Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Hard Work, Cats and Food, Food, Food!


Martha Boyd – ex-cop, real-estate appraiser and crazy cat lady – has an answer for everything. Even the strangest questions her son-in-law’s readers can come up with. Every week, she handles whatever issues and queries you’ve got in her own unique fashion.

Hi all!

Last weekend we took another hike into the National Park (I have included some pics from the Jumbo Rocks area). Very pretty rock formations. The rest of the week I was pretty busy doing appraisals as this next week time will be taken with 2 continuing education classes and a meeting at Fannie Mae headquarters. They have a yearly meeting that they like us to attend, so I have to try to do 2 weeks work in 1 week to take off for this other stuff. In Calfornia we have to get 56 hours of continuing education every 4 yrs, or generally 14 hours a year. Most of the classes we can take online, so that is pretty good.

You all will be proud of me: I learned how to turn the heat on in the house! All of the years while my husband was alive, he was in charge of the heat/cool in the house as he “knew how to regulate it.” I have a habit of keeping all of the manuals for things that turn on in the house, and I found the one for the thermostat. Programmed the heat to a nice energy efficent 62 degrees and it actually came on as programmed. Yippi. Big pat on the back.

So anyway, let’s get down to the questions. We got a lot of good ones this week.

Who would win in a fight, Irony Man or Sardonic Dude? Given that each has absolute power over their namesake ironic and sardonic forces respectfully.

Okay – a real brain teaser on this one. Sardonic Dude does not like or disapproves of people or things and Irony Man speaks in oposites and tries to make jokes of things with statements. I think Sardonic Dude might have a slight upper hand as he is slightly more disagreeable on things.

I just heard that the film industy has a restriction on the number of trailers that can be released for movies that are further thansix months from a release date3. They can only release three a year. That’s per studio, not per movie. Wat is this all about? Any why?

As LYT is the film critic he might be better able to answer this then I am [First I’ve heard of it – LYT]. I have not heard anything about this and it seems like new trailers are coming out everyday. I think more than 6 months out is a bit early to release a trailer and especially multiple ones on the same pic, It’s like releasing the movie in bits and pieces so when you do go to see the thing it is anticlimatic. Six + months I think is a bit too long to build up steam for the movie. I would rather see a running start, built excitement and then bang! the movie – don’t drag it out forever.

Is the pursuit of fame some kind of mental disorder? I really don’t understand things like the “break the internet” nonsense that happended over the weekend. I guess I’m just not seeing any up side to being famous, so as a famous advice columnist clue me in.

Well, thank you for refering to me a a “famous advice columnist.” Very kind of you. Yeah, I don’t really understand the “break the internet” thing either and especially with seeing a nude ——- ——–. Frankly, the big fat ass was pretty discussing. They are only famous for the sexcapades. I really get peeved when I see those type of people getting “famous” when there are a lot of hard working actors out there who are really talented and do not get the recognition they should get.

I sort of have a personal ax to grind on that topic. I have seen how hard my daughter works at her craft; she has been acting since she was 5 yrs old. That is currently 20 yrs in the profession. She takes classes and has many IMDB credits as Julia Boyd (#1), she busts her butt – but does not flaunt her bare butt. Same with LYT – he works very hard for both Topless Robot and in acting. Check out their credits at and see how long they have been working. You can see both of them acting together in Ding Dong Dead (video) and currently in the web series No Regrets (Vimeo).


Hello again, Luke’s Mother-in-Law.

I figured I’d talk to you about something other than ghosts, aliens and Art Bell for once. 🙂

Namely, I wanna ask you a question about my cat Murphy. A little backstory first… my wife and I live with 4 cats, including Murphy. Like yourself, they’re all rescues. We adopted Murphy and his brother Guinness at the same time last winter. Murphy was/is a runt. He’s literally half the size of his brother, both then and now.

As awesome as all of our cats are, he’s by far the most lovable. With relatively few exceptions, he NEVER leaves our side. Heck, he sleeps on my wife all night (fortunately, as a runt he only weighs 5 pounds or so) and he likes to lay on my wife’s bosom during the day (she works from home).

Here’s the problem… even though he’s small, he’s EXTREMELY food aggressive. We can’t even walk into the kitchen without him running right behind us, screaming bloody murder. He’ll even stand up on his hind legs and walk around the kitchen yelling. I wish I was joking but I’m not. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Whenever we make dinner, we always have to lock the little guy up in the office or bathroom. If we don’t, he’ll jump up on the counter constantly and eat ANYTHING he can get his paws on. You’ll put him down and he’ll be back up on the counter a second later. He’s relentless. If we don’t put bread away the moment we get home from the grocery store, he’ll rip into the bag. Same goes for any pastries in plastic containers. My sister got me a cookie cake for my birthday, which I mistakenly left on the table. Less than 5 minutes later, we heard a crash from the dining room. I’m guessing you know what that was.

It might sound like I’m telling you a horror story, but I absolutely love the little dude (my wife and I’s cute nickname for him) and I wouldn’t get rid of him for all the money in the world. Problem is, I feel terrible about locking him when we’re making/having dinner, not to mention while the other cats are eating. We’ve taken to feeding the other 3 cats in the kitchen, while we feed him separately in the bathroom. As he literally scarfs food down, he’ll throw up if he eats too fast, so we feed him pate and spread it around the plate as much as possible. That way he’s forced to take his time. Lest you worry, please note that we’ve taken him to a couple of different vets, and while they all say they’d like to see him put on a few more pounds, he’s perfectly healthy.

Anyway, my questions are a) have you ever had to deal with a food aggressive cat either in the past or present? and b) do you think my wife and I are handling this the right way? If not, what would you recommend? As a self described crazy cat lady, I’d appreciate your opinion on this matter. 🙂

Thanks in advance!

P.S. I sent Luke a picture of Murphy previously to show to Julia and yourself, figuring you’d both appreciate it. Here’s the little guy after he got into some ice cream I accidentally left unattended.

P.P.S. He dropped a bomb in the litterbox next to me while I was writing this. I guess his ears were burning. LOL


Hi, and he is soooooo cute. He looks like my Frizzy and Love Bug. Pretty much all of my cats were feral and runts of the litters. We had similar issues with Frizzy when he first entered the home. Now that he has been around for a year he has figured out that he will get food. His mom pretty much left him to die and we had to start with even getting his eyes open. I had to fatten him up with sour crean and yogurt. He is still the first one to get to the bowls when he hears the cookies going in the dishes.

One of the newer ones, Pirate, is the loud and pushy new addition. Whenever I get remotely near the refrigerator this little voice starts yelling at me, stands on back legs and starts to paw my leg. Again, she was a runt. I have 7 bowls for 5 cats placed along one wall and around the center island in the kitchen. This seems to have helped the mealtime congestion. There is alway food in the bowls. If one gets slightly empty, generally Felix the eldest one will find me and let me know of the oversight.

I do have Frizzy, Love Bug and Pirate who generally sit like vultures on the center island which I am cooking. Luckily it is a pretty large center island. I purchase lots of lunch meat and if they keep a decent distence they get little treats – they know it gets tossed to the far end of the island so after several months they have learned to stay toward the far end. We have also had issues of them jumping on the dinner table. We have kept a water bottle handy and they get squirted if they jump on the table. They get small treats of lunch meat if they stay on the floor or sit in the chair that is theirs at the table. They are like all children they have to be trained. I know since now I am alone we eat more on the couch and yes, I do let them eat off my plate. Bad mommy.

I think the runts had the most issues as they were left out during most of the feeding times with the mom kitty. It’s like with humans – the more at the table sometimes the smallest get less so they generally fight to get what they can get. It will take some time with Murphy, but they can be trained. Another suggestion on slowing down his eating is to mix water with the canned food, so he can’t just chomp it down, and he will have to lick more which takes longer. My babies like chicken or turkey lunchmeat the best; I get them the mark downs so when I see it marked down I get a bunch and toss it in the freezer. I have attached a pic of Love Bug and Pirate in the spots on the center island. Good luck.



Dear MIL, don’t recall if this has been asked, which is better pumpkin pie or pecan pie?

Oh, I like them both. But I think the pumpkin pie has a slight edge as you can get pecan pie year round where pumpkin is more of a Oct – Dec pie. Got to have whipped cream on both and I only eat the filling. I don’t like crust.

Question: Do you believe there is a solution to the current financial and moral mess our country has become? There’s a serious lack of work ethic growing among the younger kids. I’ve noticed it for years(I’m pushing 40)

I certainly hope so. I know that part of the problem is that parents like to spoil kids and see that they have better than when the parents were growing up. My parents grew up during the depression, so when I came around my dad worked his butt off to see I had everything I wanted. I was also an only child. They had the number of kids which they felt they could afford and to have them live the lifestyle that they wanted them to have. I had a bedroom and playroom full of toys. I was sent to a private college and came out with no student debt. I was taken on trips to Europe etc. After college I did get a real job and worked until my husband decided to retire and start our own business.

We had only one child and yes, we spoiled her. She also got out of college with no debt. But I will have to say she does have a good work ethic, aside from her acting she takes classes and also has a regular job. Luke is the same: he works more hours than are almost humanly possible. I think a lot of kids really don’t get the idea of a good work ethic until they get out of college and the real world slaps a lot of them smack between the eyes.

What is the weirdest holiday tradition you’ve ever heard of?

My husband used to send me holiday cards that were not for the holiday we were having. For example, he would not get me a Christmas card for Christmas – no, I would get a 4th of July card or some other holiday. He had a stash of cards for various holidays and just mix them all up. I never knew what card I would get.

Living in our rapidly changing world the noteworthy things of our youth become less and less relevant every year and yet these thing define us in important ways that are often way out of proportion to their quality. Is there a way to share the nostalgia fuel of our youth without annoying the people we care about?

I think the toy industry has figured this one old. Have you noticed that the toys you played with as a kid are returning? My Little Pony and Care Bears are back, along with Reading Rainbow and School House Rock. MeTV is really popular at my house. I get Julia and Luke to watch the shows I loved from the 1970s – generally they find some of the writing and stories are better then a lot of the junk that is on prime time. I even dragged Julia to a Beach Boys Concert and to see David Cassidy – she loved them both. I think if you introduce your favs over time they will not be annoyed but find out that they like a lot of the old stuff

Living in the USAlund I have a hard time telling the two parties, that make up the realm of political thought, here apart, as one appears to be the party of corruption and incompetence while the other seems to be the party of incompetence and corruption, do you think merging the various parties into one giant party we can all despise equally is a good idea or is keeping them at each others throat is all that is saving the population from some kind of nightmarish Third Reich scenario?

Yes I agree it is pretty hard to tell the Dems from the Repubs and then you toss in the Tea Party, Green Party and what ever other party and they all many times start sounding alike. I don’t belong to any party – I just vote back and forth depending on what I feel is the best at the time. Yes, the system is pretty screwed up, but on the other hand it is way better then a lot of other systems.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Would have to say twice baked potatoes. Here is my version: large baked potato cut in 1/2. Scope out the potato from the skin. Put sharp chedder cheese in the bottom of the skin. In a bowl mash the potato with butter, sour cream and chives. Put the potatoe back into the skin and top with more sharp cheddar, put them back in the oven until the cheese melts. I make these every year.

Remember how I posted pics a few months ago of 120+ degrees weather out side of my house? Well this morning we were sitting at a lovely 40 degrees. Maybe it will snow this year – that would be fun. We can use the water in any format we get. Have to get out in the yard this weekend and make sure pipes are winter-wrapped. Yep we have to do that in sunny California. Going to see Road to Paloma Thursday night; this is the next showing for the Joshua Tree Film Fest. Have not been able to find out if anyone from the movie will be attending, but if they are I will try to get pictures for you.


Well, that is about all for this week. If you are in the U.S. and partake in Thanksgiving – have a great one and remember to push back from the table before you explode. For those of you in other lands who don’t pray to the great turkey on Thanksgiving and wonder about us strange Americans – have a lovely day. As always be good to each other and Huggs

You got questions? About any and everything? She’s got answers. Leave your burning inquiries on any topic in comments below.