Tuesday, December 31, 2013

411 On Tipsy Transport For New Year's Eve Revelers

Dear Readers:

Tonight is New Year's Eve, a traditional party night across the globe. Please party safely! If you drink, don't drive; if you drive, don't drink. It really is that simple. Even one drink can affect your ability to effectively operate a motor vehicle.

Nobody wants to leave their car halfway across town and have to retrieve it the next morning, which is why the American Auto Association - AAA - offers the services of it's Tipsy Tow program. AAA members can call their provider from 6PM local time New Year's Eve to 6AM local time New Year's Day. If you are a AAA member, you can call 1-800-AAA-HELP and get a free ride home, complete with a free tow for your vehicle. Now you have no excuse to drive after drinking, or to ride with someone who has been drinking. Call for a ride!

For your convenience, a cut-and-save, pocket-sized information sheet is below. Please print it out before you go out this evening, readers!

Tipsy Tow is not available in all areas, so plan accordingly!

If you are not a AAA member and do not seek to become one, check into the public transportation schedules in your area. Many major cities offer free rides on New Year's Eve to discourage inebriated driving. Nobody wants to start the New Year as a patient in the emergency room - or worse, as a guest of the local morgue. Take care of yourself - don't operate under the influence!


P.S. Thank you to Matt G. of Oregon for passing on this important information!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wife Requests An Open Marriage As Alternative To Divorce

Dear Tazi:

My husband and I have been together since we were 12 years old and were married while we we still just teenagers. I thought we had the kind of marriage that would last forever, but I am starting to think I was wrong. Lately, it seems everything that "Hunter" does annoys me, and I am starting to get out of the house with my girlfriends much more often just to get away from him.

Lately, I have been going to a local bar for karaoke and dancing, and I am discovering all the things I missed by marrying young - including the opportunity to date other men. Now, I don't have my eye on any one man in particular, but there are several that have expressed interest in me if I was interested! I don't particularly want to get divorced - I have young children and I don't want to screw them up, plus we would have to sell our house, divide our financial assets, and it is just easier to stay married. Plus, I really like my in-laws and I do still love my husband...I just want more.

I was reading an article in one of my magazines written by someone who has an open marriage, and I think I would like to give it a try! The more I think about it, the more it makes sense; an open marriage would let Hunter and I develop relationships with other people so we won't be at each other's throats all of the time. I think an open marriage would help Hunter and me appreciate each other more. Plus, I could go out dancing and have fun with other men and not feel guilty about wanting to go home with one of them when they ask me (so far, I have always said no, but I have wanted to say yes!).

I brought my idea up to Hunter and he has a different opinion than me on this subject. He went through the roof, accused me of wanting to cheat and said it's just as bad as cheating, and told me he would divorce me before he allowed me to start sleeping around with other men. Well excuse me, but I don't recall needing his permission to sleep with other men! He said that part was covered in our marriage vows and suggested that maybe I have forgotten what they said. Tazi, I have not forgotten; I just think that I will be better able to honor my husband if I had a little more excitement in my life! I have seriously thought this through and just need a convincing argument to get Hunter to go along with it. As I said, we have been together since we were kids and we are both 25 now. I like to think that my oen marriage idea will help us to grow as a couple, but Hunter thinks it will just tear us apart. What do you think?

Wandering Eyes

Dear Wandering Eyes:

Do you know why I am the only cat that lives in my house, in spite of my Mommie's desire for another kitty to keep me company? Because I do not want another kitty to keep me company! Just as my Mommie is trying to use my "needs" as an excuse to fulfill her wants so you are trying to use the problems in your marriage as an excuse to cheat on your husband!

The next time you go out to a bar to dance or sing karaoke, why not ask your husband if he would like to come along? You seem to be fixated on all of the things you never got the chance to do because you married young. Did you ever think that maybe your husband feels like he missed out on something, too? His unhappiness could be why everything he does seems to annoy you.

You say that you are afraid that a divorce will mess up your children. Do you think having a mother who sleeps around is going to help them grow into well-adjusted adults? Do you really think your in-laws, who you claim to really like, are going to want to have anything to do with you if you turn into a philanderer? If you are only staying in your marriage for the financial benefits you are not being fair to anyone - your husband, your children, or yourself. You owe it to your family to try and work on your marriage before seeking fulfillment elsewhere.

I suggest that you make a list of the reasons you fell in love with your husband. How many of those reasons still exist? People change as they grow, and if you and your husband have not grown together you need to find the place where your paths changed direction and work towards coming together as a couple once more. This will not be easy - or as fun as flirting with random men who are looking for a one-night stand - but the process will lead to a renewed sense of fulfillment in your marriage.

I strongly suggest you seek counseling to deal with your marital issues as well as the problems within yourself. Why do you enjoy the attention from strangers so much that you would be willing to throw away your marriage in order to take your flirtations to the next step? All in all, you must remember that your husband can make decisions, too...and if you decide to start stepping out on him with other men, he may decide to step out on you - permanently. He has already threatened to divorce you; do not doubt that he will follow through with this threat and make your decisions from there.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tazi's Corner #73 - Paging Dr. Dolittle

Dear Readers,

I hope those of you who celebrate had a blessed Solstice, a festive Festivus, a Merry Christmas, and are enjoying a sacred Kwanzaa this past week! My, how busy it has been! I have hardly had time to catch my breath between celebrations (yes, I celebrate them ALL!).

In the midst of my celebrating, I was taken aback by a heart-wrenching story of a fellow kitty cat named Tiger, from West Virginia, who got his back legs caught in an (illegal) bear trap. This brave kitty chewed off both of his hind legs and dragged himself back home in an effort to return to his humans and mewl for assistance..

Tiger is one brave kitty!
(Photo courtesy of Facebook/FortheLoveofAlexInc.)

As you can imagine, Tiger's veterinary bills were large and his humans will need assistance in paying them. I am sure there are those of you out there who believe that a person should not own a pet if they cannot afford to care for one, but which of you has the money set aside for your own catastrophic illness? Which of you could easily write a check for a $20,000 insurance co-pay for an infant born premature or a child suffering from cancer? Unlike human hospitals, animals hospitals have the right to turn away a patient due to inability to pay; unlike a human hospital, precious few animal hospitals will bill a patient for services rendered and unlike human medical insurance a lot of animal doctors do not accept pet health insurance policies. Here in America families struggle to purchase their own health coverage, let alone coverage for a pet. Today I ask you to assist Tiger's family in paying for his medical care. Can you donate a dollar (or more if you are able) to For the Love of Alex Inc. , a non-profit charity which has set up a medical fund to assist Tiger's family with his veterinary bills?

If each and every one of my readers donates a dollar, and asks their friends and families to donate a dollar as well, think of the amount that could be raised to help Tiger and other animals in need of life-saving surgery? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars! All for a donation that will cost you less than a  "short" coffee at Starbucks! Donations can be made by clicking here or by going directly to http://fortheloveofalex.org/donate.html. The site is secure, and you can even donate using your PayPal account! Simply write Tiger's name in the Referred by/Note to Seller box on the donation form! It really is that simple to help this kitty in need!If cats are not your bag, you can also choose to donate to a dog in need of medical assistance; simply specify what type of animal or even medical condition you would like your donation to help! [Ed. Note: If cats are not your bag, why are you reading an advice column written by one? Sorry, could not resist asking that!].

Readers, here is your chance to play Dr. Dolittle to an animal whose human is unable to afford emergency or catastrophic care for their beloved pet. The animals are paging you; please don't ignore them.

Before it was a movie, it was a book series!

If you go to the For the Love of Alex website, you will see that they do not use paid solicitors; I am writing this column for free because I believe it is an important charity to support. If you cannot donate, please help to spread the word by spreading this column via your social media!


P.S.: I realize that there are those of you who believe that cats belong indoors or on a runner, like dogs; that cats are responsible for the death of small animals from field mice to songbirds; that if Tiger had not been out wandering he would never have been injured. Please don't lose sight of the fact that this was an illegal bear trap that injured little Tiger! Rather than an animal, it could have been a child who was permanently maimed.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Series Of Short Questions And Answers

Dear Readers,

People often ask me if my letters are real, and the answer is YES, they are! A lot goes into writing an advice column, and I cannot imagine doing it if I had to write both sides of it! The only changes I make to letters is to correct spelling and grammar, edit for language (you will see synonyms placed in brackets where naughty words are removed), and truncate for space concerns. I try to keep each column between 800 - 1200 words, and some letters run that length on their own!

On the flip side of long letters is the short letter. I increasingly receive private messages through Twitter that are more than 140 characters, but not by much, or quick questions with little details about what surrounds the issue. Without knowing the full story, it is difficult to give a quality answer. Today I am answering some of those letters, because I believe that every letter deserves a response!

Here we go!!

Is It Ever Okay To Steal Someone Else's Food?

Dear Tazi,

What is your opinion on people who steal other people's lunches from the office refrigerator? I believe that if someone puts their lunch in there and labels it, it is their food; but no name means it is fair game for whoever wants to take it. After all, maybe what the "thief" took was the exact same thing that they brought from home and someone else stole theirs! Right?

Not The Thief

Dear Not The Thief:

I believe that an office will provide a refrigerator for the benefit of its employees. It is up to the employee to label their food, because as you point out two people may bring the same exact item - yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit, a sandwich from the local deli. No labels means confusion and inadvertent theft can occur. I do not believe that "no name means fair game" unless the provider of the food explicitly offers to share ("Hey, everyone, I brought in some eclairs! They are in the fridge - help yourself!").

Also a good reason not to steal someone else's food...

It sounds to me like someone stole your labeled lunch so you grabbed someone else's unlabeled treat and got caught in the act! Next time, don't take the law into your own hands - take your complaint to Human Resources!


Could His Brother-In-Law Be Secretly Gay? 
Or Was He Just Really Drunk?

Dear Tazi:

My sister's husband groped my [butt] at a Halloween costume party! He claims that he had been drinking and that he didn't realize that I wasn't his wife (the siblings and spouses did a group costume and all dressed up like different colored crayons). I'd buy that if it weren't for the fact that I am several inches taller than my sister - and a guy. Could my brother-in-law be secretly gay? How do I tell my sister this?

The Red Crayon

Dear The Red Crayon:

Exactly how much did your brother-in-law have to drink that night? How form-fitting were those crayon costumes? How visible were your faces? Before jumping to conclusions, think about the big picture. Has your brother-in-law ever acted so affectionately towards you before? Have you ever suspected that maybe he is interested in men as well as women? Before you suggest to your sister that her hubs might be gay, look at the totality of the evidence before you and not at one isolated incident. Chance are you are over-reacting. Alcohol can make people do crazy things!


Does Tazi-Kat Practice What He Preaches?

Dear Tazi,

You give a lot of good advice. Do you actually follow it yourself?

Just Wondering

Dear Just Wondering:

Thank you for the compliment! I am a cat, which is to say I am one of Earth's most perfect beings and therefore do not make mistakes. But you can bet your tushie  that I make sure my Mommie thinks before she acts and practices what I preach (she is the original recipient of the Tazi-Kat Paw Slap of Disgust!).


Is She Naturally Thin? Or Is She Anorexic?

Hey Tazi ,

I have read your article about thin/skinny bashing. I am so worried about my partner's weight.She is an extremely underweight person .We have issues related to weightiness..

Awaiting Your Suggestion

Dear Awaiting Your Suggestion:

You are a very caring partner to take on such a difficult and sensitive issue. Problems with distorted body image are almost always to blame when a person who is extremely underweight refuses to eat. The question you need to ask is, does she eat very little only when you are around or in general? A lot of people are uncomfortable eating in front of someone they are trying to impress - be it a romantic partner or an important work colleague - for fear of looking undignified. Accidental spills, slurps, or food stuck in one's teeth can deeply embarrass some people.

I will suggest a way to put an end to your arguing, but it is something you must both agree on before following through with it: ask your partner to make an appointment with her doctor for a full and complete physical. She must agree before-hand to share the results with you. If the doctor gives your partner a clean bill of health, in spite of her low body weight, you must accept that she is healthy at her current weight and not pester her about it unless she starts to lose weight without reason (and without putting it back on within a reasonable amount of time). On the flip side, if your partner does not receive a clean bill of health (due to her weight or other issues) she must agree to follow the doctors orders towards a path to wellness. If your partner does not have health insurance, affordable health care is available through community based health-care centers, including many hospitals. Do not let a lack of insurance deter her from pursuing good health!


What Can You Do With A Degree In Women's Studies?

Dear Tazi,

What does a person do with a degree in Gender and Women's Studies? Is that even a real degree?

Old Fashioned

Dear Old Fashioned:

Yes, it is a real degree! As for what you can do with it, the answer is anything you want; it just depends on what area you choose to focus. Many people go on to law school; some become practicing sociologists; others become writers, guidance counselors, or activists. I know Women's Studies graduates in the fields of social work, domestic and global politics, college administration, government...and oh yeah, even one that works in transcription, translating my meows into the written word you are reading here!


That's all for now, readers! Keep those letters - short and long - coming! Snuggles all around! --T.K.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Expensive Sweater Ruined By Toddler - Who Is Responsible?

Dear Tazi:

I have never been fond of children and my cousin and her husband have just given me one more reason to dislike the little creatures. I have just returned from a Christmas dinner at our "Aunt Georgina's" house where my favorite cashmere sweater was ruined by my cousin's two and a half year old son.

Aunt Georgina is elderly, and like a lot of elderly people she keeps the heat on pretty high in her house. I was sweltering in my sweater, so I took it off and placed it over the back of my dinner chair. Aunt Georgina feared it would be ruined when she noticed "Adidas" stroking it repeatedly and sing-songing about how soft it was. She suggested that I put it in the bedroom with the coats, which I did.

After dinner, while sitting around the fire enjoying my family's company, we all noticed a nasty smell emanating from the other room. My brother commented that "it smells like someone needs a diaper change", implying that my cousin or her husband should go find Adidas and change him. My cousin then proclaimed that Adidas no longer wears diapers, that he is potty-training, and that he probably pooped on the floor since there was no potty chair available for his use. (Like our eighty year old aunt would have one?). I can only wish the little monster pooped on the floor!

As soon as my cousin went to investigate, I knew something was wrong. She called Aunt Georgina to the bedroom - where the coats were kept - and I overheard my aunt exclaim a stressed, "Oh dear!". I went into the bedroom and was immediately hit by a wall of the nastiest smell you could imagine! Then, I saw that Adidas had spread my cashmere sweater on the floor and laid a very loose stool out on the center of it! From the look of it, he then used the sleeves to wipe himself. Aunt Georgina saw the look on my face and pulled me into the kitchen where she held me tight while I overcame the urge to throttle the kid.

Tazi, if it was just a sweater it would be one thing, but this sweater was a gift from my late husband who was killed while serving overseas. I would write more, but I think you understand how much that sweater meant to me...and how it is irreplaceable to me. My cousin's husband then added insult to injury by coming into the kitchen and telling me that if I expected him to pay $200 to replace a sweater I was crazy! My cousin overheard him yelling at me and ran in to explain that it wasn't about the money; it's that it's Christmastime and providing for a young child was quite expensive. She then offered to replace my sweater with something of lesser value. Thankfully, Aunt Georgina shooed everyone out of the kitchen at that point just as I burst into tears.

Tazi, no sweater could ever replace the one my husband gave me, and it is not about the replacement value of the sweater. I am upset because my cousin's kid ruined something precious to me and neither parent wants to take responsibility for the "accident". My cousin even went so far to say that I should have put my sweater somewhere safe if I didn't want it ruined and that since Aunt Georgina told me to put it in the bedroom she should be responsible for replacing it! Aunt Georgina graciously offered to do just that, but she is on a limited income and I would not dream of putting such an expense on her.

Has parenting changed so much since I was a child that kids are no longer held responsible for their mistakes? My cousin tells me that if I were a parent I would understand that this was all just a silly accident and I would be more forgiving. While I am angry with Adidas, I am LIVID with his parents! Adidas should know better, but his parents definitely know better! It is for this reason alone that I am demanding that they buy me a replacement sweater. My cousin's husband has told me not to hold my breath waiting and my cousin has suggested - as a compromise - that Aunt Georgina file a claim under her homeowner's insurance, which has a very small deductible that they would be willing to cover. I just don't know what to think!

In A Stinky Situation

Dear In A Stinky Situation:

I can see why all your Aunt Georgina could think to say was "oh dear" because I am thinking the same thing myself. Oh, dear. You have my deepest condolences on the loss of your precious present and on the loss of your husband, who was bravely serving his country at the time of his untimely death. It is obvious you are consumed by grief for the loss of what the sweater symbolized, and not the sweater itself. Is your cousin too boneheaded to see this or does she simply not know that the sweater was a gift from your late husband? You might want to make this point clear before trying to clear the air any further.

Your cousin's husband owes you a HUGE apology for the way he responded to the destruction of your property. His response was tacky and self-centered. Both your cousin and her husband need to own up to their responsibility in this mess - one of them should have been keeping an eye on Adidas and made sure that his potty needs were met, even if that simply meant lifting him up and placing him upon the full sized toilet and then holding him steady while he did his thing. That his parents have not taught him that the floor is not the proper place to go potty can be overlooked in an tightly-timed situation (such as when a child has diarrhea); that Adidas' parents are not instructing him as to the error of his actions is inexcusable. Even wild animals have an innate sense of where and where not to defecate. While it is easy for non-parents to offer parenting advice, there are some issues that just beg for correction. This is one of them. When you consider the fact that Adidas had to seek out your cashmere sweater, pull it to the floor, spread it out, center himself above it, and then use the sleeves to wipe his bottom this does not sound like an emergency situation. (For the record, I would like to add that I am impressed that Adidas was able to wipe his own butt! Credit where credit is due).

If your Aunt Georgina does not mind filing a claim against her homeowner's insurance - and the insurance company will pay the claim - than filing a claim, with your cousin covering the deductible, seems like a reasonable course of action. If the insurance company will not cover the claim, then your cousin must be held responsible for the entire cost. It is not like Aunt Georgina's cat barfed on the sweater; she could not have known that her grand-nephew would take a trot all over it of she placed it on the bed with the coats.

I realize a replacement sweater will not be the sweater that your husband gave you, but you need to remember that your husband and your marriage are not represented by a sweater; they are represented by the love you had for the gift he gave you. I also realize you must feel like you are losing your husband all over again, this time one small bit at a time instead of all at once. The grieving process is not something that continuously flows to a smooth end; it has its starts and stops, its lulls and its rapids to navigate. I can see from the tone of your letter that in the time it took to complete it you oscillate between anger and grief. A few appointments with a grief counselor who specializes in working with war widows may be of considerable help to you.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Is She "High Maintenance" Or Does She Just Have High Standards? Maybe Both!

Dear Tazi,

I am a sophomore in high school, and have been dating since eighth grade. Every year, my family takes off to our beach cottage for the summer, so I have summer boyfriends and school year boyfriends, but nobody I am serious about dating. I am still a virgin, and while keeping it or losing it is not a big deal to me, I am not going to just lay out with a boy for the sake of having sex. I have far too much self-respect!

My problem is that at the start of every school year I start dating someone, but almost as soon as the Fall Ball is over and done with so are we. Boys will break up with me a week before Christmas! The first time it happened, I gave the boy his gift, but he told me he didn't have anything for me because he hadn't gone shopping yet. The second time it happened, I gave the boy his gift but he was polite enough to give it back for return since he hadn't bought me a gift. This year, I heard a rumor that my boyfriend was going to break up with me after the annual Fall Ball at school, so I broke up with him just before Thanksgiving. I had no one to go to the dance with, but a bunch of my friends went without dates and we had a great time! I met a new boy, "Randy", and he asked if he could friend me on Facebook, and I said yes thinking he would ask me out but he never did. I asked my best friend to talk to him, and she told me said he wants to ask me out, but after Christmas.

I could tell my best friend was keeping something from me, so I asked her what else Randy said and at first she said "nothing" but I could see she was lying. I finally got it out of her that Randy said he liked me but he had heard that I was "high maintenance and hands off". He said that he respected my "hands over the sweater" rule but that if he was going to invest some serious coin in a relationship he would want some kind of action in return. Randy also told her that he was waiting until after Christmas to ask me out because he didn't want to have to buy me an expensive gift and didn't want to insult me by buying something that was beneath me.

Whoa! Tazi, I am not some kind of skeeze who puts out in exchange for expensive presents! I wear expensive clothes, nice jewelry, and yes even designer sunglasses but my parents buy them for me and its not like I get new stuff every year (unless I outgrow it - that's different!). I would be thrilled if a boy bought me a gift card to Starbucks or a couple of OPI nail polishes in colors I like because it shows that he pays attention to what I like! And that comment about respecting my hands over the sweater rule? I want to know where he heard that and what my past boyfriends are saying about me! While it is true I don't let boys put their hands up my shirt it is only because none of them have dated me long enough to make it to second base! (My Mom tells me that is actually third base, but she is kind of old.).

Now I don't know what to do when Randy finally asks me out. He seemed so nice at first, and we like talking on Facebook, and he texts and tweets me all of the time, but if he is only looking for sex and if he is going to believe what my ex-boyfriends say about me than I am not so sure if I want him as my boyfriend. Why do boys have to be so stupid, Tazi?


Dear Sin-Sin-Single:

You sound like a mature young woman and - in spite of his comments - Randy sounds like a nice young man. As you know, high school can be a tough place where everyone wants to fit in; how do you think it would be for Randy if his friends found out he was okay with your "hands off" policy? He would probably get teased and have his sexuality questioned. It sounds like his comment about putting some "serious coin" into a gift was just bravado; after all, he also mentioned that he was afraid you would not like the type of gift he can afford to buy you - but instead of being upset that you would think his gift beneath you Randy is worried about insulting you. To me, that sounds like he is seriously in like with you!

In the immortal words of "The Fonz" (my Mommie is old, too!), "Christmas is for giving, not for trading!"

Quite possibly the coolest man on earth!

Since school will be out for vacation by the time this letter is printed, why not look for a present to give Randy when you see him again at school? It doesn't have to be anything expensive - a gift card to Starbucks, perhaps, and an invite to join you for coffee would be a nice way of letting him know that you like him; that gifts do not have to be expensive to impress him; and that a gift given does not mean a gift is expected in return. You can even tell him that!

As for your other question; if you want to know what your ex-boyfriends are saying about you, I suggest that you walk up to them and ask. Just march right up to one of them at the lunch table, channel your inner diva, and demand to know why you are hearing he implied you were a high maintenance woman! Normally, I do not advocate drama, but sometimes boys will act one way when they are among the guys and an entirely different way when a girl steps in. Watch the movie Grease for a perfect example of this...

The answer to your last question - "why do boys have to be so stupid" - is a college-level/PhD question; entire semester long classes have been dedicated to exploring the male psyche, men and masculinities, and the pressures boys face to be the kind of super-star they grew up watching on TV and in the movies (think Tony Stark, aka Iron Man) while at the same time being a kinder, gentler, type of man that society also demands they be; is it any wonder boys are so confused? (Not stupid! Please do not judge an entire gender by the actions of a few! That is sexist!).


P.S. You know it's not against the law for a girl to ask a boy out on a date! If you really like Randy, ask him out on a date!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tazi's 2013 Christmas Newsletter

Dear Readers,

A Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

I have discovered that it is the time of year that Christmas newsletters fill the mailbox (I have even received a few in my mailbox, from those who know my home address, and my email, from those who do not. I thank all of you who thought of me!). I hate feeling left out of your human traditions, so I have decided to write my own Christmas newsletter and share it with you here! My Editor decided that we should take a vacation this month, so this is a little later than most, but not too late! Today is Christmas Day!

I have absolutely no plans of giving you a year in ordered review, so jump in and jump around with...

free logo - http://www.sparklee.com

Holiday Greetings to One and All!

It has been a busy year here at the Tazi-Kat household! For starters, my Mommie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rhode Island this past summer! You would think that would give her more time to spend with me, but no...she decided to take a few more classes - an American History class "for fun" and a Sociology class because she may need it for a graduate school program, so she thought it best to get it out of the way now. Is this woman sick? She seriously needs a full time job to keep her busy! (Not to mention, the extra treat money would be nice!).

Soon, very soon, this pig will be full of treat money for ME!!!!!

In other big news, this was the year that I figured out that the front door to the house also leads outside! The humans always thought I was afraid of that door, but the truth is I just couldn't figure out where it led - everything looks so different from this view - starting with the lack of a fence to keep me inside!

You will NEVER get me back inside this fence! Never, I say!
We had a terrible winter here in Southern New England! Winter Storm Nemo dumped three feet of snow on my  yard, over which I was quite angry; I learned the hard way that snow, unlike the ground beneath it, is not solid. Since the white stuff was too deep for me to move my legs, I had to be rescued by the humans; they made me spend the rest of the winter indoors, deprived of squirrels to chase! Now that winter is here again and the dreaded white stuff is on the ground I will be looking for a pair of kitty-sized snow-shoes. Does anyone know where I can buy some?

No laughing at my humiliation, please!

Speaking on Nemo, my dear friend Nemo Kat passed on just a few weeks ago at the age of 19 1/2. He leaves his sister Pookie Kat and his human, Miss Maya. While on the topic of pet passages, my little sister, Miss Jingles the mouse, died at the ripe old age of 21 months. Considering that feeder mice generally do not live more than a year (even if they are not fed to the snakes) I'd say she had a good, long life! My stress levels are down now that I do not have to share my Mommie's attention with the little critter, but I do miss her. I am considering getting a kitten to replace her. Donations in memory of both Nemo and Miss Jingles can be made to For the Love of Alex Inc. or to your local animal shelter, please. 

In happier news, the vet told me I have lost a pound since my last visit! Mommie says this does not mean I can eat more snax in search of that pound. I am told that I have to send two more pounds in search of the one I lost. I hate dieting. It makes me cranky and a bit delusional, I think...I am seriously considering getting a kitten! I turned 10 this summer, and believe I am ready to parent a young feline. Let's see what 2014 brings!

Then again, I can see this not working out too well!

In other news, the Mommie person continues to be neglectful of my litter boxes, only cleaning them every other day. My five food bowls could stand a little more attention…which reminds me, my regular brand of cat-food was reformulated this year! At first I was offended! The bag said "new and improved", which meant I have been eating old and inferior for quite some time now, but then I tried the new formula and I think they got it wrong. Friskies, please bring back the Griller's Blend Original!  This tender and crunchy stuff is for the birds! I have discovered the joy of "Rise 'n' Shine/Sunny With a Chance of Awesome"; so much so that I am now refusing to eat any of my leftover Griller's Blend. Mommie says we will donate it to a feral colony. She is so generous with my food!

I continue to learn how to understand Spanish, although I cannot speak it very well, unless I am discussing feline matters, especially matters pertaining to how handsome I am! I never tire of hearing people tell me that I am "guapo"! As I have said in the past, I think more humans should learn how to speak “cat-ese”. You already meow at us; you could at least learn the meaning of what you are saying! You would be surprised...

Well, that is all the excitement that is going on here! There is no Hubs to be promoted to partner in the law firm; no Biff the achieve straight-A’s at Harvard; no Muffy to be voted Student Government President or Head Cheerleader…the furthest that I travel is next door, to visit Bentley the Chihuahua so I have no details of exotic trips to bore you with or make you envious.  I do not play bridge, Bunco, or hang out at the cluuuuuuub, and I don’t think you would like to hear me brag about how large my last hairball was, so it looks like I will end this letter here! If you were expecting something like the Christmas Jammies video, I am sorry to disappoint...as a cat, I have far too much self-respect to humiliate myself like that!

I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday, and a wonderful New Year!  May all of your dreams come true!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tweet Your Christmas Stories To @TaziKat!

Dear Readers,

Since it is Christmas Eve I will be celebrating with my family and the large bag of kitty snax I see hidden in the far reaches of the Christmas tree; for some reason, my humans thought I would not go after them if they were tucked away there!  Such Christmas fools!

I will get those kitty snax, even if it kills the tree!

I would like to wish you all a very relaxing holiday, and to those who do not celebrate, a relaxing day off tomorrow, courtesy of America's Judeo-Christian traditions. Speaking of which, are any of my Jewish readers going to a "Matzo Ball" this year?

I doubt I will be able to sleep a wink tonight; I will be on the lookout for Santa! I plan on attacking the big guy and digging through his toy sack for just the right gift for Mommie. Do you think she will like a big bag of Skittles candy? She got a four-pound bag last year (that's 7 and 1/2 kilos, my Canadian friends!) and it seemed to go over very well! I love chasing them around the floor, almost as much as I love chasing chipmunks around the house! Speaking of chipmunks, Mommie was not amused with the dead chipmunk I gave her a few  Christmases ago. Personally, I thought it was the best Christmas gift ever!

I plan on attacking the real Santa, too!

What, dear readers, is the best gift you have ever received for the holidays? What is the worst gift you have ever received? Please, share your stories with me! Just this once, I will not mock your crazy human behavior of buying the wife a crock pot for Christmas! I receive so many letters with tales of woe; today I would like to hear your tales (tails?) of happiness and laughter! You can comment here at the end of the column, or comment on Facebook or on Twitter, with the hash-tag AskTazi, or by direct tweet to @TaziKat. I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

I am off to bed now...the quicker you fall asleep, the quicker Santa comes to your house, you know!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, December 23, 2013

How Long Should You Be Dating Before Exchanging Christmas Gifts?

Dear Tazi:

I have been dating a guy since September and am quite upset with him. When I asked "Alexander" what he wanted for Christmas he told me that he did not want to exchange Christmas gifts this year; he felt it was "too soon to be that serious" about each other. How serious does one have to be to exchange Christmas gifts? Ours is an intimate relationship, and as far as I know we are not seeing other people, so how much more serious does he want to get before we exchange gifts?

I waited until after Thanksgiving to ask him a second time what he would like for Christmas, and he responded that he already told me it was "too soon" in our relationship to exchange Christmas gifts. I asked him why he felt that way, and he told me that exchanging gifts of any kind is a sign of deep commitment; that if you end up breaking up you don't want to have a bunch of mementos around that will remind you of that person. When I took this to mean he planned on breaking up with me after the holidays, Alexander told me I was overreacting; that he does not plan on breaking up with me but that he does not know what the future holds.

I feel like Alexander is sending me mixed messages. Meanwhile, all of my friends are talking about what they are getting their boyfriends for Christmas and asking me what I will be getting Alexander. So far, I have just shrugged and said "I don't know"; told them it's a secret; and pretended to be putting things off until the last minute. Should I buy Alexander something for Christmas anyway, so I can at least be honest with my friends when they ask me what I got him for Christmas? But then how do I respond when they ask me what Alexander got me without making him look like a complete jerk?

Running Out Of Time!

Dear Running Out Of Time:

You could be honest with your friends by explaining to them that you and Alexander have decided not to exchange Christmas gifts this year, since your relationship is still in the early stages. You say that your relationship is "an intimate one" and I presume you mean physically intimate, but do you also have an emotionally intimate relationship? Has he introduced you to his friends as his "girlfriend" or simply as "a friend" or has he not introduced you to them at all? Do you know Alexander's favorite color, brand of cologne/after-shave, and what his favorite food is? Can you read his moods and know what triggers them? Do you know what turns him on outside of the bedroom? If you know none of this, how could you possibly buy him a gift that has special meaning between the two of you? Or were you planning on buying him a CD or Blu-Ray? (In which case you will need to know his musical and movie tastes).

It is possible that Alexander was deeply hurt in  the past and had to purge his life of painful physical reminders of that relationship. (I know many a woman who has made a trip to the local gold and silver buyer to rid herself of jewelry from boyfriends past!). Rather than disrespect Alexander's wishes, why not give him a creative homemade gift? Cookies, brownies, or other baked goods are always a delicious way to show you care! You could also write him a sentimental message inside a Christmas card (just don't go overboard) or offer to take him out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve to celebrate your "non-Christmas" celebration.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tazi's Corner #72 - Let's Create An American "Boxing Day" Tradition!

Dear Readers,

Approximately 250 years ago (237 1/2, to be exact) the American Colonies declared their independence from all things British and over the next few decades created what it now known as the United States of America. Such was their desire to form a new culture that they chose to separate themselves from all things British - a great irony, when one considers the United States' obsession with the British royal family - including British traditions. It is one such tradition I wish to speak upon today, and ask that we put our own, "American" twist to it; that tradition is Boxing Day.

Boxing Day traditionally occurs on December 26th, the day after Christmas and is a day to celebrate those who provide services and therefore must work on Christmas Day. Originally house servants were given this day off to celebrate the Christmas holiday with their own families (having served their employers on Christmas) and were given a boxed gift from their employer as a token of appreciation (thus the name, "Boxing Day"). Modern Boxing Day celebrations include taking part in eccentric sporting activities, like swimming the English Channel; spending time with family; or even shopping the post-Christmas sales. Essentially, Boxing Day has turned into a day of further celebration and indulgence...but what if it could be something more?

Gosh I love Boxing Day...

Among Catholics, December 26th is the much forgotten Feast of Saint Stephen, the first martyr (and the day celebrated in the carol Good King Wenceslas), a day to bring alms to the poor. I like this tradition much better, and would ask that you consider starting your own Boxing Day tradition in this vein, regardless of your religious affiliation (or lack thereof).

Each December, millions of dollars are spent on presents - toys, clothes, games, electronics, you name it! I ask, is any of this stuff going to replace the things you already have or is it simply going to be added to your stockpile of stuff? Wouldn't it be nice if you could box up your "old" while putting away the "new" and donate it to charities that provide for those in need? Instead of boxing up the Christmas ornaments, why not spend this day boxing sweaters you will no longer wear because you have several new ones? What are you planning on doing with that "old" gaming system now that you have a new XBox One or PlayStation 4? How much do you expect it will fetch on eBay? Why not donate these items to the Salvation Army? You could even get a receipt for the tax deduction!

This year, let's make Boxing Day about extending the true meaning of Christmas - sharing; caring; and giving of ourselves to others, not of overindulging in sweet treats, alcohol, and football.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Husband Wants "Booty Drawers" For Christmas

Dear Tazi:

Why is it okay for women to shop at places like Fredrick's of Hollywood, but when guys want to buy something from their men's line women immediately think they are gay or looking to cheat?

This year past, I went on a reduced-carb diet and took up CrossFit training. I lost over 70 pounds and went from paunchy to fly. To celebrate my new look, I asked my wife to buy me some booty-drawers style underwear that hug my frame. You know what I mean, right? Here's a link to a pair I have in mind:

Photo courtesy of the writer

My wife gave me a funny look and asked me why I would want to wear "gay man's underwear". I told her that booty drawers aren't just for gay men; that they are for hot men everywhere, and now that I had the look I wanted to show it off for her. She told me she was fine with my regular boxer briefs that she buys for me at Walmart and that if I need new underwear she will pick some up for me on her next trip. Tazi, my ego was crushed.

I let the matter slide, but when my wife came home with underwear from Walmart today I again told her that I wanted some booty drawers, and that maybe "Santa" could bring me some. I tried telling her that if he did, she would be getting something in return. Her eyes brightened and she said, "that pasta pot from Williams-Sonoma?" She was serious.

I reminded my wife that I don't eat pasta, and she got very upset, asking me if I am looking to have an affair since I seem so eager to show off my new form. I told her I want to show it off for her, but she didn't seem convinced. Tazi, I want to be the guy who gets the appreciative stares when he walks down the street. I want my wife to want everyone to give her jealous looks because I am with her! Booty drawers will show off my gluteal definition like boxer briefs just can't. Why can't she understand this? I think it's because she has always looked hot, but when I try to tell her that she tells me that flattery will not work on her. What will?

No Longer Fat

Dear No Longer Fat:

Is your wife talking about the 8-quart multi-purpose pot with draining insert? I can see why her eyes brightened over the idea of receiving this!!

Chef's porn...

While your desire for "booty drawers" is bound to raise some eyebrows, your reasoning behind it is understandable. Whereas you have lost weight, it seems you have yet to find your self-esteem. I am not sure it exists in a pair of booty drawers. Are you sure that looking good for your wife is all you want? What if you do not get the reaction you crave from her? Would you be able to resist those appreciative glances that are thrown your way when she is not by your side?

I am not of the mind that one partner should have veto power over what the other partner wears in public, but I do not believe that a partner should have to buy something that they do not want the other partner to wear. If you want to wear booty drawers, you should go out and buy yourself some booty drawers. However, don't be surprised if your wife is upset that you spent all sorts of money on something nobody but she (and the guys in the gym locker room) are going to see!

I think that you and your wife should have a talk about the reasons behind your desire to show off your behind. Has it occurred to you that your wife has always thought you were "fly"? Have you thought that maybe she does not want other women throwing appreciative glances at her man - especially in her presence? While it is nice to know that others find you attractive, it is disrespectful to your partner for others to express that appreciation in front of her. I am not suggesting you wear a niqab or a burka in public; just that you exercise a little discretion and not advertise in the front window what is not for sale in the store!

 A few sessions with a health and fitness counselor may be able to help you adjust to the new feelings you are having about your looks and how to handle them in such a way that does not upset those you love.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, December 20, 2013

"Thin Bashing" Makes Being Underweight Even Harder

Dear Tazi:

I am a woman in my mid-thirties and have always had the same problem with my appearance since I was a child: I am too thin. I eat healthy and exercise in an attempt to put on muscle and increase my size, but I have a very small frame and will probably always be super-thin. My doctor tells me I am healthy, albeit being slightly underweight (muscle adds weight but not bulk to my frame), and not to worry too much about it so long as I do not feel dizzy or have heart palpitations or any other issues associated with being underweight. I have been able to deliver two healthy children, but after both of my pregnancies I lost the weight immediately - and my curves along with it :-( .

My problem is that many of my friends think I must be a closet anorexic and will not get off of my back about how thin I am - they are constantly trying to force me to eat "more" - and will encourage me to eat sugary foods. I eat approximately 2,000 calories a day, so I am not starving myself! Since when does "more" equal unhealthy? I do indulge occasionally, but I am not one for sweets; they hold no attraction for me.

Invariably, after I explain myself to my friends, someone will always accuse me of bragging about how I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight. Tazi, this is not the case! I am not bragging, nor am I saying I can eat "whatever I want", unless not liking sweets much implies that I can eat all of the healthy food I want and not gain weight. I would never criticize the appearance or eating habits of an overweight friend, so why do people think that it's OK to pick on me for being thin? How should I respond to these accusations?

Skinny Minnie

Dear Skinny Minnie:

I am happy to hear that you are healthy, in spite of the fact that you are underweight; being underweight can be just as dangerous as being overweight, as I am sure you are aware. As you have discovered, there is a major backlash against the super-fit by people who are not so genetically blessed. This is because there are people who will "humbly brag" about how fit they are as a way of shaming those who cannot fit into a pair of size 2 skinny jeans.

What is HER excuse?
My guess is hunger pangs.

If your friends are making you uncomfortable, feel free to speak up in your own defense - you are among friends! Tell them that too much sugar makes you sick (as it would anyone) and that you don't have much of a taste for it. The next time a friend bemoans her size and wishes she could be as thin as you, tell her that you wish you had her curves - or her fabulous chest, or her dynamite booty - and see how quickly the mood of the room brightens! Living in a society that values the waifishness, many women feel insecure when in the presence of someone who is naturally thin; feeling insecure can lead to some thoughtless comments.

If someone continues to harangue you about your looks, politely but firmly tell them that your weight is not a topic you enjoy discussing - and then change the subject. Only an absolute clod would push the boundary you have set. Do you really want to count such clods among your close circle?


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Son Learns Expensive Lesson About Being A Grown-Up

Dear Tazi:

My son turned 21 this summer and, as planned, he moved out into his own apartment. The reasons were many - it was time, he had been saving for a few years, he wants to be an adult - but the biggest reason that I can see is because I do not allow alcohol in my home. My own father was an alcoholic, so my wife and I do not allow alcohol in the house. Because we do not live close to any bars and my son knows better than to drink and drive (we hope!) this left him unable to drink at all unless he had his own apartment.

"Joseph" and his best friend have found an affordable two-bedroom apartment in a working-class neighborhood that is very different from the upper-middle-class upbringing they had, but the area is populated with good people, and a Neighborhood Crime Watch group keeps the area safe. My wife and I have little to worry about when it comes to our son's safety; it is his attitude about money and worldly goods that concerns us.

We asked Joseph for his Christmas list when we saw him for Thanksgiving dinner, and he emailed it to us that weekend. My wife and I were both taken aback when we read some of the expensive items he listed. For example, Joseph needs new sneakers, which is understandable, but instead of just asking for new sneakers he listed a very expensive brand-name pair that costs over $100! He doesn't even run or play a sport! He also needs a new mobile phone, since the screen on his was shattered when he dropped it, but he is requesting the new iPhone 5 ($850!) as a replacement for his current iPhone 4. Joseph's list also contains practical items, like bed sheets, but again he asks for the best on the market - a single Ralph Lauren pillowcase is $115! The entire sheet set Joseph wants costs almost $500!

When we asked Joseph why he wants such expensive things for Christmas, he told us it was because we can afford them and he can't. Tazi, while it is true my wife and I can afford to purchase such expensive items, that does not mean that we do so on a regular basis! My sneakers are expensive, but are hardly top of the line - and I run daily! My wife and I both have smart phones, but we bought them under contract for a considerable discount; and the one set of luxury sheets I have ever bought my wife were for out 20th wedding anniversary! I like to think that after 20 years of wedded bliss she deserves a present like that! (For the record, I also bought her jewelry! She asked for the sheets, lest you think I am a jerk!).

My wife and I are united on not spending so much on single items for Joseph, preferring he earn the money to buy such things for himself rather than expect others to simply bestow such things upon him, but we differ on what to do about it. She would like to write Joseph a lump-sum check for Christmas - say, $1500 - and let him buy whatever he wants; I would rather we buy him less expensive versions of what he wants - say, a $40.00 set of sheets by Better Homes and Gardens, and a nice pair of Nike from JC Penney - and a check for $1,000. I am afraid if we give him a check and nothing else he will spend it on luxury items. At least if we give him less expensive versions of what he seeks we will be conveying the message that we don't approve of his luxury choices. Don't you think so, Tazi?

Father Of A Big Spender

Dear Father Of A Big Spender:

I DO think so! I am so happy that you have been reading my column long enough to know how I think! Now what am I thinking?

Time's up! I'll tell you!

I am also happy to know that you bought your wife jewelry as well as new sheets for your 20th anniversary - which by the way is the China Anniversary; linen is the fourth, so you are sixteen years late! Jewelry makes up for it, though! Whoa, this catnip has me rambling...back your issue...

Has your wife explained why she just wants to hand over a check for Christmas instead of shopping for your son? Is she so upset over his gift requests that she is just plain disgusted? Is she afraid he will reject any gifts she buys that are not what he has specifically requested? Is she secretly hoping he will run out and buy those Ralph Lauren sheets so his cat can snuggle deep into the softness?

Tazi at home...

I think you should discuss with your wife her reasons for wanting to skip shopping for your son and cut him a check instead. This should help the two of you reach agreement on this matter. Personally, my larger concern is your son's reason for moving out of your home. Are you sure it was his desire to drink? If that is the case, is writing him a large check really the best idea? As a compromise, why not offer to pay his half of the rent for a few months as a Christmas gift from you and his mother? You could send the checks directly to his landlord. This way you will at least know that it is paid, and that his drinking will not lead to homelessness.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Perfect" Student Discovers She Has A Lot To Learn

Dear Tazi:

I am finishing my first semester of college and I am not sure how I am going to explain my grades to my parents. I have always been a perfect student - perfect G.P.A., even with A.P. [advanced placement] courses, participation in sports and band, and a part-time job. School always came easy to me, so I never had to study hard. College is something altogether different.

I am living on campus, so my semester started off a little shaky. I thought the classes would be a little harder than high school, so I studied a little harder and spent a lot of time socializing and getting to know the people who live in my dorm. After my first round of tests, I realized that I needed to cut back on my partying and concentrate on my studies. Thankfully, there are laws that prevent the school from sending my parents my grades, so I was able to fib my way through explaining my midterm grades. I told my parents that my grades were not my best and let them think I had a few A-minuses instead of all B's and C's.

I have worked hard through the remainder of the semester and taken on extra credit work which has helped me to boost my grade to an A in four of my five classes. The last class remains at a B+. I have spoke with my professors and they have all told me that they are impressed with the turn-around in my work, and that if I keep up with my attendance and academic performance I will be assured an A in their class. The exception is the class where I have a B+; my professor has told me that the best I can hope for is an A-minus, since I earned a C on my first exam. I have begged and pleaded, but this professor is not budging - she believes that the numerical grade you earn is the grade you have earned, and counts nothing towards improved work over the course of the semester. It is too late to drop the class, plus it is a prerequisite to a class I need to take next semester, so I really can't drop it.

I have computed my G.P.A. based upon my prospective grades, and a single A-minus will drag me down from a 4.0 to a 3.93. How will I explain this to my parents? I just know they are going to be angry and upset, and will pressure me to move home where they can keep a closer eye on me. I really enjoy living in the dorm, and not because of the social scene. I like the independence of being able to come and go as I please without having to explain where I am going and when I will be back and if I have finished my homework. For the first time in my life I feel free, and I don't want to lose this feeling! Help!

Academic Disappointment

Dear Academic Disappointment:

I am hoping your signature is in reference to how you feel about your grades and not how you feel about yourself! A 3.93 G.P.A. during your first semester of college is no small accomplishment! As you have discovered, moving away to college is a big adjustment, and without the supervision of ever-watchful parents mistakes can be made. It was a very intelligent and mature move on your part that you recognized the effect your social life was taking on your grades and took steps to make amends. Now it is time to for a reality check: Nobody starts college with a 4.0 G.P.A. Each semester starts with a 0.0 G.P.A. and you work to raise it.

Think about things this way: You have a class with 10 assignments; each assignment is worth 10 points, for a total of 100 points at the end of the semester, with a traditional grade breakdown: 90 - 100 points = A; 80 - 90 points = B, and so on and so forth. If you do nothing all semester, you have not earned the 90 - 100 points required for an A; you have the same 0 points you started with - and that is an F. You did not start the semester with 100 points and work your way down to 0; you started with 0 and ended there, too. In your case, you completed your coursework and earned the necessary grades to go from 0.00/4.00 to 3.93/4.00. Now can you see all you have accomplished?

If your parents are expecting you to earn a perfect 4.0 during your first semester of college while living away from home for the first time they have unrealistically high expectations of you and you can tell them I said that! First, I would like you to be honest with them about your mid-term grades, though. Explain to your parents what you have told me - that your college career got off to a rocky start due to too much socializing and not enough studying; that you quickly discovered the error of your ways and took steps to rectify them; that you took on extra credit projects to boost your grades and that the efforts are shown in your final grades.

I would like to add that many professors are willing to drop a low grade if it is not a reflection of a students overall performance or if they show improved performance on a cumulative final exam. If your professor is not of this mind, I doubt you will be able to change it; however, pointing out to your parents that your final grade is not reflection of your overall knowledge on the subject may mellow them out a bit.


P.S. Try not to give up on socializing altogether! Social skills and the connections you make in college can be just as important (if not more important) than the grades you earn. My Mommie once got a job in her career field because a shy classmate turned Hiring Manager remembered how she gave him a pen after his ran dry before an exam. He remembered how she told him to keep it, that he would need it for his next class. He told her he liked her "forward thinking manner" and it was one of the reasons he was hiring her.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Repost: Child Asks Not For Herself, But For Others This Christmas

[Ed. Note: This is a re-post of a column that ran last December. Please remember the needy during this time of giving!]

Dear Tazi:

I am seven years old and live in Rhode Island, just like you!  My Nana is helping me write this letter because I type slow.

Last year at Christmas, Mommy and Daddy were both not working and they fought a lot about how to spend money.  Mommie told me that even though Santa brings us gifts, he asks that people give donations to help him with the cost of the stuff it takes to make the presents. She said that we didn't have enough money to give any to Santa, so there would not be as many presents from him as usual.  At first I was really sad, but then I was happy!  On Christmas morning I saw that Santa had come to my house anyway, even though Mommy and Daddy could not give him any money!  There were small presents from Mommy and Daddy, and a BIG one from Santa!

Daddy told me that Santa has a special bank account that people can put money into so Santa can afford to make presents for people who do not have any money, so nobody is left out at Christmas!  Daddy showed it to me in the newspaper and everything, so I know it is real! There was a picture of Santa's elves on it and everything!  They were standing with some people called Marines. Today, I was looking for the funnies because I like to read Garfield and I saw the picture of someone who was dressed like the Marines in the picture I saw last Christmas, and they were collecting gifts for Santa to give to kids whose parents can't afford to help Santa with the cost of gifts.

I don't think everybody knows about what these Marine people do to help Santa, because Santa had to put a message in the paper asking for donations.  I can't afford to give a whole toy, so I am going to give my allowance instead!  Could you tell people about it in your Ask Tazi! column?  Everybody in the whole world reads it, so I know that lots of people will see it and want to help Santa help parents help kids get Christmas presents.  Thank you, Tazi for helping the Marines and Santa bring Christmas to everybody!


P.S. Do you like Garfield?  He is a fat kitty!

Dear Madison:

It sounds to me like you are talking about the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots program!  This is a wonderful program that accepts donations to help Santa with the cost of making toys, feeding his reindeer (they eat a lot!), caring for the elves, and taking Mrs. Claus on a Florida vacation every January!

Mrs. Claus needs a break, too, you know!

Santa gives away as much stuff as possible for free, but sometimes even Santa needs help! That is why he set up a special bank account so people can give help to people who cannot afford to help.  Wasn't that smart of Santa?  You are a very generous young girl to want to give your allowance to help!

Although everybody in the whole world doesn't read my column, I do have a lot of readers!  I am printing your letter so they can see how happy their past generosity has made one child (you!) and hoping that they will consider a donation to Toys for Tots this Christmas!  A lot of people don't know that they can make a donation to Santa's special bank account!  They think you have to buy an entire toy!  Thank you, Madison, for helping me spread the word!  Readers, here is the link to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots secure donation page:

Click Here

to donate to the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program

Readers, if you are struggling this holiday season, you can also request a toy from Toys for Tots to ensure that your children are not left out during this season of giving.


P.S. to Madison: Yes, I do like Garfield!  He is the original cool kitty! --T.K.

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Controlling" Husband Pleases Wife, Irks Sister-In-Law

Dear Tazi:

I am not writing for marital advice but communication advice. Call me old-fashioned, but I am the kind of man who likes to keep a firm grip of control over my wife and children. A man's family is a representation of his name and I will not have that name tarnished by unseemly behavior.

My wife trusts me to command the direction of our marriage and of the well-being of our young children. To that end, her paycheck is direct deposited into my checking account each week (no, it is not a joint account); she dresses quite conservatively; and our children are not allowed to have play dates with children whose families have not been pre-screened and approved of by me. Of course "Mary" is allowed to be a part of this process, but I have the final say in the matter. Our marriage is rock solid, and my children are both respectful, well-adjusted little beings.

My issue is my sister-in-law - my wife's sister - has a problem with how my household is run and never fails to criticize me and my wife at every turn. "Margaret" tells Mary that she needs to be more independent and that she should have her own checking account "just in case". In case of what? I have no plans on abandoning my wife and children and nor does Mary plan on abandoning me.

My wife recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and I threw a large party in her honor. Because it was a party, there was a good deal of food that is normally off-limits to my children, and I allowed them to indulge just a bit with a small portion of cake and ice cream as well as a can of soda each. Margaret, who perhaps had a little too much to drink, flew off the handle at me (in front of my wife, children, and our other guests) and told me I was a "controlling sonofab!tch" and that I needed to loosen the grip I have on her sister (my wife). I kept my cool long enough to ask Margaret to please step outside to discuss things with me, that I will not be disrespected in front of my wife and children, but she ranted that this was my problem - that I wanted complete control over everyone's actions and that she would rant where she wanted, when she wanted (which she proceeded to do).

Mary tried to calm her sister, telling her that our marriage is a happy and healthy one; that she is happy and does not have a problem with the way we live our lives. Margaret continued to rant, saying that marriage is "a partnership, not a dictatorship" but when I tried to talk to her, she left in a huff. Tazi, my marriage is a partnership; however, every partnership has a controlling partner to guide it and that partner is me. When I told Margaret this, she screamed, "You have THAT right!" and walked out of the party, much to my wife's chagrin. Mary then worked on calming our children, who were quite distraught, and unfortunately the party ended up breaking up early at this point.

To her credit, Margaret called the next day to apologize - to Mary, for making such a scene and ruining the party. Her apology also came with a "but" (as in "I'm sorry but...") at which point she proceeded to rail against me and the functioning of my marriage. Again to her credit, Mary made an excuse as to why she needed to end the call and hung-up. Mary has all but given up on trying to convince her sister that she is happy with our marriage, but I have not! How can I get Margaret to understand that my marriage is in ship-shape, and that her concerns for her sister are unwarranted?

Good Husband

Dear Good Husband:

To paraphrase from the Book of Ephesians (5:21 - 23), a good wife obeys her husband as she would obey the Lord; in return, to be a good husband a man must love his wife "just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her". While a large part of me cringes at this entire sentiment (for it goes against the very desires of human nature) if you, as a couple, are able to accomplish the extremely high standards set forth here and both husband and wife are happy and fulfilled by the arrangement then I see nothing wrong with it. The Devil, as it is said, is in the details.

Is your wife truly happy being subject to your control? Does she trust you implicitly to put her well-being and the well-being of your marriage and children above your personal desires at all times?  More importantly, do you trust yourself to be able to meet this standard 100% of the time? Do you communicate with your wife on a regular basis to ensure that her thoughts and opinions are being heard and properly considered? Do you run decisions by her or just blindly decide and expect her to follow your will without explanation? These are the details in which the Devil lurks!

I suggest you have a sit-down talk with your wife and really listen to her answers. Does she make eye contact when she assures you that she is perfectly happy? Does she fidget uncomfortably or does she seem sincere? The answers you get - both verbal and non-verbal - will tell you the true state of your marital health. If there are problems, I suggest you and your wife talk to your clergy-person or to a marital counselor for guidance. If there are not, I suggest you try to follow your wife's lead and work to accept the things - and the minds - that you cannot change. Allow your wife to handle her sister and accept the manner in which she chooses to do it.

No one seems to take issue when it's the wife who controls things!

On the matter of household finances, I would strongly urge you to put your wife's name on the household checking account "just in case". Since you ask "just in case of what?" you may want to consider the following: emergencies during which you are unavailable, a medical emergency during which you are stricken and/or hospitalized, an accident that results in your death or prolonged unconsciousness, a vehicle break-down that requires her to have cash to make payment for a tow...the list goes on and on, but I think you get the picture. Your wife trusts you enough to hand over her paycheck to you; respect her enough to allow her access to that money.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.