Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wife Loved Slim Spouse, Is Not Attracted To Chubby Hubby

Dear Tazi:

I am a married woman, and I love my husband – I truly do – but after fifteen years of marriage he is no longer in the same physical shape that attracted me to him. “Aaron” has lost the athletic figure of his youth, putting on several unsightly pounds while allowing his muscles to go soft and flabby. While I continue to go to the gym three days a week, Aaron chooses to sit on the sofa drinking beer and eating pizza; he insists that he needs this time to relax after a stressful day at work.

I am no longer physically attracted to Aaron, and would like him to lose some weight. I just know that if he does that old spark will come alive once more and our marriage – stunted by the lack of bedroom activity – will once again be happy and healthy. Do you have any suggestions on how to get Aaron off the sofa and into the gym?

Svelte Sylvia

Dear Svelte Sylvia:

One sure-fire way to fail at your goal of reconstructing your husband is to shut him out in the bedroom until he once again meets your physical specifications. If my lady friend had your attitude it would stress me to the point of vegging on the sofa with pizza and beer, too! That is, if I wasn’t neutered – but that’s beside the point!

Aaron did not lose his athletic cut overnight; it happened over a period of months or even years. Something had to trigger his loss of desire for exercising and eating right. Has he been screened for depression? Even mild depression can sap a person’s desire for physical and/or sexual activity, which would explain why your husband went from being Slim Goodbody to Chubsy Hubsy. Other reasons for the change could entail reasons inside or outside of the marriage, but the one thing that is for sure is that whatever the issue it is affecting your marriage.

Rather than push Aaron off of the couch and into the gym, why not sit down with him and ask what is stressing him so much? Ask when did these feelings of stress start and how you might help him overcome them. Whatever you do, do not tell him that you are no longer sexually attracted to him! Instead, express your concerns for his overall health; tell him that you love him and want to have him around for many years to come and that regular exercise and a healthy diet are a way to help make that happen.

In the end, it will be Aaron’s decision to exercise or not. You must ask yourself if you can accept him for worse as well as better, because what you have now may be as good as he’s going to get.

Perfunctory snuggles,

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

Friday, May 30, 2014

Uh-Oh! Heat From An Old Flame Warms Man's Heart

Dear Tazi:

I am 40 years old, and I am not sure if I am experiencing a mid-life crisis or simply long buried regret for the path not taken. Twenty years ago, I broke the heart of a wonderful young woman who loved me with all her heart. She was beautiful, kind, generous, and best of all she was the kind of person who would light up a room with her presence. I loved her, but was not ready to commit to one woman. I knew I would end up cheating on "Katie" (she was still in high school, while I had started college) so I did the respectful thing and turned her down when she asked me to her senior prom. I wanted to let her down easy, so I lied to her about why I could not go; the problem is, she knew I was lying and refused to speak to me all that summer. Our lives took us in different directions, and I did not see her for another four years.

As fate would have it, I ended up taking a college course with her and our paths crossed again. During this time, I discovered she was dating my sworn enemy. I know that sounds melodramatic, but the guy was a real piece of [work]. I told her very overprotective brother that the guy was bad news;  I was not certain what exactly would happen, but figuring I was looking out for Katie. Her brother confronted the guy, and told him to stay away from Katie. This confrontation eventually led to their break-up, and Katie found out the truth and was once again furious with me. I did not see Katie again for another five years, when I ran into her in the grocery store. I was hoping for a cheesy love song reunion, and although Katie was as sweet as ever to me she reminded me of the fact that I had gotten married since we last saw each other (something she had heard through the grapevine). That was ten years ago.

Fast forward to today and the truth is, even though I am married it is not a happy marriage; nor has it been for many, many years. My wife has grown round and matronly looking (our one child is a teenager, so it is not like she lost her figure to childbirth). She refuses to cover her gray hair, has developed a dour disposition, and just being with her makes me feel old. Meanwhile, Katie is as youthful looking as ever; with the same bright and happy personality that draws people to her. I know because I saw her working in her garden not that long ago, as I passed by her house on the way to a friend's place. I stopped to say hello, and discovered that Katie is still unmarried. Idiot that I am, I lied to her and told her my wife and I were separated. Katie expressed her sympathies, but not the romantic interest I was hoping.

It has been two weeks since I saw Katie, and I can't get her off of my mind. I make excuses to go over my buddy's place just so I can pass by Katie's house. I feel like she is the "one who got away" and am afraid I will spend the rest of my life wallowing in regret if I don't tell her how I feel about her: That I love her, always have loved her, and always will love her until the day I die. What do you suggest I do, Tazi?

Missing Katie

Dear Missing Katie:

It appears you have discovered that life is very much unlike the romantic comedies you see in the movie theaters; that a When Harry Met Sally type of romance is highly unlikely, as love does not wait around for the faint of heart. If you are unhappy in your marriage, you need to work on fixing it. Looking at other women is not a cure for marital blues, nor is it a recipe for marital bliss.

You describe your wife as "round and matronly". I'm a cat and even I know that these are not words that any woman wants somebody using to describe her, let alone her husband! Perhaps she has allowed her hair to go grey because she feels unattractive and figures what's the use? Even though Katie is "as youthful looking as ever" this does not mean that she has not aged, as well. Perhaps Katie works in her garden as physical therapy for her hip replacement or as a distraction from alcohol dependency. You have not spoken with the woman on a regular basis in over fifteen years. People change; so how can you say that you are still in love with her? Are you certain that you are not in love with the memory of the woman she once was? Remember, she was still in high school when you first met her! And what is it about this woman that makes you tell such lies?

A mid-life crisis is a combination of things, often including regrets for the path not taken, so it is a possibility that you are experiencing both an emotional crisis and regret. The first step in moving forward is to talk to your wife. It is possible that the last several years have been no picnic for her, either. Whether your marriage is to survive or be dissolved is an issue the two of you need to decide together - without considering Katie, who is obviously a disinterested party in more ways than one. Should you and your wife decide to separate, I suggest you give Katie a wide berth until the storm of emotions has calmed and you are able to think with a clear mind; should you decide to stay together, I recommend that you erase all memory of Katie's home address and concentrate your attentions on your wife.

-- Tazi

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Racist At The Coffee Shop Needs To Be Grounded

Ed. Note: This article is being reprinted in memory of Maya Angelou, who fought the erase the hate. May her legacy live on in us.

Dear Tazi:

I have a coffee-shop acquaintance that I will call "Archie". He is one of several who gather for caffeine and conversation, mostly political, at our local non-alcoholic watering hole. Most of us are white, retired professionals, but all races and walks of life are welcome and we do not discriminate on any basis - except for Archie.

Archie is a racist. The man jokes that he "won't even take his coffee black", and always quotes statistics on how the black people of this country are the root cause of all social ills. Abortion? [According to Archie] Black people have the highest rate of it. Poverty? [According to Archie] Black people make up the majority of the welfare rolls. Fatherless households? Well, you get the picture. Archie always has percentages and numbers to make his arguments sound believable; but is never able to remember his sources, always telling us that "the mainstream media will never tell you the truth. You need to read the alternate sources".

We - and other patrons of this particular coffee shop - tolerate Archie because he is the owner's father, and we do not wish to punish a young entrepreneur by withholding our business; but what Archie said recently about the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was out of control, and needs to be addressed.

As a group, we were discussing the Arab Spring, which led to a comparison of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, and the question of whether or not the Occupy Wall Street movement could be as successful as either - typical political debate - when Archie claimed that Dr. King was a "reverse racist" who hated white people; that the FBI was investigating him; that his PhD was honorary; that he wasn't even a real minister, that he had dropped out of the seminary; and that Martin Luther King was not his father's given name, so "how could he be a 'junior'?". A stony silence was the response we all gave, and as a group we all got up and distanced ourselves from Archie.

As I have said, we do not wish to patron another coffee shop; but we can't see ourselves rejoining Archie - who comes with the place - in political debate. Do you have a rejoinder with which I might present Archie? Educated debate does not work on the man, nor does presenting him with academically acceptable materials (which he considers "mainstream" and therefore biased). As a retired college professor, I find the man's ignorance astounding. I would like to ignore him, but that doesn't feel right; yet I am unable to reach him through traditional means. Might you have some ideas that I am overlooking? I am in my late seventies, and admit that Internet research is not my forte.

The Professor

Dear Professor:

You get one paw up on your desire to educate, for it was Dr. King himself who said, "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." (By the way, his doctorate was not an honorary; he earned a PhD in Philosophy from Boston University in 1955. His Bachelors in Divinity was from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, 1951). The other paw stays down, due to your tolerance of racism up to this point.

Where Archie is getting his "facts" on issues like abortion, poverty, welfare, etc. is questionable. I would suggest that you ask him to produce his sources the next time he decides to sound off on something. Use words he will understand: Put up or shut up! Raw statistics never tell the full story, nor the reasoning behind the numbers - they are just numbers. Whereas there is a crisis in the Black community with regard to absentee fathers and abortion (might there be a connection?); according to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, white people actually make up the plurality of America's welfare rolls. Is the U.S. Government Printing Office too mainstream a media source for Archie?

As for Archie's comments on Dr. King's credentials, it appears he gets his information from very questionable, completely un-sourced articles written by authors with no searchable credentials. When I Google searched "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." and "not a minister", I found a hate-speech links sponsored by the ironically titled website "". When I did a Google Scholar search for the same, I found nothing. Ditto with a Lexis-Nexis search, JSTOR search, and other highly respected search engines. Does Archie consider scholarly journals to be "mainstream media" as well? If so, it would appear that his mind is closed to all sources but his own.


P.S. As for not wanting to punish the son for the sins of the father: While this is admirable, I am sure that there are others who are not so sympathetic. You would do well to complain to the owner. If enough people start taking their business elsewhere, he will have no choice but to "ground" his father.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Average Joe Wonders If His Perfect 10 Is For Real

Dear Tazi:

I can't decide if my girlfriend is with me because she loves me or because I spend a lot of money on her. On the one hand, she never wants to get physical with me; which makes me believe that she is with me for the money, but on the other hand she is devoutly religious - so it could just be her religious views that are keeping our relationship a chaste one. Here are the rest of the facts:

She is an absolute knock-out - tall and leggy, blonde hair, bright green eyes, and an amazing body; I am an average looking guy who is starting to lose his hair.

She is very popular, and loved by everybody; I am the kind of guy that thinks people like having him around, but my friends tell me that my personality can get really annoying and that I need to tone it down a notch.

She works an average job for average pay and hopes to one day be a stay-at-home Mom and a work-from-home professional; I make six-figures, enjoy my career, and could easily afford to have my wife stay at home.

We have only been together for six months, but she is the kind of woman I could see myself spending the rest of my life with - which is why I lavish her with expensive gifts, like jewelry; car repairs; designer clothes; and other goodies. I would like to ask her to marry me, but I can't get past the idea that she is using me for my money and her religion as an excuse to keep me at arms length. I have thought of cutting back on the gifts, but them she might think I am angry with her or worse, losing interest in her. What do you think, Tazi? Could she really love me for me? Or am I just fooling myself?

Average Joe

Dear Average Joe:

Before you jump to conclusions, examine the situation at hand. You say your girlfriend (can we give her a name?) is devoutly religious. Does "Lauren" (as I am going to call her) attend services regularly? Volunteer at her church? In essence, does she practice what she preaches - beyond remaining chaste? If the answer is yes, then I would say that she is indeed genuine and with you because she cares about you and can see a future with you. If however the only time she ever comes close to practicing her religious beliefs is when you make a move on her, the answer is probably one you do not want to hear.

There are many ways to express affection for a person without spending gobs of money on them. Cooking a homemade dinner, slipping a love note in her purse, surprising her by washing her car and topping off the gas tank are all free or low cost ways of showing a woman that you love and appreciate her. If there is something that she truly desires - such as a beautiful pair of birthstone earrings or a new dress to wear to church - you can purchase it as a gift for a special occasion. This way, the gift-giving will not be such a one-way street.

If you fear that Lauren will think you are upset with her if you slow down the flow of presents, you need to communicate to her that this is not the case. From the sound of your letter, you suffer from issues of self-worth - sometimes having too much, other times not enough - which could impede your ability to both express yourself and understand what others are telling you. The next time something is on your mind, talk to Lauren about it and honestly listen to how she answers. Sincerity cannot be faked, and you should be able to tell if she is being truthful with you, or simply telling you what you would like to hear. This should give you an idea about her true feelings for you, and tell you in which direction you should head - to the alter, or towards the exit.


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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It Can Be Difficult To Practice What Is Preached - Especially When Money Is At Stake

Dear Tazi:

I have been raised Baptist, but am considering changing my religion to become a Buddhist. I have been studying the lessons of Buddha in my Eastern Philosophy class this semester, and I can really relate to them - much better than I can relate to my own religion. The problem is, as I am sure you can guess, breaking the news to my family; especially my grandparents, who are pretty devout...and pretty rich. I am pretty certain they would disavow me from their will, which right now leaves me a pretty hefty inheritance. As you can see, the situation is not pretty at all.

I have considered converting and just not telling my family about it until after my grandparents (who are quite elderly) have passed, but this feels dishonest. Maybe I should simply wait until after they have passed to convert? What do you think I should do, Tazi?

Seeking Inner Peace

Dear Seeking Inner Peace:

There is a lot I could say with regard to your letter, but I will keep it simple and respond with a quote from Buddha himself: A jug fills drop by drop. I don't mean to sound as confounding as Buddha; but if I am, let me explain further: You are at an age where you are starting to question everything, most especially the beliefs with which you were raised, as you seek to exercise your free will. You have been raised in the Baptist church your whole life - and that is a lot of drops in your jug - whereas you have studied Buddhism for all of one semester; that is very few drops. A jug fills drop by drop.

The tone of your letter tells me that you are not yet ready to own your decision to convert to Buddhism; which means you are not yet ready to convert. It is also obvious that you are not ready to let go of the physical (money) wonders of your world and experience the esoteric (spiritual) wonders of Buddhism, which also means that you are not ready to convert to Buddhism. Rather than make the radical decision to change your religion, why not try and incorporate the beliefs of Buddhism into your daily life? They are compatible with all religious beliefs (with the glaring exception of Satanism) and can help to improve your relationship with yourself as well as with others. Remember, as Buddha said, "However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?".

In time, if you find that you want a more active relationship with Buddhism, that will be the time to delve deeper into the idea of a conversion.


With appreciation to for the wise words of Buddha Shakyamuni. --T.K.

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Memorial Day Message From Tazi

Dear Readers:

Today is Memorial Day, a day to remember those who fought and died for our freedoms, including the freedom to protest our own government. Whatever your political stripes are – Republican Red, Democrat Blue, or Third Party White – please take the time today to remember those who gave all on foreign soil to ensure the continued safety of those back home; for they are not here to remind you of their sacrifice.

We live in an era where war on foreign soil is questioned. Why are we there? What business do we have invading a sovereign country and establishing a new government, modeled after our own no less? Our military who risked all and even gave all may also have asked these same questions, but when duty called they answered; putting aside their personal feelings in favor of support of their country. How many of us today would be willing to submit to conscription as a requirement of citizenship?

There is a reason that the men and women of World War II – it was their forefathers for whom Memorial Day was started – are called The Greatest Generation, for it was they that put liberty before their personal beliefs; before their own lives; and accepted the role into which fate had cast them - willing or not, they answered when called. Who will replace them, now that they are almost all gone?

Heroes are now being forged on the battlegrounds of the Middle East. Will we recognize them when we see them? Or will we bring our protests to their feet upon catching sight of their uniform? We all praise Seal Team 6; want to be like them! How many children dressed up as them for Halloween; how many men joined training camps that pushed members through a Navy SEAL workout? How many of us know the names of the individual members of Seal Team 6? How many of us know the names of the casualties who served with them? How many of us have thanked them for their service and sacrifice? How many of us have thanked any veteran of the Gulf Wars, for stepping up when asked?

All the flowery words and heartfelt sentiments that will be published today will mean nothing if we do not take the time to think of the history behind them; if we do not take the time to ask ourselves, “What if…?”

What if...
The United States did not enter World War II?

What if…?
The United States had not entered the Korean War (aka the Korean Conflict)?

What if…?
The United States had stayed out of Viet Nam?

What if…?
The United States had stayed out of the Middle East – both times?

None of these wars were fought on American soil; none of these wars affected the day-to-day lives of the average American – they were not our business, yet we made them our business and by doing so changed the lives of those whose day-to-day lives were affected by war and dictatorships; we changed the lives of Americans who bore the brunt of the sacrifices that war brings. Whether these lives were changed for better or worse, only history can judge; but still, I am left to question…

If not for American involvement…
Would Great Britain and France have fallen to the Third Reich?
Would Nazi Germany, empowered by victory over the European continent, dared to have attacked American soil?
Would the Jewish religion still be in wide practice today, or would it have fled underground out of fear of extermination?

These are questions I prefer not to think upon, and thanks to the sacrifices made by our Veterans they are questions I do not have to ask. I wish you all a blessed Memorial Day, offer a humble thank you to our veterans, and ask that you remember those who went before...because all gave some, and some gave all.


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

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #46 - Resolving First World Problems

Dear Readers,

This week while exploring the new Tazi Sack my Mommie got for her birthday, I ran across a First World Problem or two. The first First World Problem was my Mommie telling me that her new designer purse is not, as I had thought, a new travel bag for me. I personally think that I should be allowed to travel in style, and a Guess? by Georges Marciano purse is just the style I like, so I decided to slip into it anyway and hope that Mommie would think the extra weight was just her tablet or the latest Ken Follett book she is reading, or any number of things that I removed from her new purse in order to make room for me. First World Problem solved!

If your purse isn't big enough to fit the cat,
what is the point of carrying it?
It was while on an adventure to the supermarket deli that I ran into a second First World Problem. As an advice columnist, I am used to solving other people’s problems, and not being able to puzzle through an answer to this one left me with my very own First World Problem – mild frustration, but that is another story for another time. Here is how the scenario I reference played out:

Mommie: I would like a ½ pound of baked ham, please; a little under is OK, a little over is not.

Deli Girl: OK!

The Deli Girl started to slice the meat, and I thought she would stop at .49 pounds. Surely she knew that an extra slice would tip the scales over and upset my Mommie, who does not like to order more food than she knows she can eat! The Deli Girl did not stop slicing, though, and actually added on two more slices of ham. In what world does she live where two slices of baked ham weight .01 ounces? To put that in international terms, that is less than ½ gram of ham. Consequently, Mommie’s order was over and she had to ask the Deli girl to remove a few slices.

Mommie: I asked for ½ a pound or a little under. .49 pounds was fine, why did you slice two more pieces?

Deli Girl gives Mommie a blank stare.

Mommie: Could you remove those last two slices, please?

Deli Girl: You don’t want them?

Mommie: That depends, are you giving them to me for free?

Deli Girl: No, why would I do that?

Mommie: Because you had the correct amount and then proceeded to add more, so unless you are giving it to me for free I do not want it. I am not going to pay money for something that will go bad before I can eat it.

A few days later Mommie returned to the same supermarket deli for some chicken salad, because she is too uncoordinated to make it herself; she always adds too much mayonnaise (wow, another First World Problem!). This time, she asked for a ½ pound or under of the brand name chicken salad, because the store brand invariably has chunks of bone and cartilage in it (wow, yet another First World Problem!). She went through the same script with a different Deli Girl and got the same exact response – too much chicken salad and having to ask the Deli Girl to remove some of it because Mommie was not going to pay for food that she was not going to eat. This got me thinking.

I was thinking that perhaps this national supermarket chain trained its deli workers to give customers more than they wanted, thinking nobody would complain and ask that the extra be removed, thus upselling the customer against their will. Unethical, but effective. I suggested to Mommie that she try the small, locally owned grocery store for our next food-based sojourn. Like all intelligent humans, she took my advice and went to a small, locally owned grocery store.

On this particular day Mommie was looking to buy some ham salad for lunch because even though there was a refrigerator full of food at home, she apparently had “nothing to eat”. (I love my Mommie, but she is just full of First World Problems, isn’t she? I digress, don’t I?). Anyhow, on this particular day, Mommie asked the deli Guy for ¼ pound of ham salad. Here is how the conversation went:

Mommie: The ham salad looks really good. Could I please have a quarter pound of it?

Deli Guy: No problem!

Deli Guy then scoops an entire ½ pint container full (in international terms, this would be approximately 225 grams; she wanted half of that). When Mommie sees that the Deli Guy has given her double what she asked for, she politely told him it was too much for her to eat.

Mommie: Oh! I asked for a ¼ pound, this is  a half-pound! I couldn’t possibly eat that much for lunch!

Deli Guy: Oh, sorry. Do you want to save it for later?

Mommie: I have no refrigeration at work, and it is a hot day. It will go bad by “later”. An animal died for my meal, I am not going to disrespect its sacrifice by throwing away the excess. Please remove it.

Deli Guy: No problem, it’s just that nobody has ever said anything before.

Nobody has ever said anything about being sold more food than they can eat? How much food do humans waste every year because it starts to go bad before they can eat it? I have seen the Ziploc commercials, and it appears to be quite a lot! A study released in 2012 shows that Americans throwaway nearly 40% of the food they buy! That is almost HALF of all the food they buy, and I am wondering if the upsell at the deli is contributing to this waste!

Wasted food is not a First World Problem. Too many people – in America and around the world – suffer from food insecurity, which is not having enough food to satisfy your body’s needs, or starvation diets due to a lack of food. That rancid meat you throw away was once a living creature; respect its sacrifice by only buying what you know you will eat. That moldy bread you threw away could have been donated, while still fresh of course, to a food pantry where someone who cannot afford a loaf of bread would have feasted upon it for a week. Those rotting vegetables could have been served as a nutritious main course as an alternative to meat, which humans eat way too much of, according to nutrition experts.

Americans like to complain about the high cost of food and how it keeps getting higher, yet they continue to throw out almost half of what they buy. I wish I could say this is a First World Problem, but from the view of someone living in a Third World country it is more than that; it is a sin. 

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Being Overweight Is Not An Excuse For Abuse

Dear Tazi:

I am a woman in my twenties. My whole life I have been on the chubby side, which has had an effect on my self-esteem. Because of this, I have never felt comfortable dating; so I do not have much experience with men. For the past few months I have been dating a man I will call “James” who is everything a woman could want in a man. How I managed to snag him, I have no idea; but he is as committed to me as I am to him…or at least I think he is.

James tells me that if I loved him as much as he loves me, I would work harder to lose weight. He says he wants me to be as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside; and that I have a pretty face, but it’s tainted by my "lumpy figure". Tazi, I have tried dieting and exercise; and it works for a while; but then I start to miss my favorite snacks, or I am just not in the mood to go to the gym and I slide back into my bad habits and put back on all the weight that I lost.

My Mom tells me I need to stop dieting to please someone else and start doing it to please me; but I am not unhappy with my weight – at least, not unhappy enough to commit to a diet and exercise program that will maintain my perfect weight. My best friends tell me to dump James; that I can do so much better than a man who tells me I am fat, but James have never actually used that word. Besides, it is like I already said, James is everything a woman could want in a man; and I think my friends are just jealous that in spite of the fact that they are all perfect looking I am the one who landed God’s gift to women!

Do you have any suggestions on how to motivate myself to stick to a diet and exercise program? I would like to lose 15 pounds and be bikini-ready for summer!

Chubby Lovey

Dear Chubby Lovey:

I have a great suggestion on how to lose a TON of weight fast – drop the millstone around your neck. You know, the one you call “James” because the man is bringing you down! Just because you are overweight does not give him the right to be mentally abusive towards you. If James cannot accept you for who you are, he has no business dating you.

It sounds to me that James gets a sick thrill out of putting you down and trying to control you by controlling your weight. Admittedly, he has never called you “fat”; but “lumpy” isn’t exactly a compliment, now is it? It does not matter how much weight you lose, it will never be enough for James; he will always see you as somehow less than perfect. Your friends are looking at the situation from an outside point of view, so please do not dismiss them so quickly – they may be seeing something that you do not. Trust me when I tell you that they are not jealous, but merely concerned about you.

Twice you say James is “everything a woman could want in a man”, yet you do not describe his positive attributes. Are you certain that this “God’s gift to women” did not just tell you that he is all that, and has you believing him? Your low self-esteem could be affecting your judgment. You tell me that you and James have only been dating for “the past few months” but claim that you are committed and deeply in love. Far be it for me to question the depth of your love for each other, but I have to say that James sounds like he has the depth of a puddle. I would tread gingerly if I were you.

Since you ask me for some diet and exercise tips, I will tell you what I know, and what you have already discovered: there is no silver bullet when it comes to permanent weight loss and maintenance. Some people are blessed with wonderful metabolisms that allow them to eat whatever they want and not gain weight – those people are generally called teenagers, and they outgrow it as they age. For the rest of us a regular, manageable regimen of diet and exercise is required to stay physically and mentally fit.

You do not have to go to the gym daily – three days a week is optimal – nor do you have to completely give up your favorite snacks; just indulge in them as a treat or reward for accomplishing a goal, not as an every-day part of your diet. Unless there is something wrong with your hormonal balances (a visit to the doctor could check this for you), you should start to notice a difference in your weight within a week or two. In order to stay motivated, try hanging your bikini on the refrigerator door as a reminder of what you are working to achieve. It is my hope that once you start to lose weight, your self-esteem will improve; I am with your mother on this one – if you want to lose weight, you must do it to please yourself and not anybody else.


James is being awarded a Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust! Here it is... -T.K.

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

New Mom Has Separation Anxiety

Dear Tazi:

I am the mother to a beautiful, healthy eighteen month old baby. He is my first child, and I love him more than I ever thought possible. I would give my life to keep him safe, and that is no exaggeration. My problem is, I am dreading the idea of going back to work because it means leaving my precious baby in the care of strangers at a day-care all day. A baby needs his mother!

I have asked my husband about remaining a stay-at-home-mom until our son is old enough to attend pre-school, and then returning to work on a part-time basis until he starts school, when I would work mother's hours until he is old enough to be able to stay on his own. I realize this is an investment of several years of my life, but I am willing to do whatever I must to give my son the very best life possible. My husband, on the other hand...

Tazi, "Frank" has told me that I have to return to work as soon as possible, that i have stretched my maternity leave long enough and that we need my paycheck to survive. Tazi, Frank is a skilled worker who makes a much bigger paycheck than I do, and with the cost of day-care taking up 50% of my take-home pay the amount of money I bring in could easily be made up if Frank were to pick up an overtime shift once a week. Overtime is plentiful at his job, so it is not an issue of whether or not he can get it but of whether or not he will take it.

When I suggested this idea to Frank, he flat-out refused to commit to working overtime so I can stay at home with the baby. He said his job is stressful and tiring enough without having to take on an extra shift that would take him away from me and the baby for an extra 14 hours a week (Frank works 12 hour shifts, with an hour commute each way). Each of us thinks the other is being selfish. I am considering telling my employer that I have decided to be a stay-at-home-mom and let the chips fall where they may (since I think they may have already figured that out), but I don't think this will go over too well with my husband, who is already jealous of the time I get to spend with the baby while he is at work. Who do you think is right, Tazi - me or my husband?

New Mommy

Dear New Mommy:

First let me congratulate you and your husband on the birth of your first child! Becoming a parent is a joyous, stressful, life-altering event as I am certain you are discovering! Having seen new moms and their babies before, I have witnessed the incredible bond between mother and child and can see why you would not want to leave your child in day-car to return to work - especially if you will essentially be working a 40 hour week for half the paycheck. However, I can also see your husband's side of the story.

You say that Frank is "jealous" of the time you get to spend with the baby while he is at work. If this is true, I can see why he would become resentful at the idea of working an additional 12-hour shift every week in order to make up for the loss in pay as you spend even more time with your child. I can tell you that this resentment would build exponentially if you were to force his hand by quitting your job, so I do not advise that you do this. Rather, I suggest that you and your husband sit down and discuss the issues that are on your mind.

You feel strongly about being a stay-at-home-mom, and have your reasons for feeling this way. Your husband has strong feelings about your returning to work, and his feelings are equally valid. You believe that a child needs his mother; which is something you can provide by staying at home. Your husband believes that your family needs both the extra paycheck and the presence of a father, something he can provide if you return to work. By suggesting that Frank take on an overtime shift every week, you reduce him to nothing more than a paycheck (in his eyes) which is very hurtful; by demanding that you return to work for (essentially) half-pay is equally hurtful to you. Additionally, the fact that you planned out the next several years of your life without asking for your husband's input had to hurt him. The two of you need to stop hurting each other, and the only way to do this is to openly communicate with each other.

A proven way to effectively communicate is role reversal. I suggest that you and your husband find a neutral time to discuss things between you - say, after the baby has gone to bed but before you two are both so tired you are irritable. You can play the role of Frank and Frank can play the role of you. This activity will force you to think as you believe the other is thinking and reveal these feelings to the other. You may be very surprised at what you discover. Once all the cards are on the table, you will be able to see a much clearer picture and can make a decision from there.

One possibility that you may not have explored is for you to work part-time - half-days five days a week; full days two-days a week; or some combination of the two. This will cut down on the day-care bill and allow you to spend more time with your child so you don't feel so resentful about going back to work. I realize the separation anxiety you are feeling must be overwhelming; but find comfort in the fact that babies are social creatures and enjoy being around other babies. If you find that this solution does not work for you, re-visit the issue with your husband and ask again about being a stay-at-home-mom for the nect year of your son's life, after which point he will be old enough for pre-school. After a steady diet of nap schedules, dirty diapers, endless laundry, and everything else that comes with being a stay-at-home-mom to an infant, I am surprised that you do not crave the company of adults and the intellectual stimulation of an outside job.

I wish both you and your husband the best of luck, and your little one the best of health! Remember, a happy home is the best gift you can give your child.


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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Homeowner Seeks To Curb Inappropriate Nighttime Behaviors

Dear Tazi:

I have an awkward problem that presents no obvious solution. I own my own home, towards the end of a dead end street, and next door to my house is an undersized lot not suitable for building. The owner lost an appeal for a change of zoning to allow him to build and since then has left the land to go fallow. Because of this the already wooded lot has become quite overgrown and unsightly but providing the seclusion the local teens like, if you catch my meaning.

The lot next door has become something of a local "make out" spot as well as a place for other teenage activities. Every Saturday, Sunday, and (sometimes) Monday morning I have to clean up after the visitors from the night before. If I am lucky, it is just empty beer cans and liquor bottles; if I am not lucky, it is used condoms and vomit.

I remember what it was like to be young and looking for a good time, so I am hesitant to call the police to report these activities. On the other hand, I really do not want these activities taking place directly across from my house. I am extremely uncomfortable with the thought of approaching the offenders, but can think of no other way to get them to respect the fact that my neighborhood is a respectful, residential place. Do you have any ideas I can try, Tazi? I am open to all suggestions.

Not In My Backyard

Dear Not In My backyard:

This situation is one type of NIMBYism I am comfortable promoting. The fact that these young - and quite possibly not so young - people are leaving copious evidence of their activities is rude, disrespectful, and downright unacceptable. You say that you are uncomfortable with reporting these night-time activities to the police; would you be comfortable reporting them to the land owner? He may be in a tiff because his land is not suitable for building, but he is still responsible for what occurs on his property and if someone is injured while partying on it he may be legally liable.

If reporting the activities taking place on his property does not phase the land owner enough to bring about action on his part, you may want to consider installing motion-detection floodlights on the edge of your property. If you put them facing outward they will turn on when someone trespasses on the property next door, exposing that which prefers the privacy that the dark offers. Once the word gets out that light is being shone on the matter the problem should solve itself.


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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Lack Of Self-Confidence Can Be Overcome With Practice

Dear Tazi:

Where do you find the confidence to be you? I look at your profile picture of you sitting in what you call your "Tower of Power" and you just ooze confidence. I read your column every day, and you always have the best answers to the problems people have.

I would love to have your confidence and self-assurance, but I always feel like I am not quite good enough at what I do to excel at it. I would like to have your confidence. Can you tell me your secret?

Dorothy, Small and Meek

Dear Dorothy, Small and Meek:

You want me to teach you how to Tazi? Hmmmmm....well, since I adore your Wizard of Oz reference, I will let you in on a little secret: I am actually a very shy little scardey-cat who runs and hides under the bed at the slightest of loud noises. My list of fears includes the sound of a flushing toilet, large bugs, and the chihuahua who lives next door - even though I outweigh him by 5 pounds. My brave self-confident appearance is a front I put up because if I act brave, I don't always have to be brave!

From the sound of your letter, you have low self-esteem. Talking to a trained counselor could help you discover why you have such a low opinion of yourself, which would give you a starting point on learning to love yourself. Once you learn how to do that, you will realize that you are worthy of all of the wonderful things life has to offer - and may even find yourself gravitating towards adventure, like me! Today I went outside even though it was raining! For a cat, this is a big step! You don't have to start this big; you can start small by rewarding yourself with a special treat when you feel you have done a good job on something. Not a great job, mind you; a good job is enough to earn a reward. In time, you will find those rewards inspire you to see greatness in all that you undertake.

The great thing about confidence is that it can be faked until you start to feel the real thing; and one good way to learn it is by faking it! Here are some tips on how to look confident, even if you don't feel confident:

Stand up straight and tall. Have you ever noticed how a cat will arch its back when it feels threatened? This is our way of standing up straight and tall, and believe me it gets respect!

Look people in the eye. If you are not comfortable doing this, look at the bridge of their nose. From a distance of eighteen inches or more they will not be able to tell the difference. (Try it, it's fun!).

Speak in an even tone. This one may take practice, but if you speak in a calm, even tone of voice it will calm your nerves, which will increase your confidence, as well as soothe the person to whom you are speaking. A calm listener is a non-threatening listener.

Visualize yourself accomplishing great things. When you have some time to yourself, close your eyes and picture yourself accomplishing your dreams - from the smallest of hopes to the wildest of fantasies. Seeing our goals helps us to accomplish them.

Believe in yourself. There is an expression that states, "Whether you believe you can or cannot, you are right!" As cheesy as that sounds, it's true.

Surround yourself with positive people. Nothing will drain your confidence and self-respect quicker than people who work to bring you down, so don't give them the chance to do it.

With practice, these tips can help you to feel more confident as well as look more confident. I cannot guarantee that you will have the confidence of a cat - that's a pretty tall order - but you should find yourself better able to function under stress.


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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Peanut Butter And Jelly Time!

Dear Tazi:

I am thirteen and in the seventh grade. Ever since I started school, I have packed the same lunch every day: a peanutbbutter and jelly sandwich, pretzels, and a drink-box of milk. Lately, my friends have been teasing me and calling my lunch "babyish" and making baby sounds whenever I pull my sandwich out of my lunch bag.

Tazi, I like peanut butter and jelly, but I don't like getting teased (obviously). I really don't want to have to make something else for lunch - my Mom works the night shift and my Dad goes to work early, so I make my own lunch. A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread is healthy, nuttritious, and easy to make. I have tried explaining this to my friends, but they just laugh and tell me I need to start eating a "more sophisticated" lunch. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do, Tazi? Should I abandon my PB&J and should I listen to my friends?

Goober Girl

Dear Goober Girl:

Where I come from, calling someone a "goober" is a questionable term of endearment; but then I remembered that "goober" is also a Southern slang word for "peanut". Now your signiture makes so much more sense...

I have to tell you that I completly understand you! I have a preference for one type of cat cereal [Ed. Note: "cat cereal" is what Tazi calls his dry food]. I really hate when my Mommie tries to interest me in a different brand. There is nothing wrong with my brand.

If your friends are picking on you about your lunch - and refuse to give up on it after you shrug it off - perhaps it is their own insecurities that they are expressing. A "more sophisticated" lunch? Seriously? You are in middle school. There is no need to care so much about what others think about your lunch. You are correct that peanut butter on whole wheat bread is healthy, nutritious, and easy to prepare. It is also an economiocal choice. As for the jelly part...

Jelly generally has little nutritional value. If you would like to perk up your lunch a little without abandoning your peanutbbutter, why not try fresh cut fruit instead of jelly? Banana is a traditional topping for peanutbutter, but my Mommie highly recommends fresh strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries. She also likes honey, but that sometimes gets messy.

If you are truly stuck on jelly, why not try jam? Made with the whole fruit, it is a healthier - and more sophisticated - choice, coming in traditional flavors like grape or strawberry as well as cutting edge flavors like plum or blackberry. If you cannot find these flavors locally, you can order online from the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company out of Canada. Their products are reasonably priced and make great gifts (if your parents are looking for gift ideas). Their page also has a blog offering recipe ideas. Even if you do not purchase from them, the products will expand your horizons so you can view the many jam, jelly, marmalade, and compote flavors out there. Is a sour cherry marmalade or a black currant preserve "sophisticated" enough for your pals? Spread on a shortbread cracker or a Carr's wheat cracker; I find it wonderful (and I hate people food!).

Never try to change to please others. You are the one who has to eat your own lunch.


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

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Day At The Park Was Not Walk In The Park For This Dad

Dear Mr. Tazi Kat:

I am fuming! I went to the playground today with my 3-year-old daughter only to find a group of older girls (they looked about 12, and some were wearing makeup) sitting on the swings and refusing to leave. I politely asked if my daughter could use the playground equipment, but these girls refused to budge. The swings are really the only playground toy that she can play on - monkey bars are too high; she is too small for a see-saw; and the slide scares her. It was not like these girls were actually swinging on the swings - they were just sitting there gossiping!

After about 20 minutes of running around, my daughter was getting antsy to use the swings, so I once again approached the group of girls who had commandeered the swings and asked if my child could use them for the purpose intended. The lead girl let out a huge sigh and asked me what part of "no" did I not understand? Infuriated, I called the Sheriff's Office to complain; but when an officer arrived on the scene to question the girls, they told him that I was harassing them and making them feel very uncomfortable! The officer actually came up to me and asked if I had proof that the child I claimed as mine (my daughter) really was my child, and grilled me like I was some kind of sexual predator scoping out the playground under the guise of being a good father!

Tazi, to start my daughter looks just like me; plus I have at least a dozen photos of her and my wife (her mother) in my wallet. Second, I am an upstanding member of my community! This, however, did not matter: I was asked to leave the playground because I was getting a little hot under the collar, which I regrettably did. What is this world coming to when a group of ill-mannered pre-teens can force a parent and young child out of a playground? I would like to file a complaint of my own with the Sheriff, but my wife tells me that I should just let sleeping dogs lie before my reputation ends up tarnished. What say you, Mr. Kat?

A Good Father

Dear Good Father:

While it was admirable of you to take your daughter to the playground, and while it sounds like the pre-teen girls who were already there were quite rude, you must understand that the playground is still a public park where all kinds will gather and the police - who were not there to witness the events - need to take extra precautions when dealing with children.

It is obvious that the girls on the swings were a group of Queen Bees looking to start trouble in order to boost their own sense of power and ego, and you had the unfortunate experience of stumbling upon their nest. Because they chose to complain about you to the law officer who showed up (after you called them!) I think it would be a good idea to file a complaint that will tell your side of the story - that you were there with your young child and attempted to secure a swing for her from a group of overage youngsters who were loitering. Be certain to mention that it was you who called the Sheriff's office in the first place, and that you did not appreciate the thinly veiled accusations that you were a sexual predator. Once your side of the story is on file for the record (something the reporting officer should have taken at the scene) you should let the situation drop, lest further trouble find you in the form of the parents of these pre-teen girls.

As I said in the opening of my response, a public park - especially a playground - attracts all kinds, including those with less than honorable intentions towards the youth who gather there. I, for one, would rather be briefly hassled by a police officer who is looking to protect the children of my community than see a predator believed when he casually points to someone else's child and claims him/her as his own in an effort to blend in with the rest of the playground crowd.

Since, by your own admission, your daughter is too young to use any of the playground equipment - with the exception of the swings - maybe you could look for a better location for her to play outdoors; one where there is more for her to do (many children like the swings, and they are not always available, even when there are no pre-teen girls hogging them). In the meantime, you could file this experience away as an example of the woman you do not want your daughter to become, and continue to actively parent her in such a way that as she grows, she will learn how to respect her elders and treat those younger than her with the kindness that she would like to receive.


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

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #34 - Take Time Before Time Takes You

Dear Readers,

This week, while sitting on top of the HELP WANTED ads (because I cannot have Mommie leaving the house for work) I saw an ad that just about broke my little kitten heart. In short, it read as follows:

COMPANION NEEDED: Companion needed 1 – 2 hours a week to play chess with elderly gentleman with MS. $20/hr…

How sad that this man’s children must pay someone ($20 an hour, at that!) to spend time with their father, indulging in a game of kings. I realize that people work during the day, that chess is not everyone’s cup of tea, but how far have we fallen as a society that we must pay a stranger to act as a companion to keep our elderly loved ones entertained? How inconvenient would it be to see that Father has a ride to the local Senior Center to meet up with some of his old cronies? How distasteful would it be to take the time to learn how to play chess and to spend 120 minutes a week sitting with Grandpa and listening to him talk? How off-putting would it be to assist Uncle in moving the pieces when his hands do not want to go where he is directing them?  How far have we fallen, indeed…?  Atticus Finch would have sent Jem and Scout to visit, for free.

If you look in the mirror and see someone who doesn't have time for those who crave even the smallest ounce of companionship, maybe now is the time to reflect on how to carve time into your busy schedule, before you become the one with all the time in the world…and no one with whom to spend it.


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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Failure At Life" Seeks the Secret To Success

Dear Tazi:

Why is it some people have such successful lives while others of us struggle every day to try and make it big? I don’t mean falling into a pile of money by winning the lottery, although that would be nice; I mean plain old success – being able to find financial success in a job that fulfills, a lasting romance, and an end to the drama that seems to follow me wherever I go, encasing me like a mummy in its tomb. Believe me when I tell you, I am a failure at life.

Is there some secret to success that I am missing? Or is it all just dumb luck/the luck of the draw? And why is it that I always seem to draw the short straw at everything I attempt – from work to romance to just having friends I can count on to be there for me when I need them? I could go on and on, but I think you can see what I mean. I have failed at completing a [college] degree the multiple times I have tried and I have failed at the many career paths I have tried, both of which have contributed to a string of failed relationships that have left me feeling hollow inside. There I go again – I said I would stop, and I went on and on in spite of my desire not to [...] I have even failed at writing this letter.

Chasing Mr. Tambourine Man

Dear Chasing Mr. Tambourine Man:

I assume your signature is in reference to the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song. How...I want to say sad, but I don’t think pity is what you seek; nor is it what I am trying to impart. In all honesty, you sound like you are at the point where you enter every situation expecting the worst and thus experience a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is this due to depression or just a negative outlook on life? You may find mental health counseling to be beneficial.

To answer your question as to why some people are so successful, I refer to Thomas Edison, who once said “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. Edison was, of course, not suggesting that hard work leads to luck; just that hard work – the behind-the-scenes work that others rarely see – leads to successful results. Edison was an Inventor, a man who had a scientific mind and was able to create mechanisms that society found to be of use and value – the light bulb, the phonograph, and the movie camera the best known among them; but these three examples are only a small sample of the many patents – over 1,000 – that Mr. Edison held. Many of these inventions were abject failures, such as the idea of concrete furniture. Yes, that means actual furniture, for the home, made of concrete; which during Mr. Edison's time was prohibitively expensive.

You say that you are seeking work that offers both financial success and personal fulfillment. This combination is a rare one, indeed. Work was not designed to fulfill the soul – for that, we have recreation. Work was designed so that we can make a living. Even the most enjoyable jobs have plenty of days where the tasks grate on your mind, body, and soul; where you feel unappreciated and wish for more. So long as you are not bursting into tears at the thought of going into work, try to find contentment in your job rather than fulfillment.

You mention that you have failed to attain a degree the multiple times you have tried to complete one. College is a challenge that requires us to accept that we still have things to learn, and we must reach beyond our comfort zone in order to stretch our abilities. Even if you chose to study something that fulfills you, this does not guarantee that schooling will be easy or fun. If this is what you were expecting, it could be the reason you found failure instead of success. If you chose to concentrate in only one area – to put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak – this could be another reason why success has eluded you.

Most colleges recommend that you broaden your skills set by completing a minor program of study in something opposite your major. For example: if you major in Business, you could minor in Cultural Anthropology (a great combination, which will help you deal with International clients) or Theatre/Acting, which would instill great sales skills. If you did the opposite – majored in Art or Theatre – you could minor in Education or Marketing, which would allow you to teach and/or better market your own work to potential customers.

As for romance and lasting friendships; a flower cannot bloom under stressful conditions, and neither can a relationship. I realize that most humans seek companionship (this desire is foreign to us cats!), but until you are ready to love yourself it is highly doubtful that you will be able to hold up your end of a loving relationship with another - romantic or platonic. I suggest you take a break from romance until you have put your life together and have worked on being they type of friend you would like to have. Not only will this give others the strength to remain by your side during the bad times, but it will help you to develop the emotional fortitude required to give what a relationship requires.

Overall, there is no one recipe for success; but there are several common ingredients, including the offering of a skill that society deems necessary and worthwhile. The rarer that necessary and/or worthwhile skill, the better chances you have of finding success with it. Combined with hard work that is aimed at the proper target, success should not elude. You may be the world’s best salesperson, but if you are trying to sell a bicycle to a fish you will meet with failure every single time.


P.S. This is a last minute edit, but RuPaul put it so wonderfully! "[It's] [h]ard to remain patient with friends who focus solely on their own crucifixion..." - RuPaul (via Facebook)

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oprah Obsession Not A Bad Thing; Tazi Suggests Participating In "The Thank You Game"

Dear Tazi:

I have a problem that I have never seen addressed anywhere before, so I am hoping you can tell me if it is normal or if I should seek professional help: I am obsessed with Oprah Winfrey.

When I say "obsessed", I mean obsessed. I have watched her talk show for years. I used to tape it every day, and I still have copies of the older shows; back when blank VHS tapes were easy to find. When I can't catch Oprah on TV, I watch the old episodes from my collection. I love the advice Oprah gives, and try to live my life according to her principles. Once, I was even lucky enough to be a member of her studio audience! It was a fantasy come true, even though I was sitting way up high away from the stage and did not get to talk to Lady O. Just being in her presence was enough for me.

People have told me that my obsession with Oprah and "O. Living" (yes, I also subscribe to O magazine) goes too far, and that I need to form my own ideas and principles in order to be my own person; that right now I am just a "zombie" to Oprah's word. This might be true; but her ideas are so great and have really helped me along my path, bringing me fortune and a comfortable lifestyle. It's not like I worship Oprah; although I will admit I talk about her a lot, but it is only to give credit where credit is due. What do you think, Tazi? Do I have a problem? I would write to Oprah herself, but even I realize that she would have a biased opinion on the matter. I live and die by the OWN network!

Oprah's Biggest Fan!

Dear Oprah's Biggest Fan:

Do you know what Oprah's latest Facebook promotion is? Of course you do, I am just asking for the sake of my other readers, who may not know. If you go to the Oprah Winfrey Network page on Facebook, you can participate in the "Thank You Game" - a very simple concept where every day you reach out and say "thank you" to people who have had a positive affect on your life. Every day, the person you thank is different. One day, you thank someone you love; another day you thank someone who gave you an just started on April 30th, so for those who missed it, you have not fallen behind yet!

Now that I have done my civic duty by promoting this VERY IMPORTANT "GAME" (I am telling you, we cats do nothing but give, give, give!) I will answer your question: If what you have is a problem, then I think the world needs more problems like yours. Oprah's motto (on Twitter) is "Live your best life"; and this seems to be what you are doing, through her long-distance guidance.

You mention that you "talk about Oprah a lot". This could be what has your friends more annoyed than concerned, and they are lashing out in the spirit of this annoyance. If you were a "Jesus Freak" (and I do not mean that as a pejorative - this link will bring you to the DC Talk video of the song by that name) - would you (or others) think you had a problem? Probably not, although they might get equally annoyed that you keep proselytizing; which is what you appear to be doing for Ms. Winfrey.

I will not advise you to tone down your Oprah-esque lifestyle since it works well for you; but I would suggest that you take the admiration down a notch. From what I hear, Ms. Winfrey is a humble woman and referring to her as "Lady O." might make her blush. So long as the principles you are following are principles you agree with, I say follow your current course. Nobody has ownership (or copyrights) to values and principles; rather, they are something that are meant to be shared.


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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baker's Secret Ingredient Comes From A Box

Dear Tazi:

I feel like such a fraud. I grew up in a world of 4-H club, Grange, and Future Farmers. Put me in a barnyard, and I can win blue ribbons with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind me back; but put me in a kitchen and I am as helpless as a newborn baby.

My Mom was always an amazing baker, and her pies would win first prize in every contest she entered. People would rave about her baking, and she was frequently approached by local restaurants asking her to bake for their dessert menus. After Mom passed away a few years ago, I inherited her recipes. As a tribute to her, I decided it was time that I learned to bake, too. I figured that with Mama's recipes, I would finally be able to make something that was worth eating. Boy, was I wrong!

Tazi, my pie crusts are like shoe leather and no matter what I do, my cakes always fall flat. Even I won't eat my own peach preserves, they are so runny; and my pear tart is frightening. A part of me feels like I am letting Mama down, so I have tried even harder to learn how to bake; but it seems like the harder I try to worse I fail. I finally gave up, and in a moment of desperation (I had company coming over, and they were looking forward to Mama's cherry cobbler) I bought a Pillsbury pie crust and some jarred cherry preserves in the next town over (which is about 30 miles away) and threw together the best darn cobbler I have ever tasted. It was apparent that my guests thought so, too, because they all told me how amazing my cobbler was - even better than my Mom's, God rest her soul!

Word of how delicious my cherry cobbler was spread quickly - mostly because people were shocked that I could bake anything that would turn out edible - and now people are encouraging me to enter my cobbler in an upcoming bake-off. Tazi, I just can't...the bake-off requires homemade recipes, and my ingredients are all store-bought! If I enter the bake-off, I will feel like a complete fraud; but what excuse can I give to avoid entering? All I ever wanted to do was make Mama proud. Now, I feel like she must be rolling in her grave.

Pillsbury Dough Girl

Dear Pillsbury Dough Girl:

Although I cannot vouch for the jarred cherry preserves you purchased, I have to say that Pillsbury makes one amazing pie crust! If the preserves you purchased were just as good, that cherry cobbler you made had to be out of this world! I don't even LIKE people food, but I always make an exception for chicken pot-pie made with Pillsbury crust. I'm not helping your guilt any, am I? Sorry...

Not everyone has your mother's talents in the kitchen, just as not everyone has your talents in the barnyard. It is okay to not be good at everything; but it is not okay to misrepresent yourself in a competition. How would you feel if someone's hog won a blue ribbon for size because they hopped it up on steroids? I bet you would feel the same as the woman who slaved over her pie crust but received a red ribbon because you took first place.

If I were you, I would not - under any circumstances - enter that bake-off that folks are encouraging you to enter. If they ask you why you refuse to enter, tell them the truth: that the recipes you have are not your own; they were created by your mother and the honor of competing with them belonged to her. Then let the matter drop. Unless it is the Pillsbury Bake-Off* that you are entering, then by all means go for it - just be sure to reveal that you are using Pillsbury ingredients, a requirement of all entrants.


*The 2012 Pillsbury Bake-Off actually took place this past Tuesday.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Social Media A Double-Edged Sword

Dear Tazi:

My ex-boyfriend is pure evil. I don't know what I ever saw in the guy - maybe his initial charm? Obviously, our break-up was not a pleasant one; nor was it mutual.

"Wesley" is the type of guy who expects the world to turn at his command. If there is something he needs that he cannot provide for himself, he expects others to provide it because he believes that is what makes someone a good friend. When I had a job opportunity that required a transfer to a different part of the country, I told Wesley I would appreciate his support in my plan to relocate, because I thought our relationship stood a good chance of developing into something more serious. Because Wesley liked the area (it is a metropolitan area in a warm climate), he encouraged me to take it and told me we could "do the long-distance thing" and he would follow in a few months. What I did not realize was that Wesley's plan to follow me did not include looking for work before his arrival. Rather, he planned on living with me until he could "land on his feet". I was not entirely happy with this plan, but I went along with it because I had no choice - he showed up unannounced.

After three months living with me rent free, Wesley still had not found a job; nor had he made a serious effort to find something - anything - that would pay some kind of wage. I realize that a McJob is not a career, but at least it pays the bills; Wesley, however, felt this type of work was beneath him and refused to even apply for entry-level work in or out of his career field. For this and other reasons, I told Wesley it would be best if we went our separate ways, and offered to pay for his plane ticket back home. This was not a request, but a break-up, and I made that clear to Wesley.

Once he returned to our home state, Wesley started asking for a second chance at "the long distance thing" since it was obvious that he was not ready to move. I refused, because in the three months that he was here I saw a side of Wesley that I did not like and, quite frankly, it killed my feelings for him. Wesley refused to take no for an answer and kept demanding an explanation until I finally told him my feelings for him had died. I thought this would be the end of things, but it has not.

Wesley has taken to complaining about me on his Facebook and Twitter pages, saying I have done him wrong and how unfair I am being to not give him a second chance. When he refused to stop, I blocked him so he would be unable to tag me in his posts; but my friends tell me that this just led to him using my name without a tag, and made his rants against me even worse. Wesley is the type of guy who cannot go to the bathroom without tweeting about it, so this should give you an idea of the amount of posting he is doing about me, our breakup, and the insulting things he is saying about me. I keep all of my social media pages private, so it does not appear in an Internet search, but Wesley keeps his public; so I am afraid of what is appearing.

I would like to know, is what Wesley is doing even legal? Do I have any recourse to force him to stop? I am afraid that the stuff he is posting is going to hurt my career.

Not "The Whore Of Babylon"

Dear Not "The Whore of Babylon":

You offer quite a history for such a quick question, and paint an unflattering picture of Wesley;,which leads me to believe the things Wesley is saying about you are not all that flattering, either. The question is, are they true? If the things Wesley are writing about you are in fact true, I am afraid you will simply have to grin and bear it, and accept the fact that he is being very immature. Let this be a lesson to you to:

1) Clean up your act, and behave in a way that does not provide fodder for malicious gossip

2) Stand up for yourself.

As uncomfortable as it would have been to turn Wesley away when he showed up on your doorstep, his behavior was disrespectful to you, and should have been a warning sign of what was to come. I suggest that, in the future, you make your lines more clearly drawn and refuse to allow them to be crossed.

If the things Wesley is writing about you are untrue you can report the items directly to the Customer Service Department of the social media site and they will see that the offending items are removed. If the things Wesley is writing about you are untrue and damaging your reputation in such a way as to cause damage to your standing at work or in your community, he has committed libel against you, a charge that can be addressed in civil court, but I must warn you; libel can be very, very difficult to prove. You may just want to let this one go and free yourself from Wesley's attentions all the sooner.


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

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day From Tazi Kat!

Dear Readers:

Today is

Mother's Day

a day to celebrate those who have given us life - be it from their womb, from their hearts, or from both. As a cat, I never got to know my birth Mommie; but I have a wonderful adoptive Mommie for whom I live and breathe. My Mommie has several woman who chose to mother her, and I am certain there are those who look to her as a Mommie-figure, too.

Here in America, Mother's Day was first celebrated in the early 1900's as a campaign by Anna Jarvis to recognize the hard work of mothers everywhere. By 1911 the holiday was celebrated in almost all of the individual states, and on May 8, 1914 the second Sunday in May was declared Mother's Day by federal decree. The history of Mother's Day does not start or end here, though.

As far back as the Ancient Greeks and Romans celebrations to the mothering goddesses have been offered in praise and gratitude. In the Middle Ages, the British celebrated Mothering Sunday as a part of their Lenten observances; and here the States Julia Ward Howe (author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) was the first on record to suggest continuing this tradition of honoring mothers as part of a campaign for a pacifist government - after all, it was the sons of mothers who were going to war.

Today, Mother's Day is celebrated world-wide, much to the joy of florists, card manufacturers, and purveyors of brunch and fine jewelries; so on this day, I gently nudge you to take the time to offer your love and appreciation to the woman - or women - that your heart calls "Mom" (English)...or "Makuahine" (Hawaiian)...or "Mami" (Spanish)...or "Mueter" (Swiss German)...or [insert word for "Mother" here].


P.S. A huge thank you to Mother's Day for the wonderful information posted about this special day!

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

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Closet Eater Has Friends Wondering Why She Is So Overweight

Dear Tazi:

I feel like I have come to know you from reading your column. I feel like we are old friends, which is why I am confiding in you with my problem: I am a closet eater.

I have always been heavy, but after my divorce four years ago I turned to food for comfort and my weight ballooned out of control. I would see the disapproving looks on the faces of family and friends as I reached for yet another helping at the dinner table, and made a New Year's Resolution (two years ago) to lose all of the weight I had gained, and then some. I went public with my resolution, and everyone was so proud of me that I did not want to disappoint them...but I found I did not want to leave food behind, either.

Publicly, I eat very little; but privately I gorge myself on cookies, candy, cakes, and pies. I never bring any of these foods home (I only keep healthy, organic foods in the house) so there is no tell-tale inventory or trash that will give away my secret. I eat in my car and throw the trash in the dumpster at the fast-food drive-thru...where I also stop to load up on burgers, fries, and shakes.

Needless to say, I have not lost an ounce and in fact have gained an additional 110 pounds over the past two years. I now tip the scales at 453 pounds, as of this writing. I am sure that number is going to go up by the time this letter is printed. The larger part of my problem (no pun intended) is not that I want to lose weight; it is that I can no longer find clothes that fit me. I buy special sizes through catalogs, but I am fast approaching the maximum size that they sell!

I NEED help, but don't know where to turn! My doctor has said that I am a candidate for gastric bypass surgery, but that would mean giving up food altogether, and I am not ready to do that. I would hate to go to a program like Weight Watchers, because I hear their two-year recidivism rate is something like 90%. If I take the weight off, I want to keep it off for good! You seem so knowledgeable about so many things, Tazi; do you know of something that might help me?

Fatty, Fatty, two-By_Four...


I will not repeat that insulting signature; after all, we are friends, right? And friends do not say such nasty things about each other. Rather, friends help each other; so here is what I suggest you do: make friends with yourself.

From the sound of your letter, you turned to food for comfort and acceptance during a time of overwhelming heartbreak (your divorce). Now, it appears that your heart is still broken; but over a loss of self-love, and once again food is there to comfort. It also appears that you hide your eating from others because you fear losing their love, too. The "disapproving glances" you mention are probably born out of concern for your health, not disgust for your eating habits. Those who truly care about you are not going to stop caring because of a number on the scale. I suggest that you come clean to them, and enlist in their help - in time.

The first thing you need to do is contact Overeaters Anonymous, a non-profit organization that offers a 12-step program that will help you tackle your addiction to food in precise, manageable steps. The meetings are confidential - thus the term "anonymous" in the name - and you will be among people who are fighting the same problems are you are fighting. These people will be at various stages in their journey, and listening to them could offer you a world of hope for your future. Best of all, the meetings are a safe place where you can be yourself with nothing to hide.

If you would like, you can also enlist in the assistance of a professional counselor who specializes in disordered eating or the help of a certified nutritionist to keep you on the track to your weight-loss goals. Think of this journey not as one of deprivation, but as a path to overall better health. Once you feel comfortable "coming out" about your closet eating, share the news with your family and friends; asking for their understanding and support.


P.S. You are correct that Weight Watchers has a very high recidivism rate. However, it is in part because people stop going to the meetings, and stop following the healthy eating practices that they have been taught to follow.