Friday, January 31, 2014

Wife Wants To Be A Snowbird But Husband Loves The Snow!

Dear Tazi:

I hate winter and want to move to Southern Florida where the weather is a lot more tolerable. I can deal with bugs, reptiles, and heat a lot better than I can deal with wind, freezing rain, and snowdrifts up to my [butt]. I live in New England where the real estate market is much pricier than in Florida and my husband and I could sell our house and get something equally nice or nicer for half the price. The only problem is that my husband refuses to move. He says he likes the cold and that he has no plans of moving.

"Sal" is a big fan of hockey, skiing, and other winter sports. He can't stand the heat and prefers the cold, saying you can always add a layer but once you are down to bare skin that's it - there's nothing left to take off. He says he is tired of hearing me whine every winter about how cold it is and that if I want to move down south I will have to do it without him. Tazi, how cruel can one man get?

We live on Cape Cod and for the last few winters we have been pummeled with snow. I have finally reached my limit and told Sal that if he wanted me to go [to Florida] without him I would! Sal took this to mean that I wanted a divorce. I told him I wanted to divorce the cold weather, but not him! He is still refusing to move to Florida with me. I don't want to leave my husband, but I can't stand living here any longer. We cannot afford to keep our house here on the Cape and get a second house down in Florida. Well, we could, but it would be tight financially and we'd have to give up a lot of the extra we have come to enjoy and would no longer be able to donate to our granddaughter's college savings plan.

What do you suggest we do? Sal refuses to go down to Florida for the winter months, saying he lives for hockey and skiing in Northern New England. I could go alone and stay with my sister, but then I would be leaving Sal all alone up here. What if he meets someone while I am gone?

Susie Sunshine

Dear Susie Sunshine:

Right now I think the population of about 40 of the 50 U.S. States and a good many of the Canadian provinces are thinking like you and wishing that they could move to the land of eternal sunshine! However, the majority of these people will not do that because they have lives and roots in their current place of residence. Don't you?

As much as you hate the cold, are you willing to trade all you have the remaining nine months of the year to escape it? You mention a granddaughter. Does she live close by? Would you be okay with leaving her (and your grown child) and only see them a few times a year? What about your friends and the rest of your social support system? There is a lot to think about when you consider a move like this.

Including the fact that New England winters are never this idyllic!

While I doubt your husband will meet someone new while you are away and he is cruising down the slopes of Magic Mountain and Sugar Loaf, I do not know his personal history. Has he been unfaithful in the past? Do you think dragging him to a new home where he is miserable will increase the odds of him remaining faithful to you?

Since you truly hate the cold weather, I am going to suggest a compromise. You mention you could stay with your sister if you move to Florida by yourself. Would you be willing to spend a few months with her to escape the worst of the cold weather up North?  You could leave to visit with her after Christmas, which would give you the holiday season with your husband, child(ren), and grandchild and spend the bulk of the cold season down in Florida, coming back at the start of March, when things start to warm up again. Would your sister be amenable to this idea? Your husband could even join you for a visit every two or three weeks, so you can reconnect with each other. I know many couples who, due to work commitments, live in the city and come home to the suburbs for long weekends. Perhaps you and Sal can make some sort of arrangement like this, allowing both of you to enjoy what you enjoy without the other having to suffer through it.


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, January 30, 2014

Wiccan Teen Wants To Know How To Deal With Friends' Curiousity

Dear Tazi:

I am being raised a Wiccan by two Wiccan parents who were both raised Christian before they converted. You would never know that Mom and Dad were raised Christian by the way they talk - constantly attributing things to "the goddess" or "Gaia". I have no problem with this, as it is my belief, too, but I get upset when they say stuff like this in front of my grandparents (either set) because it obviously upsets them. Although this is part of my problem, it is not one I can't handle. My bigger problem is with my friends.

When my friends come over they are fascinated by my Mom and Dad and how we live. We have offerings to the spirits in our garden and live a very environmentally friendly life. We have shines to goddesses like some people have shrines to Mary and Joseph. My friends think it is pretty cool, and are always asking me how to become Wiccan or what Wiccans believe. I tell them it is a religion, and we have our beliefs just like they have theirs, and I am usually happy to explain some of the stuff that must seem out of the ordinary to them. It's when my parents overhear their questions that things get creepy.

My parents both believe that they must work to convert others to our religion; that only in converting others can we save the Earth and spread peace. While I argue that you do not have to be  Wiccan to be an environmentalist, Mom argues that all environmentalists are Wiccan deep down, and it is our job to help them realize it.

A few of my friends' parents have found out about my parents efforts to convert them to what they think is a "satanic" religion and have refused to allow them to come over my house anymore. I have tried to explain that Wicca is not Satanism, that Wicca predates the Bible itself, but they say that Satan has always existed and that he predates the Bible, too. I guess I don't have to tell you how badly that argument ended for me and my friends.

I am not ashamed of my religion, but sometimes I wish that my Christian friends were not so fascinated by it. They don't seem to be fascinated by Judaism, so why do they think Wicca is so cool? Someone told me it was because Wicca is "cool", but that was kind of insulting. I mean, my religion isn't some emo trend; it's a part of who I am. So I guess what I want to know is how can I find balance between my inner and outer lives? My life at home and my life out in the world?

Faerie Lover

Dear Faerie Lover:

While the Wiccan religion has gained both popularity and acceptance over the last several decades, it is still something relatively new when compared to other world religions. Although it has been around for thousands of years, it has never been as mainstream as Christianity, Judaism, and even Islam. You even say yourself that your parents were not raised Wiccan, but converted, and among your friends you are the only one who is being raised Wiccan.

If I saw this, I'd be curious, too!

Do your parents belong to a coven?: If so, are there other children your age who you can lean on for support and understanding? You may want to cultivate friendships with these people, for both social interaction and as fellow members of your faith. Other religions have youth fellowships, so why not yours? It will help you to feel less alone among your friends, knowing that there are peers out there who practice the same religion as you.

The matter of your parents attempting to convert your friends is a sticky one. Because it is upsetting your friends parents, I think it would be in everyone's best interest if they kept their efforts at conversion to those who are over the age of 18! However, they should still feel free to answer polite and respectful questions about their religious beliefs. People ask because they are curious, not because they seek to judge. You may want to remember this as you try to balance both your inner and outer self! Also remember that anything seen as new or different will be judged by others as either cool or not cool; do your best to remain patient with these people and the novelty they see will quickly wear off, and they will once again see you as one of the crowd.


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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Woman Who Lives On The Other Side Of Income Inequality Seeks What Money Cannot Buy

Dear Tazi:

When I was a child I always dreamed of what I would be when I grew up, and I am sad to say that those dreams have not come true. I know what you must be thinking - almost nobody grows up to be fabulously wealthy with a rock star husband and perfect kids, but this is not what I wanted for myself. I grew up in that world - with the mother with the supermodel looks; the nanny who taught me how to be perfect; servants and a maid to care for my every need; and whatever I wanted handed to me as if I deserved it simply for being me. What I wanted was a normal life.

Every Christmas season my mother made my nanny take me to the thrift stores and the soup kitchens to see "how the other side lives" and I remember how sad I felt that these people had no nice clothes or cool toys and wanting to give them mine. Every year, once Christmas had passed, I insisted on donating my old toys and clothes to the people who needed them. As I got older, and no longer needed a nanny, I started donating some of my new stuff, too. It just didn't feel right to have so much when there was such need right in my own home town.

At the soup kitchen, I always noticed that the people who seemed to have so little had something I did not - a sense of community; these people didn't care if someone used the wrong fork at dinner (all they had was one fork, and they didn't seem to care if it was used or not!). They didn't care if someone's shoes did not match their clothing (they were happy to have shoes); and the world didn't have to come to a screeching halt if they were having a bad hair day. They were still seen in public. They would laugh and joke with each other at the dinner table, and more than once I would see someone squirt milk from their nose from laughing so hard, only to laugh about it themselves.

I chose to study social work in college because I wanted to help people, but also because I wanted to learn from these people who taught me so much when I was growing up. I always expected to marry and have children and have a mice, normal, middle-class life - not wanting for anything but the big ticket items that regular people work hard for but were always just handed to me. Do I sound like a poor little rich girl yet?

I guess you can't help who you fall in love with or who they become, but I met my husband in college while he was a poor scholarship student who had to work two jobs to pay for his living expenses. I liked that he was a hard worker and an honest man, he liked that money hadn't spoiled me. My parents insisted on throwing us a huge wedding...and I think that is where the trouble started. My father hired my husband to work in the family business, starting him at a respectable salary and putting him in touch with a lot of important business people.

Within five years, my husband was offered a better position with a prestigious company and my father bade him well, claiming that nepotism makes for lazy workers. My husband is anything but lazy. In fact, he has become a workaholic in the hope of eventually being a Fortune 500 CEO. So once again I have the mansion, the fancy cars, and the maid to assist with the cleaning. All I need are a second nanny and the butler to find myself right back in the situation I wanted to run from as a child.

I don't want to leave my husband...I just want a more normal life. The financial security is comforting; the financial excess is smothering. How do I give back without embarrassing my husband? He would be mortified if someone we know saw me volunteering at a soup kitchen or dropping stuff off at the thrift store!

Wishing For A Better World

Dear Wishing For A Better World:

Did it ever occur to you that if someone you know sees you at the soup kitchen or the thrift store it is because they are there, too? You say your husband fell in love with you because money did not spoil you, yet it seems that money has changed him. You sound like a gentle, loving soul who is completely unfulfilled by her current circumstances. While many would cry poor little rich girl, I am not going to judge you. In fact, I feel honest sympathy for you. Too many people are afraid to step out of their comfort zone to come to the aid of others or to befriend someone in different circumstances than they, regardless of their social class.

You speak of being jealous of the freedom others had to simply relax the rules in order to enjoy each other's company. What lessons are you passing on to your children? Are you teaching them that all meals are to be formal, or have they learned that sometimes dinner can be eaten in front of the TV on paper plates? Are you teaching them the value of sharing by helping them to box up unneeded toys and clothes to donate to those in need? Are you teaching them the importance of giving of themselves by volunteering? All are valuable lessons!

Many communities are in need of volunteers in schools, as well as to assist with municipal services like volunteer firefighters and police deputies. This is especially true in communities where the very wealthy are used to having other people provide such services for them. Unfortunately, such jobs do not pay well (if at all) and those who fulfill them cannot afford to live in the communities that they serve and protect. With your social work background, would you consider spear-heading a movement to increase the number of volunteers in your community? Would you be able to convince your neighbors that rubbing elbows with "the other side" will not bring them down, but make them a better person? Not only would this allow you to use your education, but it will help you to make your corner of the world a better place. Plus, you would be teaching your children by example.

If you or your neighbors cannot make a commitment to volunteer, there are other ways you can help. Why not have a neighborhood yard sale, with all of the proceeds going to a specified charity? Here in Rhode Island, Wheeler School holds an annual clothing sale to raise money for scholarships. People of all economic backgrounds flock to it to find bargain prices on designer goods.

Even Cher and pals could agree on to a yard sale!

Another way of bringing meaning to your life by giving back to others is to pay your employees a living wage. Nannies are some of the hardest working women on the planet - handling child care, meal prep, laundry, cleaning and other household duties - but being paid a salary that breaks down to minimum wage per hour or less! (And taking the Nanny with you on your vacation is no vacation for her!).

Whatever you decide to do, I think it would be important to have a sit-down with your husband to discuss your feelings, and your observations on how much he has changed since he was a poor college student who was impressed with a rich girl who had not let money spoil her.


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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Man Discovers Too Late That Secret Crush Is Returned

ear Tazi:

For longer than I have known, a woman I have known forever has had a thing for me. I wish I had known about her feelings sooner, because I have secretly been in love with her for several years. My problem is, I am stuck in a loveless marriage and cannot leave without further complicating the lives of all involved.

"Sandy" is a wonderful woman, who thinks my mother is a living saint. My mother adores Sandy, and always comments on how she is the type of woman I "SHOULD" have married instead of my wife. However, my mother does not believe in divorce under any circumstances. Her marriage to my father was a living Hell, but she "toughed it out 'til death parted" them and expects her children to do the same. When my brother divorced his cheating, alcoholic wife, Mother actually wrote him out of her will. My brother did not care, claiming his freedom was more valuable than any inheritance.

Tazi, my mother is quite wealthy and I am afraid I don't have my brother's strength to walk away from all of that money. Plus, even if I did divorce, I don't think I could be with Sandy publicly. My mother treats my brother's new wife like a Jezebel simply for marrying a divorced man. I would hate to see her turn on Sandy like that, and I would hate for Sandy to see how controlling and manipulative my mother really is - like I said, she thinks the woman a living saint. This is only half of what I mean when I say I would complicate lives by leaving.

My wife has threatened to draw out any divorce proceedings until after my mother passes, in order to get her "fair share" in a divorce settlement. My mother is elderly, but of good stock and could easily live another ten years or more. I cannot see myself living in a loveless marriage for another ten, I am afraid that Sandy will fully move forward with her life by that time.

I have never expected Sandy to put her life on hold for me - how could I? - but I know that she has turned down two marriage proposals (from two different guys) because she "didn't love the man with all her heart". I have it on a reliable source that she still has feelings for me, but has given up all hope of ever being with me. I know that Sandy is currently seeing somebody; but I did not realize how serious she was about him until a few weeks ago, when I saw her with him at her favorite little coffee shop. She always said that she would never take a love interest there because she liked the place too much and didn't want to risk losing it in a break-up. Do you think that by bringing him there she is telling the world that she has found "the one"? Seeing them together as I drove by the place sent me into a jealous rage, and I almost crashed my car!

I realize now how my brother could give up a fortune to be with the woman he loves, and if my situation were different I would turn my back on Mother's money to be with Sandy - but to do so would sever the bond between Sandy and my mother, and that is only if Sandy were willing to leave the man she is currently with to have me instead...not to mention the fact that a divorce could drag out for longer than Sandy would be willing to wait. Do you think I should lay my cards on the table and tell Sandy everything that is in my heart - and the behind-the-scenes drama - and let her decide for herself if she wants to be with me? Or should I just let her go on thinking that there could never be anything between us?

Adoring Sandy

Dear Adoring Sandy:

My what a tangled web you have woven around yourself! It sounds like the center of a Days of Our Lives story-line! Before I advise you one way or the other, I have a question to ask you: Have you ever revealed your true feelings to Sandy? Or are you only contemplating it now because another dog has the bone you want to chew? Also, how recent is your reliable information that Sandy still has feelings for you? She may have turned down two marriage proposals, but that does not mean for certain that you were the reason; nor does it mean she will leave the man she is currently seeing to dash off into your arms. To "lay your cards on the table....and let Sandy decide" is an awfully large ball to drop in her lap. I would make certain that your intentions are pure before considering such a move.

As it stands right now, it appears that Sandy is happy with the man she is currently seeing. Unless you see a ring on her finger, assume that she is not making plans to walk down the aisle and cool your jets to see just where your paths are leading. Currently, you are a married man; and by your own admission that fact is not going to change in the foreseeable future. If you truly love Sandy, you will not destroy her life all to satisfy your own jealousy.

I would advise you to talk to your mother. You say that she "always comments" on how Sandy is the type of woman you should have married. The next time she comments, use it as an opening to tell your mother that you agree with her - but that there is only one Sandy, and that you discovered her too late. If your mother knows how you feel about this woman - and her relationship with Sandy is as you say it is - she may be willing to relax her standards a bit in order for you to disentangle yourself from your current situation. If she is not, I beg you to leave Sandy out of the picture.

If, however, your mother is open to the idea of you pursuing a relationship with Sandy, I suggest you dig deeper into what you saw at the coffee shop. The man she was with could have been a work acquaintance or even a relative or platonic friend. For all you know, she may be single and open to your advances. If the man you saw is someone whom she is dating, find out how serious the relationship is an choose a direction based on what is in Sandy's best interests. Only in The Graduate was it romantic to see a man try to stop a wedding mid-ceremony. In real life, it is heartbreaking; leaving no winners in its wake.


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

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mom Is Tired Of Being Cinderella, Seeks Respect From Husband And Children

Dear Tazi:

My husband has the annoying habit of leaving dirty dishes all over the house. He also leaves his laundry on the floor (as opposed to throwing it in the laundry hamper three feet away), his shoes in the living room, and the toilet seat in the raised position. In short, he lives like a pig and expects me to clean up after him, like I have nothing else to do after I get home from work!

I would not mind this so much if our two sons were not starting to take after him, tripling the mess that I have to pick up and teaching the boys bad habits in the process. Whatever I say to them in reprimand is met with the response, "But Daddy does it!". I have asked my husband to try, and he says he will and things get better for a few days or even a few months...but then he will backslide and the mess returns.

I am worn out and I can't stand it! I never thought my life would amount to this! I never had to do housework growing up, and was always told that if I married well I would not have to start because I would be able to afford a maid. In college, I used to make fun of my feminist friends, calling them "shrews" but I look at them now and their husbands are equal partners in their marriages - something I wish I had. I swallowed my pride and asked one of my feminist friends for advice and she told me that it's not about feminism, it's about "respect" and that I need to demand some. I thought I was. How do I enforce the changes I want so see?

Cinderella In Reverse

Dear Cinderella In Reverse:

Your feminist friends are kinda sorta right - their success at home is not about feminism, it's about respect, which is what feminism at its core is all about - respecting a woman as you would a man. It seems that you are upset not about the dirty laundry on the floor and the toilet seat being left up, but by the disrespect behind these actions. Your husband and your sons refuse to make even the smallest effort on their part which in turn results in a large effort being made on your part, and it is not fair.

I suggest that you stop making the effort to make their lives perfect because it is resulting in your life being miserable. The next time your husband leaves his laundry on the floor, remind him that if it is not in the laundry hamper it will not be washed. Then, follow through by not washing that which is on the floor. As soon as he runs out of clean shirts he will learn that his poor behavior has consequences. (Since this will not work with the children I suggest you train them to do their own laundry. It is not a difficult chore; I know seven year olds that do it! Old enough to give lip means old enough to do chores!).

At my house shoes left out in the middle of the living room are fair game for me to barf in, so this does not happen very often.

No; just the ones left laying out!

If you don't have a cat who barfs in shoes you could make errant shoes disappear to a place only you know, never to be seen again without the promise that they will be put away next time; a second offense could result in a treasure hunt for the shoes. For children, I recommend a docking of allowance to drive the point home quickly.

As for the dirty dishes...I am not cool with the idea of leaving them there for the offender to put them in the sink/dishwasher because this could lead to a bug problem. I suggest you reverse roles with your husband and tel him that from now on it will be his job to do the dishes - all of the dishes, which will include picking up those that have been left around the house. Explain to your husband that you do not want to make his life miserable; you only want him to offer you the kind of respect that he himself would like to receive. Remember that nobody can take advantage of you unless you let them.


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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tazi's Corner #77 - Random Cr@p On The Radio

[Ed. Note: Tazi is napping in today and has asked his Mommie to write today's column. ]

The blanket is to keep cat hair off the comforter...which is why Tazi is ignoring it.

Dear Readers:

I am a very organized person. My ability to organize and cross-reference materials is reminiscent of the character Monica on the sitcom Friends. This is why this week my family was surprised to discover that I have a Spotify playlist titled "Random Cr@p".

I share my Spotify account with my boyfriend, and by share I mean he gets one folder, titled "His Folder", in which to put all his music. Also like Monica from Friends I have control issues when it comes to how I organize my stuff. I have "Workout Tunes" in the hope that I will actually start working out again now that I am through with school; "Country Songs", which is self-explanatory if you live in the Northeast where anything sung with a rockabilly twang is considered Country and Western. (I believe this also explains why New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi is now considered "country"). There are also a few other folders like "Sleepytime"and "'80's Music", which is by far the largest folder.

I am a classically trained musician and jazz trumpet player, so while I freely and frequently admit that I am stuck in the '80's, prefer music from the '70's, and that only a small fraction of my music is post-1995 there are some things that still embarrass me. One of those things is the fact that I listen to to Ke$ha; the other is that I listen to the songs on my Random Cr@p playlist more than anything else. (For the record, Ke$ha is on the the more benignly named playlist "Songs I Like", a title that discourages others from listening, figuring it is stuffed with '80's pop and other, far less random cr@p).

So what type of song exactly makes it onto a playlist titled "Random Cr@p"? Well, as I write this Richard Harris is bemoaning the fact that someone left the cake out in the rain - a song that Donna Summer re-recorded and took to #1 in 1978 (for 5 weeks!). Donna Summer, however, is not random. Donna Summer, with hair that rivals Troy Polamalu's, is awesome. But actor Richard Harris singing about a cake melting in the rain and "love's hot, fevered iron like a striped pair of pants"? Bring. It. On.

Are all songs on the Random Cr@p list one hit wonders? No. One hit wonders have their own playlist (aptly titled "One Hit Wonders") and do not necessarily make it to the level of Random Cr@p.What makes a song random is that it is a departure from an artist's usual style or medium. Eddie Murphy singing about how his girl wants to Party All the Time? Pretty random, but not nearly as random as Bruce "John McClane" Willis singing the traditional Motown/gospel tune "Respect Yourself"

Some songs are, for lack of a better description, random in and of themselves and therefore belong on the Random Cr@p list out of sheer merit. I dare you not to sing along when The Lion Sleeps Tonight starts to play! You could be on a city bus, sitting in a doctor's office, or be-bopping down the aisles of your local Walmart and as soon as you hear that first "wimoweh" you've got an earbug and the only way to get rid of it is to sing it! Yet how random would that be, bursting into song in the middle of Target's frozen good aisle?

Last of all (and most certainly least!) on the Random Cr@p list there are some songs that are simply so bad I have actually had to remove them from the Random Cr@p playlist because they were simply cr@ppy, in addition to being random; unlike other songs on the Random Cr@p playlist these songs were not more than the sum of their parts, and no good could be harvested from them. For example, back in the 1970's, after The Partridge Family hit the air, the Brady Bunch Kids heated things up when they were forced (by contract) to record an album of original and cover songs. I am pretty sure Ike and Tina Turner cried when they heard this cover of Proud Mary.

So there you have it - a little insight into what goes on in behind the scenes here at Ask Tazi! For those who are offended by the fact that I call my stuff cr@p, blame George Carlin, who famously asked, "Why is it your $#*% is stuff but other people's stuff is $#*%" Just keeping it humble and telling it like it is before my cat puts me in my place.


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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Joy of Sax Causes A Riff Between Generations

Dear Tazi:

I have a teenage daughter in tears, a mother-in-law in a snit, and a husband who refuses to run interference because he “just doesn’t understand women”. My daughter’s junior high band concert was last night. “Julia” has always been shy, and learning a musical instrument has done wonders for her self-esteem. She enjoys playing the saxophone as well as the positive attention she gets from her peers for being good at playing. She also enjoys playing in the band and being a part of something and has made many friends through her sax playing. Although she is only in the eight grade she is already hoping to join the high school jazz band. I am very proud of my daughter for all over her hard work in learning to play an instrument and in coming out of her shell.

I suppose I could have worded all of this better but before the concert last night, while we were waiting for the curtain to rise, I basically told my mother-in-law what I just told you. After the concert my mother-in-law gushed over Julia’s playing, commenting that she played “much better” than the rest of the saxophonists. Julia, remaining humble, told her grandmother that the entire section played well, but her grandmother continued to gush about how Julia was head and shoulders above the rest, much to Julia’s discomfort. Julia finally told her grandmother that she needed to “shut up”; that if she could be heard separate from the other saxophone players that meant she was either off-key or out-of-time with the other players and that she “obviously s*cked”. Julia then burst into tears and ran out to the car.

Rather than try to comfort Julia my mother-in-law acted the part of the injured party, saying she was only trying to be nice and offer Julia a compliment and that it was she who was owed an apology for Julia’s poor manners. She continued that her son was raised better than this, implying that Julia gets her bad manners from me. My husband just shook his head and said that teenaged girls are “moody, and who can understand them anyway”. Grrr!!!!

All the way home Julia refused to talk to her grandmother, who continued to comment on how teenagers today have no respect for their elders and that their language is filthy and unacceptable. Tazi, I was ready to use a few of those “filthy and unacceptable” words myself, but thankfully we reached her house just in time and dropped her off before I blew my stack on her. I then tried to reassure Julia that her grandmother meant well, and that she doesn’t know music well enough to know that she was actually offering an insult, not a compliment. Julia then got upset all over again because her grandmother was either insulting her or lying to her.

I was hoping things would blow over, but my mother-in-law called a few days later to see if Julia was “out of her snit yet and ready to apologize for her terrible behavior”. I let my husband handle the call because I was certainly not ready to do it. My daughter’s feeling were deeply hurt; her mood was improved when her band director reassured her that her performance was seamless and that she was perfectly on-time and on-tempo with the rest of her section. However, she remains upset that her grandmother would lie to her face in an attempt to boost her ego. She feels that she cannot trust her grandmother.

Julia has since offered a half-hearted apology to her grandmother for her “inappropriate language” but demanded an apology in return for the lies she was told. This set my mother-in-law off again, saying an apology does not contain the word “but”; that an elder never owes an apology to a child; and that until she receives a sincere apology from Julia she will be suspending all birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and other forms of affection. Tazi, this goes too far. I understand that a thirteen year old girl can be difficult – I live with Julia! – but she has a point; my mother-in-law lied to her, hurt her feelings, and is now acting like it was no big deal. How do I untangle this mess?

Feeling Like The Monkey In The Middle

Dear Feeling Like The Monkey In The Middle

Can I paw slap your husband…pleeeeeeaaasssseeeee? Just a gentle a one for his hands-off approach to raising your daughter? I so want to slap some sense into him so he will realize that he will never understand his daughter if he does not make an attempt to understand her!

Unless a musician is performing a solo piece it is rude and insulting to praise their playing as better than the rest of their section for the very reason your daughter points out – when you play as part of a section, individual players cannot be singled out unless they are off-tempo (playing too fast or too slow) or out of key. Both of these instances are extremely embarrassing and players who make these mistakes are usually aware of them and hoping that their audience is not. Your daughter did her best to hold it together emotionally, but at thirteen she cannot be expected to handle things as a grown adult would. While she owes her grandmother a sincere apology for her profane language and for losing her temper with an elder, she is also owed an explanation from her grandmother.

The teenage years are fraught with uncertainty, and discovering that someone you feel you should be able to trust is lying to you can be devastating. Your mother-in-law needs to be straight with Julia and apologize for her lie, explaining that she was trying to offer a compliment; that she was afraid that you would be insulted if you said you could not pick her sax playing out from the rest of the section, so she lied. Nobody is ever too old to offer someone an apology when an apology is sincerely owed.

I think a lovely way to bridge the cavern that has been created between Julia and her grandmother would be for Julia to play a few musical pieces for her grandmother, so she may hear exactly how well Julia does play. A lot of rock ‘n’ roll classics from your mother-in-law’s era have some great riffs that would sound great on saxophone! She would find them recognizable and Julia might find them fun to play. (I am partial to Joy to the World by Three Dog Night).



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

Friday, January 24, 2014

Girlfriend Is "Too Hands On" For Her Partner

Dear Tazi:

I have been with my "lady friend" for several years now, and I enjoy her company. Although I can never marry her (I am legally separated but not divorced) I have no plans on leaving her for another woman - least of all my legal wife, whom I remain married to for financial reasons - and "Leona" says that she understands this and is content with our arrangement so long as I remain faithful to her.

My problem is that Leona does not seem to trust me around other women. If another woman so much as looks at me - for whatever reason - Leona will put her arm around me, nuzzle my neck, whisper in my hear, or grab my behind; basically claiming her territory. This behavior is embarrassing enough at parties and other social gatherings, but it is downright aggravating when it happens in line at the grocery store (Leona swears the cashier has a crush on me). The worst is when Leona starts pawing me in church.

There is a woman who goes to the same mass as me and I have a long but platonic history with her. She went to high school with my youngest sister and was even in her wedding party, which is how my family and I got to know her outside of church. My mother has always adored "Katrina" and her fondness shows. Mom made the mistake of giving Katrina a hug one morning after mass and asking about her relationship status within sight of Leona. This convinced Leona that my mother wants to push her out of my life in order to set her up with Katrina. Since that day (three years ago) Leona has made a point of draping herself all over me whenever she sees Katrina at mass.

Because Katrina sits in the choir, she sits off to the side of the main church and has a full view of the congregation. I know she sees Leona acting far too hands on for church (especially during the sign of peace) because she will rapidly look away, like she is embarrassed at witnessing a private moment, as soon as she sees Leona lick my ear or nibble my fingers. Leona is convinced that Katrina is starting at me (why else would she suddenly look away?) and uses this logic to further her physical attentions to me. I don't think Katrina is looking at us on purpose; I think it is just that we sit in her field of vision.

In order to accommodate Leona's insecurity I suggested we move to a different seat, which worked for a short while - until the ceiling over the choir's nook collapsed and they had to move to the other side of the church. Now Leona and I are once again in the direct view of Katrina and Leona's machinations are getting worse - so much so that the Pastor drew us aside after mass and asked us to conduct ourselves with "decorum appropriate to the venue". I was humiliated! Even worse, so was my mother.

Leona is now refusing to attend mass with me, saying she feels unwelcome. This is fine with me, since I am not at all comfortable with her behavior, but she wants me to stop attending mass, too, or at least switch parishes or masses. Tazi, I know this sounds like a small request, but isn't to me. I have been attending the same mass at the same church for more than 20 years and I enjoy the familiarity. I have gotten to know the people who attend this mass, which makes the celebration of mass more fulfilling to me. Plus the thought of not being able to see my friend Katrina does sadden me. Just because there is nothing romantic going on between us does not mean that I do not appreciate and enjoy her friendship. I know it sounds like I am trying to have it all - and maybe I am - but is it all too much to ask?

Wanting It All

P.S. I forgot to mention that Leona is several years younger than Katrina, who is ten years younger than me. Something tells me this may have something to do with my problem.

Dear Wanting It All:

If Leona is several years younger than Katrina, who is ten years younger than you, I am going to do the math and figure that there is a 15 - 20 year age difference between you and Leona, which could explain why she is acting so immature - it is because she is immature.

Leona's draping herself all over you at parties can be excused if alcohol is involved and can be understood if a cashier is flirting at you. But mauling you in church because she thinks a woman in the choir is gazing upon you from across the room? As Elvis Presley sang, "We can't go on together with suspicious minds"; this is a point you need to drive home to Leona.

Sparkly white jumpsuit not required!

Why your mother's affection for Katrina should set Leona off in a jealous rage is beyond me...unless there is something else you have failed to mention? Is it possible that Katrina does have a crush on you, and/or you on her? While this does not excuse Leona's behavior in church (nothing does) it may explain it. You need to be honest with yourself in order to be honest with your lady friend.

You briefly mention that you will never be able to marry Leona because you remain legally married for "financial reasons". How does this make Leona feel, that you are choosing to remain in a loveless marriage for the sake of money? Is she truly okay with remaining your girlfriend for the rest of her life or does she hope to someday marry you - with or without the money you would lose if you divorced your wife? What about children - does Leona want any? If so, this relationship is far more complicated than you realize. In your desire to have it all, you may be taking from others.

The time has come for you to have a serious talk with Leona about her insecurity - in general, and especially about Katrina, since her presence in church is driving you out of it. Ask Leona what solid evidence she has that Katrina is interested in you. Tell Leona that you love her, not Katrina, and that her immature behavior is upsetting you; that such physical expressions of affection are best expressed during private moments, not as witness to the entire church and community. Most importantly, ask Leona if she is happy with your current arrangement. It could be that in the "several years" since you started dating her wants and needs have changed, and her overbearing jealousy is her way of expressing this.

If you wish to continue going to the same church and the same mass as you have always attended, then do it. Leona has no right to dictate your religious observances. The same goes for your choice of friendships. If you wish to remain in contact with Katrina, Leona will have to learn to live with this if she cannot learn to like her. Nobody has the right to dictate whom their partners can have as friends.


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, January 23, 2014

Choosing A College Is A Multifaceted Process; Weather Is Only One Consideration!

Dear Tazi:

I live in the Northeast and like you I hate winter! I am a junior in high school this year and am looking at colleges. I would like to go away from home, somewhere down south where it is warm, but my mother has told me that since I will be coming home for the semester break anyway I will not be missing much of the winter. She has suggested that I save money by attending a state college and taking a trip to Florida on my spring break.

Tazi, one week away from "the white stuff" (as you call it) is not going to help. In fact, it will only make things worse because it will remind me of what I am missing! Besides, spring break isn't until March - I mean, duh it's spring break, right? Since my parents are generously paying for my education, I understand and accept that they have the final say where I go to school, so I am hoping you can give me a really good argument to present as to why they should send me to school in Florida - other than the weather.

Sun Lover

Dear Sun Lover:

I do hate the white stuff! It's cold and wet and slippery and makes my little paws shiver! I completely understand your desire to get away from it as soon as possible, but your parents do have a point - if you are choosing a college based upon the weather you may end up making a poor choice for your educational needs.

There are at least three roads (that I can think of) that you can go by in choosing a college in a warmer climate, and I will present all three to you:

The first is to offer to bargain with your parents by offering to take two years at a community college, completing your general education credits (which are frequently the same at a lot of colleges and colleges have articulation agreements because of this, thus guaranteeing that your credits will transfer). This will save your parents several thousand dollars which could then be put towards the cost of your final two years - tuition, travel expenses, and living costs. If you go away to school, you will need to pay for an apartment or the cost of a residence hall, which can double the cost of a college education.

The second argument you could make is that you want to move to a warmer climate after you graduate, and by going to school in the market you seek to live in after graduating you will be able to make many important connections, both personal and professional. You will be able to complete internships at local companies which will help you find a job in that local market.

The third is to attend an in-state college for your first three years and then spend your senior year as a domestic exchange student. This program allows you to attend any participating state college in the country for the cost of your in-state tuition (plus any associated fees). This would give you a head-start on establishing yourself in the market you seek to live and work while giving you time to grow and mature as a young adult. As your parents are aware, there is a big difference between an 18-year old freshman and a 21-year old senior.

And this is only one of those differences!
I suggest you discuss these ideas - as well as any of your own - with your parents as you continue your college search, making sure that the schools you choose have a quality academic program that will meet your career needs. By handling this matter in a mature manner you will be showing your parents that you are ready to move forward with your life for reasons other than a desire to simply move on from the snows of winter.


P.S. Thank you for the snuggles!!!

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sometimes The Best Grades Do Not Mean The Best Job Fit

Dear Tazi:

I am a recent college graduate who is looking for work. My whole life my parents pushed me to get good grades, to try my best and then to try harder to do even better than what I thought was my best. I graduated at the top of my high school class and finished college almost a year early with an enviable 3.88 GPA. I have been looking for work since last spring hoping to have a job waiting for me when I finished my coursework over the summer, but here it is almost a year later and I still have not found a job.

I have gone on a few job interviews, but have not been offered anything. Here I was thinking if I worked hard and graduated at the top of my class the offers would be rolling in! Meanwhile, my friends who have lower overall grades and who spent their free time pledging sororities and playing intramural sports have all had job offers – a few have even moved onto a second job in their field after only six months, and one friend is working towards her graduate degree courtesy of her company’s tuition assistance benefit!

Tazi, I feel stupid writing to an advice columnist about my problem but I was crying in my cat’s fur and figured why not? I am starting to regret working so hard and missing out on life if this is where it has gotten me. I can’t talk to my parents about this – all they tell me is to try harder and to “network” among my friends. My cat just head butts me, which is as encouraging as any pep talk but not helpful in figuring out what to do next. I have considered graduate school, but I would rather not take out the loans for it and besides, I am afraid of being seen as over-educated and under-experienced.

Missing Out

Dear Missing Out:

It seems the one thing schools cannot teach is the one thing you need the most – “soft” skills. Soft skills involve the ability to connect with a person and make them feel comfortable dealing with you – a smile of encouragement, an easy laugh that makes people feel happy to be around you, good manners, and even networking skills. While companies are concerned with how well you will do a job they are also concerned with how well you will fit in with their corporate team. Some businesses are very no nonsense while others are very relaxed.  You need to figure out what sort of company will be the best fit for you and target your search on these companies and organizations.

While it is great that you worked so hard to achieve such great grades, it appears you missed out on other parts of the college experience – social networking. By joining a sorority or playing intramural sports your friends made contacts with people who entered the working world before they did, so when they graduated they had established corporate ties even before they started working.

Although you have graduated it is not too late to make some important business contacts through social networks! Contact your school’s alumni association and see if there are opportunities for recent graduates to network with more established alumni. If there are networking events, attend them with the purpose of getting to know people – leave the business talk off the table until they ask you about it. Since this is an election year, you may want to choose a candidate whom you believe in and offer to volunteer to work on their campaign or at their campaign events. Numerous business leaders attend such events, and it will be a wonderful way to make a name for yourself among them. If politics is not your thing, charity work never goes out of season – from soup kitchens to homeless shelters, you would be amazed at the number of business executives who donate their time to these causes; donating yours will be a way to assist others while assisting yourself. Whatever you choose to do, be sincere in your efforts; if you truly do not care about the plight of the homeless, do not volunteer to assist in a shelter.

In the meantime continue your job search, but be sure to target it to jobs you honestly want with companies you can see yourself building a future. Just as you should not date someone just to have a date for Saturday night you should not accept a job that you plan on leaving as soon as something more interesting comes along. Employment managers would rather hire someone with lower grades/fewer credentials who is committed to staying than someone better who will be out the door in a month or two. The best fit for a job is not always the one who is most qualified on paper. Dig deeper and don't give up hope!


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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Should She Be "Forced" To Stay At Home With Special Needs Child?

Dear Tazi:

I have always been a go-getter and a career woman. I did not marry until I was well into my thirties, owned my own home, was debt-free except for my mortgage, and had a healthy savings account. My parents divorced when I was young and it sent my mother into a spiral of poverty that took her years to recover from financially, although I don't think she ever did emotionally. Because if this, I have always said that IF I married (not it is a big "if"!) I would remain financially independent of my husband, and I have. I pay the mortgage and the house remains in my name only. We have a joint checking account for bills as well as separate accounts for personal use. My pre-marriage savings account is mine alone, although we do have a joint savings account to which we both contribute. I know this sounds weird to a lot of people, but it works well for us and we never argue about money - unlike most couples we know - and I have the peace of mind of knowing that if something should happen to us as a couple I will not end up on assistance. (All this would not have been necessary if he had agreed to sign a pre-nup!)

All has worked well in our marriage until last month, when I found out that the baby I am carrying has Trisomy 21 (Down's Syndrome). Because I am older for a first time mother (I am now 41) my doctor wanted to check for it, and sure enough it appears that my child will have Down's Syndrome and all of the challenges that go along with it. While it is a huge shock and not what I expected, I am handling things in stride; my husband is not.

As soon as I was able I started looking into programs and early intervention to help give my baby the best life possible! I have joined a support group and am learning how to be a good mother to a special needs child, and I have even met the children of some of my group members - all are very sweet and well behaved, some are even participants in the Special Olympics! Taking charge of my situation by preparing for what comes next has helped me to focus my life, and I feel that continuing to work full-time will help me not only to provide for my child financially, but will make me a better mom by not forcing me to give up a career I love to stay at home with a baby.

My husband thinks it is "ridiculous" that I would even consider continuing to work full-time and is insisting that I quite my job and make "Junior" my life from this point forward. I have only just entered my third trimester, and my doctor says it is okay for me to continue working while pregnant. My husband wants me to give my two weeks notice now. We have had some heated discussions over this, and neither of us will budge. My husband has accused me of not wanting to give up financial control (to which I responded, "now who is being ridiculous!"). He has offered to take over the mortgage if I put his name on the house (I refused); he has tried to guilt me saying, "a baby needs his Mama, and a special needs baby needs her even more" (like I hadn't already realized this). He has even gone so far to suggest that I don't love our baby and that is why I am planning on "abandoning him" to care-takers while I work.

Tazi, I do not see leaving my child in the care of professionals trained to work with special needs children as abandoning him! It is not like I will be institutionalizing him! Plenty of parents send their children to day-care; this is simply a day-care that specializes in working with children who have Down's Syndrome! I have suggested that my husband quit his job and be a stay-at-home father, which just raised more issue - the fact that I make more money than he does, his idea that men are not as as capable with children as women, and again his idea that I somehow feel the need to financially dominate in the face of my fears of divorce.

I love my husband, and I do not want to divorce him - ever - but he can make decisions, too. Now that I have a baby on the way, I feel that is all the more reason to look out for my pre-marital financial interests. How can I make my husband see that I am not being selfish? That everything I have planned is for my baby's future?

Expecting A Special Boy

Dear Expecting A Special Boy:

I can understand your desire to remain financially independent from your husband, given your personal history; your mother's divorce left some deep scars when it imparted some deep wisdom upon you. Since it is too late for you and your husband to sign a pre-nuptial agreement you will have to work within the confines of your state laws. Some states have community property laws (most famously California, less well-known is Massachusetts); this means that all property becomes marital property, regardless of whether or not it was owned before or after you married, and will be split accordingly should the marriage be legally dissolved.

Since your husband is putting such pressure on you to retire to motherhood and depend on him for financial security - as well as grant him partial ownership of your domicile - you should talk to an attorney about your legal rights in this situation. If you live in a non-community property state your rights will be different than if you live in a community property state. You may discover that you can grant him a percentage of your house, as opposed to half ownership, which may ease his mind about which you love more - him or your property.

From what you describe, your husband is using your child to increase his own sense of worth in your relationship. This is an issue best handled in a marriage counselor's office. It could be that your husband solely concerned about your child and that he really is a complete doofus around babies, and if that is the case a counselor - and some parenting classes - will better help him adjust to the reality that he will not be as inept a parent as he thinks. If he is not attending the group therapy sessions that you are attending, he needs to start. The two of you are partners in a marriage and will be partners in parenting so it's time to start acting like partners and working together!

Even if you can do it all yourself!

After your child is born you will be medically required to take some time off of work. Can your husband take paternity leave during this time so the two of you can bond with your son together? This would really be the best for all involved, as each of you will be able to see how the other is managing emotionally and as a new parent. You will be able to learn from each other and make decisions as a couple. You may discover that you want to take a few years off from the office or work from home; your husband may see how your work fulfills you in a way that makes you a better mom while at the same time discovering that being a stay-at-home father is exactly whast he has always wanted to do with his life. You may even decide that your original plan is what works best for everyone,  including your son. Like they say, a baby changes everything. Be prepared!


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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bragging About Your Ex Is No Way To Impress The Ladies

Dear Tazi:

I have a guy friend who has very little luck with women. I could not understand why "Larry" had no luck until recently, when I set him up with a friend. She told me that all night long all he did was talk about his ex-girlfriends and how much their families loved him and how sad they were to see the two of them break up. He kept talking about how "hot" his ex-girlfriends were, and how he would "make love to them all night long". Quite honestly, I was a little embarrassed to even know the guy, let alone be the one who set them up on a date!

When Larry called my friend for a second date she politely refused, which resulted in Larry calling me to see if I knew anything. I tried to dodge the question by asking him how the first date went, and he told me everything went fine which is why he is surprised my friend turned him down for a second date. I asked Larry what they talked about on their date, and he told me he did spend a lot of time "selling" himself on her, and suggested that maybe he talked a little too much about himself in his attempt to impress her. He then asked me to ask my friend to give him another chance.

I explained to my friend that Larry was just nervous and he was trying to sell himself on her and to please give him a second chance because he really is a nice guy. My friend relented, and things went okay for the first part of the date - dinner and an early movie - but went downhill from there. My friend lives with her parents (she is a little younger than me and in college) and Larry insisted on inviting himself in to meet them. He then spent the next hour ingratiating himself on them, much to my friend's embarrassment. When he finally left, my friend saw him to the door where he wrapped his arms around her, passionately kissed her and promised "more where that came from" when they were alone. My friend is polite to a fault and simply said good night without mentioning that she was offended. I only know that she was because she called me to complain and according to Larry she has been ignoring his calls.

I hate being in the middle like this and want out! My friend has asked me to tell Larry that she is too busy with school to date after all, but I feel that lying to Larry is wrong, that he will never learn from his mistakes unless someone tells him - and I don't want that someone to be me.

Stuck In The Middle With You

Dear Stuck In The Middle With You:

My question is, why did you set up two friends with no idea how Larry acts on a date? Surely you have known Larry long enough to know how he acts around women? If not, why would you set him up with a friend? Let this be a lesson in matchmaking - don't do it unless you know both parties well enough to know that no offense will occur.

You do not mention if either Larry or your female friend have asked you to set them up with anyone else, so I am going to suggest that you take this experience as a lesson learned and not try it again unless you know how each person acts on a date. As for what you are currently dealing with - Larry's feelings - as difficult as it may be you owe it to Larry to let him know what is going on with him and your friend (and quite possibly his other dates, as well).

I suggest that you tell Larry that you have something to report to him from your friend, and that it isn't easy for you to say. Use specifics, like how Larry bragged about "making love all night long" to his ex-girlfriends and explain to him that anything to do with an ex-girlfriend is off limits with someone new (at least until she asks about them). Explain to Larry that meeting a woman's parents is a big step in a relationship, and something that should be done after she invites you to meet them, not after you decide to invite yourself into her home. (The exception to this is if the woman is under 18; then it is just good parenting to know who your child is with!).

He should also shave the forehead mustache.
Larry may not take what you have to say very well, so be sure to let him know that you are only telling him so he can work on his presentation. Offer him a few suggestions of what does work, as opposed to simple criticism of what doesn't work. Offer to double-date with him the next time he goes out with someone in order to help steer the evening in the right direction should Larry start to take things in the wrong one. By following your cues, Larry will learn what how to impress a lady.


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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Excessive Sweating May Have A Medical Cause, Treatment

Dear Tazi:

I have an unusual problem that I don't know how to solve. I sweat a lot. I mean a LOT. I am not overweight, so it is not like I have extra body fat producing heat that makes me excessively warm. I am not a woman, so it's not like I am having hot flashes in the middle of winter. I am just always uncomfortably warm and so I sweat a lot, especially from my forehead, back, armpits, and feet. The result is that I often smell like sweat - fresh sweat and drying sweat. I don't dare go a single day without showing at least twice, and I use the strongest deodorant and antiperspirants I can find but I still sweat and smell funky.

I have not gone on a  date in a very long time because when I get nervous I sweat even more. The last date I went on, I could tell that the woman smelled me because she kept making a funny face all through dinner, and then excused herself to go to the ladies room halfway through the movie. She never came back. I was never so humiliated in all my life!

Tazi, I have reached the point where my problem is causing me some serious personal issues. I never want to leave the house because it means going out into the un-air conditioned weather; I rarely socialize and I don't date. I even think my problem may be holding me back at work. People who started after me and who have less seniority/experience are getting promoted before me. Any solutions?

Sweaty McStink

Dear Sweaty McStink:

It sounds like you have hyperhidrosis, a very treatable medical condition in which the sweat glands are overactive and excrete far too much, far too often. You should make an appointment with a dermatologist or ask your primary care physician to refer you to one. A doctor will be able to prescribe testing and - if you do have hyperhidrosis - prescription-strength antiperspirant that has been clinically proven to alleviate the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Do not delay; the quality of your life depends upon it.

I would like to add that your date who left you in the middle of the movie was a first class heel and has absolutely no class at all! Please do not judge all women by this one experience.


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

Friday, January 17, 2014

Is 10-Years Old Too Young To Wear Contact Lenses? (Only If Mom Says So!)





Dear Too Pretty For Glasses:

I am glad you told me the reason you were writing in ALL CAPS; otherwise, I would have thought you were having a screaming tantrum, and that would be a sign of someone who is not yet grown up enough to wear contact lenses!

A few weeks ago I printed an essay on something called "truthiness" - which is something that we believe to be true because we want it to be true, even if it doesn't quite sound true. The story your friend told you about babies eyes being fully grown at birth (and that is why babies eyes are so big) is not true. All of the other parts of our body grow bigger as we grow up, so why wouldn't our eyes grow, too? It is important to think about what people say, and not just believe them because it sounds cool.

It is the fact that your eyes are still growing and changing that has left you in need of what doctors call "corrective lenses" and what the rest of us call glasses or contact lenses. This doesn't mean that you are too young to wear contact lenses - children can wear contact lenses - but most are not ready to take on the responsibility of wearing them, which involves taking them out every night and cleaning them. Wearing contact lenses is a lot like owning a puppy. At first it is a lot of fun, but then you have to walk the puppy, train the puppy, clean up after the puppy, feed the the puppy grows up the charm wears off. The same can be said for wearing contact lenses, only the charm wears off a lot faster! If your Mom thinks you are not ready for contact lenses, I am going to have to side with her; Mom's word is like the law - you can't fight it!

I want you to know that glasses do not make a person ugly or geeky looking. Glasses can make a person look smart, and the right style and color frames can be very fashionable and pretty! Nobody is ever too pretty to wear glasses, and squinting because you are not wearing them makes you look ugly and will give you wrinkles while you are still young! Did you know that Justin Bieber wears glasses?

Add caption

So does America's Sweetheart Jennifer Aniston!

That's right...I called her America's Sweetheart!

Even rapper TI and the always amazing songstress Katy Perry wear glasses!

See? You can wear glasses and still look fresh! I think once you are able to see better through your new glasses you will see how pretty you can look in glasses, too!


P.S. I think this cat looks fabulous in this set of "olive peepers!"

I'm sexy and I know it! Yeah look at them glasses!

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, January 16, 2014

"Cunning" In-Laws Convince Son To Be Bad Husband

Dear Tazi,

I have a problem with my in-laws. My marriage is breaking apart because of their constant interference by talking out against me to my husband . My husband is a devout son, and does not want to see their intentions of keeping us apart so that they can have him to themselves all the time. He is blind to their actions. Their interference has increased to the extent that my husband has withdrawn all the money from the bank account that we jointly hold saying that I am going to spend all the money away. 

My in-laws are very cunning and would always gate crash our holidays, anniversary celebrations etc. I have tried confronting my husband as well as my in-laws. The only response I get is shouting and cursing. Please give me some help and advice.

Odd One Out

Dear Odd One Out:

No loving child (youth or adult) wants to see their parents as bad people, so I can understand why your husband is blind to their goal of cutting you out of the picture. Perhaps he sees the time he spends with them as quality time between mother and son/father and son, and expects you to spend this same time with your parents. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here because you say yourself that his parents are "very cunning"; it would seem that the combination of their cleverness and their honest concern for their son has cast a spell over him and he has forgotten that his first responsibility is to his marriage.

That's correct; I said your husband's first responsibility is to his marriage, as is yours. A marriage is not about the husband putting the wife first and the wife putting the husband first, but about putting the union first and doing what needs to be done to keep that union between the two spouses strong. By putting his parents first your husband has inadvertently put a large wedge into your marital bond.  Would you be able to talk to him about things from this angle? If you do not feel comfortable trying, a marriage counselor or clergy person can assist you - either alone, by helping you rehearse a conversation, or by working with the two of you as a couple. You do not say if there are children involved, but if there are this is one more important reason to try all the harder.

The fact that your in-laws "gate crash" events has me puzzled. Are they inviting themselves along to your intimate dinner-for-two or are they showing up at a large party where everyone but them was invited? If it is the former, your husband needs to draw some boundaries and enforce them if he wants his marriage to work; if it is the latter, you will have to loosen up and grin and bear it. As odious as you find your in-laws, they are family and should not be excluded when other members of your husband's family are celebrating with you (an exception to this would be a young couples gathering). 

Finally, I am astounded at your husband's callousness in reasoning away his unreasonable and disrespectful move of removing all of your money from a jointly held account. A joint account cannot be closed by one party, so it appears he did the next best thing by removing all of the money from it. Regardless of where your marriage is headed - reconciliation or divorce - I strongly advise you to meet with your banking representative and ask for:

1) A copy of the statement showing the withdrawal, which will include the existing balance before the withdrawal.

2) A copy of the check or withdrawal slip used to make the withdrawal. This will have your husband's signature on it proving it was he who withdrew the funds. (If he used an ATM card, a record that it was his card will exist, as well).

Keep these in a safe place, or give it to your attorney if you have one to represent you or even a friend who is an attorney and is willing to keep such confidential matters for you. This joint account is a marital asset, and you are entitled to half of it. If one of you decides to legally dissolve your marriage these documents will be your proof that the funds existed - even if your husband has somehow managed to hide it - and were withdrawn in a lump sum. If you cannot get the cash, you will be entitled to the cash equivalent or even a payout over time. 

Advising couples on how to prepare to leave is something I hate to do, but I must be realistic and accept that it happens. If you and your husband decide that your marriage is worth saving, you should enlist the help of a counselor who will help you negotiate what will be some rough waters - and keep things from devolving into screams and curses hurled at each other in anger. I wish you all the best.


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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Marital Rape Is Still Rape

[Ed. Advisory: As you can tell from the headline, today's column deals with a very controversial subject that may not be appropriate for all readers.]

Dear Tazi:

My husband raped me. I told him I wanted a divorce and he forced himself of on me. My precious cat "Sam" tried to stop him, but Sam is declawed and could not do much to hurt my husband. I feel so empty and I don't know who to turn to or what to do now. Please help me. My husband says he was taking what was rightfully his as my husband.

Wishing Sam Wasn't Declawed

Dear Wishing Sam Wasn't Declawed:

I am not declawed. This is for your husband:

Your husband had no right to violate you like he did. Marital vows speak of loving, honoring, and cherishing your spouse, not of forcing them to supply sex on demand. Furthermore, rape is not a crime of passion but of anger and power; its purpose is to demean and humiliate the victim. If your husband were to lose his temper and severely beat you he would be held criminally responsible; just because he chose to use sex as his weapon does not mean what he did to you was any less of a crime, regardless of whether you decide to pursue legal action.

Since your letter just arrived yesterday (I pushed it to post today because it is an emergency situation) I am going to assume that there is still evidence of an assault - bruising and tearing, if not bodily fluids. If you are too embarrassed to go to the emergency room and get examined you should go to your personal physician; if you are too embarrassed to go to your personal physician, you should go to the emergency room. Either way, you should get medical attention. A medical report showing an assault occurred will be of assistance to you in your divorce proceedings, and will help you to receive a police escort if you choose to leave your home, or police assistance in making sure your husband moves out and does not come around uninvited.

If you decide to leave your home, look for a hotel or motel that accepts pets - take Sam with you! - and allows you to pay in cash. If you pay with a credit card, make sure it is one in your name only, so your husband cannot trace you through your credit card activity. If you have not done so already, contact an attorney who can handle the issues you are not ready to deal with yourself (specifically the issue of joint financial accounts).

I strongly urge you to call your local rape crisis center. The National Sexual Assault Hotline number is 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). They will be able to provide you with immediate counseling and step-by-step instructions on how to care for yourself. If ever you start to doubt yourself, remember that your cat knew what your husband was doing was wrong; trust Sam's instincts if you cannot trust your own.

Extra snuggles and cuddles,

P.S. Even though Sam is declawed, a cat's teeth can still do some damage. Sam may have bitten your husband hard enough to cause a reaction bad enough to require medical attention. Please mention this to your doctor and to your attorney. It may seem like a small thing, but your husband's wounds will buttress your story. --T.K.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Entitled Prince At Home Finds Himself A Peasant Among School Peers

Dear Tazi:

I think I may have made a mistake in parenting my youngest child. "Roderick" is my child from my second marriage, and better than a decade younger than my other two children from my first marriage. Admittedly, we have all spoiled Roderick, making him feel special in ways that he is...well, average for a child his age.

Every milestone Roderick has made has been met with cheers of glory and celebration - from when he first started using a sippy cup to the first time he used the potty. No event was too small for us to cheer on Roderick, we all love him so much! I think this is where the problem started.

My family (husband and older children) and I would assist Roderick with age appropriate activities like puzzles and games whenever he started to get frustrated. We would let him think that he had accomplished the feat all by himself, and praise his good work. When we would play a board game or checkers with him we would always let him win, and if he was losing in spite of ourselves we would allow him to change the rules midway through the game so he was winning. We hated to see Roderick cry over something so silly.

Roderick started kindergarten this past September, and it was a difficult transition for him as well as me. I was used to having my little man home with me all day, so to have to hand him over to the teacher was heart-wrenching. I am afraid quite a few tears were shed by both of us those first few months. Roderick's first term did not go well. There were many parent-teacher conferences about his inability to play nice and make friends; apparently Roderick has gotten so used to being the center of attention and winning at everything that he does not know how to lose gracefully. He has taken to throwing tantrums in the classroom when things don't go his way, and the other kids make fun of him for it.

Now, I am not one of those parents who thinks her child is perfect, but I think the teacher should stand up for my Roderick when the other kids are picking on him or excluding him from playtime activities, and I told her so. I get the impression she thinks I am one of "those" parents, if you understand what I mean! Roderick has been complaining that he does not want to go back to school because the other kids are mean to him and that the teacher does not like him (he actually says that she "hates" him!). While I realize that there needs to be give and take on both sides, I don't think Roderick's teacher realizes this as she seems to want to put all of the blame squarely upon Roderick!

I have tried to get the school principal to intervene, but she just backs up Roderick's teacher. Tazi, I am willing to admit that my child was quite spoiled at home and that perhaps this was not the best course of action to take during his most formative years, but being bullied by his school mates while the teacher stands by and does NOTHING isn't exactly undoing the damage, now is it? In fact, I am certain that is is causing further damage to Roderick's psyche.

I would like to pull Roderick from this school and either send him to a private school or home school him myself. My husband is firmly against either course of action, saying that pulling Roderick from the public school and coddling him in private school will teach him that it is okay to run from a problem. He also refuses to allow me to home school Roderick, claiming I am not qualified to do so and he is not going to pay tuition to someone who is. Tazi, I have no idea where this attitude is coming from! My husband and I have always been on the same page when it comes to Roderick, or at least it seemed that we were, but now he is telling me that I must thrust my little boy out into the world to fend for himself! Isn't there a happy medium somewhere in between our two viewpoints? I am willing to compromise, but it seems that nobody else is!

Good Mother

Dear Good Mother:

My Mommie tells me that I cannot have treats anytime I want, that too many treats will make me fat. She says she is being mean to be kind instead of killing me with kindness.

For once a dog has a good idea!

It sounds to me that you and your family have killed Roderick with kindness, metaphorically speaking. He is unable to function in a world where he does not get his way and is not celebrated for simply being. This alone would make for an extremely difficult transition for him, but the fact that you gave into your sorrow and cried with him as you "handed him over" to his teacher only added to your child's stress. So yes, you have made a few mistakes in parenting your son. I am glad that you can recognize them, but your refusal to help mend the result is what concerns me.

You say that Roderick's classroom teacher just stands there and allows the other children to pick on him. I find this highly unlikely, especially when you consider that your source of this information is your son. Could it be that the teacher reprimands the students for bullying but does not force them to play with a child who refuses to play by the rules? A kindergarten teacher must draw boundary lines for all children to obey - and forcing a child to play with someone whose behavior upsets them crosses a line. How do you think your son would feel if he were forced to play with a child he did not like? Well, it appears that your child is the one that the other children do not like.

I think a few sessions with the school's guidance counselor will be helpful to Roderick. Hearing the rules from an unbiased, outside source who is trained to deal with children's issues may help Roderick to see why his behavior has to change. Sometimes, the rules that exist at home do not exist outside the home. This is a basic rule that even the youngest of children can grasp. If you don't believe me, ask Grandma! There is a reason children behave differently at Grandma's than they do at home!

The counselor may even suggest a change of classroom to give Roderick a fresh start. I do not believe a change of schools (or even home-schooling, where the problem is rooted) is necessary. Speaking of behaving differently at home, the time has come to gradually introduce changes to Roderick's home life - and to tolerate the tears that come along with these changes. As painful as it sounds, it is the only way to help Roderick grow into a fully functioning citizen.


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.