Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Love Cats, Star Trek, Strawberries and Tomatoes


Luke’s mother-in-law is former LAPD, a licensed property appraiser and a self-described crazy cat lady. None of which has prepared her for TR readers. All questions and answers are real.

Hello, happy campers! It is Thursday again, or so I have been told. Anyway, having internet issues now; it keeps going up and down so hopefully all will be saved and I can get this done. Sometimes I long for the days of just paper and pen, but then even the pen runs out of ink. Last night, my provider said there was an issue with their hub – what ever that is. This week I learned how to mix concrete. Getting quite handy in my old age.

My husband had built rock walls all over our property. He was a rock hound and we have some really great rocks in the walls, quartz, tourquoise etc. He had started a wall in Nov. and I just finished it. It is one course shorter than the rest of the walls, but I thought it best to let it dry and hope that it would not fall over. Anyway, it is still standing and a couple of friends have inspected the job, and I did okay. So I have sent Luke pics of the wall. Also sent a pic of the first harvest from the garden this year. Got some raspberries, 3 string beans and a tomato. I figure with all the water, plant food, etc. these are pretty expensive veggies. Ah, but they were fun to grow. At least I can write while the
net is down. So far it’s been about 10 minutes…grumble, grumble.

On to questions.

Personally I feel as though Blade Runner was as equally enjoyable as the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, even if it was a significantly different tale.

I think they dream of other Androids and of course the stupid humans that they have to deal with.

How do you feel about TV shows based on movies?

Well, about the only one I really like is Star Trek, but that started as a TV show and then turned into movies. Is that like putting the chicken before the egg?

Or, for that matter, movies based on TV shows?

I think it is much better to go the TV show route first. This way you can build an audience and it does not cost as much to do as a movie. Test your waters first, and then if it really takes off the movie could possibly work.

Yeah, the Internet came back up – only down for 30 min. Time to save the work.

Do you have a favorite sci-fi or horror film from the 1950s? Mine is ‘Forbidden Planet’, in being that it actually looked like they spent some money on it. My second
choice is Howard Hawks ‘The Thing’.

I have always liked Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and The Blob. I also like your selections. I was not born til 1956, so mostly if I watched horror or sci-fi it was my parents’ choices.

Tex-mex, Mex-mex, or Cal-mex? Follow up, which do you think would work for a small drive thru in the Midwest?

Most folks understand Tex-Mex, so I would use that. I think you would confuse most people if you used Cal-Mex (surf and turf with a side of beans and rice maybe), and Mex – Mex I’m not really sure what you would be getting at all. I think most on the east coast and in the midwest relate more to Texas, as it is a bit closer than Calif for Mexican food. California – most people think we are hippies just grazing on sprouts. Funny piece of trivia here: Mrs. LYT’s first solid food as a baby was refried beans – she hated traditional baby food.

another question, I understand our littlest cats differing meows…Am I crazy? or well trained by my feline overlord?

Not crazy at all. It is good that you have learned the language. They are so proud of us when we learn to speak and understand. My kitties and I carry on conversations all of the time. They are very smart. Cat story: the little boy Frizzy has a girlfriend. He, however is a fixed house cat, and she is one of our garage kitties. Her name is Georgette. Frizzy loves to sit at either the kitchen or bedroom window and he calls to her. She also does the same. They are so darn cute. When they each get to the window they rub heads on each other thru the window screen.

Ms. Ppraisal. What do you do when you’ve had all you can stands and you can’t stands no more?
I find myself increasingly unable to tolerate being exposed to people who are let’s put it politely, idiots. Most of the time I can grit my teeth, pretend to be smiling and just get through these encounters, but I fear it might eventually start affecting my blood pressure.
What’s your advice?

I have that same issue and hitting them silly is not the answer. As I am appraiser, I have to deal with both homeowners who are worried silly that the house will not appraise and they will not get the loan they want, and lenders who many times don’t seen to know how to read English. Two or three times a week I get dumb questions from lenders and if they had just taken the time to read the report they would have found the answer.

Just had one of those today. The lender wanted to know if the conduit coming out of the electric meter was exposed electric and needed to be capped, or did the meter need to be replaced? I guess they have never seen conduit coming from the service drop and into the electric meter. I think I answered their question politely. I do a lot of copy/paste and say please read page (whatever) in my report.

I mutter a lot and at the end of the day a good Margarita makes the world a happier place. And yes, it will eventually impact the old BP

You saw the original Star Trek when it was first airing, right? So who was right – was it shockingly progressive or secretly sexist?

Yep, saw Trek in first-run. Have an original Tribble and scripts from the show as a friend of mine’s uncle was a writer on the show. I think it was both progressive and sexist. Most of the women on the show were pretty and window dressing. There were a couple of strong female characters in the original show like the Vulcan ruler and Lt Uhura. Then you have Yeoman Rand the airhead and Mudd’s women – dolls basically. But darn, I still love that show.

I have a question regarding the current crime tv shows, like CSI, etc. Now, I know they aren’t true-to-life, as you don’t get a DNA match back in 4 seconds and cases aren’t solved in one shift. But some shows, like CSI, really focus on the crime lab solving the crime, even though I’ve never been under the impression they were cops, and then other shows have the detectives solve the crime and the lab does the processing but no investigating. Which is closer to the truth, or does it vary depending on city or state?

A lot depends on the department. Sometimes, the CSI people are also officers and sometimes they are civilians. But they have to work hand-in-hand with the detectives. It is very important that they process the crime correctly and document all of the evidence. If they don’t do it right, a case can be tossed out in court. In the police academy they teach how to process a crime and collect evidence, but the officer maybe only gets a couple of days on this. The CSI techs get much longer training. One of my favorite shows that deals with the CSI aspect is Bones.

Who knew cacti wore hats?

I assume you are commenting on my cactus pic from last week. Yes, it did look like the cactus was wearing a hat of flowers. Love that cactus – he is out in my front yard.

Do you grow strawberries? When my grandfather was alive he kept a strawberry patch that was, apparently, my favorite place in the world when I was tiny. So much, in fact, that he dug up a few of the plants and brought them over to my family’s house.
Where we first planted them was in a sunny spot in the back yard, and the dogs kept trampling them. Then they got moved to the north side of the house where they have grown ever since. They were never properly fertilizered or maintained, and have always produced small, very tart berries.

Anyway, my mom is in a nursing home now, and my family that lives near her is preparing to sell the place when the time comes. Once in a while I still think about those strawberry plants, but I have no real place to keep one even if I were to dig one up.
What would be your advice on a way to keep this connection to my childhood and my ancestors?

I would dig a couple up and put them in a planter or large pot on a patio; even if you only have a windowsill you could put one or two in a smaller pot for the window. I have seen strawberries work well as house plants. When bringing them inside, remember to feed and water them. I don’t have any strawberries this year – only raspberries and blackberries. We planted those last year and this year they have spread along our garden fence.

If you can’t keep a plant or two, take lots of pictures that way you will always have them; maybe if mom is able to write about them have her jot down the history of the plants and some memories about them and the family. That way you can make a little keepsake book.

Well, friends that is all for this week. Going to a car show this weekend at the Route 62 dinner. The old car club is having a get-together. As always, be good to each other this week. Huggs.

If you’d like to add your questions to the pile for Luke’s mother-in-law, leave them in comments below.

Also, be sure to check out her previous columns.