Friday, August 30, 2013

Sometimes, Dreams Need To Adjust To The Reality That Surrounds Them

Dear Tazi:

I am twelve and I want to grow up to be an Air Force pilot. The problem is I have terrible eyesight and you need to have 20/20 uncorrected vision to fly a plane. My Dad is in the Air Force and I asked him if they would make an exception for me but he told me there are no exceptions in the U.s. Air force, only exceptional people. He told me that there are lots of things to do in the Air force besides fly planes, but I want to fly a plane.

My best friend’s Mom just had some kind of surgery where they shoot lasers at her eyes to make her eyesight perfect. I asked my parents if I could have lasers shot at my eyes to make my eyesight perfect so I could fly in the Air Force but my parents said no, that my eyesight will continue to change as I continue to grow and that even if I had the surgery my eyesight would not stay perfect for long. I said I could just have the surgery again but they still said no.

Being an Air Force pilot is all I have ever dreamed of doing. Am I going to have to decide to do something else when I grow up because of my stupid eyes?

Stupid Eyes

Dear Stupid Eyes:

Your eyes may not be perfect but that does not mean that they are stupid! They allow you to see, right? Never take your senses for granted; there are those who have been blinded due to diabetes or other health problems that would love to have your less-than-perfect eyesight.

At twelve years old, you have a long life ahead of you and even though you have wanted to be an air Force pilot for as long as you can remember, your memory is not yet that long. It is okay to mourn a dream lost, but you still need to accept that some dreams are not meant to come true; your dream of being an Air Force pilot appears to be one of them. This does not mean that you cannot join the Air Force – like your father said there are lots of things to do in the Air Force other than fly a plane, and he should know, right?

The surgery your friend’s Mom had is called laser eye surgery, and your description of how it is done is darn near accurate! However, it is also for people whose eyesight is so bad it cannot be easily corrected any other way. If your eyesight ever gets this bad, you can consider laser eye surgery, but even then I am not certain the Air Force will accept you into flight school. According to the U.S. Military’s page anyone who has had laser eye surgery before enlisting in the Air Force will not qualify for flight school unless a special waiver is granted. Active pilots who require the surgery are allowed to continue flying. However, who knows what the case will be six years from now, when you are old enough to enlist? If you are passionate about joining the Air Force, I am not going to suggest you plan to do otherwise, but will suggest that you consider all of the career options the Air Force can offer you.


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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Renting To Family Member Makes Homeowner Uneasy

Dear Tazi:

I own a small beach cottage that I enjoy during the season, but leave empty from Labor Day through Memorial Day. It is close to a major university (I am pretty sure you know the one I mean, Tazi; you've mentioned that your “Mommie” is an alumna) and my nephew will be attending this university starting in September.

“Roger” is planning on living in a dormitory, but has asked me for the use of my beach cottage for weekend use. He has offered to keep it cleaned and well-maintained, as well as any snow cleared, in return for its use as a weekend retreat from campus life. I am hesitant to say yes to this request for a few reasons, the first being that I live out of state and already have a seasonal caretaker who looks in on the place for me; the second because this school has a reputation for the boisterous behavior of its students who live off-campus. I am afraid that my quiet retreat will become Party Central and I, as the absentee owner, will be on the hook for any fines the police seek to levy.

My nephew has always been a responsible young man and he will be studying Business and Economics, so I doubt he will have time to party, yet I fear that offering him a place on the beach will encourage him to neglect his studies in favor of partying. This will be his first time away from home without any kind of parental supervision, and I do not want to play a part in him going off the deep end. On the other hand, I understand how difficult it can be to study in a college dormitory, especially on weekends when there are no classes and ample time to put off studying until later.

Since you have told frequent tales of hopping into your “Tazi Sack” for trips to the university I believe you would be more familiar with the lay of the land, so to speak, and the culture of this school than either I or my nephew, who “swears” that he will not abuse my cottage or my trust. Can you advise a maiden aunt on this matter – quickly? His email is awaiting my response!

Summer Resident

Dear Summer Resident:

That loud cheering you hear is your year-round resident neighbors who are applauding the fact that you are a responsible homeowner and potential renter. I am indeed familiar with the problems this local community faces with regard to rowdy renters, as is anyone who lives in a community with “town and gown” issues. The particular community to which you refer enforces the peace by fining the landlords who rent to unruly college students, so I understand your concern about being held responsible for Roger’s behavior.

Ultimately, the choice to rent or not to rent is up to you. If you are happy with your current caretaker’s services, explain to your nephew that you already have a caretaker and while you appreciate his offer you would prefer that he concentrate on his studies and not worry about the upkeep of your property. This solves the problem of offending Roger (and his parents) by denying a need for his services, not by expressing doubt in his level of maturity. Only the very determined would continue to push you on the matter, especially since he was not offering to pay cash rent for the use of the property.

Since this is Roger’s first time away from home, you are wise to express concern for his ability to handle living in an unsupervised rental property. Many a party has gotten out of control after “having a few friends over” has turned into an all-out bash. [Ed. Note: In my family, the story of how one cousin called to police to her own home to break up her out of control party serves as both legend and a stern warning!]. Many colleges offer social events and opportunities on weekends so students living on-campus do not get bored and start trouble. Everything from athletic events to opportunities with Habitat for Humanity are offered to break up the stress of constant classes and studying as well as to boost the sense of school pride and community that schools attempt to instill in their students. There is truly no reason why someone should have to move off-campus for the weekends in order to find something to do unless what they are seeking to do does not fall under the list of school-approved activities (such as underage and binge drinking).

Funneling is not a varsity sport!

Many if not all colleges and universities have quiet areas dedicated to student studying, so the idea that Roger would have to leave campus to find such a place is short-sighted. (The university which my Mommie recently graduated has a 24-hour study room in its library!). If you would like, you could offer to let Roger use your summer cottage as a weekend getaway for occasional weekends only – say, during mid-terms and finals, a time when respite from the academic environment would be welcome and the desire to party would be at its lowest. If Roger proves himself to be a responsible guest, you may want to consider allowing him to rent from you (for cash; his dormitory is not free either) starting in his junior year, which is when many students move off campus and the class workload has reached the point where it is no longer wise to party in an irresponsible manner.


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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Child With "Unusual" Name Weighs In

Dear Tazi:

I was reading your article on parents who give their kids weird names, and I wanted to give you my opinion, since my parents did that to me. My name isn't as bad a “Pilot Inspektor” or “Blue Ivy” but it isn't something you will find in any baby name book, either. I am [a teenager] and can’t wait to legally change my name to a traditional family name.

I can understand why my parents (and others) gave me an unusual name. They wanted me to stand out and be noticeable in a world where everyone is trying to get noticed. The problem is that sometimes anonymity is a good thing. A person wants to stand out in a crowd for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. More importantly, I don’t think a parent has the right to force their child to stand out like this; I think if a child wants to stand out in a crowd it should be their choice, which they can consciously make at any time in their life. A baby can’t do that. If you want to nickname your kid something wild and crazy, go for it, but give them a chance in life by giving them a normal name. Not all of us want to work in Hollywood. Some of us want to work in normal jobs like Accounting or Engineering. Do you think anyone is going to take an “Apple” or a “Tallulah” seriously?

Thanks for letting me have my say, Tazi. You are one cool cat.

No Name In L.A.

Dear No name In L.A.:

Thank you for writing in about your first-hand experience of living with an unusual name. You give a voice to the subject that few people consider. While some people love their unusual names, the mail I receive on the matter tends to lean towards your opinion. Parents, take note…


P.S. I know a lot of people with unusual first names will go by their middle name. While I find “Blue Ivy” to be a bit awkward (sorry Beyoncé), I think “Ivy” is a strong and beautiful name for a girl.

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Woman Has It All Without Children, Family Wonders How

Dear Tazi:

My sister has five children; I have none, by choice. I do not want children, nor have I ever wanted children. I enjoy my life as-is, child-free. My sister finds this hard to believe and tells me that I am just trying to fool myself because I have not met the right man yet, that “everyone wants babies”. To this end, she keeps trying to set me up with marriage-minded men who want children.

Tazi, I am not trying to fool myself. I am happily single with a fulfilling career that would have to be put on hold if I had children. I travel frequently for work (about one week a month) which is something a lot of men do not understand. My last boyfriend asked me if I would “stop travelling so much” if I got married; I told him I had no intention of putting my career in the backseat if I got married and we broke up. I have been happily single ever since.

My sister keeps trying to get me to babysit for her children in an attempt to show me how fulfilling children can be and to expose me to all that I am missing. I refuse, telling her that I am not good with children. I have a good relationship with all of my nephews and nieces and they love to see me, and I would like to keep it that way; being put in charge of them for an evening would only ruin the dynamic we currently have.

How can I get it through my sister’s thick skull that I am perfectly content with my life the way it is?


Dear Freewheelin’:

A few weeks ago Time magazine had a cover story about child-free couples (“The Child Free Life”). The fact that a national magazine with the reach and clout of Time gave this story such prominent coverage tells me that you are not alone in your desires – or your need to defend your decision to remain child-free.

Native-born Americans of Generations X and Y are putting off marriage and child-bearing altogether. According to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center, 20% of fertile women are choosing not to have children, up from 10% in the 1970's. If such trends continue it will be your sister who is in the minority. As it is, she is already in the minority with regard to the number of children she has – census figures show the average number of children per family to be less than two. Since you already have a good relationship with your nephews and nieces, do not allow your sister to pressure you into taking on responsibilities that you feel would upset that balance and don’t allow her to guilt you into accepting a date with someone who has a different ideal of the perfect future – you will only be setting yourself up with what could be a painful failure, for you or the man who has stars in his eyes over you. In time, your sister will come to realize that you mean what you say and will hopefully let you alone.


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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Is It OK For Guys To Like Barbie Dolls?

Dear Tazi:

Am I sick in the head? I am a 23-year-old man and I love Barbie dolls. I have a collection of Barbie stuff, including the Barbie doll house, and I enjoy dressing Barbie in different outfits based on whatever occasion is occurring. If I am going out to the gym, I will dress Barbie in a leotard and put her in her Barbie gym; at Christmas I decorate her house and put her in a Mrs. Claus outfit. Her attire is always seasonally appropriate – shorts in the summer, long pants in the winter – she even has her own football Tom Brady football jersey for game day! (Yes, I had it specially made).

I grew up the youngest of seven children and am the only boy, so I always ended up playing with my sisters and their stuff and I always liked the idea of Barbie – she’s a beautiful woman who likes all the things I like. I am not gay, and I would never, ever dream of doing anything kinky with my Barbie; I just dream of someday meeting my own real-life Barbie and building the life with her that I have built for Barbie. We would decorate the house for the holidays, go to the gym together, watch football on Sundays…I am a romantic at heart, and want to meet a woman who understands this. Some guys have dogs; I have a Barbie doll.


Dear “Ken”:

I find your love of Barbie charming and mildly endearing. I do not think you are sick in the head, but I am hoping that you have not based your ideal woman on Barbie. You do realize that her real-life measurements are impossible to attain? Not to mention that Dream House of hers would cost a few million dollars if it were a real-life mansion! What’s not to love about Barbie? She’s the woman who has everything!

Walks on all fours?
Could Barbie be the "Missing Link"?

So long as you are not getting some kind of sick thrill off of playing with Barbie, I see nothing wrong with it. Even though I am a Packers fan, I absolutely love the idea of Barbie wearing Tom Brady jersey and sitting on the arm of your couch watching football with you. Does she have her own Barbie-sized can of Bud Light, too, or would that be taking things a little too far?

I am a firm proponent of toys as gender-neutral; if a boy wants to play with Barbie that’s fine with me! Hopefully, it will teach him to be respectful of women and how to be a good partner! If a girl wants to play with Legos, why shouldn’t she? I know several Engineers who got their start this way! Again, so long as the play is innocent and non-abusive I see nothing wrong with boys playing with Barbie.

I am not sure who gave you the idea that you that you are “sick in the head” for liking Barbie, but they sound like a rather judgmental person. However, you may want to wait until you know someone well enough to let them in on your unorthodox hobby; people have a tendency to assume the worst when something does not fit into their idea of “normal”.


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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nice Guy Thinks He's Boring, Wants More Exciting Persona

Dear Tazi:

I have to be the most boring person on the planet. Growing up, I played sports but didn’t excel in them; I graduated in the middle of my class; I am average looking; I drive a sedan; I sell insurance for a living; and I live in the suburbs. I feel like there is nothing special about me to make me stand out in a crowd.

I am looking for ways to seem more exciting to women, but all the ways I think of just seem too out of character for me. That’s how boring I am! I have thought of learning to ride a motorcycle, but seems too dangerous; I am not the type to get a tattoo; I don’t drink, so I can’t go to a bar; I have belonged to the same church for years and moving to a new one to meet women seems insincere.

Can you suggest some ways that I could try to change? I just want others to see me as someone exciting.

Boring Bob

Dear Boring Bob:

Do you remember that episode of The Brady Bunch when Peter wanted to change his boring personality? Here let me refresh your memory:

He discovered that people liked him just the way he was; that they thought he was dependable, not boring. While someone who is “exciting” may get all the girls, have you ever noticed how his relationships just don’t last? Women want more than excitement; they want a man who is dependable.

If you want more people to find you interesting you are going to have to find something about yourself that interests you. Do you have any hobbies? You could join a group or take a class that is centered on those hobbies. Take a cooking class, join a book club (these are usually overrun with women), or take up stamp collecting (or is that last one too boring?). Another way to meet people with similar interests is to get involved in the community. Volunteer as a docent at your local museum or zoo or whatever organization reflects your interests. This will shake up your life a little and make you more interesting to yourself and people who like themselves are attractive to others.

You do not need to change who you are to become someone more interesting; you only need to get out of your rut and into the world around you. Once you do, you will be amazed at how interesting you already are!



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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Think Of Social Media As A Giant Community Billboard And Post Accordingly

Dear Tazi:

My mother-in-law “Monica” has discovered social media. Now, nothing is sacred. Everything my husband and I do or say goes up on Facebook and Twitter (that's right - not "or", "and"!). Everything my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law do ends up there, too. The grandchildren (almost all of them teenagers) have blocked her from their accounts and have all but stopped talking to her about anything because she posts about them on her social media, too.

Monica says it is her “right as a mother and a grandmother” to brag about her children and grandchildren, but we are arguing for our right to privacy! It’s one thing to post about an award at school or a great catch made at a Little League game, but Monica posts about so much more – my fourteen year old son’s bout with diarrhea; my niece’s tearful break-up with her first boyfriend (including the details of how she saw him kissing another girl); and worst of all, the results of my brother-in-law’s colonoscopy! She has NO FILTERS!

We have tried to talk with Monica as a family, but she refuses to edit the information she posts, so we have told her she would simply be cut off from the information supply chain; that we will tell her nothing we would not want posted on the billboard in the center of town. This helped until Monica realized she could glean information from the grandchildren’s social media pages, which caused them all to block her (when simply unfriending her did not work). Monica demanded we  tell our son to allow her access, but we are on his side on this one.

Monica has now taken to bad-mouthing me and the other spouses (but not her children) on her social media pages. I am trying to tune it out, but it is hard because this family feud is now the topic of town gossip. I just want my life back! Is there any way we can turn back the clock on all of this over-sharing on social media?

Becoming Facebook-Phobic

Dear Becoming Facebook-Phobic:

The backlash you are experiencing against social media is not uncommon, and it is a topic I find myself covering frequently. As more and more people start using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit a lot of over-sharing is occurring and personal privacy is becoming a thing of the past. Since your mother-in-law refused to respect the privacy of other family members – after repeated warnings – you were within your rights to block her from the information source. It is sad that she felt the need to retaliate by airing the dirty laundry, but to most people this is a reflection on her, not you. Try to remember that and the next time the gossips pump you for information reply that you would prefer to keep the matter private, regardless of how Monica chooses to handle it. The problem with receiving gossip from a single source is that it gets repetitive and boring very quickly, and soon dries up like my garden in the August sun.

My larger concern here is the family dynamic with Monica. By cutting off all information from her you are essentially cutting her out of your lives. While this is an understandable reaction, it is not a healthy one. Social media sites allow you to adjust your settings so certain people cannot see everything you post. Yes, it can be a pain to have to adjust your settings for every status posted, so I suggest you and your family members resolve this matter by throwing Grandma a bone every now and then by posting directly to her wall. You can make your status updates invisible to her without unfriending her; this way you can control the information that she receives without worrying about what she will find on your page and maintain peace within the family all at the same time. I also think that Monica needs a new pastime; perhaps those close to her can suggest one.



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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Self-Righteous Hypocrite Calls Ex-Wife A Sinner

Dear Tazi:

My ex-wife is calling me a hypocrite, and I am not sure if I am or not. I am afraid to talk to my Pastor about this situation, because the man I am today is not the man I once was and I do not wish for him to see that deeply into my past. The Lord has forgiven me my sins; they are in the past.

Back when we were dating, my now ex-wife "Darcy" got pregnant. She wanted to keep the baby but I was not comfortable with this decision; I was not ready to be a father and we did not have the money to get married. We would have ended up on welfare and other government services which was not then nor now the future I ever envisioned for myself. I convinced Darcy of the logic of having an abortion, which she had. We were married a few years later but things did not work out between us, partially because Darcy could never get over the loss of her child and my refusal to start a family until I felt we were financially secure.

It's been a little over a year since our divorce finalized and I have been born again in the Faith. Darcy's attendance at the Mass has always been spotty, but she generally goes once a month and on the holidays. I have discovered through mutual friends that she continues to receive the Eucharist, in spite of her mortal sin (you know, her abortion). I wrote Darcy a nice letter explaining to her that she had ex-communicated herself when she chose to commit her sin, and that she should excuse herself from receiving until her soul has been cleansed through the sacrament of confession - and maybe not even then.

Darcy showed up at my house a few days later with my letter in her hand. I thought she wanted to politely discuss the matter, but to my dismay she threw accusations at me! In addition to calling me a hypocrite, she accused me of forcing her to have her abortion! I may have driven her to the clinic, yes, but who else was going to take her? Ultimately, it was her decision not mine; after all, it is a woman's right to choose, not a man's!

My friends have confirmed that Darcy continues to receive the gift of the Eucharist when she goes to church, and this is bothering me. I would like to go to her Pastor to reveal her dark past to him, but I fear doing so would result in my part of the sin - for which I have cleansed myself - being revealed. Only my Lord has the right to judge me, so while I am not ashamed of my past I would rather it not be known. I called Darcy and reiterated my disappointment over her decision to receive the Blessed Sacrament and even suggested that I might tell her Pastor what she seeks to hide, but she threatened to tell "everyone" that I forced her to have an abortion! Obviously, I have kept my mouth shut and prayed quite a bit on this matter and I think my decision to go to Darcy's Pastor is the right one. Yet, I cannot stop hearing her voice calling me a hypocrite. Am I?

Washed Clean In The Water

Dear Washed Clean In The Water:

Yes. Yes, you are a hypocrite and not only that you are the worst kind of hypocrite - a self-righteous hypocrite who believes in forgiveness 'for me but not for thee' as the expression goes. Your ex-wife was in a very vulnerable position - unmarried and pregnant - when her support system (you) pushed for her to terminate her pregnancy. Your suggestion that it was Darcy's "choice" makes me sick, considering you gave her a choice between a rock and a hard place, considerately offering to drive her to the clinic but not offering to be there for her if she chose to carry to term.

You twice comment that your sins have been forgiven yet assume that Darcy's sins have not (and then pontificate that even if they have she should continue to self-flagellate in punishment). Reconciliation and Penance are a very personal topic. I can understand why Darcy would have no desire to discuss the two with you. You further comment that you are not ashamed of your past but would prefer it not be known. This is the very definition of shame!

You do not mention what denomination your faith is, but my teachings are Catholic and your views seem equally strict, so I will work from that point. According to the writings of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI "Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest...his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist." (Courtesy of Evangelical Word Television Network).

The fact that you have not told your Pastor about your "part of the sin" leaves me wondering if you have received the sacrament of reconciliation that you seem so gung-ho to force upon Darcy. My advice to you is to seek the advice of your Pastor with regard to your behavior - past and present - and to leave Darcy alone before you find yourself in trouble with the laws of this world (harassment and emotional abuse come to mind).

-- Tazi

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

There's A Fine Line Between Practical Jokes And Dishonesty

Dear Tazi:

I am an identical twin – and I mean identical; even our friends can’t always tell my sister and me apart just by looking at us. While I am somewhat shy and very studious, my sister is very outgoing (she will talk to anyone, anywhere) and kind of a practical joker – she sometimes likes to pretend she is me.

When we were kids, “Melanie” and I would pretend to be each other to fool people. A few times – very few times, because I knew it was wrong – I would take a test for her that she was going to fail. Melanie just isn’t very good at math and I am a whiz at it, so I would take her test for her, making just enough mistakes so the teacher wouldn’t wonder why she was doing so badly on the homework but getting A’s on her tests. I only did this because our parents were very strict about school, and Melanie was trying her best to pass on her own.
Now that we are older and our personalities are more developed I don’t like playing the whole “twin game” we had as kids, especially since Melanie puts herself out there so much more than me; I am really uncomfortable talking to strangers or even cute guys I do know. In short, it’s gotten easier to tell us apart – especially for our teachers.

Melanie is very into theatre and has no problem pretending to be me, which she did during final exams last school year. She was completely unprepared for a math exam and pretended to be me because she knew the teacher would allow me to reschedule for a later date but not her. This forced me to go into the exam as Melanie and then take my exam on make-up day. I am pretty sure the teacher knew I was not Melanie, so I pretended to be sick to explain why “Melanie’s” personality was off that day.

This school year, I have the same math teacher as last and I am afraid to face her because I think she knows what Melanie and I pulled last year. She has no proof, and since it was a math exam she can’t really compare our handwriting, but I think she suspects us of being dishonest. I saw her at the store this summer and she called me Melanie, paused, and added, “Or are you ‘Melissa’?” This is our senior year of high school, so doing well will be very important because we will both be applying to college. I want my sister to do well, but I can’t go on lying for her and taking exams for her! Especially since I think we may already have been caught! If Melanie tries to pretend she is me again, how can I get around it without getting her in trouble? If I go along with what she wants and we are caught, then we will both get in huge trouble!


Dear Melissa:

If you think your teacher suspects something, you are probably right. Adults are not as stupid as teenagers like to think they are. Even the most identical twins have differences that set them apart – be it a slightly narrower jaw or a thicker eyelashes; a different tone of voice or even their physical stance (aka body language) can provide clues as to which twin is which! Unless your sister can give a performance like Sally Field, I doubt she was able to nail your personality with such exactness that your teacher was completely fooled by it. Most teachers are willing to give the benefit of the doubt, which is probably why she let things slide...until she saw you pretending to be your sister. However, without proof she really could not do anything about it.

In real life things don't work out like they did at Sweet Valley High!

Since grades are already recorded and cannot be changed, there is nothing that can be done about the fraud that has already been perpetrated, but you can bet that your teacher will be keeping both eyes open to ensure that it does not happen again! The only way to make sure you stay out of trouble is to refuse to associate with it. Tell your sister your worries, and that you will help her to study her math but you will not take the tests for her. Let her know up-front that you will not cover for her if she pretends to be you. While this may sound like a cruel abandonment of your twin in a time of need, think about the position she is putting you in: by pretending to be you even after you have warned she not to she is disrespecting you.

Once school starts, you will have to work to regain your teacher’s trust. Once she sees that you are an earnest and honest student she may chalk up her doubts to end-of-year stress and let them fall by the wayside; do not give her a reason to reignite them, lest you find both you and your sister being expelled for academic dishonesty. You are far too young to spoil your future over something like failing a math test.



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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Underage Drinking Can Lead To Serious Troubles Down The Road

Dear Tazi:

I think my big brother might have a drinking problem. He always has a water bottle full of some kind of clear liquid, but I don’t think it’s water because after drinking it his mood changes. Some days he gets very laid back and other times he gets goofy or moody. One time he left his water bottle out of the counter and I grabbed it to taste what was in it and he caught me and yelled at me to leave his stuff alone.

I have asked “Bradley” if he has ‘shine in his water bottle but he just made a mean face at me and said “wouldn’t you like to know”. Actually, I would, and not because I want to drink it (I don’t) but because I don’t like his mood when he drinks whatever is in that water bottle. I am only 14 but Bradley is 18. He is old enough to get in trouble if the Sherriff catches him out in public acting like he does around the house when he is drinking (at least, I THINK he is drinking).

My parents are divorced and Mom works a lot to take care of us, so she isn’t home much. The owner of the local diner told me that as soon as I can get my working papers I can have a job waitressing so I can help Mom with the bills and stuff, and I want to but I think that Bradley should be helping, too! He doesn’t work (he says he is looking) so I don’t know where he would get the money to buy hooch which is why I am not certain he has a drinking problem. I think if he has a drinking problem this could be why he can’t find a job.

I want to tell my Mom what I think but I also don’t want to add to her burdens and plus I have no proof that Bradley is drinking. What would you do, Tazi? I have tried to ask myself what would Jesus do but he hasn’t been answering me.

Kentucky Girl

Dear Kentucky Girl:

You sound like a very mature young lady to want to make life easier for your Mom, but you can do that by staying in school; getting good grades; and working part-time if the first two things on this list allow for it. You may not want to add to your Mom’s burdens, but how burdened do you think she will feel if your brother gets in trouble with the law for his behavior?

That's how them Duke boys got into trouble!

It is possible that Bradley is not drinking alcohol (moonshine, hooch) and that he simply has an energy drink with very high caffeine content; too much caffeine can affect a person’s mood in the way you have described – making them silly, moody, or laid back. Judging by Bradley’s reaction when he caught you with his water bottle it is quite possible he is drinking something he shouldn't.

You are right in thinking that a drinking problem can keep someone from getting a job, and it would be a shame to see someone as young as your brother waste his life on alcohol. I know it will take a lot of course, but you need to tell your Mom or another trusted adult about your brother’s behavior. If he does not have the money to buy ‘shine, he may be doing a favor for the person who is making it. If this is the case, he will be in much more trouble than he would be for public drunkenness; illegal manufacture of alcohol (which is what moonshine is) is a Federal crime. Sometimes telling on others is in their best interest.



P.S. Jesus always answers us; we just don't always like His answers!

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Tazi’s Corner #53 – An Honest Bully

Dear Readers: 

One thing that raises my hackles are celebrities who, for no other reason other than they feel like it, decide to start marketing their own products. I am not talking about celebrities like Nikki Hilton, who actually went to design school, but celebrities who feel that they know so much about something simply because they have experienced it; it’s like when an Honorary PhD suddenly wants people to call them “Doctor” and it makes me sick!

The target of my wrath this week is Jessica Alba and her Honest Company. Apparently Ms. Alba went and had a baby and could not find products organic enough for her bundle of joy and so she started her own company and now creates products that are a cut above mainstream baby products. Or does she? What sort of educational background does Ms. Alba have that allows her to create her products? Does she have a degree in Nutritional Science? A background in Organic (pun intended here) Chemistry? Or did she just slap her name on something she hired someone else to create for her, showing she had deigned her approval of it?

Now, personally I trust professionals like Dr. BenjaminSpock and Dr. John Rosemond when it comes to my child-raising advice, having none of my own to raise, but apparently Ms. Alba feels that she is qualified enough to tell people how to raise their children not because she has any kind of college degree in the subject or because she has raised twenty children of her own like the Duggars have, but because she has two babies and the kind of ego that you can only find in Hollywood. This may be the reason her Honest Company has felt the need to sue a successful “Mommy Blogger” in an attempt to steal the blog name (possibly for future use? I am speculating here, but babies do grow up to be cowboys, I mean toddlers…).

A few weeks ago PeopleI Want To Punch In The Throat broke this story, and since she is able to say it in words and ways that I cannot I am reprinting it here (with permission) so it can receive further exposure (even though she already has millions of followers) because this topic is something that affects bloggers – and the audiences who enjoy their work – everywhere!  For the full story of the Paw Slap of Disgust I am giving Ms. Alba, read on…


Honestly, The Honest Company is Getting on My Nerves

Have you heard about the fight that's brewing between Jessica Alba's Honest Company and the popular mom blogger Honest Toddler?

Let me break it down for you. Honest Toddler is a hilarious woman who tweets and blogs from the wickedly funny point of view of a toddler. Honest Company is a corporation that sells baby crap. (Not actual baby crap, but you know what I mean.)

Here's the she said/she said posts they've both written so you can follow along.

CLICK HERE to continue reading...


P.S. Here’s that paw-slap I promised…

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

Friday, August 16, 2013

Old Diaries A Treasure Trove Of Historical - And Personal - Information

Dear Mr. Tazi:

My mother passed away a few months ago after a long illness, and my sister and I have finally brought ourselves to the point where we can go through her house and pack stuff up and throw stuff out. While going through Mama’s personal effects we found that she kept diaries over the years. It appears that she would fill one and then put it away in a box before starting another, which she would keep in her bedside drawer.

Mama’s diaries are not the journal style blank books that you find at the bookstore, but old-fashioned lock and key type deals. The locks could easily be broken if we could not find the key, and my sister and I are having a discussion over whether or not we should even look for the key or just destroy the diaries unread.

My sister and I are both wavering between the idea of reading Mama’s diaries and burning them. I was thinking if we find the key we should read them, but only if we come across the key naturally. My sister thinks we should make an effort to look for the key and if we can’t find it that will be a sign from Mama that we should let her diaries alone. I would love to know my Mama’s personal thoughts and history; I think it would help to fill the hole that has been left by her passing, but at the same time I am a little afraid of what I might read and more than a little afraid that I would feel guilty about disturbing Mama’s privacy, even though she is gone from this earth. What do you think we should do, Mr. Tazi?

Mama’s Girls

Dear mama’s Girls:

My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear mother; it sounds like you were both very close to her, and your pain must be quite deep. I can see why you would want to read your Mama’s diaries in order to feel closer to her, and you are wise to remember that these diaries are full of her private, uncensored thoughts.

Because your Mama’s diaries are the kinds that lock I am hesitant to suggest you plunge into them; you may read some things that she revealed in her diary in order to get them off of her chest  and keep her temper with you and your sister – especially in the diaries from your teenage years! On the other hand, your Mama’s illness was a long one and if she wanted her diaries destroyed before her passing she had the time to see to it.
This doesn't look like a difficult lock...
The fact that your Mama kept these diaries – and kept them neatly organized in one box – tells me that perhaps these diaries were meant to be found. I do not suggest that you spend your time looking for the keys to these secured books – that might be like looking for a needle in a haystack – but if you do find them you might want to look for the oldest of the diaries first and work your way forward. If you are lucky you will find diaries from when your mother was a teenager, from when she and your father were courting, her early married life and life as a new mother, right up until the last days of her illness. Read them slowly, and try to picture the things your Mama was describing, imagining what her life was like. This will be a small but wonderful tribute to your Mama.

Should you come across details that you are embarrassed to read, skip over them and allow your Mama to keep those private memories private; if you read something that upsets you remember that even Mama’s have bad days, and that the things she wrote were the things she chose not to say because she knew that if spoken those words would hurt the ones she loved.

If you cannot find the keys to these diaries in the natural course of cleaning out your Mama’s house, let things be and do not try to force the locks of the books; in time, if you are meant to know their contents, the keys will show themselves. If, after a reasonable amount of time,  the keys never show you should do what you and your sister feel most comfortable doing – putting the books on a shelf as a decorative reminder of your Mama, leaving them in storage for another generation to find, or simply burning them. I would not throw them away in the trash, though; somehow that just feels wrong and disrespectful.


Mr. Tazi

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Reproductive Cancers Can Be Overcome With Treatment And Understanding

Dear Tazi:

I have a problem that is a little too delicate for the family newspaper, but I am hoping that since yours is an online column you will print it.

My wife, “Brenda” is currently undergoing treatment for cervical cancer. Thankfully, the cancer was caught early and she will not have to undergo chemotherapy, but she will be having a hysterectomy. Her surgery has been postponed twice – the first time because she had a high fever indicative of an infection somewhere in her body, the second time because she did not want to be laid up over the summer (we have three weddings to attend). Her surgery is now scheduled for September and she should be completely recovered for the holidays, barring any unforeseen complications. I am thrilled to know that my wife is going to be OK, and feel somewhat selfish for my complaint, but a man has needs, too.

Because of her condition, Brenda is prone to unexpected bouts of heavy bleeding. Since sex seems to bring on these bouts she has been refusing me in the bedroom. It has been several months since we have been intimate because Brenda doesn’t want to ruin the sheets (this is what she says; she is afraid of staining the sheets).

Tazi, I say damn the sheets! I love my wife and I miss her and we can afford to buy new sheets! I ask my wife is there is any other reason why she won’t have sex with me – lack of desire, if she is somehow disinterested in me, or if she is afraid I will be turned off if she starts bleeding – but she insists it is the sheets. I have offered to launder them for her and put them back on the bed, but she still refuses me.

I know that after her surgery she will be out of commission for a while…I just don’t know what to do! I love my wife and would never cheat on her, but I am going crazy over here! I have heard horror stories of women completely losing their sex drive after a hysterectomy. I can’t imagine spending the rest of my life like this! I am only 45! What can I say/do to help my wife overcome her upset over dirty sheets?

Missing Brenda

Dear Missing Brenda:

I feel for both you and your wife; for most people physical intimacy is an important part of a healthy marriage. However, you must remember that your wife is not feeling very healthy right now, and that heavy bleeding will make her feel even worse due to the accompanying anemia it causes. Add this to the fact that many women feel uncomfortable having sex during “that time of the month” and it is perfectly understandable why your wife is feeling turned off in the bedroom. I think you should trust her when she tells you that it is not you, but her…and the idea of stained sheets that act as a reminder of her illness.

I checked with the medical experts on the subject of sex drive and hysterectomies, and was told that your wife should not have a problem maintaining sexual desire after her hysterectomy, but that she should not be having sex for a full six to eight weeks after her surgery in order to allow for complete healing. If she has trouble with personal lubrication, there are products that can be used to overcome this issue.

This is Tazi speaking again. You need to remember that sexual desire is not only physical, but mental; response occurs when a person is mentally turned on as well as physically interested.  Right now, your wife is probably going through a range of emotions from fear of the surgery to anticipation of having it all over and done. The more understanding you are of her now, the better response from her you will receive when she regains her health.


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

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Successful Marriage Must Go Through Thick And Thin

Dear Tazi:

You know the old stereotype that once a woman get married she lets her figure go? Well, my husband is the one in this marriage who has let himself go. “Mason” and I got married three years ago after dating for two years. While dating, he went to the gym every day, watched what he ate, and was actively involved in sports – he played softball for a local men’s league, soccer with the guys, and was always ready for a pick-up game of basketball. He even volunteered as an Assistant Coach for his nephew’s Little League team!  Together we would pack a picnic lunch and go bike riding or go roller-blading after dinner. We were healthy, athletic individuals and a healthy, athletic couple. Now, I am a healthy, athletic individual and Mason is a couch potato.

The first year of our marriage was great, but during our second year Mason got passed over for a promotion at work because he did not have an MBA and the person – the woman – who got the job did. This bruised Mason’s ego in more ways than one; I love my husband, but losing to a woman is not something he does very well. This prompted Mason to return to school to work towards his MBA. While I am supportive of this decision, he was not prepared for the strain of working full-time and going to school full-time.

Since returning to school Mason has been “too tired” to do anything but go to work, go to class, eat, and sleep. Oh, and of course he always manages to find the energy to have sex, even when I am no longer turned on by his bloated body! He has gained about fifty pounds over the last two years since he gave up the gym, softball, and other sports. He lo longer has the time to accompany me on an after dinner bike ride and our weekends consist of him working on projects while I take off with our friends.

I have told Mason that I want the man I married back, and that he needs to start making exercise and proper diet a priority again (that’s another thing; he eats a lot of fast food and cafeteria food now). Mason got very upset with me and told me that he knows he has gained weight, but that an MBA program is “no bicycle ride through the park”. (This comment hurt me!).  He went on to say that if we eventually have children I will gain weight and probably have a tough time taking it off, and then the shoe will be on the other foot.

Tazi, I would love to have children, but not until Mason gets back into better shape! I want the father of my children to be there for them, to coach their Little League teams and to simply be alive long enough to see them graduate high school, college, and even dance at their weddings! My father was a large man and he passed shortly before my wedding; I don’t want my future children to feel this same pain. How can I convince Mason to turn back the clock and return to being the man I married?

Athletic Abby

Dear Athletic Abby:

A dear friend of my Mommie is currently in an MBA program while working full-time, so I would say that I have seen first-hand the commitment it requires, but I cannot – I have not seen Mommie’s friend in quite some time because she is so swamped by school and work! An MBA program is a full-time job in and of itself, so to be working full-time and working towards an MBA full-time leaves precious little time for anything else.

If Mason signed up for an MBA program on a whim and was not prepared for the commitment it involved, I can see why he is feeling like he is spiraling through a dark tunnel with no light at the end of it. The fact that he was accepted into such a competitive program tells me that he has the background and the aptitude to succeed, and that solid time-management skills may be what are needed to help him find his way back to you and the life you created before school took over his.

As an athlete you already know how exercise can be a great stress reliever; I think it is time you gently remind your husband of how good working out made him feel. I suggest that instead of pressuring him to join you on a bike ride that you look into a set of stationary bicycles so you can work out side by side while allowing Mason to get some reading done at the same time. If he balks at this suggestion, suggest a treadmill, or a stair climber, or any other stationary exercise machine that will allow him to get his academic reading done while doing something other than lying on the couch! My Mommie and her classmates always used to read their Anatomy textbooks while on the treadmill – not only did it make the reading more interesting (Hey, look! I am exercising my gastrocnemius and soleus muscles!) it also made the time on the treadmill go a little bit quicker.

Most people just call them calves...

I realize that Mason has gained a significant amount of weight, but expressing the idea that you are “no longer turned on by his bloated body” (either verbally or by physically pushing him away) is not going to motivate him to start working out; rather, it is going to crush his ego and leave him feeling even more stressed than he already is. How did you feel when he suggested that you will be the one gaining weight if you were to have children? Do you think you will be able to maintain your high level of activity when motherhood becomes your primary focus?

I think you and Mason need to work towards better communication and understanding. You need to tell Mason what you told me – that you are concerned about his health and that you are afraid of losing him to a heart attack or stroke (leave out the part where you say you are no longer attracted to his bloated body!); Mason needs to communicate to you ways you can be supportive of his educational endeavors; and together you need to get back to common ground in order to make your marriage work. I think some sessions with a marriage counselor will be most helpful!


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

Monday, August 12, 2013

Young Offender Discovers Karma Comes In Spades

Dear Tazi:

I am nineteen and have spent the last three years saving to buy my own truck. It’s not new but it’s new to me and I work to keep it in good shape. As a practical joke some of my friends and I have been emptying the lobster pots of this mean old man who lives near us. Sometimes we take the lobsters out of the pots and set them free, other times we take the entire pot. There are never many lobsters in there, so it’s not like we are stealing this guy’s entire paycheck – just giving him a little payback for all the hard times he gave us when we were kids.

Last week, my truck died in the middle of the road and the old man came out of nowhere to ask if he could help us. This guy never helped anyone unless there was something in it for him, so I was pretty sure he did something to my truck. I got towed to the mechanic who told me someone had thrown sand in my gas tank. I am pretty sure it was this old man, so I asked him about it. All he did was stare at me before finally saying, “Someone’s been stealing my lobsters. Maybe it’s the same guy that did in your engine?”

Tazi, it’s going to cost me $2,000 to have my engine fixed! I want to file a police report and have the cops question the old man, but I am afraid he will retaliate by having the cops investigate me. I am dying to show this old man who’s boss, but all of my friends are backing down, saying that the joke has gone too far and to just let it slide. How could they not stand by me? I thought they were my friends. Do you think I should just approach the old man myself about getting the money for my engine? There is no way the price of the few dozen or so lobsters my friends and I took or freed come anywhere near the price I am paying for my engine.

No Name, No State

Dear No Name, No State:

Your signature tells me that you know what you were doing was illegal and that you are afraid of being turned into the police. Something also tells me that you are not being entirely truthful about the number of lobsters you “freed” or about the cost to the “old man”; for all you know he is selling them for a living and you have cost him the food he would put on his table.

The evidence you have against the “old man” is anecdotal, meaning you have nothing to go by but your own suspicions about his presence in your time of need. He may very well have put sand in your gas tank because he suspected you were stealing his livelihood, or he may have simply suspected you of stealing his livelihood and wanted to talk to you about it or check the bed of your truck at a time where you could not drive off on him.

I suggest that you cut the garbage and grow up! Whether it was the “old man” or just plain old karma that got to your truck while you were not looking, consider it an expensive lesson in how to act like an adult. If you push it, you might find that you are the one being investigated by the police…unless you were smart enough not to leave your fingerprints all over the “old man’s” lobster pots.


(That’s right, no snuggles for you!).

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

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Husband Wants Take-Out While Wife Wants To Be Taken Out

Dear Tazi:

My wife and I are having an argument that we repeatedly have and I am sick of it. On Friday nights she likes to go out to dinner because she says she has worked all week and is tired and does not want to cook dinner. I see her point, but I have worked hard all week, too, and do not feel like getting dressed up to go out somewhere.

I have suggested we order take-out and have it delivered, but “Wilma” argues that it is not the same as going out on a date and that I have stopped showing my appreciation for her. I argue that we have been married for fifteen years and together for almost twenty and we really don’t need to go on dates anymore. Things get worse from there, all because she doesn’t want to cook dinner or have to worry about whose turn it is to wash the dishes if we order take-out! Can you give me a real zinger to use the next time Wilma starts this stupid argument? One that will end the issue once and for all?


Dear “Fred”:

How does this work for you? “I’m sorry dear; I know I have taken you for granted by assuming that you no longer need romance in your life. I know you are tired after a long week at work; so am I, so why don’t we order a pizza and pay-per-view tonight and tomorrow night I will take you out for dinner and dancing?”

Consider yourself zinged, and trust me; this response should end the argument once and for all.


P.S. In case you forgot, today is Saturday! Put on your dancing shoes, “Mr. Flintstone”!

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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Once You Reach Adulthood It's Time To Ditch The "Frenemies"

Dear Tazi:

I have a “frenemy” that I would like to cut ties with once and for all. I am sick and tired of the drama, the gossip and the talking behind my back, and one-upmanship. I know if I just completely blow her off she will start talking about me behind my back (she has done it to others) and I don’t want that, but if I tell her off I will just be creating more drama; she thrives on that.

I have known this woman for years – since we were kids – so disentangling myself from her will not be easy. My husband and I are trying to conceive our first child, and “Caitlyn” is stressing me to the point where I am starting to think she is the reason I cannot conceive. Of course I cannot tell her that she is stressing me and to please give me some space because, again, that would just be too much drama for her to pass up. Plus the news that my husband and I are having trouble conceiving would be broadcast all over town. How should I handle this difficult, delicate situation?

Over It All

Dear Over It All:

“Frenemies” (friends who are also so competitive they are also enemies) are not good for anyone’s psyche, so I can see why this woman’s mere presence is enough to stress you out; I do not think Caitlyn is stressing you into infertility, though. If she is then you are giving her way too much control over your emotions and your life.

The next time Caitlyn contacts you with some kind of gossip, drama, or talk about someone you know, tell her that you do not have time to talk to her right now and that you will call her back at a more convenient time. When that time is can be entirely up to you. If Caitlyn calls you back, give her your pat response until she gets the message and stops calling you to gossip or brag. Should she start talking about you to others, tell those who report such news to you that you don’t care to hear it, that you don’t need the stress.

While you are attempting this exercise, you may also want to expand your circle of friends. There are many websites that have been created to help women seeking new friends find each other - Girlfriend Social and Social Jane are a few reputable ones. Sites such as these help people with similar interests and hobbies find each other; these are not the same as personals sites where people are looking for romance, but sites where people can meet their new BFF.

Once you have managed to reduce your stress levels – overall, and not just the stress caused by Caitlyn’s antics – you may find it easier to conceive; if not, you should talk to your gynecologist. Once you have your hands full with a pregnancy and the eventual little one that results, you can always tell Caitlyn that you are exceedingly busy with your child – which will be the truth – and are sorry that you are not able to maintain the ties the two of you once had (which may be a white lie, or you may discover that you do miss your old friend).


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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Who Is Responsible For Damage When Junk Car Is Further Damaged?

Dear Tazi:

Last week I borrowed my sister’s car because mine was in the shop having some warranty work done. My car is relatively new and looks like it just came off of the line because I take excellent care of it. My sister drives a much older car with a lot of scratches, dings, and other body damage (including a fender that is held on with wire).

Unfortunately, while I was in the mall parking lot, someone dinged her door and left a thumb-nail sized dent in it, as well as a chip in the paint. When I returned the car to my sister she noticed the new dent before I had the chance to tell her about it (and I was going to tell her about it!). Unbeknownst to me, she went out and got a quote on the cost of repair and discovered that the entire door will have to be repainted because the body shop will not guarantee a “touch-up job” on a door with so many other scratches and dings. My sister wants me to pay for the entire cost of having the entire car repainted, because a freshly painted door would not match the rest of the car!

I have absolutely refused to pay for the cost of having the door repainted, let alone the car, or to have the paint touched-up and the dent taken out of the door when she has done no such thing in the past to repair the damage she has inflected on her car. She told me if the situation was reversed and she had dinged my car I would expect her to pay for the damage, but I told her she was comparing apples and oranges, that my car is practically new and I take care of it. This led to an argument about how I have no respect for her things because they are not as nice as mine and how I think I am better than her because I make quite a deal more of it than she. She threatened to take me to small claims court to collect, so I told her to go ahead. I received my summons today.

Our mother is beside herself over this, and is telling me that I should pay to have the car repainted for the sake of family unity and “to keep the gossips from talking”. Tazi, I have no intention of paying to have my sister’s car repainted. I realize if I go to court I will probably have to pay something, so I would like to offer an amount that is fair. What do you suggest?

Dented Relations

Dear Dented Relations:

Your sister is trying to play you for a sucker; shame on her! You are right that if you went to court you would probably have to pay something – most likely the cost of having the dent taken out and the paint touched up, but also a lot more in the loss of familial relations and whatever the gossips take out on your reputation.

She's not driving a beauty like this, is she?

I think a good compromise here would be to offer to pay half the cost of repainting your sister’s entire car. She is right that a freshly painted door on a car full of dings, scratches, and I am assuming sun-faded paint will look ridiculous, but it is not your responsibility to cover the cost of her lack of maintenance. The cost of re-painting an entire door will probably cost around $500 while repainting the entire car will go around $1200; for an extra $100 you can extend the olive branch, although I do not think you will end up paying anything at all if you do as I suggest: tell your sister that you will write a check directly to the auto body shop that does the work. This way, she cannot take the money and run but use it to pay for the repairs she is demanding you cover. If she cannot afford to pay her half tell her to start saving, that you are not going to be played for the sucker she apparently thinks you are.

Your sister would be wise to take the deal I have suggested; I doubt she would do any better in court and would most likely do a whole lot worse.


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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sensory Processing Disorder Can Make Eating A Nightmare

Dear Tazi:

I am very particular about what I eat. While I eat a variety of foods and flavors, I have to like the texture of the food, too; if I don’t like the way something feels in my mouth – too crunchy, too mushy – I will not eat it. My preferences used to drive my Mom crazy, but eventually she gave up and gave in to what she called my “peculiarities about food” after the pediatrician told her not to make a big deal out of it so long as I was eating a nutritious, well balanced diet.

I recently moved in with my girlfriend and I am hoping this step will lead to marriage, but it seems that my peculiarities about food are a sticking point in our relationship. “Betty” thinks if I do not eat what she has cooked it is a direct insult to her. I have tried to explain what she has always known about me – that I am particular about how food feels in my mouth; if something doesn't feel right I actually get a gag reflex. Telling her this made things worse; she accused me of saying her cooking makes me gag. I told Betty that was not the case and she knew it, and that if she would like I would do all the cooking. I thought this would please her, but it only made things go further downhill and much faster.

We have only been living together a month but already Betty is saying that she cannot wait until our lease is up so she can move out and find a place of her own. I can’t believe that she wants to break up with me because she thinks I don’t like her cooking! Are there other people out there like me, Tazi? If there are, do you think they can explain to Betty that I am not making things up just to avoid eating her cooking?

Twisted Taste Buds

Dear Twisted Taste Buds:
There are plenty of people out there like you; they are called “texture eaters” and many of them suffer from a condition called sensory processing disorder, or SPD for short (it is considered to be on the Autism spectrum, and a lot of people with Autism have it). Depending on how mild or severe a person’s super sensory perception is, they may be able to hear things others cannot, see better than most, or have a super sense of touch and feeling or sense of smell.

Kind of like a dog hearing his special whistle!

Some with SPD experience all of these, others one or two super heightened senses. Texture eaters generally have a super-heightened sense of touch, which is why some foods do not “feel good” in their mouths while others taste better because of their more enjoyable texture. Fear not, you are perfectly normal. In fact, you are in very good company – many cats, including yours truly, are texture eaters. I will only eat crunchy cat cereal; you can feed that moist stuff to the dogs!

The fact that Betty was aware of your “peculiarities about food” before you moved in together tells me that she is using it as an excuse to back off your relationship. It is possible that she was not ready to move in together after all, and is only just discovering this fact now that the two of you have merged every aspect of your lives. I suggest you find the time to talk to Sally about this possibility (calmly and rationally) and see if it gets you anywhere. It could be that Betty is afraid to broach this subject and is picking a fight over her cooking as a way to find an out of your living situation. You should work on resolving this before it ruins your relationship altogether.


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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Husband Is Falling In Love With The Wrong Wife

Dear Tazi:

I have a huge problem. I know you hear that a lot, but I am pretty sure mine is the worst. I am in love with my sister-in-law. The worst part is that I am a married man.

My mother has been sick for quite some time, and my brother’s wife “Sally” has been helping to care for her. My days off are during the week, so I have been stopping by to visit Mom on my days off while everyone else goes on the weekends; because of this, I have been able to spend a lot of time with Sally, just the two of us, since Mom sleeps a lot. Usually Sally takes this time to prepare and freeze meals for Mom, clean the house, do the laundry, and all the other things that Mom cannot do for herself and that other family members have not bothered to help doing.

At first, when I saw all that Sally did I asked my wife if she could pitch in and take a load off Sally but she simply replied that Sally does not have children to look after like we do, so Sally should take on the extra chores to assist with Mom’s care. I was really upset by my wife’s attitude – it’s not just about Sally, it’s about my MOM, too! Seeing how Sally was overworked, I offered to start helping her with the chores myself.

Watching Sally selflessly assist my mother, I could not help but compare her attitude with my wife’s. I know it’s wrong to do that, but I couldn’t help but think Sally the better person. I have gotten quite close to Sally over these past several months, and have learned that she and my brother never had children is because she had cancer as a child and the treatments left her sterile. She told me she has filled the void by volunteering with homeless children. Could this woman get any more selfless???

Through all of this my brother made a really boneheaded move and started looking through the online personal ads because he felt ‘lonely” and felt that Sally was giving all of her attention to Mom and not enough to him. Poor Sally was humiliated when one of her single friends saw her husband’s profile online and told her all about it. Sally told me this one afternoon while Mom was napping, and told me she was thinking of leaving my brother but she didn’t want to upset Mom in her fragile condition.

Tazi, I told Sally I would talk to my brother and asked her to give her marriage another chance. I know this sounds selfless, but I only did it because I couldn’t bear the thought of Sally disappearing from my life. So, to summarize: my wife is selfish and self-centered, my brother is looking to cheat on his wife while she is caring for our mother (who will probably pass away shortly), and I have fallen in love with my sister-in-law who I convinced to stay with my cheating brother because I was afraid I would never see her again if they divorced. Am I a horrible man?

In Love With The Wrong Woman

Dear In Love With The Wrong Woman:

You are not a horrible man. Since that is the only question you asked of me, I suppose I could end my answer here but the length of your missive tells me there is more on your mind than just this question. I think your feelings for your sister-in-law are perfectly natural, given the circumstances, and would probably not have developed – or developed so strongly – under normal circumstances.

Having an ill parent can put a lot of stress on anybody; being the one to care for that ill parent is an added dose of stress, so I can see why your wife is hesitant to want to assist with your mother’s care in addition to caring for your own household. She sounds bitter over the fact that Sally never had children. Considering that you only just discovered the reason why, could your wife be thinking that Sally is the selfish one who is not trying to compensate for it?

Hmmm...this joke won't work! I believe they sang "take a load off Annie..."

While it is nice that you are helping Sally with the house chores, I believe that an equal effort should be made by all family members. If your brother went over to assist Sally with his mother’s care he would not have time to peruse the personal ads and complain that he is “lonely”. If you talk to your brother – as you told Sally you would – you might want to point this out to him.

It is beautiful that you have a close relationship with your sister-in-law, so I suggest you re-examine your feelings for her. Ask yourself why you never felt this way before your mother got sick and if you will still feel this way once things return to normal. Remind yourself of all the things you love about your wife and what makes her a wonderful, selfless woman, too. If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to a counselor or your clergyperson about your conflicting emotions, and for now at least make sure you are never alone with Sally; it will make temptation easier to resist.


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