Are You Wearing A Wire?

Not dinner catered by Lorenzo’s the upscale Italian trattoria down in the Italian village. No, it was dinner catered by Carmen’s Pizzeria, owned by Carmen DiMarco, better known as Big Carmen. Big Carmen has a number of other interests going, all of which make my night’s sleep less than optimum. Why? La Flor has taken up with Big Carmen’s son, Little Carmen, who is bigger in size than Big Carmen, but the two names stuck. La Flor encourages LC (what everyone calls Little Carmen) to follow his dream. His dream? To eventually take over for Big Carmen, but first he has to earn his chops the hard way. It became complicated when O’Leary, a donut loving, bad coffee drinking, Irish cop, entered the scene. He’s friends with La Flor and LC. In today’s episode, La Flor sets up, the hapless O’Leary with Carmela, La Flor’s understudy or whatever.

“Ray, I don’t call Carmen’s Pizzeria dinner. Especially when we’re going to eat out of cardboard boxes. Do you expect pizza in cardboard boxes to set the love stage for O’Leary and Carmela,” said La Flor.

“I’m not the matchmaker. Besides, Big Carmen is tossing in blue plastic cups to go with his house wine. And, it’s all free, there’s one small catch that I don’t agree with,” I said.

La Flor threw her arms up in the arm, “It’s already a disaster. Blue plastic cups for house wine? What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking free. Besides, O’Leary doesn’t know good from bad.”

“That’s true and Carmela is such a ditz, she doesn’t know what day it is. It might work. What did Carmen want you to do that you won’t do, that I might do?”

“He wants to know where O’Leary plans the next stakeout,” I said.

“That’s all? Isn’t that covered under the Freedom of Information Act? Don’t forget I was a lawyer for a day,. Why couldn’t Lorenzo’s cater?” asked La Flor.

“Lorenzo was already catering Luigi Bigalo’s thirtieth celebration. Even Big Carmen’s attending. He’s the guy who has the upper and lower Northwest side.”

“Oh no, that means Vinnie and Rocco are making the pizzas tonight and I don’t trust them.”

“Why?”

“Well, I do trust them, but I don’t want their fingerprints on the boxes with O’Leary being here. Know what I mean?”

“La Flor, I think you need to move away from Big Carmen’s business. Where’s LC? O’Leary and Carmela will soon be here.”

“He had a special errand to do down by the freight yard.”

“What kind of special errand?”

“He’s righting a wrong. He’s scoring one for the good guys. He’s putting the bad guys down. He’s really a super hero, that’s what LC is,” said La Flor. Her eyes beaming with pride.

“Tell me more,” I said.

La Flor moves closer to me, “Let’s step out on the patio in case the Feds have your house bugged.”

“Why would the Feds bug my house?”

“I don’t know, but Big Carmen says you can’t take chances.”

We walk to the patio door. I open it. We step onto the patio. La Flor said, “You’re not wearing a wire, are you?”

“La Flor you’re making me nervous.”

Then she whispered, “LC is breaking into a freight car and taking all the goods.”

“That’s wrong,” I said.

“No. The goods were already stolen by the Russian mob. So, LC is really taking them from the Russians and redistributing the goods for a fraction of their cost. See how he’s helping the poor people. He’s really a saint.”

“He’s doing this alone?”

“No, his cousin Tony, uncle Tony, and uncle Tony’s son, Little Tony who is also a cousin are helping him. Lil Carlo is driving the U-Haul.”

I don’t want to know any more. My house might be bugged. I don’t want to talk to the Feds. Then the door. My poor door crashes against the wall. I have a deep dent in the steel wall plate I had installed there. The voice, “Beautiful, tough, and edgy woman of my fantasies I’m home.”

La Flor brushed me aside, ran to the entry way and did her leap into the waiting arms of the man in black pants, black t-shirt, black latex gloves hanging out of his pants pocket, and a black ski mask stuck between his belt and waist.

“Does I has time to change before O’Leary and Carmela get here?” asked LC after the two minute kiss.

A car door slamming, a voice from the yard, “It’s the police, I mean O’Leary since I’m not official tonight. Okay if I park on your lawn?”

“Never mind, Ray-mo. I’ll wear these clothes. I looks good in them,” said LC.

“Yes, you do. You are lighting my fire, you hunk.”

The door is still against the wall, O’Leary comes in, “I brought a six pack of beer, Styrofoam cups and a bag of jelly donuts. You think I’ll impress Carmella?”

Come by tomorrow to find out how it all goes down.

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Light Your Kindness Flame

It doesn’t take much to make a big difference in the world. You can do it. I can do it. We only have to bring an act of kindness, small or large, to someone, anyone. You will make their day better. You will feel better. The world will be a bit warmer and filled a bit more with love because YOU and I took a moment to be kind. Light your kindness flame with this YouTube video that shows 24 acts of kindness. You’ll leave feeling good after you watch it.

A Match Made By La Flor

“Ray?”

“Yes, La Flor?”

“O’Leary and Gina didn’t work out. I knew he was too good for her. Gina’s a gold digger and she’s looking for a sugar daddy.”

“You think O’Leary is a sugar daddy?”

“Gina never set her sights too high. Being the good person I am, I am going to set O’Leary up with Carmela, will you help me?”

“I think Carmela and TT are together. I don’t do breakups,” I said.

“Look at it from Carmela’s perspective, Ray. TT’s no fun. His idea of a fun night is to have a cup of decaf tea, hot air popcorn without anything on it, and watch AMC. Duh. Boring. We’ll be saving her from emotional starvation.”

“Every time I see them they’re happy,” I said.

“Carmela is laughing on the outside and a Ninja blender on the inside. It’s eating her alive. See what I mean?”

Not exactly, but I keep quiet, “Has she talked to you about her feelings?” I asked.

“Remember, I’m her mentor. She always asking for advice.”

“What did she say?”

“What didn’t she say is a better question, Ray.”

“I think you’re trying to start trouble because you’re bored,” I said.

“Who me?” said La Flor pointing a finger toward her face.

“Yes, you.”

“Big Carmen sent TT to New Orleans on family business. Carmela is home alone and she is the one who is bored. And, I’m not talking a small b. I’m talking a capital B. LC and me invited O’Leary and Carmela to come for dinner tonight. What are you going to make?”

“You’re going too far, La Flor.”

“No, the dining room is right over there. We won’t have to leave home. LC and me would help with the cooking, but we want to look awesome so your on your own. I prefer salmon grilled to perfection. LC wants steak and fries. O’Leary likes hotdogs with lots of ketchup. And, Carmela will have a small salad. I don’t want her to put on any more weight.”

“She’s not heavy.”

“She is a size two. That’s bigger than me. Desert will be donuts. You can order those from Joey’s.”

“Can I ask Lorenzo to cater it?”

“Okay, but don’t get in the way of love. It’s going to be a match made by La Flor. I might have a new career going.

 

Designed for Relationship

We can do lots of things alone – we can do so much more when we connect with each other in meaningful ways. We were designed for relationship, whether personal, work, or communal. Each of us is a piece to the whole. And, when it works, amazing things happen. Teamwork is a relational way we collaborate to blend our talents for a great good. The following short YouTube video illustrates the power of teamwork through dance. Enjoy

The Center of the Solar System

“Ray, I’ve been watching the Discovery Channel. You ought to try it. You can learn a lot from it,” said La Flor.

I’m on red alert. La Flor’s got her game going, but starting with the Discovery Channel? I’m more off balance than an eight year old learning to ride a bicycle.

“What did you learn?” I asked.

“For one thing, did you know Pluto is no longer a planet. I disagree. If Disney named a character after it, it should be a planet. What do you think?”

I think you’re nuts. The thought remains silent. “I haven’t given it much thought,” I said.

“That’s the difference between LC and me and you. We’re intellectuals, you’re, oh let’s say superficial.”

I try to change the subject. “Where is LC at the moment? What’s he up to? I mean what important work is he doing?”

La Flor doesn’t miss a beat, “LC is on a special mission. Top secret. Only a select few know about it.”

“And, does the select few include you and Big Carmen?” I asked.

“Vinnie and Rocco and Lil Carlo, too. Teamwork is important. They’re a great team.”

I didn’t want to know any more about LC. I asked, “Tell me more about the planets.”

La Flor said, “Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the planets.”

“I’m impressed,” I said.

“Well there is a big error,”

“There is?”

“The sun is a star right? And, it’s the center of our solar system, right?” asked La Flor.

“Right on both counts,” I answered.

“I am starting a campaign to rename the sun,” said La Flor.

I feel like the straight man in a comedy routine. “Oh, what name do you suggest?” I asked.

“I am the brightest star. So, it should be name La Flor and the whole solar system should revolve around me.”

“Doesn’t it?” I asked.

“It should, if it doesn’t. I want you to dedicate an entire blog to my mission. If I’m successful, I might rename a planet after you.”

“I’ll pass.”

 

 

Bring Back Spontaneity

When was the last time you were spontaneous? You know, did something fun, on the spur of the moment. It’s what children do. It’s time to put a little more fun and joy into our lives. Acting spontaneously to fill up a moment with joy and laughter, song, and dance are good starters. The following video begins with a person playing a piano in the park, a stranger joins in on the same keyboard. Both people joined in the spontaneity of moment and brought fun to their lives and all who watched them. Enjoy.  

Become A Possibility Seeker

What an awesome, wonder-filled world we live in. It is a world filled to overflowing with problems and possibilities. Imagine waking up each morning excited to jump into this wonder-filled world seeking out possibilities. It’s waiting for you. It needs you. It needs every single possibility seeker. Get psyched with this 2 minute Vimeo video and you’ll become a possibility seeker.

Before You Wake Up from Nejc Miljak on Vimeo.

Ask La Flor

Hi Sisters – I’m listening. I’m hear for you. I convinced Ray to let me have today’s blog – I’m winging and singing it. I’m fishing and dishing. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I was bored. He thinks I’m doing an advice column. I’ll give you a few tips that work for me.

First tip. Let him thinks what he wants to think, then do your own thing. Seems to work for me..

Second tip. Use his charge card. That way you don’t worry about how much you’re charging.

Third tip. You got to make him grovel. Grovel is good for your man.

Enter Ray.

“La Flor, I’m not going to put that on my blog. It’s terrible. It’s not the real you,” I said.

“Oh, I think it is, Ray. It works perfectly with LC. I’ve got him wrapped tight around my little finger.”

“You think so?” I said.

“Well, yes I do.”

“So it doesn’t bother you, that I saw him at the coffee shop with Gina Abbrighi, right?”

“Gina? What’s he doing with her? Were they holding hands? Did he pay for her drink? How close were they sitting?” said La Flor.

“I don’t know why they were together. They were looking at something together, like a calendar. LC shook his hand, then Gina pointed to a date, they laughed and fist bumped.”

“They fist bumped? Was it a hard bump or a gentle bump?” asked La Flor.

“I’d say a gentle bump.”

“Oh, Ray. I’ve been too rough on LC. I’m going to lose him. Help me save him from her. She’s no good for him. O’Leary is perfect for her.”

“It may be too late, you’ve been treating him like a dog. Making him grovel. You made him wear a tie all night. He’s on call 24/7. You’re wearing him out.”

“I only did it for his own good. Besides, I thought he liked it when I scratched his belly. He’d always kick his leg. And the tie? He was so handsome. Gina will do worse. You don’t know her reputation. We’ve got to save him. Do you have Lil Carlo’s cell number?”

Not a moment to soon – the door slams against the wall. The clang, the light go dim and return to full brightness.

“I’m in da vicinities,” hollered LC.

La Flor hollered, “We’re through. Get your stuff and get out before I call Lil Carlo and Big Carmen.”

“What I do? What I do? What I do? LC came running in slid to La Flor on his knees and wrapped his arms around her legs.

“Ray spotted you with Gina Abbrighi at the coffee shop. You two-timer. Let go of me.”

“I can splain every ting. I can. Honest I can.”

“It better be good. No, make that real good,” said La Flor.

“I promised Gina was gonna say nut tin, buts I gotta say some tin cause I can’t lose use beautiful, tough and edgy one,” LC now cradling his head against La Flor’s knees.

“Spill it,” said La Flor.

“Gina is gonna throw a surprise party for use because she says every woman looks up to use and we was figuring out the dates. It’s all set but use can’t know nut tin about it because it is a surprise.”

“Stand up, LC so I can jump in your arms. We’re back together.”

Some things never change.

 

 

 

Paying Attention To What Is Important

“We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 
The message in the power-filled quotation by de Chardin is one of community. We are one. We build community by knowing each other in a personal way; by hearing each other’s story; by respecting our difference; by listening to one another. The five minute YouTube video will inspire you to focus on what is important.

She Have A Twin Sister?

“Why do I have to drive? Why are we sitting in a car on a dark street near the Fur Palace? Why are you two making out in the backseat and I have a small cold pizza from Carmen’s Pizzeria?”

No Answer. Message not received in the back seat. Only heavy breathing.

A beat up pickup pulls in front of me. It’s O’Leary.

O’Leary gets out of the pickup, walks over to the passenger side door, opens it, sees my half eaten, cold pizza on the seat. O’Leary says, “I’m hungry do you mind if I have a piece?”

“Have it all, I’m finished,” I said.

O’Leary slid into the passenger side. He layered the four pieces of pizza, opened his mouth and slid the pizza inside. After he finished chewing,  he said, “This way I can tell my doc I only ate one piece.” He looked into the backseat, “Great cover, I got to hand it to them, nobody can figure them to be on stakeout. It almost looks real, what they’re doing.”

“Yah, they got it all together,” I said.

“She have a twin sister? I’m thinking of going back on the market after my bad breakup,” said O’Leary jerking a thumb over his shoulder.

“Not that I know of,” I said.

“I’m gonna hit the gym foist. I wanna lose these love handles, drop my double chin, trim my waist down about seven inches. How long you think it’s gonna take?”

I want to say an eternity. I hold my thought and said, “Oh, about two to three weeks. You have high metabolism. I can tell.”

A voice from the back.

“O’Leary, use wanna go out wit Gina Abbrighi? I can fix use up. She jus got done wit a bad breakup so use two got something in common,” said LC.

Yah, nobody likes either one. My thought remained silent.

I thought I heard the B word coming from the back seat, but I’m not sure and besides, it’s a family blog.

“Feed her donuts, O’Leary. She loves them. She’d like a dozen donuts more than a dozen roses,” said La Flor in a faux sincere voice.

“Gives me a week to go to them gym. I tink I’ll start laying off broccoli and spinach. Those go straight from the lips to the hips,” said O’Leary.

“Where’d you hear that?” I asked.

“From Joey G. He owns Joey’s donut shop.”

O’Leary felt his cell vibrate. He took it out of his pocket. Turned it on, read the text message. “French Furs was hit on the other side of town.”

O’Leary turned to the backseat, “They got some smarts; don’t know how they figured we’d be watching dis place; they hit Frenchy’s Furs on the udder side of town.”

“We’ll stay a few more minutes O’Leary in case they try to hit the Fur Palace knowing you left,” said La Flor.

“Use got brains to go wit that beauty,” said O’Leary as he closed the passenger side door.

“Besides, LC and me have a little unfinished business. Ray, keep watching the Fur Palace and turn the music up high.”

I don’t even have a cold cup of lousy coffee like they do on a TV stakeout.