Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Cops, College and Snoring


In which ex-cop/crazy cat lady/mom-in-law Martha Boyd answers your questions from the coziness of the Joshua Tree desert. All questions and answers are real.

Hi all. It has been busy since we last chatted. Thursday night I went to my first Citizen Patrol meeting. It was mostly to get to meet people and get the next part of the process going. I also got formally interviewed. Had both of the deputies laughing so I think it went well – I told them the story of when I first went out on patrol and we were wearing skirts and heels in the field, and how much “back up” we got when it came to going over walls (dirty minds click in here). These guys were too young to have ever witnessed this event. So, anyway, I took the next part of the paperwork home and turned it back in on Friday morning.

Over the weekend it was cloudy and we got a few sprinkles. Pouring in LA, and this was the first weekend of award shows, so all of the red carpets were getting wet. While some in my family were dressing up and going to the awards I was home clearing brush and cutting firewood. Hey, I am a lady of many skills. I even use power tools – I have a lovely Mikita power hand saw. Great for cutting brush. Made some good popcorn and curled up by the fire to watch movies. I like to flavor the popcorn so this time I used onion powder, powdered cheese, pizza seasoning, butter and salt – yummy.

This week the Joshua Tree Film Fest gets back rolling after the holidays. The January showing will be 3 short films. The selection is Country of Wolves, Rat Pack Rat and Stone Cars. All look pretty interesting and I think Rat Pack Rat is going to be a tearjerker. Will let you know in the next installment of my madness my thoughts on these three selections. If you are in Joshua Tree on Thursday 1/15, doors open at 6:30 with the show at 7pm at the Beatnik on the Hwy. It is right next door to the best Thai restaurant in the basin. So you can have dinner and a show, and the show is free.

Now to your questions:


Hi Martha:
I was puzzling over this and I realized, “You know who would know the answer? Martha Boyd!”
As part of my job, I frequently have to deal with uniformed police officers, but I’m never sure how to address them. Is “officer” a good generic title or will the officer in question or should I learn how to read police insignia so I call a Sergeant a Sergeant? All I know about uniformed police officers I learned from Adam-12 and TJ Hooker.
Thanks for your help

“Officer” is very good. If you can see the nameplate on the shirt or jacket “Officer (name)” would be good. Officer generally pertains to police departments. If it is a Sheriff, they generally use Deputy, but officer would still be okay. Yes sir or ma’am is also good to use. A Sgt generally will have 3 chevron strips on the shirt. Rank is very military. Generally on the bottom of the sleeve (long sleeve shirts) near the cuff you may see smaller strips; these are called hash marks. They generally reflect years of service. Most departments use one hash for every 5 yrs.

In the field, generally one of the highest ranks you will see is a Sgt. The higher ranks wear a uniform on formal occasions or if there is a big news event and they will be speaking for the department. Some departments will have a LT (lieutenant) in the field from time to time, maybe even a Captain. But they are not as common as Sgt and regular officers. You may also see FTO – this is a field training officer, they may be attached to a very fresh-faced kid sometimes trying to hide (LOL). These are rookies.


Two questions regarding sleep or lack there of it.

1. I sometimes have problems falling asleep due to my anxiety. My wife, sister, etc., can fall asleep almost on command and I’m insanely jealous of their good fortune. Do you have any tips for dealing with sleep issues?

You should look into what is causing the anxiety. I know worry can be terrible with trying to fall asleep as your mind does not turn off. I found yoga helped with my anxiety issues. Take a few lessons at a studio and then practice what you learned before you go to bed. It helps to relax you and your mind. Also try not to do anything terribly stimulating prior to going to bed. Read a book, listen to soothing music etc. Don’t play video games – that just gets you wired. A nice warm bath and hot cocoa is also relaxing. Hope these ideas help.

2. I have a deviated septum and sinus problems obviously go hand-in-hand with this condition. Unfortunately, this also means that when I do fall asleep, I tend to snore. This is exacerbated when I have a head cold, which sometimes hurts my wife’s quality of sleep. I don’t believe it’s apnea, but I might have a sleep study done in the future regardless. In the meantime, do you have any recommendations for me?

Have you tried those little plastic things that you put over the top of your nose? I forget what they are called but they sort of look like a bone and go over the bridge of your nose. I snore and tried them and my husband said it made a big difference. Also raise your head up a bit – this can also help.

Thanks as always!


What New Years Resolutions (if any) have you made for 2015?

I made the resolution to slow my appraisal business down a bit and do more volunteer work. Before my husband died we were talking about doing this. So I decided that I will work enough to pay the bills, of course, but take more time to enjoy life. Not just work. This week is my first citizen’s patrol meeting. I am also going to get back into doing community theater. It has been about five years since I have been on the stage and I am going to start doing that again. If I am not acting, going to volunteer at the theater selling tickets or being an usher.

What are your most anticipated movies this year? Which ones are you already certain will be bad ones?

Currently I am looking forward to seeing Strange Magic, Spare Parts and Paddington. The jury is out on just bad ones for the year, but I am sure there will be some.

Any particular trends or fads from 2014 that you want to see remain in the past?

Yea, people blowing up or shooting others over distorted religious ideas. Overly large finger nails and only shaving a portion of your head. And while we are at it, pull up your pants.


I’m gonna start college soon. I don’t have any clue about anything, so can you spare any tips or advice you think would come in handy? Thanks in advance

Congratulations. You are going to have fun. Do you know your major yet? The first 2 yrs are pretty much a repeat of High School. You don’t really get into the fun stuff with you major until year 3.

We did the junior college (2 yrs) first. It was way less expensive at about $60 per unit vs the $1100 per unit at the university that Julia attended. So that would be one tip go to a jr college first if they are available where you live. The first 2 yrs are all of your basic stuff, English, Math, Science, PE etc. Books are expensive so find all of the online book resellers, who needs a brand new book for something you are only going to be in for a few months.

Pay attention to the course outline that you get on the first day. In college the professor does not baby sit you like in high school – you are expected to get your work in on time, they will not remind you. Also they don’t write the test answers on the board before the test like they do in some high schools – you have to study. Most of the things on the test were generally talked about in class – take good notes. If a professor mentions something 3 times you will generally see it on the test. Get involved in some social activities, but not too many – colleges are a great place to party, but some forget they are there for a reason – to get an education and not to see how many belly shots you can do.

Internships are a great experience and at times can lead to a full-time position after graduation. Many times you can also get class credit and sometimes even pay for an internship. When I went to college I got 12 units (1 whole semester) and was paid the minimum wage at the time. What a deal.

In regards to tipping Postal Workers in the USA
Employee Tipping and Gift-Receiving PolicyAll postal employees, including carriers, must comply with the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Exec?utive Branch. Under these federal regulations, carriers are permitted to accept a gift worth $20 or less from a customer per occasion, such as Christmas. However, cash and cash equivalents, such as checks or gift cards that can be exchanged for cash, must never be accepted in any amount. Furthermore, no employee may accept more than $50 worth of gifts from any one customer in any one calendar year period.

I don’t feel postal workers should be tipped. They earn a pretty decent salery. They are also employed in a service that they have to do. It is not like your pool person or gardener who you hire to do a service at your home. The postal carrier is required to bring the mail to you home and this is what they are paid for. You don’t tip the street sweeper, fireman or policeman. I do tip my hairdresser, gardener and poolman. But they are providing a service that I am requesting. Oh and by the way I don’t get mail service at my house; I drive 17 miles to pick up my own mail, but I get no rebate from the government as they do not deliver to my home, I have to pay extra for a mailbox at the post office.

Is that why they go nuts and shoot people?

Well, the rule is a bit confusing, but no I don’t think this is why they go nuts. However maybe if you combine this with other rules/regs that may be enough to trigger something nasty. But hey, it is a good paying government job – so I don’t really see the need to get pissed off.


Hi Martha:
Do you think there is really such a thing as short man syndrome? I have a friend who is short (5′ 4″) and he’s always been, to put it mildly, a bully. A nice guy and a good friend, but any interaction with him has to be approached with the idea that he will try to exert power in order to bend you to his will.
I have a coworker who is also short and is also a bully in exactly the same way. I never thought short man syndrome was anything but a way for tall or average height people to disparage short people but now I wonder.

Yes, I have known several males who were short over the years, and yes, the ones I know are bullies. I think a lot of it stems from when they were kids and they were also picked on more. Thus the puffing is a form of compensation. Generally once you get to know then and they don’t feel you are going to harm them, they tend to calm down. But I have also seen some that no matter how nice and not threatening they try real hard to pick a fight just to prove they are big bad men – not attractive at all as far as I am concerned.

As someone in the security guard industry here in Canada, Do you know why security guards in the United States allowed to carry firearms?

In the US there are 2 levels of security guards. There are the unarmed and armed. The armed guards must meet higher standards, pass firearms course, qualify with the weapon and keep up the training. You mostly see these types with banks, armored car companies, armed security patrols in high end neighborhoods. The US is a gun-loving society. Many bad guys see the uniform and don’t stop to say oh you are just a security guard and not a cop. People even kill unarmed guards. Just recently had this happen at a roller rink.

Hopefully in Canada people have more respect for security guards and the work you do then they do here in the states.


What were your thoughts with all of the hoopla surrounding The Interview? Do you think it was a legitimate threat or was it a marketing ploy?

Well if it was a marketing ploy it was a damn good one. However, I don’t think Sony would have leaked all of the internal emails just to sell this pic. I mean it was only an okay movie, not really great and not worth leaking internal emails over. I think some of it got over hyped by the media and things just sort of sprouted a life of their own. Especially when things started about attacks at movie theaters if the flick was shown. I mean really, it played and nothing happened. Now it has passed on to the land of so-so movies.


good morning mamasan! glad yer happy with the shirt. when i was married, we’d make chilli for xmas dinner. when it comes to mexican food do you prefer salsa roja or salsa verde, i love the flavor of salsa verde, and the bite of the spicer salsa roja

My favorite and the one I make the most is the roja. All summer long I was making this with the tomatoes fresh from my garden. Would you believe that some of Julias first vegs were salsa roja. She could eat it by the gallon when she was little.


In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, what is your opinion of the whole tragic affair?

I feel very sorry for the employees of the magazine. Political satire can be tricky waters and you are bound to tick someone off in this line of work. I must say that this publication was pretty fair in who they bashed. They went after all religions, politicos etc. Unfortunately in todays world there are radicals and fanatics. I hope that this does not cause problems for many kind Muslim people who live in France, but alas, it may. These were 3 misguided individuals and not the entire Muslim faith. I am glad to hear that the publication will still go on, even with losing a good share of top staff. Freedom of spech and of the press is very important.


My pictures this week are of some of the rock work on my property. John did this a couple of years ago. We have a small fire pit at the base, but I thought this was rather pretty. The other is if my holiday wreath. As you know the tree and wreath don’t come down, they just get re-decorated. The wreath is covering New Years (hanging bucket) and Valentines (red hearts). On Monday I will have a cataract removed from my left eye, so aside from working I also did a lot of running around for this oh-so-fun event this week. Well thats about all for this week. As always be good to each other and Huggs.

Got questions? Martha answers all, from the earth-shattering to the trivial and even the weird. Post yours in the comments below.