournaments are high stakes, which means he must reinvest a good portion of his winnings, so he never has any money to do anything else after his rent and other expenses are paid. If Buddy were to take this show on the road, I can foresee these issues growing even larger.

I do not wish to sound selfish, because I honestly am concerned about Buddy's future and what is best for him - and I believe that finishing college and settling down are what is best for him! How can I get him to see this?

Signed,
Poker Widow

Dear Poker Widow:

Are you certain that you are interested in what is best for Buddy? Because it certainly sounds like you are interested in what is best for you. You complain that his poker tournaments keep him occupied (read: away from you) on weekends and that the cost of them requires him to reinvest his winnings into the next game instead of into stuff for you. At least, this is what I see when I read in between the lines.

Texas Hold 'Em is a game that requires a combination of skill and luck. The classes that Buddy is taking to improve his game are not easy classes. Psychology and Statistics? Please put me out of my misery...now!

Caption courtesy of 1 Corinthians 15:55
Photo courtesy of www.icanhascheezeburger.com

However, Buddy has made an intelligent choice if he is taking these classes to improve his card playing. Once he masters the art of card counting (which he can easily learn through the study of statistics) and the art of reading another player's physical cues and tics (through the study of human psychology) all that is left up to fate is the luck of the draw, after which he can continue to bid or decide to fold. His chances of making the correct choice will have improved exponentially, though, thanks to his education. Quite honestly, it sounds to me like Buddy has made a career choice and is choosing to follow that path. Competing on the poker circuit is not for everyone, and it can be a hard life full of stress and lacking loved ones; but this is Buddy's choice to make, not yours.

You do not say how long you and Buddy have been together or how serious the two of you are; if Buddy's parents are in the picture and if have any influence over him, or if they approve of his decision - should they even know about it. If you are concerned about losing Buddy or trying to decide if you would want to break up with him should he choose the circuit over you, this is the discussion you need to be having - not the one where you act like his mother and tell him what is best for his future.

Snuggles,
Tazi

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

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interracial Dating Is Still A Hot Topic For Many

Dear Tazi:

I am in an inter-racial relationship. I am a black woman dating a white man, and my family would [poop] Frisbees if they knew! My father grew up down in the deep South, and just because he now lives in a more progressive state does not mean he is any more progressive than when he lived in Alabama. He hates white people like the Lord hates the Devil. My girlfriends all support my decision to date "Neil" because they know how hard it can be to find a brother who doesn't have a record, a disease, or thirty children by eleven different baby mamas (Yeah, I read that story in the paper. Pathetic!). The black men who do work hard, are educated, and treat their women right are all dating white women, so I figure if one of their men is interested in me, I'm going to give him a shot. That shot was Neil, and he is a wonderful man.

My question for you, little cat, is how should I go about introducing Neil to my family? My Mama is okay about white people, she just doesn't trust them right away. My brother would probably laugh at how I have flipped the script, but Daddy is not going to take it well at all. Neil keeps asking me when he can meet my family, and I don't want him thinking I am not ready because I don't love him. I'm just not ready because I'm afraid Daddy's going to chase him out of the house with a shotgun.

Signed,
Mimosa

P.S. You recently asked what it meant to be the "ace boon kitty". It's a good thing, little cat. It means you are the original and the coolest and the friend that someone wanna ice cold chill with!

Dear Mimosa:

Wow! Thank you for letting me know what the "ace boon kitty" is! I appreciate it. I never know what teenage slang means, since there are no teenagers in my prowling territory. From the sound of your letter, your Daddy does not want any white guys prowling through your territory!

Living up North, I have never experienced the culture of the Deep South, but I have met people who have grown up there. While I stress that 99.9% of the people I have met have been absolute angels, there are a few who are still fighting the Civil War (or as they call it, the War of Northern Aggression). I get the impression that these are the type of white people that your Daddy grew up around, instilling a sense of hatred for anyone lighter than the color of a toasted marshmallow (mmmmm...toasted marshmallows!).

Since you are certain of your feelings for Neil, I would suggest that you introduce him first to your brother, then to your Mama - preferably on separate occasions. By handling things this way, you will be taking the stress off of Neil (it can be panic-inducing to meet someone's whole family all at once) and allow your family the chance to get to know him in a more relaxed setting. Once your family has gotten to know Neil, someone - or all of you, if you prefer - can have a sit-down talk with your father. Your Mama and your brother can explain to your father than Neil is wonderful man who treats you well and makes you happy and is everything a Daddy hopes for in the man who wins his daughter's heart. After that, you can break it to him that Neil is white.

I do not expect your father to take this news very well, so let him let off whatever steam he needs without trying to calm him down (so long as he does not turn violent). Once your father has calmed enough that he will hear you when you speak, tell him exactly what you told me: that you were looking for a good, responsible man with strong prospects for a successful future. Let him know that Neil's skin color is not something he can control; and that you fell in love with what is on the inside, not the outside wrapping. Remind your Daddy that if the situation were reversed and you were to meet Neil's parents, wouldn't he want them to be accepting of you? Then, hope your Daddy understands that your choice of partner means no disrespect to him, that the heart wants what the heart wants.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. I do hope that you do not have to make the difficult choice between Neil and your Daddy. I have seen this happen to the people that I love. Let's just say that there were no winners; only losers.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Overwhelmed By Overdrafts, Young Husband Seeks Help

Dear Tazi:

I never thought I would be writing to an advice columnist, so I figure if I am I might as well write to a cat, right? I am a nineteen year old man, married six months, and my wife is driving me up a tree with her horrible banking habits.

"Liesel" has a bad habit of charging stuff to the debit card attached to our joint checking account and then not balancing the checkbook. After having to pay several hundred dollars in overdraft fees one month, I decided I should be the one to balance the checkbook. Now Liesel forgets to give me the receipts for the stuff she charges so the checkbook balance is just as messed up as ever. I have thought of applying for a low-limit credit card for her to use, but I hate the idea of having to pay interest on stupid stuff like a cup of coffee or a package of gum. This is the sort of stuff Liesel charges. I have tried giving her cash to pay with, but that just makes her spend even more.

I went to the bank to close our joint account, because I am afraid all of these overdrafts are ruining my credit, but I could not close the account without Liesel's agreeing; and I couldn't take my name off of the account without closing it. Liesel refuses to agree to this kind of solution because she believes that married couples should have joint bank accounts. I love my wife, but her spending habits have got to change! We are hoping to buy a house in a few years, and the money we are spending on overdrafts is sinking that dream. Do you have any suggestions about what I can do to get my wife to see reason?

Signed,
Underwater


Dear Underwater:

I am sure that the first thing you would like to do is take away Liesel's debit card! However, I do not advocate the subordination of one partner by another and this case is no exception. You are her husband, not her Daddy. Because debit card transactions do not always go through right away, a person can continue to charge on the account and rack up huge overdraft fees, which is what appears to be happening. Since Liesel is forgetting to give you her receipts, you may have to go online and view your account through your bank's online banking features. A list of charges will be made available, and you can confirm with Liesel whether or not she made these charges. You will also be able to see your balance and warn Liesel when it is getting low or even transfer funds from savings to prevent an overdraft. It is a lot of work on your part, but this plan should stop the overdraft fees. Don't worry - your wife is not getting out of trouble here!

It sounds to me that Liesel needs credit counseling and some lessons on financial responsibility. I am assuming she is close to your age, which means she has little to no experience with credit and its importance. Is she even the least bit upset about all of the money being wasted on overdraft fees? Because the two of you wish to save for a house, both a healthy savings account and a healthy credit report will be required. I suggest that you both put the debit cards away; agree to a spending budget for the both of you; and stick to it - meaning once the cash in your pocket is gone, that's it until the next paycheck.

Once you are both comfortable sticking with a weekly spending budget, you can try carrying the debit cards with you for emergencies only. If you find Liesel is falling back into her old habits and the overdraft fees start rolling in again, professional counseling may be required as the problem may run deeper than being scatterbrained when it comes to remembering to balance a checkbook.

I wish you both the best of luck, in your marriage and in your goal of buying your own home.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. With regard to married couples and checking accounts, I have to tell you I have heard of many couples keeping a joint bill paying account but separate personal accounts. Perhaps this is a compromise that would appeal to Liesel?



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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Love Triangle Causes Rift Between Brothers

Dear Tazi:

Have you ever watched the Audrey Hepburn movie Sabrina, the one where two brothers compete for the same woman? I am in a similar situation as that, and I need someone to referee. I will call the woman in question "Katherine".

My brother and I are both divorced and in our fifties, so we are not kids. Katherine is about a dozen years younger than both of us and has never been married, although she has not lacked for male attention. Until recently, I thought her reason for avoiding marriage was because she had never bothered to grow up; but I could not have been more wrong about this amazing woman.

I have always known Katherine from the community but never paid any attention to her except to say hello when our paths crossed. My brother knows Katherine better than I because his ex-wife used to babysit her; however, I never knew he harbored feelings for her until I asked her on a date. That was when [everything] broke loose.

I recently attended a charity fundraiser as a way to network with some business acquaintances (and to support a worthy cause) when I spotted Katherine talking to a potential client of mine like they were old friends. I was surprised to see her there, but was pleased when she waved me over to join the conversation so she might excuse herself for a moment. It was in talking with my potential client that I discovered there is more to Katherine than I realized. I discovered that she is not chronically unemployed and a career student, but works from home as an Event Planner and holds two Masters degrees. I also discovered that she donates her talents to charities and was on the planning board for that evening's event. Seeing her in this new light I was completely taken with her and barely left her side all evening. Before the night was over, I had a date with her for the following weekend.

My mother happened to see a photo from the charity event in the Society pages of the local newspaper. It was a group photo, but my proximity to Katherine caught her eye. My mother has always loved Katherine (they are in the same garden club) so she posted the picture on the refrigerator, which is where my brother saw it when he came to visit. This is where things got ugly.

I won't give you a blow-by-blow, but suffice to say my brother has expressed interest in dating Katherine. He claims that he has been waiting for the right time to ask her out, out of respect for his ex-wife's relationship to her. Tazi, it has been five years since my brother's divorce and he has dated a string of women in that time. It has been seven years since my divorce, and I have dated one woman (a long term relationship that ended two years ago). I am not one to ask a woman out on a whim, and I think Katherine and I really have a connection. My brother has told me if I go out with Katherine I can cross him off of my Christmas card list. I think he is being selfish, he thinks I am being traitorous. I asked our youngest brother to moderate the argument, but he refused to get involved. I saw a copy of your column taped to my mother's refrigerator and thought, "Why not?".

Signed,
"Linus"

Dear "Linus":

It was only after I looked over the IMDB listing for Sabrina that I understood your signature. I suppose I am going to have to watch the movie now, huh? With regard to your problem, I have one question for your brother: Is Katherine even interested in you? As for you, what made you view Katherine in such a negative light before you got to know her better? A Paw Slap of Disgust for each of you, and be glad I am not forwarding your letter to the woman who gives out throat punches!


Photo courtesy of LOL Cats

If this woman means all that your brother claims she means to him, why has he been dating a string of other women while biding his time to ask Katherine out on a date? If she is at all interested in him this has to have broken her heart! It sounds to me that he is jealous because you have "scored" something he wants but cannot have - a date with this woman.

Since Katherine accepted a date with you - that will have most likely occurred by the time this letter is printed - it would be rude of you to suddenly break off all contact with her. If things are going well with Katherine, I say continue to see her. Your brother will have to grow up and get over it. If things are not all that you hoped between you and Katherine, graciously bow out and allow your brother the opportunity to ask her on a date. Whatever you choose to do, you and your brother need to stop talking about Katherine like she is a piece of property. She is a woman, with feelings and a mind of her own.

Perfunctory snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. to your Mom: Thanks for printing and posting my column! It means a lot to me! -T.K.


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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is Talking To An Ex The Same As Cheating?

Dear Tazi:

My girlfriend is the most amazing woman I have ever met. She is truly the type of woman that other guys remember as "the one that got away". Knowing this, I will admit that I can act a little insecure sometimes; but I think I am right on the point I want to make to her.

"Amy" does not realize how beautiful she is, or how outgoing she can be with people. Sometimes an old boyfriend will find her on Facebook and try to start up a conversation with her, either through wall posts or email. I have her password, and have seen these emails on occasion while checking her account for her (per her request; she cannot always get on the Internet at work). Her comments and messages to these guys are always polite and friendly, but I am bothered by the fact that she never mentions me. I feel like she is trying to keep me a secret from her ex-boyfriends and I think this is tantamount to cheating.

I would like to say something to Amy regarding these emails and comments, but I do not want it to sound like I don't trust her. I simply want to know point-blank if she is planning on leaving me should the right ex-boyfriend come along. How do you think I should phrase this? Is there a way to start this conversation that will not come off as accusatory?

Signed,
Mike

Dear Mike:

You write that you believe her lack of comments about you to her old boyfriends is "tantamount to cheating" but then say that you "don't want to come off as accusatory". Well, which is it? To say you see an innocent email conversation as a form of cheating is rather accusatory, especially since these emails are coming to an account that she knows you can check. Are you certain you have not overstepped the bounds of Amy's trust in you?

Obviously, you have read the emails Amy has sent and received to/from her old boyfriends; and they must be pretty benign if you have not said anything to her already. Some people are not comfortable talking about a "current" with an ex, just as some people are not comfortable talking about an ex with their current partner. The beauty of Facebook (in this situation) is that much of your life's details are visible on your personal page - including your relationship status and the length of your relationship, should you choose to add that information.

It is possible that Amy did not feel it necessary to mention that she was "In a relationship" because this information is prominently posted on her Facebook page, complete with a link to your Facebook page, should you have one. To beat that dead horse might be taken as an insult by her old boyfriend, who himself might be in a serious relationship and honestly interested in catching up with an old friend, as happens frequently through Facebook.

I believe that you are making mountains out of molehills. Amy trusts you enough to allow you to read her personal email. If there was anything in there that she did not want you to see, she would not be letting you in there. From the volume of email I receive on the subject, I would say that Facebook causes enough relationship issues already. Please do not go borrowing trouble, or you may find your girlfriend leaving you for entirely different reasons than you fear.

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Late Is Too Late To Pick-Up A "Special Order"?

Dear Tazi:

Almost three years ago, I put some decorative hardware on order at a local, family owned hardware store. Because the items were a special order, I had to put down a deposit of 50% of the total cost of the merchandise. At the time I was making good money and had decided to extravagantly redecorate my entire home, so even though the hardware was rather pricey I did not blink at the cost. The items were backordered from the supplier for three months, but I felt the items were worth the wait.

During the three months I was waiting for my order to arrive, I was unexpectedly laid off from my high-paying job and my mother got sick and I had to use my savings to assist with her medical expenses. It was a rough three months. When I received the call that my decorative hardware had arrived, I was too embarrassed to tell them I did not have the money so I told them I would be in shortly to pick up my items, figuring I would save up for the balance owed and complete my redecorating project since the hardware I ordered was the finishing touch.

It took me almost six months, but between what was left of my savings, my unemployment benefits, and a reimbursement check from the health insurance I did manage to save the $1500 dollars still owing. Then my car dropped its transmission and I had to use the money to pay for repairs. Fast forward through my long stretch of unemployment and low paying temp jobs until I finally got a job that comes close to (but does not match) my former salary and here we are today – three years later!

Tazi, I am very embarrassed about this whole situation, but would like to pick up my decorative hardware just the same. Do you think the store would still have it? I did make a rather large deposit on it. If the store sold or returned my special order, do they owe me a merchandise credit for the money I put down on the order? For the first few months they made several phone calls to let me know my order was waiting, but they never told me what would happen if I did not pick it up within a certain amount of time. You seem to be a knowledgeable kitty; do you know if it’s too late to pick up my decorative hardware or to get a merchandise credit equal to my deposit?

Signed,
To Heck and Back

Dear To Heck and Back:

It does sound like you have been through quite an ordeal! You must also be in love with this decorative hardware to be willing to pay the $1,500 balance owing on it! Laws differ from state to state, with property being considered abandoned from anywhere between 30 days and one year, depending on the item. It has been my experience, though, that most businesses will not just take your money and run. They will hold onto the item for as long as possible, if storage space allows for it; try to sell the item, if there is interest in it; or return it to the manufacturer, often paying the cost of return shipping and a 10% - 25% restocking fee, all of which could eat up your 50% deposit.

I ran your letter by John M., an employee a local family-owned hardware store that has been in business for over 90 years (so they have seen EVERYTHING!). I was told that when a customer special orders something they do their best to honor that order. If the item was to be paid for in advance, they will hold onto it “forever” because the customer owns it, and they will do their best to make sure the customer is aware that it is still there, often calling months or sometimes years after the item has been ordered. John added that a 50% down payment is significant, and they will usually hold the item until it is picked up. As a hypothetical, he added that if the item was sold to another person for full cost, the original deposit should be honored if the customer wishes to reorder; however, if the price of the item has increased the customer will be responsible for paying the price difference.

It looks as though your chances are pretty good that your decorative hardware is still waiting for you! In talking with John, he reassured me that you should not feel embarrassed about your situation that these things happen. You will not be required to give a reason why you are so late in picking it up, so you need not fear anything. Personally, I think the store would be grateful that you have finally come to retrieve your order – in addition to the balance of the sale they will be getting back some very valuable storage space.

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sexless Marriage Can Only Be Endured For So Long

I will cut right to the chase. I am a high ranking police officer and a Deacon in my church. I have spent my life upholding the laws of man and the laws of God, but I now find myself tempted to break the latter.

I have been married for twenty years and during that time my wife and I have only had sex a handful of times. “Joyce” was saving herself for marriage when we met, which was once of the things that attracted me to her. It was not until our honeymoon that she told me she believed sex should be for procreation only, and that she was not ovulating that week. I’ll leave you to figure out the details. As disappointed as I was to find this out, I had just taken my marriage vows! I thought Joyce was just a scared newlywed and that things would change. They did not. Joyce and I have three children, all grown; and let me tell you, Joyce was pretty accurate about when she was ovulating, so it has been a very frustrating twenty years. My youngest child is graduating high school this year, and my plan was to retire from the police force and find myself a cozy bachelor apartment. I was not planning on divorcing Joyce – I intended to honor my wedding vows – I figured we would just live separate lives. That was until I discovered “Veronica”.

Veronica is the new Receptionist at my church office. She and I work closely together because I am often in there on church business. At first I thought she was a nice lady, pleasant enough to be a Receptionist but nothing more. Then I got to know her and found out she is recently divorced and going to school to become a Nurse, working as a Receptionist to pay the bills that the alimony does not. Like me, she was married to someone who felt sex was a sin it was not procreational, only her case is a bit different because she got married in her mid-thirties and found out she was infertile after only two years of being married. For the first time in my life I feel like I have met a woman who understands me, and Veronica and I have become quite close.

Don’t misunderstand me, Tazi, I’ve had my share of women hitting on me; but I have always honored my vows, out of respect for my wife and kids and respect for my God and church. Now things feel different, since I was planning on going solo for my remaining years. Normally, I would talk to my pastor about my problems but this is just a little too cozy for comfort. What do you think I should do?

Signed,
The Captain
Dear Captain:

I think you should have sought marriage counseling several years ago. Since that ship has sailed, I think you need to consider Veronica’s position. She is a Receptionist, a low-ranking position in the church; you are a Deacon, a person of higher rank and respect; as well as a ranking police officer, also a person of power and respect. You have not mentioned if Veronica has expressed interest in you or if you have mentioned your interest in her, but you put her in a difficult position.

If you were to leave your wife to be with Veronica, who do you think is going to bear the brunt of the blame? Tongues will most definitely be wagging, and unless you want to violate your wife’s privacy those tongues are going to be calling Veronica a Jezebel! Furthermore, if Veronica does not have romantic feelings for you she may be hesitant to say anything for fear of losing her job, being harassed in the community by your brothers in blue, or suffering employment discrimination down the road (police and hospitals work closely together).

It does not sound like Veronica has been divorced for very long, and it does sound like she is concentrating on improving her life – starting with her return to school and working for the means to pay for it. Nursing school is extremely demanding and the stresses of a normal relationship can be enough to drive one to distraction, lest the relationship unravel and fail. The relationship you seek to start with Veronica cannot be considered “normal” under the circumstances and would be doomed to difficulty even if she was not in school.

Since you were planning on moving out of your family home and into a “bachelor apartment” before you met Veronica, I suggest you stay that course. Perhaps a separation is what you and your wife both need in order to clear the air between the two of you. Should you decide to remain separated, I would suggest a legal separation over a divorce with consideration for your status in the Church. People rarely take it well when their religious leaders go through a divorce and want to know the details as to why it is happening. Once separated, I think your sex life should be an issue between you and your conscience – I am not going to judge you; but I am not comfortable advising you, either.

If after an appropriate amount of time has passed you still seek to court Veronica, make it abundantly clear to all that it is you who sought her, not the other way around. Whether you realize it or not, you hold much of the power in this situation, and could do a lot of harm to the reputations of both your wife and Veronica if you do not consider things from their point of view.

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Teens Ask For Dating Advice From Tazi-Kat

Dear Tazi:

My friends and I are having what we would call a "debate" and our Social Studies teacher would call a "discussion" because we have no researched fact on the subject. Whatever! He makes things so awkward sometimes! Anyway, our "debate" is about boys and relationships and since we love your column we hoped you would answer the question for us: Do you think it is better to date lots of boys but have short-term relationships or date only one or a few boys and have long-term relationships.

My friend Amanda thinks it is best to date lots of boys so you can discover what you like and don't like, and to learn how boys think. My friend Jennifer thinks that you should hold out for the one special boy that you like and have a long-term relationship with him. I think if a boy asks you on a date you should give him a chance because you might learn that you like him after you spend some time with him, but Amanda and Jennifer both say no - that if you are going to accept a date with a boy you should like him first. We have all just finished our first year of middle school, and are expecting boys to start asking us on dates soon so we really need to know the answer. Thanks, Tazi! You're the ace boon kitty!

Sincerely,
Courtney

Dear Courtney:

I am also a bit confused...what's an ace boon? I am just a little kitty who (almost) never leaves the backyard. Your words sound like a compliment, so I will take them that way! (Readers, if anyone can translate teen-speak for me that would be awesome!).

Since you and your friends are expecting boys to start asking you on dates next school year, I suppose it's time Tazi had the talk with you about dating; I am so glad you brought it up, so here it is:

1) There is nothing wrong with being in a long-term relationship, but you are far too young to be in a serious (physical or emotional) relationship, which is what long-term relationships generally become. Your bodies and your minds are still developing, which can be overwhelming enough as it is. Add in the emotional roller-coaster that a relationship can be and you will definitely be distracted from more important things - like your schoolwork, your family, and your friends. Keep things light! Sixteen and pregnant is not as cool as it looks on MTV.


Photo courtesy of I'm Not Right In the Head.com


2) Unless you want to develop a reputation for being easy (even if you aren't) dating several boys over a short-period of time is never a good idea. It generally leads to hurt feelings and arguments among the people who take sides when the break-up occurs. Who needs that kind of drama? You can discover how boys think and what you like or don't like in a boy by being friends with them, so I suggest that you all get to know the boys you plan on dating through mutual friends and group events - like a school dance, a movie night, or sporting event - where there is a pretty equal mix of boys and girls.

3) Accepting a date with someone you do not know well is a bad, bad, bad idea! This goes for boys as well as girls. People are not always as nice as they seem. Plus, a date with someone you do not know well can make for a very "awkward" time. If you absolutely, positively MUST give the person a chance I suggest you go to a crowded place or a group event, or better yet eat lunch with him in the school cafeteria. Never be alone with someone you do not know - this is good advice for anyone who dates, regardless of their age!

So...who wins your "debate"? I would call it a draw. You all have good intentions towards dating, and when the time comes you will discover just where and how to adjust these ideas to reach your personal comfort zone until the time comes - many moons from now - that you are ready to settle down with that special someone.

Snuggles to all,
Tazi


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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Is The Montessori Method The Best Choice For This Child?

Dear Tazi:

I am livid with my son and I am not certain what to do with him. I just received notice that he is to be held back in school next year due to failing grades. I have done everything in my power to assist my son in his learning goals, but to no avail.

When “Chad” first started bringing home failing grades, I sat with him to assist him with his homework. When he continued to bring home failing grades, I started revoking privileges and hired a private tutor to work with him who told me that Chad has great learning potential but no great desire to learn. Chad continued to bring home failing grades. I tried grounding him and attending parent-teacher conferences. I had him tested for ADD, Autism, and every other disorder under the sun. The doctors all tell me that there is nothing wrong with Chad medically, he simply lacks a desire for classroom learning.

I am now considering other options, each more expensive than the other: I can let Chad learn from his mistakes and see him held back a year; I can send Chad for counseling and hope that this gets to the root of his problems; or I can send Chad to a private, alternative school that teaches through the Montessori method. Although the third option is obviously the best one, it is also a very expensive one that is not available to the average-income family. I could easily afford to send Chad to such a school; but I do not want him to grow up like my brothers did, thinking Mommy and Daddy’s money will solve every problem and that having money somehow made them special (well, all children are special, so I will say more special than other children).

I am a widowed mother trying to do the best by my son without spoiling him in the process. I really can't talk to my friends about this issue because we do not see eye to eye when it comes to money and how much to spend on the children. I have considered talking to his teachers, but I live in a state where public education teachers are feeling rather volatile as it is; I believe that to bring up the idea of private school with them will not garner me an unbiased opinion. I read your "ghostwriter's" biography and am impressed enough to ask you: What would you recommend?

Signed,
At Wit's End


Dear At Wit's End:

I can appreciate the way you are trying to raise your son, and it sounds like you are a very involved parent. You do not say how old Chad is or what grade he is in, but I am aware that Montessori schools accept children from birth through age 18 so I am pretty certain that Chad would qualify for admission age-wise.

Montessori schools are great schools for children who do not fit into the regular educational mold of public schooling, but before deciding to send your son to a Montessori school I would suggest a few meetings with their teachers, parents of other Montessori students, and with the Administration of the school itself - all to make certain that a Montessori education is what is right for your son. The lack of a formal classroom setting and the emphasis on creativity offered through the Montessori method may appeal to your son, but he will still be required to work towards learning goals.

If traditional classroom learning is what Chad finds so off-putting than a Montessori school would be a good choice for him. However, if Chad simply has no desire to learn - or even any natural curiosity at all - the Montessori method may not work for him, as it is based upon working with a child's creativity and natural learning curve to educate and problem solve. If in fact the latter is the case, you may want to seek a second opinion on whether or not Chad has a medical issue that is somehow holding him back.

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. You mention having him checked for "every disorder under the sun". Have you had him checked for dyslexia? This visual disability can frustrate and rob even the most intelligent children of the desire to learn.


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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

She Thought The Psychic Was A Liar; Now Wonders If She Should Pay Her After All

Dear Tazi:

I have a problem and was hoping you could give me some advice on it. About six months ago I went to a psychic who told me that I would be having a surprise pregnancy within a year. I was very upset at this prediction, told the psychic she was a fraud, and walked out without paying. You see, I am a lesbian. When I was married several years ago (to a man - long story!) one of the issues that ended my marriage was an infertility problem on my end. I was told by the doctors that my PCOS [poly-cystic ovary syndrome] would make it "difficult to impossible" for me to conceive.

About three months ago, while walking home from work, I was sexually assaulted. I did not report the assault like I should have, for fear of how I would be treated, being a lesbian and all. I live in a small town, and they are not very progressive here. Well, guess what? The psychic was right, after all! I have not been feeling right since the attack, so my partner finally convinced me to see a doctor. The doctor did a pregnancy test, and it turns out I am three months pregnant. My partner and I both desire children, and together we are working through the whole issue of how our child was fathered. This is not the problem, just the work-up to my question.

My problem is: Do you think I should go back to the psychic and offer her payment for the reading she gave me, along with an apology? My friends say that is she was a real psychic she would have known I was going to be assaulted; but I remember that she did say this would be a "surprise" pregnancy - and it certainly is! Her fee was not cheap, and I could use the money for my upcoming baby expenses, but at the same time I feel just a little bit immoral about not paying her for a prediction that actually came true.

Signed,
Mama-To-Be


Dear Mama-To-Be:

I admire your strength to get through the ordeal of your assault, and the fortitude required to carry your pregnancy to term. Although I am certain this is not the way you imagined becoming a parent, I am happy that this dream is coming true for you and that you and your partner are coping well with whatever emotional issues you are having.

As for whether or not you should return to the psychic with an apology and payment for services rendered: some "psychics" have a true gift, but there are also a lot of charlatans out there. Was the psychic you saw recommended to you by someone who has gone to her in the past? Do you feel that the remainder of the reading that she gave you was accurate and fair? Most importantly, did you storm out of the reading at the beginning, middle, or end; and how long was the reading supposed to last? Was it a scheduled appointment or a walk-in?

I think that you owe the psychic an apology, at the very least. Explain to her your sensitivity towards your fertility and why you reacted as you did. If your appointment was a scheduled one, you owe her for the full cost of the reading, regardless of when you left. If she is as good a businesswoman as she is a psychic, she will offer you the remainder of your reading time in return (if she has some un-booked time). If the reading was a walk-in - and you left within the first few minutes of the reading - I would offer the psychic an amount equal to the time spent with you. I am not sure what the value is in your town, but in my market in-person psychic readings generally cost $1/minute. If you were a walk-in but stayed for the entire reading, you owe her both an apology and the entire amount due. I realize that you need the money, but doing readings is how the psychic makes her living. Pony up!

Snuggles,
Tazi

P.S. I encourage you to report your attack, even if you do not wish to press charges. You obviously have proof of the assault, and can provide DNA evidence should another woman be victimized as you have been. --T.K.

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

Monday, June 11, 2012

A "Wizard Of Oz" Wedding Is Not For Everyone

Dear Tazi:

I read your recent column about the woman who was to get married later this summer. She and her boyfriend both work as circus clowns and he wanted to get married in full makeup and costume. I am in a similar situation, so I showed your answer to my girlfriend who thinks ours is a completely different situation. We have agreed to follow your advice.

My girlfriend and I are planning our wedding. We met while in high school while acting in a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz, and the play/movie have always been special to us. She played the lead role of Dorothy while I was a talking tree that threw apples at her. For our wedding, my "Dorothy" would like to have a Wizard of Oz theme. She has suggested that she dress as Dorothy and I could be the Tin Man, because he didn't know what it felt to love until he met Dorothy. She even wants the preacher to dress up like the Wizard of Oz himself and for the honor attendants to dress as Munchkins; and oh, yeah, for her dog "Toto" to be the ring-bearer! The aisle would even be a yellow brick road, and her bouquet would be a replica of the basket Dorothy carried throughout the movie and, yes, she would be wearing blue gingham and ruby red slippers.

I was sort of OK with the whole idea until Dorothy suggested that my mother dress as the Wicked Witch of the West as a "joke" since mothers-in-law are supposed to be witches (she wanted her own mother to dress as Glinda the Good Witch). I didn't find this at all funny and told her I would not go along with the Wizard of Oz theme if my mother had to be the evil witch. Dorothy thinks I am being unreasonable, that the whole theme is all in good fun. She suggested I ask my Mom her opinion about dressing up as the Wicked Witch of the West before I refuse to go along with the theme. I suggested that she do the same, but Dorothy has apparently "promised" her Mom that she could be Glinda. I know my Mom, and she will not take this very well. What do you think I should do, Tazi?

Signed,
Feeling Like The Cowardly Lion


Dear Feeling Like the Cowardly Lion:

I am in LOVE with your wedding theme! Who doesn't love The Wizard of Oz? Oh, that's right...the person who is told they must paint themselves green, dress up as a witch, and be escorted by a blue-skinned flying monkey.

From the sound of your wedding plans, the whole theme has been planned for quite some time. It sounds like Dorothy has her heart set on a Wizard of Oz theme, so I doubt anything I have to say will talk her out of this. I am, however, putting my paw down at making your Mom dress up as the Wicked Witch of the West. Please do not think of yourself as a Cowardly Lion; unless your mother has an amazing sense of humor, anyone would be scared to approach the woman who raised them with this type of request. Are your honor attendants aware that they will be asked to dress as the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild? The preacher aware that he will be dressed as the Wizard? Or are you waiting for a special moment to spring this information on all of them? Might I suggest a compromise?

It is obvious that the whole Wizard of Oz theme is important to you, but you might want to scale back the ideas of costumes for all. The Tin Man costume involves extensive makeup and a very uncomfortable costume. Have you thought about this yet? In the film version of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy was supposed to be a young girl. Is this how your Dorothy would like to be dressed on her wedding day? I believe traditional wedding garb (for ALL, not just the bride and groom!) would be more appropriate, with the ruby red slippers making for a nice touch. You can still walk down the yellow brick road to the alter, hold your reception in an Emerald City themed ballroom, and have all the accouterments of Oz without offending your family, friends, or guests.

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tazi Recommends: Blog Her

Dear Readers:

Last week I opened my email box only to get torn a new one by several Moms, after having recommended Blossom Bunkhouse. As one reader put it, the site was "absurd" and "an insult to hard-working Moms everyone". Another reader said, "Like I am not busy enough running around trying to keep my household running, I am now supposed to find the time to undertake 'Elf' projects for every occasion?" (I believe this one was a reference to St. Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day Elf projects/spoofs). Mea culpa! Not having children of my own (or maybe I do...I wasn't neutered until after I was adopted off the streets) I was unaware of how many hot-buttons a site like Blossom Bunkhouse would push. Have pity on the kitty? Please? Because this week I am recommending

Blog Her
sponsored by The BlogHer Publishing Network


What do I love about Blog Her? In a word, everything. It is a site about women, for women, by women. On Blog Her you will find dozens of blogs on topics of both interest and concern to women of all walks of life. There are serious articles on News and Politics and fun style suggestions on how to dress like Sarah Palin (think what you want about her, she does have some nice clothes!). There are blogs on Career, covering current issues like the fact that a woman has not moderated a general-election Presidential debate in 20 years as well as blogs offering career advice like How to Be a Good Supervisor (Without Really Trying). In fact, there are blogs on every topic imaginable - and as an advice columnist, I can imagine a LOT of topics! Especially the topical How Do You Keep Blogging With Hate Comments? (Yes, as adorable as I am, I get my share!)

Blog Her offers thousands of blogs, including my favorite People I Want To Punch In The Throat, which is being honored at this year's Blog Her Conference in New York City (and no, I have not been paid or promoted to say that! I am honestly love this blog as much as its writer loves Tina Fey. Maybe even more...).

If I can figure out how to post on Blog Her, I may start publishing this column through the site myself...stay tuned, and in the meantime check out Blog Her! I am off to try and find where my Mommie hid my treats - darn woman went and put me on a diet!

Snuggles,
Tazi


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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Your Mother's Living Room Is Not The Place To Be Naked

Dear Tazi:

My adult son moved home with me last year after he lost his job. I do not mind that he is still here because I understand the difficult economy we are experiencing, but I do have a problem with some of his living habits.

“Cameron” does not like to wear clothes. He claims clothing makes him feel restricted and agitates his anxiety which, in order to alleviate, he likes to indulge in what he calls his “naked time”. I am not a prude, but I believe that the place to be unclothed is in the privacy of your bedroom; or the bathroom as you are preparing to shower. I have asked Cameron to wear a bathrobe or at the very least boxer shorts, but it turns out he owns neither – he feels underpants are restrictive and, because he prefers to be nude, sees no need to own a bathrobe. After my life partner caught an eyeful of Cameron one afternoon (he had returned home from work a little early) I put my foot down: absolutely, positively no “naked time” outside of the prescribed areas of bedroom or bathroom – especially since Cameron was not shielding the furniture with a towel.

Cameron’s desire to be naked has lost out to his desire to have a place to live free of charge (I informed him I would kick him out if he was caught naked in the living room again). Now, Cameron is moody and sullen all of the time, insisting that he “needs” his “naked time” to relax and let go of his anxiety and that I am not being fair to him. He has offered to place a towel between his bare backside and my couch and to only indulge himself after 10:00 PM, but my partner and I often like to watch TV in the evening, and do not care to have him sitting stark naked next to us! Cameron has suggested that we watch TV in our bedroom, I have suggested he go be naked in his; but he claims that it “doesn’t count as naked time if it is in the bedroom right before bed”.

Tazi, I am completely disgusted with my son’s need to be bare! I am at my wits end with him over this issue and need some sound advice on how to handle his poor attitude. The man is almost 40 years old – isn’t it time he grew out of this childish obsession with being naked?

Signed,
Seeking Solace


Dear Seeking Solace:

My question for you is: why is your grown son sitting at home naked during the middle of the day? Shouldn’t he be out looking for a job; considering he has been unemployed, by my count, for at least six months? His bare butt on your couch reminds me of an old commercial for a local furniture store, which also reminds me: you might want to buy new furniture or at least get your current upholstery steam-cleaned!

As for Cameron’s aversion to clothing, it is possible that he suffers from a form of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a nervous system disorder that is on the Autism spectrum. People who suffer from SPD have overactive sensory nerves and can be, in many cases, extremely sensitive to touch. Many people who suffer from SPD are what is referred to as “texture eaters” – they will eat (or not eat) particular foods based upon the texture, not the taste. As children, they tend to be clumsy, a trait that can follow them into adulthood. SPD sufferers may also hate the feeling of constricting clothing, preferring to wear cotton/Spandex® stretch type clothing; un-tucked shirts; short, loose-fitting sleeves; and other types of clothes that do not put pressure against the skin. Does this describe your son at all? If so, a consultation with his physician could lead to a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. If this does not describe Cameron – meaning if when he is clothed the items he wears are fitted and his tastes in food are based on flavor not texture – he probably does not suffer from SPD, at least not to the extent that it affects his clothing preferences.

If your son has been diagnosed with anxiety (and by this I mean by a medical professional and not WebMD) there are many ways to control it through both prescription and non-prescription methods. Cameron’s comment that it “doesn’t count as naked time if it is in the bedroom right before bed” leads me to believe that he is using his anxiety as an excuse to steamroll over your house rules. You are right in refusing to bow to his pressure, or his moods.

You should inform Cameron that you would like to see some results from his job search – this means, copies of the help wanted ads to which he has replied; a copy of his most recent resume and cover letter; and weekly appointments at the local state-run job search center. The economy has been bad, but it is picking up in many areas of the country. Any job is better than no job, so if Cameron has to spend a few months flipping burgers so be it. You should also present Cameron with some boxer shorts and a bathrobe, along with the message that if he wants to be naked he can do it in the privacy of his own home, not yours. Even my hero, Puss in Boots, has the decency to wear boots!

Snuggles,
Tazi




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