Musings & Thoughts for Sunday, May 14, 2023, or: Weekend Update, Part the Second

Mom after winning the “Best Legs in the Restaurant” contest in a Paris hotel, circa 1960-61, a few years before I came into the world.

Well, here we are, Dear Reader, on Sunday, May 14, 2023, aka Mother’s Day 2023. It’s almost 9 AM in the Tampa Bay area, the sun is out, and – for the moment, anyway, it’s cool outside; the temperature is 71°F/22°C. Overall, it’s the kind of day that, in my previous neighborhood in South Florida, I would have gone out for a walk before the temperature got too warm. I don’t know why I don’t do that here on a regular basis; I should, but I don’t feel motivated to put on my walking shoes and hat – I don’t like going outside without at least a ball cap on – and get some exercise.

Photo by Del Adams on

I’ve been up since, gosh, 5:15 AM. I was hoping to sleep till 6 at least, but nope. “Sleeping in” was not on my Bingo card for the day. I wasn’t thrilled when I checked the time – What? It’s only a quarter after five? – but I’ve come to accept the fact that this is my sleep cycle now and that I must grin and bear it. Or just bear it.

Mom and me in November 2012. By then, dementia had immobilized my mother – she was convinced she couldn’t walk (her shrinking brain didn’t allow her to, I’m guessing), and she spent most of her days in that hospital-type bed. I did my best to take care of her, though…..
I’d rather post a photo of Mom and me in happier times than one from July 2015. (Photo from the Author’s Family Albums)

As I said earlier, it’s Mother’s Day 2023, the seventh recurrence of the occasion since my mom died in the summer of 2015. My mother lived to see her last Mother’s Day in ’15, of course, but (at least the way I remember it) it wasn’t a happy occasion. For one thing, my older half-sister (and nemesis) Vicky showed up at the house sometime after 1 PM with an armful of flowers and a Happy Mother’s Day balloon, while all I could give our mother was the Blu-ray of Evita, a movie she had wanted to see in theaters but – for reasons that I won’t go into here – wasn’t able to.

The reason I say that Vicky showing up that Sunday – our last Mother’s Day with Mom – with so many flowers and a “Happy Mother’s Day” balloon affected my mood negatively is a complicated one. And since I don’t want to write a long diatribe on the topic, I’ll break it down thusly:

  • I knew that Mom’s condition was not improving, and that Mother’s Day 2015 would be her last
  • My relationship with Vicky – which had been rocky for decades – was deteriorating with each passing day. (Particularly annoying: her refusal to accept that Mom was worn out and that she was going to die sooner rather than later. The kicker: until she retired in 2014 after the Metropolitan Hospital of Miami closed, Vicky was a registered nurse who specialized in geriatric care. She knew – or was supposed to know – that Mom had dementia and that there wasn’t going to be a last-minute miracle like Vicky was hoping for.)
  • My own fears about “life without Mom”
  • My dislike for the home health aide that had replaced our first one, Margarita, after Vicky slyly manipulated events (too long a tale) so that Margarita would quit and the agency she worked for, Nursing South, would replace her with an HHA that would be more agreeable to do what Vicky wanted her to do
The author and his mother, circa 1963.

I am not going to elaborate on that last, long, and depressing Mother’s Day that I spent with Mom and my half-sister. The only thing I will say is that we tried to watch Evita with Mom but had to stop the movie halfway through because she was convinced, absolutely convinced, that she’d seen the movie before. (No, she had not. I think she was confused about Evita for two reasons. First, when she was married to Vicky’s father, a surgeon who was attached to the Colombian diplomatic mission in 1950s-era Buenos Aires, Mom had met the real Evita Peron at least once at official functions. Second, many years before, when Mom’s car had a cassette player as well as a car AM-FM radio, I’d given her – for Mother’s Day – a tape with the original cast recording of Evita’s stage version. But Mom had not seen the 1996 film version starring Madonna in the title role.)

Overall, that Mother’s Day eight years ago was the absolute worst ever, at least for me.

So, yeah. I’m not exactly a happy camper on Mother’s Day 2023. I’ve already had a few weepy moments today (Probably the first ones I’ve had since I moved here in 2016, and I seriously doubt that they’re all just related to how I feel about losing my mom and being estranged from my half-sister. Que sera, sera, I suppose.)

Weekend Update Time

Let’s move on, shall we?

In case you’re wondering how my Saturday night went, or if I gave in to the temptation to work on The New Story, here’s a brief update.

 Saturday night was quiet, uneventful, if melancholic. I puttered about on social media for a while, considered – and rejected – ordering a Big New Yorker from Pizza Hut, and ended up eating a sandwich with an eight-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola instead.

I used to play the Apple II “port” of MicroProse’s “Crusade in Europe” when I was in college. (C) 1985, 2022 MicroProse and Interplay

I also played games for a while; this time around I chose to play Crusade in Europe, a game I’d played a lot – in its Apple II version – when I was in college and well into the late 1990s until my Apple monitor gave up the ghost. I did think about playing either Regiments or one of my “sexy” adults-only games, but I wasn’t in the mood for either. I didn’t play Crusade in Europe for long; I chose the shortest scenario – the introductory Clearing the Beaches, which is the one the manual suggests to first-time players as a tutorial since it only depicts the first week or so of operations during the Normandy invasion (June 6-12, 1944).

I then went out to the Florida room, where I listened to sentimental music performed by Mantovani and his orchestra. I wanted to listen to the lush “cascading strings” arrangement of Leroy Anderson’s Forgotten Dreams but ended up listening to most of the digital album on my Amazon Music app.

I did briefly consider at least writing the beginning of a new scene in The New Story, but in the end, I decided not to. It was already past 8 PM, and even though I have been known to write that late in the evening hours, I usually do that if I am “on a roll” and can’t stop what I’m doing till I finish – which is what I did back in November when I wrote all those blog posts about Cheryl T.  But even though I’m not the wisest person on the planet, I do know my limitations, so I decided to stick to my plan to take the weekend off from the story and wait till Monday (tomorrow!) to resume work on The New Story.

After I listened to my “schmaltzy” music for a while, I got the urge to watch a movie, or at least some of the “making of” stuff on the Blu-ray, cos it was already 9 PM by then and I suspected that I’d fall asleep watching a movie as long (and sometimes ponderous) as Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I managed to get through (I think) four segments on how and why The Director’s Edition was made but fell asleep not long after the fifth installment began. I woke up in a darkened Florida room – someone must have turned off the lamp to the side of the room – and the TV still on, with the Blu-ray logo floating up and down the screen, indicating the player was in “screensaver mode” because it had not received any commands from me to select a featurette or play the movie.

I have no idea, then, at what time I went to sleep. All I know is that I woke up at 5:15 AM and that – at nearly 10:30 AM now – I’m tired despite having already consumed breakfast (including coffee), and that while I’m not as melancholic as I was earlier this morning, I’m still not in the best of moods.

(I’ll probably watch Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition later. I don’t want to be sucked into working on The New Story today, and I think that watching a movie, any movie, will help to not fall into that temptation.)


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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