Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Drinking Heavily On Someone Else's Tab Is A Drinking Problem

Dear Tazi:

I am part of a summer golfing foursome that will be starting to golf again soon. I enjoy golfing with my partners, and find the sport to be good exercise (we walk the course and carry our own clubs for our health, not because we are too cheap to rent a cart or hire a caddy).

After 18 holes in the AM, it is usually lunchtime so the four of us will go to the clubhouse to order lunch and discuss our game. We always split the tab evenly between us, with the exception of the bar tab; our rule is "high score buys". This practice adds to the camaraderie of the game and keeps us on top of our game, since nobody wants to come in last.

Our system generally works very well - all of our lunch orders are generally around the same amount, give or take a few dollars, so nobody feels taken advantage of...except when it comes to the bar tab. "Ralph", a member of our foursome, tends to come in last more often than anybody else. It is not so often that the bar tab is onerous, but generally Ralph will end up paying 3 out of 10 times, while the rest of us generally pay 2 or 3 times out of 10.

We have all noticed that when it is Ralph's turn to pay the bar tab, he only orders one beer - a domestic draft - but when someone else is paying he orders several expensive mixed drinks. The other members of my party would like to say something to Ralph about his drinking habits, but I think that Ralph thinks he is simply evening out the bill since he does end up paying it more often than not. My golf partners have suggested that we simply pay our own tabs from now on, but it was a halfhearted suggestion; we really enjoy the spirit of competition, which brings us back to saying something to Ralph.

I personally do not think it is very manly to quibble over a $50 bar tab (which is usually what Ralph's Martinis come to at the end of lunch), but I have agreed to go along with the rest of the group so long as I do not have to be the one to say anything. The rest of the group thinks I should be the one to say something, since I was the original organizer of the foursome. Your thoughts, gentleman cat?

The Duffer

Dear The Duffer:

What could possibly be manly about letting Ralph take advantage of you? By ignoring his very blatant behavior of ordering expensive drinks on someone else's dime you are letting him do exactly that. For whatever reasons you have no problem with this, and that is fine if you are fine with it. (Perhaps you feel badly that Ralph comes in last more frequently than the others?). However, the rest of your group does have a problem with it, and if the problem is not corrected it could lead to a split in this foursome.

While you may have been the one who originally organized the foursome, I am certain that all members of the group now consider themselves friends; their wishy-washiness about approaching Ralph is what I consider to be unmanly.  I think that you should all approach Ralph together, and not only about the cost of his portion of the bar tab. At an average of $8 - $10 per drink, a $50 bar tab is a minimum of five Martinis over lunch - and that is an excessive amount of alcohol to be consuming.

I believe that you should approach the situation as you would a personal intervention. Express your concern to Ralph that his drinking appears to be out of control on weeks he is celebrating a good golf game. Do not make the issue about the bar tab, but rather about Ralph's health and personal safety; he should not be allowed behind the wheel of a car after drinking so much, either!

Most likely, Ralph will respond indignantly and complain that he is, as your friends suggest, simply "evening out the bill". If this is the case, you may have to start paying your own way for a while, until Ralph realizes just how serious his drinking problem is, and finding a different form of reward to inspire a better golf game. Sometimes, tough love is the only kind of support we can offer a friend.


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

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reasons For Adopting Always Personal, Often Private

Dear Tazi:

Several years ago I had an abortion. I didn’t tell anyone because I felt it was nobody’s business but my own, and I still feel that way. The child I was carrying was shown to have no brain – just a brain stem to regulate its heartbeat and breathing, and I knew he would die shortly after being born. Maybe this was the coward’s way out, but I do not regret my decision. My parents had sent me away from they found out I was pregnant, and told people that I was spending the semester on student exchange. I told my parents I had a miscarriage and came home.

I am now happily married and my husband and I have made the decision not to have children because of certain genetic diseases on his side of the family. After what I went through the one time I was pregnant, I have no desire to try for another pregnancy. My husband and I have gone to counseling (as a precaution) but we are both quite firm in our decision not to have natural born children. We have decided instead to adopt.

When we announced our decision to our parents, his handled things quite well; mine erupted, saying that they should not be punished because I married a “defective” man and that an adopted child is not a “true” grandchild. They are pushing me to consider IVF with a sperm donor to “carry on the family bloodline”. They cannot understand why I am being “so selfish” and have told me that I will “rue the day” that I made “such a poor decision”.

Tazi, my husband thinks I should tell my parents about my past pregnancy, so they can see that he is not the only “defective” one. I realize that he is hurt by their judgment – I am, too – but I do not see how. They can't handle problems that they think would somehow stain the family name. When my brother spent time in rehab for alcohol and drug abuse they told people he was on an extended business trip to Europe. When my father got fired from his job he told people he was taking a sabbatical to write a book (my father is not a writer). They lie about every misfortune and turn it into something grandiose. I am afraid that they will make up some cockamamie story about the child my husband and I adopt.

So there you have it; my problem is two-fold: Do I tell my parents the entire story about why my husband and I are choosing not to bear children? And how do I deal with their reaction to our adoption plans?

Adoptive Mama To Be

Dear Adoptive Mama To Be:

How sad for you that your parents are so insecure that they feel the need to lie about life’s misfortunes, and how terrible for you that you had to bear the burden of loss alone. You seem somewhat defensive of your decision, and although I cannot blame you (it is a touchy, tender subject) your decision was a personal one and does not need to be justified to anyone but you and your conscience. If you had chosen to give birth, it sounds like your parents would have turned your child’s inevitable death into a three-ring circus of denial and lies. I can see why you chose to keep it a secret.

While I understand your parents’ need to mourn the fact that they will not have “natural” grandchildren I find their behavior odious. To suggest that you conceive through a sperm donor is so far beyond the pale that there are no words to describe how truly awful a suggestion it was. Calling your husband “defective” was equally wrong, but lashing out in anger is not the right response.

While your husband certainly – and deservedly – would like to take your parents egos down a few pegs, his first responsibility is to you, his wife. Throwing you under the bus in order to salvage his family honor is not the answer. I suggest you present a united front to your parents and tell them that the genetics of both sides of the family have you concerned. If your parents push for an answer, be flippant and tell then you are afraid that their egocentricities might be caused by faulty genes. This should shut them up.

Once you have adopted your new child, invite your parents over to meet him or her. Do not allow them to treat your child differently than any other grandchild and eventually they will get the message that your child is every bit as much a family member as your blood relatives. If, as your child gets older, you discover your parents treating him or her in a way you don’t approve you can deal with the situation as any parent would – by correcting them or by limiting their interaction with your child. Hopefully, this is one bridge you will not have to cross.


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Being Small Is Not A Curse. Healthy Eating Can Help

Dear Tazi:

I am a twelve year old boy and "small for my age", like my Mom says. I am really small. My nine year old brother is the same height as me. I am hoping I will grow a lot over the summer and during the school year because I want to go out for football next Spring.

I have always been really good at football, and was one of the best players on my town's PAL League. My Mom is already freaking out about how I am too small to play football with the high school boys and that I will get crushed or killed by some of the bigger boys. I am a really fast runner, Tazi, and I don't think the bigger boys would be able to catch me but my Mom is freaking out anyway. My Dad and she argue when they think I am not listening. Dad says Mom needs to stop treating me like a baby and let me play football "when the time comes". I agree with my Dad!

Do you think I will grow enough over the next year if I start eating more food? I am hungry all of the time, but I don't eat a lot because I am afraid I will get fat, like my older sister. I know that sounds mean, but she is really huge and I think it is because she eats too much and doesn't play sports.


Dear Billy:

For someone so young you have made some very important observations! You are right that eating too much and not exercising can cause us to gain too much weight but so can a lot of other things, like gland problems. Has your sister been checked for hypothyroidism (HYPO-thigh-roid-ism)? This is a problem that gives a lot of teenage girls a problem with controlling their weight and can make them feel helpless to control their weight, so they just eat more figuring they are going to get fat anyway. Be nice to your sister!

You might have a gland problem, too, which would explain whey you are "small for your age". Your body might not be producing enough human growth hormone (HGH) which could be why you are not growing. I suggest that if you are hungry you eat. Teenage and pre-teen boys need more food than the rest of us because their bodies are going through changes that require extra energy - changes that include growing taller and developing bigger muscles!

Just don't turn into this guy...ever.

I also suggest that you ask your parents to take you to the doctor for a check-up, if you have not had one within the last 12 months. The doctor will be able to evaluate your physical development and let you know if there is a problem with it. Some boys start out small and grow tall and brawny almost overnight! You might be one of those boys, so don't despair! Be sure to eat plenty of healthy foods, including lots of fresh vegetables and whole grains and (if you are not vegan) low-fat dairy products. A healthy diet will result in a healthy body, and that is what you need to play football! Hike!


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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Bromance" Getting In The Way Of Budding Romance

Dear Tazi:

I have been dating "Tod" for six weeks now, and we click very well...except for one thing. Tod's best friend "Jerry" has a bad habit of crashing all of our dates. I met Tod at a party, and we hit it off well. He was joking with me that he was Jerry's "wingman", and that his job was to distract me while Jerry hit on my friend. At first I was taken aback by his abject honesty, but decided to give him a chance. Within the hour I was glad I did, and was pleased that he told me that "Jerry picked the wrong girl".

Well, I don't think Jerry picked the wrong girl because just like my friend I have no interest in him, either! Jerry has commented to Tod that if it weren't for him, he and I would never have met, and that I should set him up with one of my "cute friends". When I told him I was not comfortable setting him up with anybody, he started showing up at events Tod and I happened to be attending. At first I thought it was just a coincidence that Jerry was taking in a movie, going bowling, or out to dinner all by himself until his appearance at our date sites became more and more frequent. On evenings that Tod and I stay in, Jerry just happens to stop by Tod's place to "hang out", whether I am there or not.

Tod is getting annoyed with Jerry, but will not tell him to leave us alone; he feels badly that Jerry is single and looking while he found me purely by accident. He admits that Jerry can be overbearing and sexist, so he understands why I don't want to set him up with any of my friends, but he doesn't have the heart to tell Jerry that this is the reason why I am not comfortable setting him up with someone.

Tod and I are talking about taking our relationship to a more intimate level, but I am afraid that Jerry will somehow end up in the middle of things - not literally, but close to it. I can picture him knocking on the door to come in and hang out at an inopportune time. Can you think of any way to unload Jerry? I don't want him out of Tod's life; just out of my hair.

Stunted Romance

Dear Stunted Romance:

From the way you describe Jerry it sounds like he has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It is obvious that he is lonely for female companionship and comes on very strong, which turns off a lot of women. He struck out with your friend while his friend hit a home run with you. This has to be killing Jerry's ego and putting him in the painful position of seeing his "wingman" torn from his side. The purpose of the wingman is to distract the less attractive friend and keep her company while another guy hits on the better-looking friend; men usually trade-off in playing wingman. It is both demeaning and sexist, and I am happy to see that Tod turned out to be a good guy, and not a shallow creep like Jerry.

I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that you talk to Jerry yourself. Ask him plainly what he is looking for in a woman. In fact, ask him to make a list of the traits he is seeking in a female companion.Once his list is complete, ask him to make a second list, this one of all of the traits that make him worthy of his ideal woman.  If nothing else you will have an exact picture of who Jerry is and what he is expecting should you decide to shop him around to your friends and let them decide it they want to take a chance on him. I realize that you are not comfortable setting up your friends with someone you find distasteful, but that does not mean you must play the role of the Gatekeeper. Just like Tod found you to be the more attractive friend one of your friends may be drawn to Jerry.

On the other hand, there is a possibility that Jerry will draw a blank on the second list, the one where he itemizes the qualities that make him desirable to your "cute friends". At that point, you can suggest to Jerry that he work on a few self-improvements that will relieve him of the need to be set up (because women will be chasing after him, not the other way around).


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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Treat Chronic Lateness By Ignoring It - And Starting The Party Anyway

Dear Tazi:

I have a family member who is chronically late to every event, and thus makes everyone else wait for him (and his family, who are late with him). It does not matter what time the event is, he will be late for it. "Fred" will call ahead to say he is running a little bit late and to please not start without him, and he feels this courtesy call excuses his tardiness.

Recently, my family had dinner reservations for 12 people at an expensive restaurant. Fred and his family were once again over two hours late, even though we gave them an earlier start time (by two hours) in the hope that he might arrive on time. Because there were only eight of us and the reservation was for 12, the restaurant charged us a $50 cancelled reservation fee. I demanded that Fred pay this fee, but he refused because he was not there to eat dinner (which we went ahead and ate without him).

I am willing to eat the $50 charge for Fred's tardiness if he stops expecting the world to revolve around his timetable, and I have told him this, but he says I am being unreasonable. On this particular night his babysitter  (for his two youngest children, who were not coming to the dinner) cancelled and he had to line up a replacement before he could leave. Fred argues that if he cancelled I would have had to pay the $50 anyway. This is part of the problem. Fred always has a reasonable excuse for why he is so ridiculously late.

Am I being unreasonable in demanding that Fred arrive on time to events if he wants to partake in them? Am I being a jerk for starting the event without him?

Tired Of Waiting

Dear Tired Of Waiting:

You are not being unreasonable in wanting to hold Fred to a set standard of decorum. You gave Fred a start time of two-hours earlier than you wanted him there and he still showed up two hours later than the actual start time - that would make him four hours late. Fred is being unreasonable in expecting people to hold a reservation for him for so long; he should have called to cancel and offered to pay the cancellation charge. This is how grown-ups act!

You are being unreasonable in trying to control Fred's behavior through manipulation, punishment, and deceit. You are being unreasonable in insisting that Fred "makes" you wait. Nobody can make you do something that you do not want. I suggest that in the future you tell Fred the true start time of any event, and let him know that courtesy call or not, you will be starting without him (and his family) if he is not there. Rude behavior such as Fred's can serve as its own punishment.


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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tazi's Corner #44 - Tazi's Mommie Graduates! (And Says A Few Words About It).

Dear Readers,

My name is Kimberly, and I am the Editor behind Ask Tazi! I would like to thank Tazi for giving me this space to say a few words on this very special day! I realize you come here to hear the thoughts and musings of my smug little kitty, and I thank you for your loyalty. What started out as a two-week college Writing class project has bloomed into something I could never have imagined...and I suppose that is one of the amazing things about college; it brings you opportunities that you once never dreamed could occur.

Today I will graduate from the University of Rhode Island with a long-postponed degree in Gender and Women's Studies, and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric (I continue to work towards my Bachelors in Biology, a separate project altogether). This is actually my third college graduation - I hold a Bachelors in Communications from Rhode Island College and an Associates in General Science from the Community College of Rhode Island. A life-long hockey fan, I am excited to be completing this particular hat trick! It has taken me six years going to school both part and full time to complete this journey, and as I look ahead towards my future I look back to what brought me here.

Shortly before I returned to school I was advised to walk the Path of Humility, that only this would lead me to the Gates of Grandeur. At the time I thought the Gates of Grandeur were just that - the gates to a grandiose living style that would afford me fine jewelry, a luxury car, and expensive bottles of wine. After all, a college degree is the key to success, is it not? My first degree had treated me quite well, in spite of the career burnout, so I expected even greater things from subsequent degrees. Looking around me, I realize that I have received more than I ever would have without my degrees...but these gifts are gifts of the spirit, something no amount of money could ever buy.

I have spent the last several years working as a Tutor at my state's community college (we are small, so we only have one). There I have had the opportunity to work with students of all walks of life, of all intelligence and ability levels. Having fallen into the niche specialty of working with students with disabilities I have met brilliant people whose intelligence rivals that of the greatest scientists, but who are seen as disabled because they suffer from Autism or dyslexia or severe anxiety or any number of invisible handicaps that make their learning journey an uphill one. Working with them, I put my Communications degree to use in ways I never had - to actually communicate with people in order to achieve a greater good, not for a quick sale on overpriced merchandise. What a feeling!

Many of my former students have gone on or will go on to staggering educational heights - Nursing school, Medical school, Colleges of Engineering, and PhD programs in scientific research. I am immensely proud of every single one of them and grateful to them, as well, because they have helped me to walk my Path of Humility, whether they realize it or not. Seeing their successes fills my heart with joy...the grandest gift of all. I am not jealous of them, nor do I begrudge them their successes, for I know the hard work and commitment that goes into achieving such success...and I know that their path is not my path to walk, but my path to walk with them for just a short while, to help them through the potholes on the highway of life.

This was the most important lesson I learned in college: That not all paths are the right path, and not all paths are permanent. Embrace change.

Each of us has a path to walk. Sometimes we will think we have found it, only to discover it leads to a dead end. We must remember that such an outcome does not make the journey a wasted one; maybe it was our fate to assist someone we met along the way, to help them along their path until our roads diverged.

This past week, I turned 40, an age I have always seen as mystical...an age where I always thought I would have my life all figured out and completely together (a thought that now makes me laugh derisively). As I look around me, I see a large circle of dedicated friends, old and new; I see a large extended family of blood relatives and those who are simply related by the bonds of deep friendship; I see the man I love, who still makes my heart beat faster after all the years we have been together (which is six, for those who are counting!). My circle of support is mind-blowing, and if I tried to thank them all personally it would take a year and a day to type all of their names; they know who they are, but if you are reading this and wondering if you are among them then wonder no more: the answer is yes.

As I look towards the future, I see a lot that is still unknown and undecided. I see the need for a well-paying full-time job as well as success as a freelance writer to pay for a looming student loan debt and to assist my mother in her retirement, something she has put on hold in order to see me through my schooling. (Thanks, Mom!). These things do not scare me as they once did, because I have learned that the Gates of Grandeur do not lead to a mansion on a hill - not anymore, at least; not for me.

For me, the Gates of Grandeur open into a life secure in the knowledge that no matter how useless I sometimes feel, I am somebody's pillar of support. It is the security of knowing no matter how many times I fall, there will always be someone there to help lift me up and move forward; that no matter how impossible my dreams, there will always be people cheering me on as I tilt at windmills. I am such a lucky woman!

Dare to dream your impossible dream


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

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Dear Readers:

As you may have read in the news this past week, clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch does not believe "fat people" should be wearing their clothes. I would not find this so offensive if their definition of "fat" was not limited to women larger than a size 10 (a 29 inch waist). A&F clothing considers a size 10 in women's clothing to be a "large" (while retailers everywhere call this a "medium") and does not make clothing for women in extra-large or XXL sizes, as they do for men. A&F argues that they offer such extended sizes for men because some men are athletes and need a larger cut to accommodate their bulging muscles. I argue that some women are large busted and need a larger size to accommodate their bulging, ahem...well, you get the picture.

Abercrombie and Fitch's message is nothing short of sexist: If you are a woman who is taller than average (most 6-feet women I know wear a size 12 dress or larger) or more voluptuous than the average high school cheerleader they consider you fat - and not cool enough to wear their clothes.

Now, why any woman would want to dress in clothes that are manufactured by such d**** canoes is beyond me, but the problem is that the psyche of young women in America is delicate enough as it is without a major retailer telling them that they are "large" (when they are actually medium) and of an ungainly size. I like to think that as a culture we have come far enough that women are no longer judged solely by their measurements. After all, it is your personality that makes you "cool" or "uncool", right? Abercrombie and Fitch is firmly planted in my Book of Not Cool!

Today I am asking you, dear readers, to stand behind women of all size behinds and 

I ask that you donate your A&F clothing to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or homeless shelter. Refuse to wear the brand that denigrates women based upon their body size! By doing this, you will be helping a cause greater than you - you will be helping clothe those less fortunate, and striking a blow against corporate elitism. You will also be telling the world that you are not the kind of person who thinks they are cooler than anyone else (because to think that would be uncool, and thus self-defeating in your attempts to be seen by the world as cool). I also ask that you spread the word by posting to Twitter with the hashtag #FitchTheHomeless, so the word may spread.

Together, we can make the world a better place...one clothing donation at a time!


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

Friday, May 17, 2013

Anger Management Is Easier With Family Support

Dear Tazi:

I have issues with anger management. Every little thing sets me off, from someone tapping their heels on the floor and making an annoying noise to crying children. I used to drink to take the edge off of my anger, but that backfired and made me even easier to anger. I didn't realize I had a problem because my family always accommodated me; I thought they truly were the ones with the problem and were right to apologize for angering me.

Last week, my youngest daughter told me that she is planning to come in from California for a working vacation (she is self-employed) and would like to visit with me and her mother. I told her how excited I was to be seeing her and that I was looking forward to seeing my six-year-old granddaughter when she told me that there was a problem with that. She told me that "Johanna" said she is "afraid of Grampy" because the last time I saw her - two years ago - I yelled at her for singing a dilly song while I was trying to catch the sports scores on TV.

Tazi, I had no idea how harmful my behavior was, or that it would make such a lasting impression on such a young child. Nobody made a big deal of things at the time, and I thought no further of it. My wife and I have always sent birthday and Christmas cards to Johanna, and even talked with her on Skype and my daughter has never let on that Johanna was afraid of me. My daughter explained that while looking through pictures of her last visit Johanna remembered how badly I had scared her.

My daughter has told me that she will not keep Johanna from me, but that we need to meet on neutral territory - like at a playground or other child-friendly location. Tazi, I would do anything to undo the damage I have done to my granddaughter's psyche. I seriously and truly regret the way I snapped at her two years ago, and have offered apologies to her, telling her I was "a mean Grampy, and won't do it again". However, I am afraid that will not be a promise I can keep if I am placed in a child-friendly area like a playground or children's restaurant. Groups of loud, unruly children set me on edge.

I have asked my daughter if we can meet at my house or even a regular restaurant, but she is firm in keeping the location "child friendly". I am seeking counseling for my anger issues, but I am not sure I have reached the point where I can be around such a large trigger. Must I forego a visit with my granddaughter until I am ready to be in a child-friendly atmosphere? I have no idea how long this will take, and I desperately want to see my grandchild.

(Reforming) Mean Old Grampy

Dear (Reforming) Mean Old Grampy:

I give you a lot of credit for accepting your role in this whole scenario; accepting responsibility for your actions is one of the major steps to managing your anger. Rather than ditch the idea of meeting your granddaughter, I suggest that you talk to your daughter in terms of your recovery. Nobody would blame a recovering alcoholic for refusing to meet someone at the hotel bar, yet your daughter is asking you to step into a loaded environment - similar to how a hotel bar would affect a recovering alcoholic.

Would you make this guy angry on purpose?

Explain to your daughter that you are seeking help for your temper and have made strides towards both understanding and controlling your anger, and that it is because you understand your triggers (such as groups of loud, uncontrolled children) that you recognize that a child-friendly environment like she has in mind would not be the best place for you to reconnect with your granddaughter.

Would a picnic in a wide, open park area be a good compromise for you? A park offers enough space that the noise of other children would not carry as it does in an enclosed space (like a playground or child-friendly restaurant) and would allow your granddaughter the open space she needs to feel safe. Maybe an afternoon fishing at a local lake would be a nice way fore you and Johanna to reconnect? You could make it a family affair, with your wife and daughter, too. I suggest that you and your daughter settle on a quiet, relaxing, but fun-for-all-ages activity that would defuse the stress of the situation for both you and Johanna.

Recovery is not a process that can be undertaken alone; with your daughter's support, you will be able to build a relationship with Johanna...and even rebuild your relationship with your daughter, who I am certain bears emotional scars of her own.


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

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Rather Than Tweet, Record Memories By Hand

Dear Tazi:

My Mom recently retired and has been bored around the house, so I made the mistake of introducing her to Twitter. Now, nothing is sacred. Everything anyone says or does makes it up onto her Twitter feed. Every moment - once special and meaningful - is grounds for a tweet. Examples?

While reading my daughter a bedtime story, Mom decided to stop midway and tweet about it.

While making Sunday dinner, Mom decided to tweet about a memory of how I burned the mashed potatoes the first time I helped make Sunday dinner.

While watching TV during an evening visit, Mom tweeted about how glad she was to have us all there around her.

I realize these moments are special to her and she is trying to make us feel special by sharing them with the world, but by doing that - pausing to put us on hold - she is making them less special, and the rest of us resentful of Twitter. Can you think of any way we can approach her on this without hurting her feelings?

Tweeted Out

Dear Tweeted Out:

Some people tweet every detail of their lives - "can't sleep"..."going to the bathroom brb"....and "my son's mother is evil and will never get away with this" are all tweets I randomly found while perusing the twittersphere for inspiration on how to respond to your letter. While the first is benign, the second a little too personal, and the third downright unnerving I am inclined to believe that your Mom's tweets fall somewhere within the gray areas of  "would be slightly embarrassing if anyone actually cared". Am I right?

You need to ask yourself why her tweets upset you so much. Was your daughter asleep when your mother decided to stop and tweet or was the tweet an interruption to the story? Is your Mom now the one burning the mashed potatoes as she tweets about your long ago mishap? Are your evening visits to Mom something of a secret? Or are you just a very private person?

For your Mom, Twitter has become an online memory book of sorts. I suggest rather than discourage these memories, you encourage them - but ask her to write them in a Memory Book rather than broadcast them online. I suggest you provide your mother with a nice hardcover, lined paper journal (aka a blank book) and ask her to record her tweets on paper. Each entry can be around 140 characters, but unlike Twitter she will be allowed to go over the 140 limit. Dedicate a time each week to review her "paper tweets" and discuss what each one means to both your mother and those involved. I am certain that many happy memories will be revived, rediscovered, and created as you, your Mom, and your daughter and other loved ones share these important thoughts.

Years from now, when Twitter is long forgotten, this book - or books, should the idea appeal to your Mom as much as Twitter - will become a cherished heirloom, written in your mother's gentle hand. It is a gift that will be treasured for generations to come.


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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Turning 40? Life Is Just Beginning!

Dear Tazi:

My 40th birthday is fast approaching, and I feel like I have accomplished nothing in life. I am a stay-at-home-Mom to four children who consume most of my free time. I have a few hobbies that I participate in with the other SAH-Moms in my circle, but I feel like I am not making much of a difference in the world. In my twenties, I graduated college and planned to change the world, first by marching on Washington, then by being elected to Congress! Well, marriage and children changed all that and the only thing I have been changing for the last ten years is diapers.

I feel like I am of no use - washed up before my time, with nothing to contribute and no major accomplishments on which to brag or be remembered. My husband has a fulfilling career and is well-respected in our community; he will probably run for City Council in the next election, following my dream of making change...and leaving me, once again, on the sidelines to watch.

I know I should be grateful for my husband and children and the good life I have, but I feel like all these years have been wasted time; like I have not left my mark on the world. Twenty years ago I imagined I would have run for office, run a marathon, or run my own business. Now, I feel like I can hardly run my own life. My friends all seem so happy being SAH-Moms and I feel like there is something wrong with me for wanting more. They say life beings at 40, and that 40 is the new 30. Is it? Right now, I sure hope-so, because I feel like I will have the do-over I desperately need.

Almost 40, and Not McLovin' It

Dear Almost 40 and Not McLovin' It:

I am printing your letter on Wednesday, May 15th for a very special reason - because it is my Mommie's 40th birthday! Normally, she would be moping about growing older and wondering how life has passed her by, as she does on every birthday, but not this year! Last year, a serious health scare helped her put it all into perspective!

You say that being a SAH-Mom leaves you with no way to have an affect on the world around you. Are you kidding me? You are helping to mold the next generation! Your children will live what they learn - what you teach them! What bigger influence is there than to be a Mom and to raise another human being? Your influence will help your child be a strong, independent thinker or a meek, go-along to get-along type of person. You can teach your sons to respect women or to treat them like possessions; you can teach your daughters to respect themselves or to accept lesser treatment as a way of life.

Everyone has to make choices in life; it is almost impossible to "Lean In" unless you have the financial back-up and managerial clout required to make it all happen at once. That does not mean that you can't start small, though. Everyone has to start somewhere...if you start at the bottom you can only move upward!

You have a college degree, and that is a start to making your dreams come true. Are there volunteer positions where you can put it to use? You seem to like politics; what is keeping you from getting involved? If you do not feel ready to run for office, why not help to run a campaign? There is no reason for you to be left on the sidelines watching.

World renown author "Jen" of PeopleIWantToPunchInTheThroat.com published her first book at the age of 40, and now at 41 has a second book published and a contract for two more books! I suggest you hop on over to her website to read her inspiring story, and hysterical blogs about being a Mom to two young children! Life does not begin at 40, or any other set age for that matter. Life begins when we take the steps towards achieving our dreams, and stop listening to the naysayers who hold us back - even if the naysayer is the voice in our own head.


P.S. to my Mommie: Happy 40th birthday to my favorite crazy cat lady! --T.K.

I can haz a few friends over for party?

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Suicide Is NEVER the Answer!

Dear Tazi:

I will be 18 next month and am graduating high school. I am a National Merit Scholar and have been accepted to my college of choice on scholarship. I am an All-Star Athlete, and a very popular person. In fact, up until now my life has seemed perfect. I say "seemed" perfect because my whole life I have been pressured to excel by my parents. I hate sports, but I have to play them; I hate playing piano but have been forced to take lessons; I hate taking Honors courses and all the pressure that goes along with them but I have done as I was told and did well in everything.

I am so afraid of going away to college, where I will be on my own with nobody to push me. I am afraid I will fail miserably and embarrass my family. I do not want to leave the comfort of high school and my hometown. I am thinking of committing suicide, but making it look like an accident, so my family is not shamed - that way, everyone wins; my family is not shamed, my name is not soiled, and I get a way out of all the pressure. I honestly believe this is the best thing to do, since I know I could never live up to the expectations put before me. I have reached my personal peak, and it is all downhill from here. Why then do I have a little feeling of doubt?

Ready To Go

Dear Ready To Go:

That nagging feeling of doubt is your conscience telling you that your plan is not the right one. Please, please, please do not go through with your plan to end your life; seek counseling - anonymous, if you would like - to help pull yourself from this deep depression and to assuage your fears of failure. The loss of a loved one - accidental or otherwise - leaves a hole in the lives of those left behind; one that can never, ever be filled.

You show concern for your family and loved one, and not tarnishing your name; please consider how they would feel if they lost you not to a move across the country, but for life. Do you not realize how valuable and loved you are? Your parents have pushed you because they want you to succeed, but have you voiced your dislike of the things they have pushed you to do in order to become a well-rounded person? Do you dislike all sports, or only the ones you have played? Do you dislike playing all musical instruments, or just the piano?

I suggest you seek immediate counseling - online or by telephone through The Samaritans; they will be able to assist you with your next steps, which will be talking to your family about your future plans. Right now might not be the best time for you to go away to college. Might you consider enrolling in your state college or university? Would it be possible to defer acceptance to the college of your choice and start next year, after you have been able to sort through your feelings of desperation and fear?

I suggest you ignore those who tell you that these past years have been the best of your life! The best is yet to come; your youth has just been a primer to teach you how to find a balance of hard work and enjoyment. Your parents, your friends, your loved ones, and me all want you to live to see the wonderful things that come next! Please write back to me later this year and let me know how you are.


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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Itsy Bitsy Bikini Advertises What Teen Is Not Selling

Dear Tazi:

Summer is coming and that means beach weather! My best friend and I decided to go bathing suit shopping, and her choice of swimsuit left me concerned. We are both going into the eighth grade, but "Alyssa" is much more developed than me or most other girls our age. She looks much older than 13 - closer to 17 or 18.

I bought a pretty tankini suit that looks nice on me, but doesn't reveal too much skin; Alyssa bought a string bikini, the kind you would see on a celebrity like Lindsay Lohan or Beyoncé. It was very expensive, but she looks totally amazing in it. I was a little jealous, and at the same time scared for her. I told her that wearing a bikini like that would make her the center of every guy's attention. Alyssa told me that this is what she wants - to snag an older boy - a junior or senior in high school - who will take her to all of the school dances that middle school students don't get to attend.

Tazi, I think Alyssa is going about this the wrong way. I am hoping she is, as my Mom would say, advertising something she is not actually selling, but what if she is? I think we are both way to young to be having sex, especially in return for a possible invite to a dance from an older boy.

I am thinking of telling Alyssa's Mom about the bikini she bought, so her Mom can see how skimpy it is and maybe even make her return it. The problem is, Alyssa knows her Mom would not approve of it and is hiding it. If I tell, Alyssa will figure out it was me who told. I want to look out for my friend, but I think if I do we will not be friends anymore.

Two-Piece Tangle

Dear Two-Piece Tangle:

You are a very good friend to want to look out for Alyssa's well-being. If she thinks looking good in a bikini is all it takes to get a boy four years her senior to take her to his senior dances she has a big lesson to learn. At your age, four years is a very big age difference. Alyssa may look older, but this does not mean that she has reached the emotional maturity level needed to handle life with the older boys.

A revealing bikini would also attract this kind of guy...

The good thing about secrets is that they are hard to keep. If Alyssa looks as good as you say she does in her bikini, you can bet that she has been talking about it to the other kids at school, building up suspense for the big reveal the first time she wears it. This way, she will be guaranteed the attention she is looking for; if she tells nobody, no one will think to look. If you feel strongly about telling Alyssa's mother, I do not think she will be able to figure out that you were the one who snitched on her.

If you do tell and Alyssa finds out it was you who told, know that she will be plenty mad at you. You are at an age where friendships start to change and teenage girls start to take different paths. Some stay on the path that they were raised to follow; others take a walk on the wild side. Is the path Alyssa is taking the path you want to walk? Just as Alyssa cannot force you to walk her path, you cannot force her to walk yours. It appears that a split in your friendship will be inevitable - with or without the issue of this revealing bikini.

If you choose not to tell Alyssa's Mom about this bikini, would you be comfortable being seen with Alyssa? Would you be okay if the older boys started paying more attention to you? As exciting as it may sound, are you ready to sell what you are advertising? Let your conscience be your guide.


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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Husband Wants Child, Wife Secretly On Birth Control

Dear Tazi:

I have been married for not quite 3 years, and my husband is pressuring me to have a baby. I would like to have a child, but it is not that simple. I am not ready to be a Mom yet. I do not like children, and I am afraid I will not like my own child. I would also like to go back to school to earn my graduate level degrees, and a baby would prevent me from doing that.

I have told my husband that I would like to have a baby "someday", but not right now. Unknown to him, I am still taking my birth control pills. I am in my early thirties and realize that my time to have a child is running short, but I still feel no pressure or anxiety about getting pregnant. In fact, the only anxiety I feel is a fear that my birth control will fail and I will end up pregnant. Obviously, I cannot talk to my husband about this.

Tazi, I am in a bind. When I got married, I never expected my husband to want to start a family so soon. He is the type of man who talks big but never follows through with any of his plans. I was hoping starting a family was one of those big plans that would never materialize. I think he is getting pressure from his mother, but when I ask him he tells me to leave her out of it; that he wants a child as much as she wants a grandchild.

I am fast losing my desire to be around my husband and have been spending a lot of my free-time with my friends to avoid the opportunity for any kind of intimate acts. The less time I spend with my husband the more I realize how little I miss him. My marriage does have its good points, Tazi. My husband is a good provider and we own a nice home. Financially I would lose a lot if I left, and would never be able to pursue my graduate studies. I am...

In A Bind

Dear In A Bind:

Your marriage is in a very bad spot! You and your husband have some serious communication problems that need to be addressed openly and honestly. It sounds to me that you do not want to have children - ever - and are trying to convince yourself that you really do in order to please your husband. Ask yourself this: how would you feel if tomorrow you discovered you were pregnant? Would you be happy or upset? It is understandable that you would be scared, but would you be excited through your fear or simply panicking that your life is now over? Now imagine that the pregnancy was a false alarm. Do you feel a sense of sadness or relief? A combination of the two? Your honest reaction to these questions will answer your question as to whether or not you want to me a Mom.

Not every woman is cut out to be a mother. You write that you do not like children and that you are afraid that you will not like your own. This is entirely possible; I suggest that you talk to a counselor about these feelings. It could be that the pressure being put upon you to bear a child is what is pushing you away from this decision. No woman wants to feel like her sole purpose is to incubate her husband's young, but it could be that your feelings are an early warning that parenthood is not for you.

You say that you cannot talk to your husband about all of this - including the fact that you are on birth control - but he is the one person you should be speaking to about your feelings, your hopes, and your fears. Marriage is a partnership, and I am afraid that you are not holding up your end of the deal by running away from the problems your marriage is facing. If you run too far, you may find that your husband has decided to take off, too - in the direction of the nearest divorce lawyer.


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

Monday, May 6, 2013

Using Sex As A Weapon Leads To Power Struggle In Marriage


I just read your response to "Wife Wants A New Car Payment; Husband Wants To Live Debt-Free". I thought it was from my wife until I read about the student loans. My wife wants a new $40,000 Honda Pilot. She drives a 2008 Toyota Sienna that we paid ~$30,000 for new in 2008. My point is at there is nothing wrong with her van. We are both working professionals, and I while I make a few thousand more per year I will not make a major purchase without her agreement. I drive a 2006 truck, and while I'd love a new vehicle (who wouldn't), I would rather have money to enjoy and travel with. She agrees with me that we should both vote "yes" before making a $40,000 purchase, but she will not let it go!

While I prefer to live debt free, I offered a compromise that she has refused. My offer was that since we both would like to spend money differently we would sit down and from a written budget that includes our combined income. After paying all the bills, we would agree on how much to save and divide the rest equally. We would each be allowed to manage our share of the excess income how we wish. She can use hers on a car payment, hobbies, shopping, etc. and I would be able to spend my share on saying, hunting land, and my hobbies.

I really thought it was a fair compromise, but she insists her car that is 2 years newer than mine "needs" to be replaced. She has been stuck on this car fantasy for months and refuses sex, only constantly shows me cars she is interested in.

Lost in Montana

Dear Lost In Montana:

I believe your compromise is an excellent one, and it is one that I have recommended in the past. Once bills are paid, and money is set aside for savings and emergencies, I believe that couples should be able to have their own "independent" money to spend as they wish - within reason. If you want to buy a new hunting rifle, that is within reason; if you want to buy a $10,000 hunting lodge, I would tell you to talk it over with your wife first.

I am not certain that your wife fully understands the long-term commitment of a car loan. A new car payment on a $40,000 minivan - even with a trade-in - would not be cheap. Arguably, it would be around $30,000 with trade-in. According to KellyBlueBook.com the cost - at minimal interest, spread out over 5 yeas (60 months) would around to $525/month. That is every month, for five full years. That is a long-term investment in her monthly spending cash!

I suggest a new compromise, one which would give your wife an idea as to whether or not a car loan is something she is willing to commit to long-term: Figure the purchase price on the vehicle she wants - all options included (since Montana has no sales tax on vehicle purchases, you do not have to factor this into the cost). Divide the total purchase cost by 60 to get her monthly payment. If she wants to shorten the length of the loan this will increase the payment; if she wants to extend the length of the loan this will lower the payment but also lower any trade-in value.

Once your wife sees what her monthly payment will be on a car loan, I suggest that she try to put aside that much of her personal spending money each month and not touch it for any reason - not for shopping, not for vacation, nothing. This will teach her what it is like to live with a large monthly car payment. (FYI: It is not fun!). If after one year she has succeeded in doing this and is still gung-ho about taking out a car loan she will at least have a sizable down-payment to go along with her trade-in vehicle. At this point, she will understand the discipline it takes to take on a car loan and will have proven that she is up to committing to it. Thius, in turn, will reflect marvelously on her credit report. If, on the other hand, she discovers that the sacrifice required is not one she can make she should agree to be content to drive her current vehicle until the time for a new one arrives - which will be when the becomes unsafe to drive or when yearly repair costs outstrip its value. In my experience, it generally takes less than twelve months to discover the sacrifices required to take on a large car payment are not worth making. In the meantime, you need to work on the power struggle that is occurring between the two of you.

Does your wife somehow feel like she receives less at home because she earns slightly less in the workplace? Does your wife suffer from some other form of emotional insecurity? Is she being - or has she been - bullied or made to feel insignificant by other women? I ask because using sex as a weapon or a bargaining chip - as your wife is doing by withholding it - is generally the result of the with-holder feeling a lack of power in the relationship (if, of course, the reason is not health related which does not appear to be the case). 

By withholding sexual attention, your wife has grabbed the seat of power in your marriage and is attempting to wield it to get her way. Surely she values marital intimacy more than a new minivan? Have you asked her this question? Getting to the real reason she feels the need to attempt to emotionally overpower you may help your wife overcome whatever feelings of insecurity she is attempting to overcome through a status purchase - which is what a $40,000 minivan is; a luxury purchase that, in our world of excess, will cause envy among those who see her driving it. 


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

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tazi Takes A Vacation Day!

Dear Readers:

For the first time ever, I am taking a vacation day! Please enjoy this classic issue of Tazi's Corner, as I discuss the importance of volunteering!

Happy Sunday and welcome to another issue of

Tazi's Corner
Life As Your Pet Sees It!

Earlier this week I printed a letter about volunteering, stating in it that “There are three ways in which a person can give back to their community; they are through gifts of time, talents ,and treasure”. Although I wish I could take credit for the “three T’s”, I first heard the idea from my Mommie’s pastor (I was snuggled in the Tazimobile one Sunday when she left for church).

The Tazimobile rocks!

The idea that we all have something to give intrigued me because, as I have mentioned in the past, we cats are very generous and giving creatures. Why just yesterday I gave my Mommie the opportunity to give me some kitty snax and the honor of scratching me behind my ears! Now, as I was saying, the idea that we all have something to give intrigued me.

Time; talents; and treasure; some of us have nothing but time, and no money to spare – especially those who are experiencing prolonged unemployment. How can volunteering help these people? Many non-profit organizations need volunteers to donate their time and talents to their causes, but their needs go unfilled because people mistake volunteer work as a pursuit of those who do not have to work. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many employers see a period of unemployment as a time to improve skills or use skills to help others. If someone chooses to sit around surfing the Internet and waiting for the phone to ring, their chances of finding employment are actually less than those who are actively volunteering; keeping their skills fresh by donating them; and networking within the community. If nothing else, their efforts will earn them a valuable recommendation for employment.

There are others who believe that they have no time to give or who feel their talents are not needed; they really should think again. How much time do humans waste vegging out in front of the television or unwinding by playing marathon sessions of video games. How much difference could be made in the life of a child by donating your time as a Big Brother or Big Sister? Or by waking an hour early in order to serve breakfast at the local soup kitchen? (Here’s a hint for those seeking to network: Many “important” people volunteer in soup kitchens!). Perhaps you could spare an hour or two a week to assist an elderly shut-in with their grocery shopping? No action, however small, is insignificant if done from the heart. Too often, we choose to give only at the holidays, forgetting that need knows no season. The holidays are coming up – why not start your seasonal volunteering a little early this year?

Perhaps the poorest, most time-pressed people of all – high school and college students – have the most to give, for they have talents to share. Too often, students try to find the most impressive sounding time fillers in order to impress colleges; but let’s get real: do you think the people at Harvard are really going to believe that you willingly chose, with an open heart, to spend your summer tutoring blind children in the scorching heat of sub-Saharan Africa? Personally, I think the folks at Harvard are smart enough to recognize a kiss-@$$ when they see one. Don’t let your volunteering become farcical fodder for the annual Christmas Newsletter (…this year, for his high school senior project, Junior completed an independent study in South American aboriginal tribes, and even created an unabridged dictionary of the language of the lost Aztecs…). Instead of trying to impress people by volunteering on the other side of the globe, why not tutor inner-city children in Math and Reading? Why not choose to make a difference in your own community?

To the star quarterback; why not volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, teaching them how to play football? To the music prodigy; do you know how many underprivileged children would appreciate the use of a borrowed instrument and free lessons? These are offerings that require commitment – a commitment that goes further than sub-Saharan Africa because it is a commitment to people you will be seeing over and over again in your community; a commitment to people who will look at you and KNOW whether or not you honored your promise to help. Will you be able to look them in the eye when your paths cross? That’s the advantage of volunteering far from home; nobody is there to bear witness to your actions, they must take you at your word. I have read the blogs of students who go overseas to “help” those less privileged, and often times these trips involve more sightseeing than anything else. Jesus wept! (John 11:35).

Last, but certainly not least, is our treasure. To give of our treasure does not always mean to give money, although money is always appreciated. Many organizations – from the Salvation Army to Big Sisters – accept donations of gently used goods and clothing. We can further offer of our treasure by purchasing goods from these organizations; many a beautiful evening gown or designer purse has been discovered on the racks of your local thrift store. If you don’t want to keep your purchases, feel free to yard sale or eBay them.  Additionally, it would be a nice gesture if you donated any profit back to the providing thrift store – it’s giving without cost! Even if you choose to keep your profits, you are still supporting a worthy cause, although I know some readers will be criticizing me for not paw-slapping the capitalist out of you.

I know how hard it can be to part with your hard-earned money or your precious free time (I hate missing my nap), but please remember that even if you cannot give much, your donation will combine with the donations of others. Give of your time, and someone with talent will direct you…give of your talents, and someone with treasure will sponsor you…give of your treasure, and see others give back to you in ways you never thought possible. Whatever you do, give from the heart; be the kind of person your dog thinks 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.