Monday, June 30, 2014

As The Last Chick Flies The Nest, Husband And Wife Must Decide Which Path To Take

Dear Tazi:

My husband “Montgomery” has decided that, now that the last of our children will be moving away to college this September, he would like to run for political office. He claims that it has always been a dream of his to be a statesman; I say it is a midlife crisis, as he has never talked about this dream in the 22 years that we have been married.

I have been a stay-at-home-mom ever since my children were young, and I have held onto the goal of opening my own patisserie [a bakery that only serves and sells pastries] since before the first of my three children were born. Before I got married, I earned a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales; my specialty was fine pastries, and I have continued to use my skills and education for personal celebrations as well as profit (I bake cakes and specialty desserts on a very small scale out of my home). To put things another way, my dream has merit! I have experience and a business plan and am prepared to carry out and follow through with my goals. Montgomery, on the other hand, has zero experience in politics – he’s never even put a political sign on our lawn or volunteered to assist a candidate, yet he expects to run a successful campaign for state congress. It is not that I am against him running for political office, but I do have a problem with this plan infringing on my dreams.

Over the years, I have taken my disposable income and put it into a money market account where it has grown into a sizable sum – enough to cover the cost of equipment for a patisserie kitchen and to pay for the first year’s rent on a desirable location. Montgomery has requested the use of this money as “start up funds” for his political campaign! He has promised that it would be written up as a loan, as opposed to a donation, so he could reimburse me with any campaign donations that he received “in excess of what is needed” to run a successful campaign. I was so upset at this request that I was speechless!

Once I found my voice I told Montgomery that there was no way he would be getting his hands on my savings – that while he was using his spending money to play golf with his friends and have a few drinks at the clubhouse, my spending money was earning me interest in the bank. I informed him that I already had plans for the money, and he threatened to use our youngest child’s college savings account to finance his campaign! What kind of selfish man does that to his child? After I flipped out on him, Montgomery apologized and said he would never steal from our child; he was just illustrating the difficult position in which I was placing him.

Tazi, do I – as Montgomery puts it – owe it to him as his wife to support him in his political goals? Am I being selfish by wanting to use my savings as I had planned? Montgomery has commented that if he wins his election my stock will rise along with his, and my business will stand a better chance of succeeding.

Petit Four No Reason?

Dear Petit Four No Reason?:

I do not believe you are being petty, and you do have reasons for being upset with your husband and standing your ground. I understand your decision to put your dream of owning – and running – your own business on hold while your children were growing up. Those who own their own business will tell you it is the business that owns them.

Although your husband never spoke of his dream to run for political office, this does not mean that it has not long been held dear to him. Is he the type to express political opinions or discuss politics with others? Does he attend city/town council meetings? Has he – before this point – expressed a desire to effect change? Many people keep their dreams a secret, out of the fear that others will not support them.

As for your dream, it is obvious from what you say that you have done some long-term investing into it and are ready to make it a reality. This reality could be what is propelling your husband to launch a dream of his own – sponsored with your money. Your husband could be feeling insecure; as he sees you starting on a path that will require long hours away from him and your home, and eventually lead you to financial independence from him.

Often times when the last baby bird flies the next, so to speak, the parents go through the stress of rediscovering each other – and wondering exactly what they still have in common. Your husband’s sudden desire to run for political office would keep the two of you together for long hours (I am assuming you would be working on his campaign) without having to work to fill the empty time and space that the lack of children has created – there is never an empty minute when you are running a political campaign! Before you make any decisions one way or the other, I suggest you do the following:

1. Secure your daughter’s college fund so that it can only be accessed to pay for her college expenses. I do not care that your husband was only trying to prove a point – the suggestion, and his reasoning behind it, were both extremely selfish. It is not you who are putting him in a difficult situation; it is he who chose to put himself there through a lack of proper planning.

2. See to it that the money you have managed to save and invest over the years is also secure. As a married couple, the money technically belongs to both of you; however, from a moral standpoint, only an absolute heel would insist on taking half.

3. Sit down with your husband and openly discuss his goals. Find out how long he has wanted to run for office; ask him what preparations he has made towards the running of a campaign and, if he has not made any in the time he has been thinking about this path, ask him what has held him back. In other words, find out how risky an investment – of time or money – in his campaign would be for you. If you are not comfortable loaning him money, suggest he incorporate his campaign and take out a bank loan; or ask the local state political committee (Republican/Democrat/Green/Etc.) for funding.

4. Ask your husband why he feels that his personal goals are more important that yours at this point in time. It could be that all the years you spent as a stay-at-home-mom has left him with less respect for who you are and the goals you seek to achieve. Your husband’s flimsy excuse that your “stock will rise along with his” sounds uncomfortably corrupt, not to get into how downright insulting it actually is.

Elections occur every two to four years and even though it is only June it is considered by many too far along in the election year cycle to declare a candidacy. Your husband would do well to work as a volunteer this election cycle, just to see all that goes into running a campaign, and start planning his run for office the day after this year’s elections – that is, if he is still interested in running at that point.

5. With regard to your desire to launch a business, consider your local economy. Will it support such a specialized business as a patisserie? Or would waiting a few years until the economy further improves increase your chances for success?

If you would feel more comfortable having a mediator present when you discuss these matters, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a marriage counselor or a clergy member with whom you feel comfortable discussing such matters. Both are trained to moderate marital issues and to assist in keeping them from turning into marital discord. I wish you both all the best in your future endeavors…and look forward to trying your crème fraise!

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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tazi Recommends: Real Picnic Ideas

Dear Readers:

It SUMMER and the start of outdoor fun! With this in mind, I am recommending

Real Picnic Ideas

Picnics are a great way to gather family and friends for an outdoor meal, but so often is is tough to plan them! You need to think ahead about what kind of food to pack, remembering that certain foods get soggy/stale/inedible faster than others; you need to pack food that people - especially children - will actually eat; you need to pack things that will not sit in your stomach all afternoon, allowing you to jump right back into whatever activities were taking place before eating; but most of all, you need to pack food that isn't going to make a mess!

Real Picnic Ideas offers all sorts of ideas for successful picnicking! Most obviously, the site offers recipes for great picnic food - like a Mexican barbecue (several recipes in one blog!) or something as simple as sugar cookies. However, the site also offers great tailgating tips, links to and reviews of picnic backpacks and suggestions for seasonal outings that involve outdoor eating.

Real Picnic Ideas is a hybrid site - a personal blog run by someone whose family owns a picnicking supply site, so if you see products you just have to have, there are quick links to purchase information. Real Picnic Ideas is also chock full of detailed pictures, so you can view the projects, recipes, and trips that the blog recommends.

I suggest that you take some time to mosey through Real Picnic Ideas before your next outing, because I honestly believe you will find ideas to improve upon your good time - even of you are an "Over-Achieving Mom" (especially if you are an "Over-Achieving Mom"!) who seeks to create the kind of perfect memories for your child that will also result in all the other Moms turning green with envy.

That's it for this week - stay tuned for next week's Tazi Recommends... when I review an Over-Achieving Mom's Blog. It's AWESOME and I wish my Mommie had the time to do all the awesome stuff this woman does! Until then, I will be doing what I do best: napping!


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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Barb-Throwing Father-In-Law A Menace To Young Family

Dear Tazi:

You have got to be the sweetest kitty-cat on the face of the earth, taking time out of your busy nap schedule to help us humans with our problems. Will you please help me with mine?

My father-in-law, "Chuckie" is an absolute nightmare. The man is mentally abusive, and gets off on making people cry. When I first met my husband, he told me to my face that I wasn't good enough for his son, "Barry". At our wedding (mine and Barry's) Chuckie stood up as if to toast us and announced he was starting a betting pool on how long our marriage would last, inviting the guests to place their wagers. When I got pregnant with our first child, Chuckie asked Barry (to both of our faces) if he was sure it was his kid, since "your wife is such a slut"! Tazi, I am not a slut and yes, the child is Barry's!

I am now pregnant with my second child (my first is almost two) and Chuckie is at it again, telling Barry that I will be "two tons of fun" after our second child is born, based on the fact that I did not lose the last 10 pounds from my first pregnancy. I know that my husband loves me unconditionally - and he has told me as much, in case I did not - but the stress of being around Chuckie is taking its toll on me. I do not want him visiting the house (he complains that I am a poor housekeeper, which I am not) and I do not want him around the children. My husband feels the same way, but will not stand up to his father and allows him to see our young son whenever he wants, which means Chuckie is over all the time.

I have tried kicking Chuckie out but he refuses to leave, saying "[his] son's paycheck pays the mortgage", and until Barry kicks him out he will "stay as long as he [darn] well pleases!" He then taunts me, telling me to "call the cops" if I don't like it. I am sorely tempted to do just that, but I know that it would only put my husband deeper into the middle of the problem; maybe even forcing him to choose between his father and me. Do you have any less drastic suggestions?

Not Perfect, But Perfect For Barry

P.S. Barry's mother passed away years ago, so I cannot seek her out for assistance!

Dear Not Perfect...:

Does Chuckie have a key to your house? If so, change your locks; and do not open the door to him when he stops by to see your child. That solves the problem of his invading your home when his son is not there. If Chuckie comes there when your husband is home, that makes him a guest of your husband - not you, so feel free to take your child out to the park, for ice-cream, on errands, or whatever excuse you need to get the two of you out of the house while Chuckie is there. This allows for you and your husband to execute your desire to keep the children from Chuckie without putting your husband in the position of standing up to his father. (A Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust to him for not standing up for you, though!).

If Chuckie complains that you do not allow him to visit the children, tell him why you are keeping them from him: because he is mentally abusive, and you will not have them learning such atrocious habits. Once Chuckie sees that his comments are not playful or fun (as I am sure he sees them) and that hurling them at you will have negative consequences for him, he may decide to lighten up a bit. If he does not, continue to do what you must to protect your children from Chuckie's hateful and hurtful behavior, even if it means allowing only minimal (and always supervised) contact with him.

As for the insults Chuckie hurls at you in front of your husband: turn the insults around. If Chuckie calls you a slut, tell him that Barry got his taste in women from his father. If Chuckie calls you a bad housekeeper, hand him a mop and challenge him to do better. If Chuckie calls you fat, tell him that "not everyone can carry all their fat between their ears like you", implying that he is a "fathead". In time, you will learn how to stand up for yourself; and your father-in-law will either let up on the insults, having felt their sting; or you will discover that he enjoys the barb-throwing - at which point you will need to decide whether or not to ignore him.


P.S. Thank you for all the lovely compliments! I do appreciate them! Purrrrrrrr....

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

Friday, June 27, 2014

Is Hustling At Pool The Same As Cheating?

Dear Tazi:

About six months ago, I started dating a man I will call “Stan”. Stan is a great guy, but a few months ago – through no fault of his own – he got laid off from his job. Stan hit the pavement immediately in search of work, but after a few weeks; several dozen job applications; and no phone calls Stan started to get quite discouraged.

One non-work-related talent that Stan has is that he is an amazing pool player. He could play on a professional circuit if he made the effort, but he claims he does not want to travel or search for sponsors or any of the many things involved with such a venture. Instead, Stan has started abusing his talent hustling pool.

I have to admit that Stan is making excellent money by feigning bad shots – he plays well enough to keep people from getting suspicious; but then will purposely miss a complicated trick shot that he has made dozens of times, at which point he will pretend to lose his confidence and let his game go downhill, losing that game and several more. When Stan offers his victim the opportunity to play for high stakes – a chance to win his money back, he tells the person, his opponent jumps at the chance and Stan ends up having just good enough a game to win. The offer is then double or nothing, which is when Stan ends up fleecing his victim.

The dishonesty of what Stan is doing bothers me enough, but it is the fear that he is going to be found out and take a physical beating that keeps me awake at night. I have begged him to stop, but he just laughs and tells me I worry too much; that he never hits the same place twice and that he is very careful not to be discovered. He considers himself a businessman, not a hustler, because he only plays well enough to win; not well enough to embarrass his opponents. Am I overreacting, Tazi? Or is Stan skating on thin ice?

Pool Lover’s Lady

Dear Pool Lover’s Lady:

I have to admire Stan’s class, since he only seeks to win big; not embarrass his opponents, but then I have to ask myself; how classy is it to deceive and hustle others? The answer is, it’s not. There are so many issues in play here; I will take them one by one:

To start, there is the matter of illegal gambling. If Stan is playing for high stakes, and he is winning large amounts of money, this constitutes fraud against his unemployment claim; which specifically asks if you have earned any income. Second, this is money that is not subject to taxation, something the State and Federal government would frown upon if they knew about it; and if Stan upsets the wrong person, the wrong people might find out about it!

Second are the ethical issues: When a person chooses to gamble, they are assuming a certain level of risk, figuring that they know the odds and whether or not those odds favor them. By hiding his talents, Stan is skewing the appearance of those odds in favor of his victim, while the true odds remain in his favor. Although this is not illegal, it is highly unethical and has me wondering just how “great” a guy Stan really is.

Third is the very real threat of physical harm befalling Stan over his choice to hustle pool. Stan may not hit the same place twice, but he is not taking into account the fact that not everyone frequents only one pub/bra/pool hall. All it will take is one person to recognize him and his gig is up. Stan is playing with fire, and the odds are that he will get burned.

You cannot control Stan’s behavior; all you can do is control how you react to it. You can explain to Stan all I have told you here, but I doubt that will make any difference. Therefore, the choice is yours: do you want to stay with Stan and continue to worry about how your near future will play out? Or do you feel the need to take a break until Stan decides which economic path is the right choice for him? I have to add, two weeks of looking for a job is hardly long enough to warrant discouragement to the point of giving up. I consider this reaction a huge red flag.


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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dress For The Job You Want And See Your Chances Of Getting It Improve

Dear Tazi:

I work in a high profile law firm and have a co-worker who is very good at her job but has no idea how to dress, something that is holding her back in her career.  “Juanita” insists on stuffing herself into the smallest size skintight clothing she can find.  Her muffin top looks more like an exploding volcano cake; her breasts look ready to burst out of her blouse; and I don’t know how her butt fits into her clothes, but to say she has “visible panty lines” is an understatement; I can see the entire outline of her thong or worse, her g-string.   The woman looks like a sausage about to burst its casing, and of course Juanita thinks she looks fantastic.

Juanita and I both work as paralegals at the firm, and both of us work behind the stacks, so to speak.  We do not interact with the clients; those positions are held by paralegals with more experience than we have. My firm promotes from within, so I have always known that with time and experience I would have a chance for a promotion.  Juanita has always hoped for the same, and this is where the problem is.

One of the front-office paralegals is pregnant and has decided that she will be taking an indefinite leave of absence after her child is born.  This means that there will be an opening, at least for the long-term temporary, in the front-office.  Juanita and I have both expressed interest in filling the position.  I have mentioned it to the pregnant paralegal herself, hoping that she might recommend me; Juanita to one of the partners in the firm.

The pregnant paralegal told me that she would be happy to recommend me to cover her position for her, and if I do well recommend me for a permanent position in the front-office.  She told me that I have the professional demeanor and presentation that the firm seeks in its employees, and that my performance will reflect on her since she is recommending me, so it is a win-win situation.  I feel like I can practically count on the higher paycheck already! 

Juanita keeps talking about how much she wants the front-office position and lording over me the fact that she has more experience than me, not so subtly hinting that she believes she will get the job regardless of whether or not I apply for it.  She hints that I should not bother to waste my time applying for the job.

Tazi, I want to tell Juanita that she does not have a snowball’s chance in Hades of getting the front-office job until she changes her style of dress to something more professional, but I am afraid that if I tell her that she just might do it, and get the promotion over me!  I do not want to sabotage her chances of getting the job, but I really want this job for myself, too.  What do you advise, Tazi?  What is the ethical thing to do?

Professional Pattie

Dear Professional Pattie:

Lucky for you, it is not your place to tell your co-workers that their style of dress is inappropriate for the office.  Should Juanita be passed over for promotion one too many times, she will eventually figure out – on her own or through Human Resources – that she needs to dress more appropriately if she seeks to advance to a front-office position.  You do not need to feel as though you are sabotaging Juanita’s ambitions by withholding judgment of her wardrobe.

Both you and Juanita have taken a different approach towards expressing your interest in the job; without knowing how the partner Juanita spoke to responded, I cannot know if Juanita’s confidence is genuine or an attempt to shake off her own insecurity.  If the firm is interested in promoting Juanita, they will tell her what she needs to do in order to be seen as a viable candidate for the position. 

If you are still feeling ethically challenged, I suggest you talk to Juanita and ask her what the firm’s partner told her that has given her such confidence that she will get the promotion over you.  Knowing what she knows may ease your worried conscience.


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

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mother-In-Law Cruises Away With A Paw Slap Of Disgust!

Dear Tazi:

My mother-in-law is perhaps the most evil woman who has ever walked the face of the earth! She has never approved of me - no woman could possibly be good enough for her son - and she has always treated me like a second-class family member; but what she has done now is over the line - or should I say completely overboard?

A few months ago, "Bertha" requested that all of her children - and their spouses - go on a cruise together, as a family. Spending ten days with Bertha did not appeal to me, but I love the rest of my husband's family and the idea of a cruise with them was very appealing; so my husband and I both signed on for the trip (for which we paid our own way). The trip was purchased several months in advance, and we were to set sail in August. Note that I said "were", not "are" because my husband and I have discovered that after several years of infertility issues, we are now expecting!

My husband and I are both overjoyed at the prospect of becoming parents and nothing will come before my health and the well-being of the baby. This is where my issue with Bertha's cruise starts: The cruise is scheduled to take place during the week of my due date. Obviously, my husband and I have decided not to go on the cruise; and our family is all being very understanding and excited for us - all except for Bertha who actually accused me of getting pregnant on purpose in order to ruin her family cruise! In the past, she has made comments behind my back about how I must secretly be on birth control, so her comments are not surprising, but are still quite hurtful.

Bertha has told my husband that he should still come on the cruise, even if I won't, because "due dates are not accurate". My husband has told Bertha that she is crazy for thinking he would leave my side so close to my due date and that she will have to accept that we will not be going on the cruise. Bertha is now sulking, and is telling anyone who will listen what a "horrible son" he has become since marrying me! When my husband tried to explain to her that I am his WIFE, Bertha responded, "one day, you two might divorce; but I will always be your mother!".

Since Bertha's efforts at guilting my husband into turning his back on me to accompany her on the cruise are not working, she has started in on me; calling me a bad wife for wanting to "isolate" my husband from his family. Tazi, it's one week - one of the most important weeks of our lives, too! This is supposed to be a happy time for my husband and me, but Bertha is putting undue stress on me and making me miserable with her cruel barbs. Do you have any advice on how to deal with her? I am seriously wondering if I want my child to have a relationship with this woman!

Finally Expecting!

Dear Finally Expecting:

Congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so happy for you I am purring! You are right that this should be a joyous time for you and your husband, so please do not let Bertha ruin it for you. You are correct in feeling that her barbs are out of line; but it sounds to me that she is reacting out of fear, not love. She is obviously very attached to her son, and as long as the two of you remained child-free you remained (in Bertha's eyes) a couple, not a family. The timing of your due date could have been anytime and it would not matter; Bertha would probably find a reason for why she would find it to be disrespectful to her.

The comment that you got pregnant "on purpose" in order to ruin her cruise is laughable, which was what I did when I pictured Bertha saying it. The next time Bertha starts in with her rude comments, try to smile politely and ignore her. When she finds that her self-absorbed attitude is making her look like a fool, she will hopefully stop. As the arrival date of her grandchild gets closer, Bertha may discover herself having a change of heart towards being away when your baby enters into the world. Perhaps your husband could point this out to her?

With regard to withholding your child from Bertha, you may discover that your baby will give you some common ground on which to build a relationship with your mother-in-law. Rather than pull away, why not work towards including her? Your husband can help you work towards this end. Although I am proud of him for standing up for you, it has to be difficult for him to always be in the middle of the bad blood between you and his mother - who has earned a Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust for her cruel divorce comment!


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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tips From A Nanny On How To Treat Yours

Dear Tazi:

I love, love, love your column and am hoping you will print my letter. I am a professional Nanny in the Boston area, and just gave my two-weeks notice to the family for whom I have worked for the past two years because, as great as the children are, I am sick to death of their parents' poor treatment of me.

I have several leads on a new job, so I am not worried about employment, but decided to put together my own contract this time around instead of using the one provided by the agencies I have worked through in the past. From this contract, I have put together a list of Rules For Parents that I am hoping you will print. Nannies everywhere will thank you!

Rules For Parents, From Your Nanny:

1) I am a Nanny, not a housekeeper or a cook. My job is to assist in the care and raising of your child(ren). In the course of my duties I will see that your child is fed, properly clothed, and their quarters tidy; however, it is not my job to clean your house, do your laundry, or see that dinner is on the table for you when you return from work; so please do not expect me to do these things for you.

2) Part of my job as a Nanny is to see that your children are properly disciplined. I personally do not believe in spanking, so please do not ask me to hit your child. Even if I were a proponent of spanking, the liability alone would stay my hand. A revoking of privileges will usually do the trick.

3) I may not have children of my own, but this does not mean I do not know how to raise a child. Please do not speak down to me. Most Nannies possess post-secondary education and/or specialized training in the field of early childhood education and are better prepared to deal with the stresses of child-rearing than many parents.

4) Please do not take your emotions out on me when your child runs to me before/instead of you to show off their accomplishments/milestones/etc. As a Nanny, I will always encourage your child to put you first; but I cannot help it if they feel a closer bond to me. Consider spending more time with your child and see a closer bond with them develop.

5) If you need me to work overtime I am going to need more than five minutes notice at the end of my shift. You know that you are working late/have plans after work/are stuck in traffic. Give me the courtesy of knowing this, too, so I can notify the people who are waiting on me.

6) Please do not undermine the authority you vested in me when your children complain that I am being "mean" by not giving in to their every desire. There is a reason why I am not allowing them to have ice cream before bed, and it is not because I don't want to deal with them being hyper until after midnight. It might be because I know they have an 8 AM soccer game and need a good night's sleep in order to play their best.

7) Pay me on time. I nanny your child in order to make a living, not because I enjoy their company so much that I quit my day job to spend more time with him/her.

8) While on the subject of payment: If you want me to go on your family vacation with you, you will have to pay me my regular wages as well as my travel expenses. It may be a vacation for you, but it is still work for me; so do not expect me to be grateful for the "opportunity" to travel. You would not go on a business trip for no pay; do not expect me to do the same.

9) Respect my days off and do not expect me to be available on those days. Your boss does not call you at home and demand that you come in to the office on your day off, nor should you do the same to me.

10) Understand that as much as I care about (and for) your child and am like family to you, I am still your employee. Do not expect me to spend Christmas Day or other holidays with you. I have my own family and will be spending time with them. I make this matter clear to your child; please do not confuse them by suggesting otherwise when they whine about how they would like me to be there.

Thank you for giving me a larger voice, Tazi!

The Nanny

Dear The Nanny:

My Mommie worked as a part-time Nanny many years ago, so I ran your list by her to see if she agreed. Many of the reasons you listed are among the reasons she chose not to continue in that field, and she actually spewed her coffee from laughing so hard over Rule #7. Apparently, there are a lot of parents who think that payment for services rendered is optional. (She would like to state for the record, though, that the parents she worked for were all amazing, and always paid her on time!).

Thank you for these suggestions! Readers, if you employ a Nanny - or even a part-time babysitter or a daycare professional - please print out a copy of these rules and tape them to your refrigerator door as a reminder to be professionally courteous to your child-care provider.


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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Facial Scarring Is No Reason To Hang Your Head

Dear Tazi:

Several years ago I was in a fire. I escaped with my life but I suffered horrible burns, especially to my face. I now have a great deal of scarring and facial deformity that I have learned to live with, or so I thought.

My wife and I just got divorced, and I am working on starting a new life without her. I have moved to a new city and have started a new job (I worked for my ex-wife's family business, and it was just too weird to continue after the divorce). I know that I am not ready to start dating yet, but I would like to make some new friends. This is where the problem with my face starts.

I am not blind, Tazi. Luckily, the fire did not damage my eye-sight. I know how I look, and I know that my scars make people wince when they look at me and then turn away, embarrassed. I can't say I blame them - granted, I was never a George Clooney or a Brad Pitt, but now I have been known to frighten small children; and I want to know how I can tell people that it's okay to look me in the face, that I understand the human desire to stare in horrified fascination. I just don't want to put it so bluntly, because I don't want to offend anyone, especially when I am trying to make friends. Do you know how to put what I want to say into words, Tazi?

Frank N. Stein

Dear Frank N. Stein:

Oh, I just caught onto that joke! Your self-deprecating humor caught me off-guard. [Ed. Note: Say the name Frank N. Stein really fast]. Your sense of humor is quite endearing, as is your sense of acceptance over your injuries.

You are correct in understanding that when people see someone who looks different there is an uncontrollable desire to stare. Be it a person of exceptional beauty or a person who has suffered a facial deformity, it is human nature to want to pause and examine that which we do not see every day. Your comment that you "have been known to scare small children" tells me that your scarring must be pretty bad, making me think that people who meet you for the first time are caught off guard and do not know how to act/react. They may be wondering how you managed to survive such damaging injuries but do not wish to pry into your personal life. I would not call this "horrified fascination" (though it might be for some, most people are sympathetic to injuries).

The next time you meet - or meet up - with someone who appears to be uncomfortable with your scars, try to put them at ease by simply stating the facts: that you were in a terrible fire, but managed to escape. You can joke that your injuries actually did more damage than can be seen - that before the fire you could have passed for George Clooney's twin brother. Humor generally puts people at ease, and shows the world that you are strong enough to take the questions and curious looks that people might send you way.

Once you have established yourself in your new job and new community, people will feel more at ease with you as they get to know you as a person, and not as a person who stands out in a crowd. Before too long, the friends you make will not even notice your scars because they will be seeing your inner beauty instead of your outer packaging.


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

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner: Issue #1 - Adventures In Unemployment

Tazi’s Corner
Life as Your Pet Sees It!

As a housecat, I have realized that I need to expand my horizons if I was to see the world of humans so I screwed up my courage and jumped into my Mommie’s soft and cozy hobo bag and stowed away whenever she went out to explore the wide world of humans. What I saw piqued my curiosity (I am lucky I wasn't killed by it!) so I perked up my ears and listened to see if anything interesting was being said. A lot of people were talking about needing jobs and wanting to find jobs, but few actually seemed to want to work. Here is a transcript of one conversation I overheard:

Woman: Oh, I am so glad I ran into you! You know so many people and have so many resources, and I need to find a job fast! My unemployment benefits are running out! Do you know anyone who is hiring?

Mommie: Probably; what kind of work are you looking for?

Woman: Anything. I will do anything. I need a paycheck.

Mommie: The tutoring center at the community college needs qualified…[woman cuts off Mommie in mid-sentence!]

Woman: Oh, no. I don’t want to tutor. I can’t stand working with people who just don’t get it.

Mommie: Okay…I was just speaking with the Director of a local pre-school; she is looking for Teaching Assistants to work with the pre-schoolers. She is willing to train the right person, too.

Woman: Oh, no. I hate working with kids.

Mommie: Well, I guess that means you are not the right person. What is your career field?

Woman: Communications

Mommie: Great! The advertising firm where I used to work is always looking for new Account Executives, and they are willing to train, too.

Woman: H[eck], no! I do NOT do sales!

Mommie: [now exasperated] I just came from Wal-Mart and saw that they are hiring.

Woman: Ugh, I would rather work in sales than work for Wal-Mart.

Mommie: Well, what it is you want to do for work? What are you qualified to do?

Woman: Anything, I’ll do anything…

Obviously not, considering that Mommie gave her four leads for entry-level or will-train jobs and she turned them all down! It’s no wonder her unemployment benefits are about to end! The conversation continued from there in a familiar vein. Mommie works for a very good employer, a place where everyone wants to work.

Woman: Are they hiring where you work? How do I get a job there?

Mommie: We are always hiring, it just depends on for what.

Woman: I told you, anything; I just need a JOB!

Mommie: But what are your qualifications?

Woman: I have a great work ethic!

Okay, so we all know that was a lie! Mommie continued to probe, asking if the woman had a CNA license (no); any kind of specialized training (no); bookkeeping skills (no); secretarial and/or computer skills (double no); a college degree (no); or professional licensing of any kind (no). Would she be willing to work in housekeeping? (Again, no; she “wasn’t so desperate” that she would clean toilets).

Mommie: Well, I’m not certain what it is you could do for work; maybe you could meet with a job counselor at the unemployment office?

Woman: No, those people are worthless. Too bad you couldn’t help me, either. Keep me in mind if you hear about any job openings?

I heard Mommie mumble “Don’t hold your breath” as she walked away. Paw slaps of disgust to those who are not willing to take the job offered because it is not the job that they want. Employers want people with experience - and experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want!

Snuggles to everyone else,

P.S. On second thought...

Big thank-you's to regular reader and fellow blogger
Maya Lincoln for sending this pic to me!

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Generous Gift Offer Declined Due To Strings That Are Attached

Dear Tazi:

As a high school graduation gift – and in order to encourage her to make wise economical and educational decisions – I offered to pay for my granddaughter’s first two years of college if she chose to attend one of our state’s public colleges or universities, with the offer to pay the remaining two years if she stayed at the state school (or within the state system) and kept her grades high enough to attain placement on the Dean’s List each semester. This decision was not made lightly, but with the memory of sending my own daughter (her mother) and both of my sons off to school at fancy private colleges, and paying upwards of $20,000 apiece for it, only to see them return home after one year – for various reasons – and graduate from state colleges for less than the cost of one year at their original schools.

My granddaughter feels that my offer is not fair, and that I am trying to control her life. She has requested that I give her the money I would spend on her first two years tuition at a state school to apply to the tuition at a fancy private college that costs in the vicinity of $50,000 a year. This particular school is far from home (three to four hours by plane) and my granddaughter, in my opinion, still has some growing up to do before she is ready to be on her own in a new city. For all of these reasons mentioned, I denied her request. Because of this, I am apparently the worst Grandpa that has ever lived.

I am considering rescinding the offer of paying for her schooling, and giving her a graduation gift of similar value in the form of a 10-year government bond. Upon maturation it would be worth close to $100,000 and could be put towards the purchase of a house or other real estate. My one concern is that, without my tuition assistance, my headstrong granddaughter may skip college altogether – which I would hate to see happen – or sign her life away into a morass of student loan debt in order to attend her first-choice school – debt that would most certainly destroy the nest egg a bond would provide. I do not wish to make the same mistake with my granddaughter as I did with her mother (and her uncles), but at the same time I do not want to see my granddaughter rush headlong into a mistake of her own making. She is my only grandchild and my hope for the future of all that I have worked for in life. I would like an outside opinion, Tazi.

Grandpa Jim

Dear Grandpa Jim:

You are a generous Grandpa, indeed! A college education is a priceless gift, and the offer you present to your granddaughter just challenging enough to make certain that she keeps her life on the right track. You strike a good balance between generosity (two years, no strings) and business (two years, Dean’s List). You are investing in your granddaughter’s future, so you should be allowed some say in how that investment is treated.

Your granddaughter, on the other hand, sees this offer as a gift – which is how you have presented it – and gifts should come with no strings attached. By putting conditions on your support, your granddaughter sees you as attempting to control her life. May I suggest a compromise of sorts?

Get your granddaughter something completely different for her high school graduation present. A pre-paid debit card to be used towards her first year’s textbooks is a generous gift (around the $1,000 range, depending on what she is studying) but nowhere near the level of major financial investment. Once the gift issue is off the table, you can sit down with your granddaughter and discuss all that you have mentioned to me in your letter. If possible, I would suggest having your daughter there, too; to moderate, should the conversation start to get heated.

Explain to your granddaughter that your original tuition offer still stands, no longer as a gift but as a business arrangement. As an investor, you have an offer to make her; and she, as the person seeking funding, can either accept or reject your terms – but not alter them in any way. Allow her some time to think things over before asking for her decision. If she decides to attend her first choice college, take comfort in the fact that she thought things through before jumping into the abyss of the unknown.

Allow your granddaughter the chance to make her own mistakes – she will never be able to grow otherwise. By the end of her freshman year, you may be surprised to find your granddaughter thriving at this far away school, and earning scholarships and academic accolades that will bring honor to both her and your family (and if this turns out to be the case, I am hoping you will be willing to consider your granddaughter’s counter-offer of a lump sum towards her tuition at this school). If your granddaughter discovers that her dream school has turned into a nightmare, resist the urge to say I told you so and please find it in your heart to re-present your generous offer.


P.S. My Mommie is in the market for a new Grandpa, since hers passed away several years ago! Care to adopt her? (Just kidding!) –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, June 20, 2014

Woman Who Is "Just One Of The Guys" Wants More

Dear Tazi:

I have always been tomboyish, and now that I am an adult (in my twenties) I am still more interested in "guy stuff" than makeup, clothes, and shoes. I still prefer Popular Mechanics over Cosmopolitan and can outplay all of my guy friends at any video game you can name. I can do my own car repairs, prefer Bud Light over Beringer, and don't even own a dress.

My problem is that no guy seems interested in me as anything more than a friend; to all the guys I know I am just one of the guys, and they do not see me as a potential girlfriend. Over the years I have crushed on several of my guy friends, but they always seemed more interested in the cheerleaders or the hoochie types, and not the down-home girl that I am. I thought things would change as we got older, and they did. The guys are now interested in the Victoria's Secret model type of woman. They still look at me as nothing special.

I hate the idea of changing who I am to attract a man; I want someone to love me for who I am, not for the image I present. Even if I grew my hair long, got a makeover, and started wearing skirts I would still be who I am on the inside, just completely uncomfortable with who I was on the outside. Do you think there are men out there who will love me for who I am or do I have to bite the bullet and girl it up a bit?


Dear Tommie:

Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER change who you are to impress a romantic interest!!!!  You are only selling yourself short and selling a lie to the object of your affection! If someone cannot love you for who you are than they are not worth your interest!

I am not sure what kind of men you are hanging around with that they only seem interested in girly-girl type women; could it be that they are merely fantasizing about these women but are looking to date someone more realistic? Or do they really seek to be the next Tom Brady?

The man who really does have it all...

Have you ever expressed interest in any of your guy friends, or have you kept quiet and fantasized yourself? A lack of self-confidence has slayed many in the area of romance, regardless of how they looked in a miniskirt. If you are looking to attract the attention of a particular man, I suggest you show him you are interested. Smile at him. Ask him to get together for a beer "just the two of us" and see how he responds. Listen to him when he is talking, and respond so he knows you are listening to him - ask follow-up questions (even if you already know the answer); use words/phrase like "cool" or "that sounds awesome" when a positive response is required, or sympathetic words like "I'm so sorry" when sympathy is needed (not "that sucks"; such casual language can be a turn-off and will keep you in the friend zone) .


If you are just generally looking to meet someone, say something! Tell your guy friends (who will have other guy friends) that you are looking to meet someone for a date or a relationship. Once they know you are open to meeting someone they should be comfortable introducing you to men they think will interest you and be interested in you. Friends look out for each other in many ways; this is one of them.

Don't get discouraged and give up if your first few - or first dozen - dates don't go anywhere; it can take a while to meet the right person. Know that dating is a process, and part of that process is discovering what you don't want as well as what you do want in a partner. In the end, you must always remember to stay true to yourself because in the end you are the only one who has to live with yourself.


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

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The "Other Woman" Really Isn't, But She Still Needs To Go!

Dear Tazi:

I have been in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend since I moved away from his hometown two years ago.  We have had frequent visits back and forth to see each other and we call or Skype daily, but these past several months something has felt “off” between us.  Every time I mention this to him, he tells me I shouldn't worry, that he is just stressed over things at work.

I decided to surprise him with an unexpected visit this past weekend, but I was the one who got the surprise – when I found out that he has another woman living with him!  It turns out he met her in a bar one night and she was too drunk to drive home and had no money for cab fare (she drank it all up).  Since she lived on the other side of town, “Alan” let her crash on his couch – and she’s been there ever since!

Alan insists that there is nothing going on between them, that “Sheila” was out getting drunk that night because her roommate had kicked her out of their apartment.  He says he felt bad for her and that she had nowhere to go so he couldn't send her out into the street.  He also told me that Sheila is the real reason he has been so stressed lately.  He is afraid that she thinks something is eventually going to develop between them, even though he has made it clear to both of us that I am the only woman he loves.

Tazi, should I trust Alan at his word?  He has always been honest with me in the past, but we have never had anything this huge come between us.  Also, should I tell this woman that she can no longer live on my boyfriend’s couch, since I doubt Alan will tell her himself?

#1 Lady

Dear #1 Lady:

It appears that your boyfriend is in a heap of #2, if you catch my meaning!  I can imagine your shock and indignation at discovering this lie of omission camping out on your boyfriend’s couch, and believe that your anger is understandable; your boyfriend DID lie to you about the true reason for his stress, but I believe this was a lie born out of fear of how you would react to his soft-heartedness for a woman in need.  This, however, does not let him off the hook!

How is it that you have visited your boyfriend over the past several months and not noticed evidence of another woman in the house?  Does he spend the week before your visit eradicating all evidence of her presence and then send her out drinking (and in search of someone else’s couch) just prior to your arrival?  Or have visits to his place stopped since Sheila moved onto his couch?

I hate to put it so bluntly, but your boyfriend is being a wimp.  He has admitted that having another woman in his life is stressing him out to the point where it is affecting his relationship with you, the woman he loves, yet he refuses to take steps to resolve the situation.  You and Alan need to sit down and have a serious talk about this disturbing situation.

Personally, I suggest getting a cat.  That should solve your problem in no time!
As much as you would like to tell Sheila to get OUT of your boyfriend’s apartment and out of his life it is not your place to do this; it is Alan’s, and he must man up and take care of the situation.  I suggest he set a date by which time Sheila must leave his house, and tell her that the locks will be changed on that day.  If her things are still there they will be packed up and put into a storage area for pick-up.  Once Alan explains the reality of the situation to Sheila her bubble that they will one day be together should burst.  If Alan refuses to take steps to rid himself of this other woman you will have to decide from there if can live with this or without him.


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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Plus Sized Traveler Would Appreciate Some Consideration

Dear Tazi:

I am a very large woman, weighing in on the other side of 400 pounds. I do not have a glandular problem; I am heavy because I like to eat sweet and fattening foods and hate to exercise. I recognize the consequences of my choices, from paying extra to find clothes that fit me to the possibility of dying several years before my prescribed time. Truthfully, I would rather enjoy life on my terms and die younger than live miserably to a ripe old age. The one issue I have with my weight is flying in an airplane, which I do frequently because I enjoy travel.

Because I am large and airline seats are not, I readily accept the fact that I must purchase two seats on the place, in order to accommodate my girth. When I purchase my airline tickets I occasionally luck out and get a special on first-class tickets, so I am able to purchase two assigned seats that are adjacent to each other. Occasionally, I fly discount airlines that do not offer assigned seating but do offer too-good-to-pass-up pricing. On the day of such flights, I make an effort to board early so I am assured of getting two seats together. After all, two separate seats would defeat the purpose of my buying an extra ticket.

My problem is that I am not always able to board first on flights with unassigned seats, and I must ask the Flight Attendant to assist me in my search for a duel seat. The flight attendants are always quite accommodating; it is the other passengers who are not; more than once I have received dirty looks and told flat-out “no” when someone sitting next to an empty seat is asked if they will move to allow me to have two seats together. Often times the person will look at me in disgust and say something like “I paid for my seat, why should I give it up?” insinuating that I have not paid for the extra seat. On a few occasions, people have come right out and accused me of looking for more space without paying for it. Ironically, these are usually the people who have way too much carry-on luggage of another sort.

I am generally able to get a seat without the fuss turning into a whole media affair, but I am afraid that one of these days it will turn into the circus maximus. Can you recommend a way I might avoid this issue of seating altogether, short of always flying first class?


Dear Chubbsey:

That’s what my Mommie calls me, and why she put me on a diet, only I think she spells it with only one “b”; I will have to ask. You are so lucky to be human and not having anyone controlling your food source. I also appreciate your candor; it sounds like you have a healthy sense of self and understand the consequences of your decisions.

I appreciate that you understand your need to purchase two airline seats to “accommodate your girth”, and I am certain that those who sit next to you on those flights appreciate it, too. Nobody enjoys having their personal space invaded, especially by somebody they do not know. The people who give you a problem about changing seats are the ones with the attitude problem.

The next time you fly, try to speak to the Boarding Attendant before the plane is ready to board. Explain your situation as you have explained it to me. I will bet you dollars to doughnuts (mmmmm….doughnut!) that you will be allowed to board early, along with others who require special boarding accommodations.

So long as you do not mind boarding with the elderly, the infirm, and people with young children and large strollers, your issue should be solved. If you are still concerned about the blockheads who would give you dirty looks or attitude over taking two seats, conspicuously display both of your boarding passes for easy viewing. Only a complete ignoramus would dare to make a rude comment, and complete ignoramuses deserve the same respect I give my litter-box!


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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reasons For A Break Up Need Not Be Made Public

Dear Tazi:

I was planning on breaking up with my boyfriend and was on the way to his house to go through with it when I was in a terrible car accident. A large SUV went through a red light (the driver was drunk) and my compact car was demolished, along with both of my legs, my left hip, and several ribs. I also sustained a concussion from the impact of the crash. I am healing well from the accident, and doing my best not to be dependent upon anybody. I am lucky to have a wonderful support group made up of family and friends, as well as members of my church. With some intense physical therapy, I should be back to normal within six months.

My problem is my boyfriend – I never did have the chance to break up with him. It has been a month since the accident, and he has been saying things that have a cryptic sound, like “Don’t worry; I would never leave you over this, even if you insisted because you don’t want me to be tied to a cripple for the rest of my life”. Um, for one I am *not* a “cripple”; for two I find that word to be highly offensive; and for three I never expressed fear that he would leave me. In fact, it would make the whole break up a lot less messy.

My best friend, who knew about my break up plans, told me that the accident was a sign that we were meant to be together, but I am not so sure of that. During the three weeks I spent in the hospital, my boyfriend never came to visit me, saying he thought I would be too tired for visitors. I am getting the impression that my injuries are more of a burden to him than he would care to handle and his brave face is all just a façade. I still want to break up with him, but I am afraid that people will think it is because of the accident and fear that my prognosis for recovery is not good. I really do not wish to be the subject of gossip, nor do I wish people to think that my boyfriend is the kind of guy who would leave a woman over physical disability – even though it appears that he may actually be that kind of guy. Should I try to stick things out until I am recovered, and then end things with him, Tazi? Or should I just cut all ties now, as originally planned? I am not worried about him pressuring me for sex or other forms of physical intimacy, due to my injuries, but it is getting difficult to keep up with the emotional part of a relationship that I no longer want to continue.

Not A Cripple

Dear Not A Cripple:

I can understand your desire to go through with your original plan. Your choice of signature speaks volumes, and I think that seeing this previously unseen side of your boyfriend has furthered your desire to “cut all ties” with him.

Since you fear what the gossips will say about a break up so soon after such an incredible physical trauma, you should not broadcast your plan to break up with your boyfriend. Rather, do it quickly and quietly to save face for all involved. Since he has not been at your side during your hospitalization his further absence will not seem out of place. If people question his absence, casually mention that the two of you are no longer a couple and that the timing could not be better, as you need to concentrate all of your efforts on your physical rehabilitation. If someone should be nosy enough to ask for details or comment on the timing of the break up, shut them down by offering the unexciting explanation “the break up was mutual; it was the accident that was poorly timed”.

I wish you all the best in your efforts to rehabilitate your physical self. Over the next few months, I am certain that the gossips you fear will notice your improvement, which should silence their acid tongues lest they look like fools for spreading ugly rumors.


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

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sometimes It's The Parents And Not The Bride That's A 'Zilla!

Dear Tazi:

I am getting married this summer – in the same church that my parents and grandparents did – and I am having a problem with my guest list. My parents have long been legally separated (since I was a very young child), but due to moral beliefs (and financial comforts) they have never divorced. My mother has enjoyed her freedom from being one-half of a couple, and has never expressed interest in meeting anyone new; my father, on the other hand, has had one girlfriend after another, each one younger than the last. He has been with his current girlfriend for two years now (a record). She is only eight years older than me.

Dad has told me how disappointed “Courtney” is that she was not asked to be in my wedding party, and he has told me that she “had better” be invited to the wedding or he will not be attending. Tazi, I never even considered asking Courtney to be in my wedding party, so I have no idea why she is so disappointed. I also have no plans on issuing Courtney a separate or inclusive invitation to my wedding, but was going to address my father’s invitation with “and Guest” out of courtesy to him. When I informed him of this plan, Dad did not take it too well, accusing me of offering Courtney an “unvitation”.

The truth is, Tazi, I would prefer that Courtney not be present at my wedding at all. My father is still married by law, if not in spirit, and this will be a church wedding. The presence of his girlfriend by his side would be wholly inappropriate! I do not mind so much if she comes to the reception, because that will be held in a banquet facility that is not affiliated with the church.

My grandmother, who is paying for my wedding, is scandalized that my father would even consider bringing Courtney to the church and is outraged over the ultimatum; however a church is a public building and I would have to right to ask her to leave if he did bring her, so long as she was not being disruptive. A woman’s wedding day is supposed to be one of the most special days of her life, and I feel like mine is an impending disaster!

August Bride

Dear August Bride:

You are right that a church is a sacred place, and for a married man to sit with his legal wife on one side and his girlfriend on the other would be quite scandalous, as well as disrespectful. Could the Pastor of the church have a word with your father about the Church’s view on this matter? Maybe hearing from a man/woman of the cloth will be enough for your father to see that you are not the only one who finds this arrangement to be disrespectful.

In reading between the lines of your letter, I get the distinct impression that you are displeased with the way your father has lived his life since his separation from your mother. You do not mention your age, just that your parents have been separated since you were “a very young child”. I will assume that you are around the age of 25, which is the average age of a bride in America today, meaning your parents have been separated for about 20 years. You say that he has had “one girlfriend after another” during this time, the longest relationship being two years. Yikes! That is a lot of women to parade in and out of a child’s life. I can see why you do not feel a sense of closeness to Courtney. This is the issue that I think you need to address.

You are an adult now, and you need to start acting like one. Rather than have your father act as a go-between for you and Courtney, I suggest you contact her yourself. Invite her out to coffee (people are less likely to make a scene in a public place) and tell her what your father has told you: that she is disappointed that she was not asked to be a member of your wedding party. If she truly is disappointed, this topic could be a springboard into why she feels disappointed. Considering your closeness in age it is possible that she is seeking a sisterly relationship with you. Is this something you could accept?

Once the ice is broken between the two of you, calmly and rationally explain to Courtney the awkward situation you are in: that you have no problem with her coming to the reception, but that your parents are still technically married; that the church is a sacred place (for several reasons); that your grandmother – who is paying for the wedding – is practically apoplectic over the idea of Courtney attending the ceremony and sitting by your father’s side.

You could then suggest the following, if Courtney does not offer a solution of her own that is to your liking: She could (A) Skip the ceremony and attend the reception or (B) Offer to attend the ceremony but sit separate from your father, in the seats reserved for the guests (as opposed to in the front pew with the parents and grandparents of the bride and groom). If Courtney has any class at all, she will put aside her hurt feelings and accept her role as a martyr to good taste. In my opinion, her acceptance of this role will raise her stock in the eyes of all involved.

If Courtney refuses to accept any of the options offered to her and cannot come up with a reasonable option of her own, you will have done all that you can and should inform your father that his presence at your wedding will be missed. I have yet to find a man who would miss his daughter’s wedding over such a petty issue – especially when you will have had jumped through hoops to resolve it.


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

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Special Father's Day Letter

Dear Readers: In honor of Father's Day I am reposting this letter from last year. Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!"


Dear Tazi:

I know that you usually publish blog reviews on Sundays, but this Sunday is Father’s Day, an oft overlooked holiday. I was hoping you would print my letter that day as a tribute to my wonderful Father-in-Law, who raised an equally wonderful son!


Dear Cheryl:

I was very touched by your letter and am printing it below, unedited and in its entirety! A Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful Dads and Dads-in-Law out there!


Dear Dad:

I know you aren’t my father by birth, but you are my father through law and through love. When I first met your son, I was amazed by his politeness and charm. He was quiet and kind, not full of bravado like so many young men who are trying to impress a woman. As I fell in love with him, I could not wait to meet the man who raised him, knowing in my heart that he would be every bit as wonderful. I still remember the plane ride across the country to go and meet you – your son reassuring me the entire time about how much I was going to love his father, the man who raised him alone after his beloved wife passed away at a young age. I still remember feeling a little like Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents as you came to the door to greet us. Your gruff exterior belied the heart of gold that beat within your chest, as you hugged me hello; you told me to call you “Dad”, and welcomed me into your family.

I know I was not your first choice for a daughter-in-law – I could see that you thought me a little too much of a West coast woman for your East coast son – but you gave us your blessing to marry just the same. It has been many years since that day, and I cannot even begin to thank you for all that you have done for us – from flying to California to stay by our side after we were in a horrible car accident, helping us pack for our move to the East coast (after finally convincing us its where we belonged), surprising us with a down-payment on the house of our dreams that would have otherwise been out of reach, and teaching us all we need to know about household repairs. Your patient understanding as a caregiver, a mentor, a father, and a friend is more than any woman could ever dream of finding, especially a woman like me, who lost her father to divorce at a very young age. You have played so many roles in my life and I hope to have you with us for many years to come, as you pass on the lessons you have taught us to your first grandchild…who is due to make his appearance in December! Happy Father’s Day, Dad! You are FINALLY going to be a Grandpa!

Lots of Love,

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

Saturday, June 14, 2014

It's Tough To Be Twelve And Overweight, But Things Will Get Better!

Dear Tazi:

 I am 12 years old and fat. Not just overweight or chubby or “carrying some extra baby fat” like my Mom says; I am FAT! I am 4’11” and weigh 150 pounds. I want to go on a diet but my Mom won’t let me. She expects me to eat all of my lunch every day, plus an after school snack and a “healthy sized” dinner. If I don’t eat, she gets mad at me.  I know you are on a diet. Can you tell me how to lose weight and keep my Mom happy?

Joey Fat One

 Dear Joey Fat One:

 The original Joey Fat One lost weight through exercise when he appeared on Dancing with the Stars and is now better known by his real name, Joe Fatone. As for me, I am not on a diet by choice; the hand that feeds me – aka Mommie – has put me on this cruel regiment until I lose my extra chub chubs. Oh, the humanity! I am down 1.6 pounds, though; 3.3 to go!

 At 4’11” you are what health care providers would call “morbidly obese”, a nasty sounding term that means your future long-term health is in danger due to your weight. On the flip side of this coin, I can see your mother’s reluctance to put you on a diet. At your age, your body is preparing to go through a major growth spurt as you hit puberty; your mother is probably afraid that if you lose weight now the natural weight loss you would go through will slim you down too much. Moms tend to wear blinders when it comes to their children; they see only perfection!

I love you, too, Mommie!

The first thing your Mom needs to do is make an appointment for a complete physical with your pediatrician to rule out any glandular problems. If you do not have health coverage, your doctor may be willing to work with your Mom regarding payment – especially if you are a long-term patient. No doctor wishes to see a patient go without care due to an inability to pay, and many are willing to work out a payment plan or sliding fee based upon ability to pay.

The next thing you need to do is start to exercise. Nothing takes off unwanted pounds quicker than physical movement. If you can, go for a walk or a bike ride after school, or just play outdoors with your friends. If you cannot do any of these activities, try doing old-fashioned calisthenics – your gym teacher can show you some moves, so don’t be afraid to ask him or her for help. Like doctors, gym teachers are all about physical health and education; they are there to help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

The third thing you can do is review your menu. What kinds of food are you eating? Is your Mom providing you with healthy meals, complete with fresh fruits and vegetables and low amounts of sugar? Are your snacks nutritious or are they junk food? What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. This is something you can discuss with your doctor or your gym teacher; either one will be able to guide you onto the right track.

Last of all, you can be patient and wait. Permanent weight loss is a process that takes time, and when you are twelve years old time can seem to take forever, but a year from now you will have grown several inches and most likely slimmed down quite a bit if you choose to follow the tips I have given you. 


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

Friday, June 13, 2014

Repost: A Friday the 13th Lesson From A Black Cat

Dear Readers:

Another Happy Friday the 13th from a black cat! I promise not to bring you bad luck for crossing your path; instead, I bring you the history of this "unlucky" day! This is a re-post from April, so if you missed it - or simply want to enjoy it again - read on!

According to National Geographic, the idea of Friday the 13th being unlucky is believed to be rooted in Norse myth. A dinner party of 12 gods and goddesses was crashed by Loki the god of mischief and chaos, which is exactly what ensued with the death of a favored goddess to follow. Thus the idea that 13 is an unlucky number, and the superstition that "13 at dinner" is an omen that one of the diners will not live out the year.

Furthering the idea that 13 at dinner is bad for your health is the Christian belief that Christ dined with his 12 apostles (setting the table for 13) right before being betrayed by Judas. Coupled with the belief that Christ was crucified the very next day - a Friday - the two events combined create the concept of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day, as is the early Christian belief that Cain killed his brother Abel on Friday the 13th. However, the idea of 13 being an unlucky number actually pre-dates Christianity. The ancient Babylonian code of law, The Code of Hammurabi, actually skips over Code #13, presumably because it is an "unlucky" number. (Some say the ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission would have fared better with a different name).

In the Middle Ages, fears of witches - and their familiarsthe black cat - were said to gather in groups of 12; should a 13th appear, it was assumed to be Satan himself.
The idea of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day did not receive wide-spread belief until the 20th century, thanks to the popular culture of the time. In 1907, a businessman and popular author of the time Thomas Lawson wrote a book called Friday the 13th, the plot of which detailed how an unethical businessman tried to crash the stock market. In 1916, the book was turned into a silent film, furthering the idea that Friday the 13th was an evil, unlucky day; and in a case of life achieving a poor imitation of art, many Wall Street traders of the time blamed the 1925 stock market crash on the fact that three Friday the 13th's occurred in that calendar year (see for yourself by clicking on the link). Nonsensical or not, the damage to Friday the 13th was done: according to Time magazine, Friday the 13th holds a record for being the least active day on the stock market and it is estimated that $700 - $800 million dollars are lost every Friday the 13th because people refuse to conduct business or travel on that day. And then, there came Jason Voorhees and his Friday the 13th horror-film's enough to give anyone triskaidekaphobia (that's a fancy word for a fear of the number 13)!

Courtesy of Time magazine, here are a few Friday the 13th superstitions for you to enjoy - or to beware of...

• If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.
(I'm a short-haired cat, I don't need to worry about this one!)

• A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
(My Mommie has three cousins born on Friday the 13th, and they all seem to be doing quite well...)

• If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.
(Note to self: Avoid mousing in any cemeteries today).


Tazi the Advice-Giving Black Cat

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Do You Call YOUR Significant Other?

Dear Tazi:

I have been dating a woman I will call “Martha” for eight years now.  We only recently moved in together because we both had children at home and neither of us wanted to upend their lives with a relocation (I own my own home, Martha does not) and the adjustment of blending our families.  This year my youngest graduated college and Martha’s youngest is set to graduate this spring so we decided the time had come to move our relationship to the next level by combining our households.

For the past several years I have referred to Martha as my “lady friend”, considering that the term “girlfriend” sounds more appropriate for teenagers than a couple in their mid-fifties.  Martha did not seem to have a problem with this term of endearment and introduction until after we moved in together.  Now she tells me that the term “lady friend” sounds “diminutive and patronizing”, as if she is someone I am merely seeing and not completely committed to. 

I was quite surprised to hear Martha’s sudden change of heart about being referred to my lady friend, and insulted that she would think I am not 100% committed to her or that I do not consider her an equal partner in our relationship.  I have noticed that you refer to the female feline you woo as your “lady friend”, and I was hoping you could give me your opinion on this term – and your reasoning for using it.  Is it because you like to keep things casual?  Or does the term “lady friend” have special and respectful meaning to you and your special friend?

Big Earl

Dear Big Earl:

I have not been wooing my current lady friend; on the contrary, she has been wooing me.  Do you have any ideas on how to discourage an overly aggressive female?  There is a new lady cat in my neighborhood, and she is the one I seek to woo, and I am a one-woman kind of cat!

To answer your question about my use of the term “lady friend”, I use it for several reasons.  I believe it to be a more respectful term than “girlfriend”, which implies that the woman is no more than a child, and it sends out a message of respect – this female is a lady, not a tramp.  I also believe that the term “lady friend” has an innocent charm to it that recalls a time when proper manners were publicly displayed by courting couples.

I do not understand your lady friend’s sudden objection to the term.  Perhaps she is seeking to be more than just your lady friend?  Is it possible that she is seeking a change of status to “wife”?  This could be her passive-aggressive way of telling you that she does not see living together as a tertiary step in your relationship. 

I do not suggest making a big deal out of this issue; moving in together will bring big enough issues as it is as you adjust to sharing what was once “your” space and making it “our” space.  Rather, the next time the issue of what to call Martha arises, ask her directly how she would prefer to be introduced; some popular choices include partner, life partner, sweetheart, friend, or the dreaded “old lady”.  Please reserve the term “special friend” for Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson.


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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It Is OK To Take Time To Grieve Before Sharing Inherited Blessings

Dear Tazi:

Many years ago, when I was just a teenager, I befriended an elderly lady who went to my church. I had originally offered to assist her with her housecleaning as a part of my Confirmation service to others requirement when I discovered that I enjoyed her company – she was like a surrogate grandmother to me, and I continued to assist her long after my service project was complete. Even after I was grown and moved away to college and then a career that took me out of state, “Miss Mildred” and I continued to stay in touch through phone calls and hand-written letters. Miss Mildred had never married, and had no children. She was the last of her surviving siblings, though she had many friends she considered family, including myself; whom she called “Daisy”, after her favorite flower.

I had always thought that Miss Mildred was of limited means, and that she made ends meet by living off of a small pension and her social security. What I mean to say is; I never had designs on her estate. Miss Mildred passed away this past winter at the age of 102, and upon the reading of her will I discovered that she was actually quite wealthy; the owner of several properties, including a grand beach house that had belonged to her late parents, which she willed to me. Upon exploring the beach house I found many small touches that told me how fond Miss Mildred was of me – some pressed flowers from a birthday bouquet I had once sent her; a picture of the two of us at my high school graduation; and many of the letters I had sent her over the years. It was quite obvious to me that this house was special to Miss Mildred, and I want to preserve her memory within it because she was so special and great an influence on me. I became a school teacher because she was one, too!

As a school teacher, I have summers off from working, which will allow me to return “home” and enjoy Miss Mildred’s beach house (I still have trouble thinking of it as my own). The problem is, several of my family members have the same idea and have already told me how much they look forward to staying with me while they vacation at the beach.

Tazi, I do not know how I will feel about this in time, but right now I am not ready to open the doors to people looking for a free place to “crash”. Not only am I still grieving the loss of my dear friend, but I am still in the process of cataloging the inventory of the house; which includes many valuable antiques and at least one large, hidden stash of cash that I found under a loose floorboard I was repairing. I do not want people coming in and treating the place like a hotel. My problem is, every time I look at the walls I see pictures of a younger Miss Mildred and her family enjoying each other’s company on the beach and at the house. I feel that by telling my family “no” to their plans to visit I would be betraying the spirit in which Miss Mildred bequeathed her house to me.

I know I have been blessed, Tazi; is it wrong of me not to share those blessings so soon after receiving them?

Miss Mildred’s Daisy

Dear Miss Mildred’s Daisy:

Your letter tugged at my heartstrings and brought a droop of sympathy to my whiskers. You have my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies on your loss. We cats know the intrinsic value of little old ladies who often adopt us for company and in return give us laps for napping! Your Miss Mildred sounds like she was a wonderful woman, and you were a dream to bring happiness and youthful companionship to her.

Your grief is understandable, and I am certain that it is accompanied by more than a small dose of shock at discovering that your friend was of greater means than you realized. To paraphrase the Beatitudes, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom-sized sandbox! [Ed. Note: To a cat, the beach is one big litter-box]. Your humility towards others has brought you great rewards, and it will be up to you to decide how – and when – you wish to share them with others.

The fact that your family has pretty much announced their plan to stay at your beach house before they have even been invited is in very poor taste. I believe that your Miss Mildred, with her old-fashioned handwritten letters, would excuse you for not having them as guests this summer – or any summer hence until they receive proper invitation, issued by you, into your home. If and when that day comes will be up to you; but right now I suggest that you take the summer to finish your unfinished business.

If and when you decide to start issuing invitations to stay with you, make sure that the terms and conditions of the invitation are clear: that your beach house is a private home, not a bed and breakfast, and that you are not housekeeping or room service. Remind your guests before they arrive that this is your vacation, too, and that you would enjoy their company all the more if you are allowed to enjoy your time off from work. Keep a stiff spine, and don’t back down to any pressure or rude comments that will undoubtedly be hurled towards you.


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