Train of thought -Pancakes, boobs and normalcy

Photo by Martini Captures

The pancake boobs story

In the building where I lived with my parents in Panama, the community of neighbors knew everybody's business. The children especially (of which I was one) knew absolutely everything that took place behind supposedly closed doors. Most of our information came from what we overheard as we played our games on the common-ground landings of every floor level. These areas could be accessed via the building's main stairway and from them, we had the ability to look in on most apartments as well as listen to ongoing conversations so long as we were quiet enough to not give our clandestine presence away. This is how we were privy to the goings-on at apartment 2A.

Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez had been on the outs in their relationship for quite a while. Both were highly volatile people and they fought true to soap opera style scripts. Hers were the accusations of late nights spent drinking and carousing with other women. His were the disgruntlements of a macho husband who thought himself improperly attended to by his wife. In the unraveling of their marriage, what passion they still had for each other was reserved exclusively for the purpose of lacerating name-calling and painful dissections of their personal habits and behaviors. Mrs. Gonzalez for example, could fly into the most awful fury when Mr. Gonzalez was found to have used her eyebrow tweezers for pulling out his nose hairs. By the same token, Mr. Gonzalez would wax foul on Mrs. Gonzalez's breath and accused her of being an affected cigarette smoker who, to his view, appeared harlot-fake rather than the lady-sophisticated whenever she lit up.

The constantly riveting marital fireworks ended the day Mr. Gonzalez walked out on Mrs. Gonzalez for good. According to our kid sources (and I'll admit that I was so sorry to have missed the final episode of their saga) Mr. Gonzalez slammed their apartment door in her face with this bloodying parting shot: "the reason I'm leaving you is that your tetas (boobs) are like pancakes. They are flat, as flat as a pancakes and I'm tired of looking at your pancake tetas pretending they are boobs..."

He really must have been, tired of looking at them that is, because he never returned to live in our building and they divorced just a few months later. Forever after, the abandoned Mrs. Gonzalez was known to us all, children and adults alike, as Mrs. Tetas de Pancake.

The three rivers story

Speaking of tetas, when my sister and I were quite young, my parents used to drive to my godmother's beach house almost every weekend. On the road to the beach there were three bridges we had to cross. Usually, as we approached the first one, my mother would start throwing warning glances at us sitting in the back seat of the car. Once the giggles began, she would try to intimidate us into silence with her evil-mother-look but even that was not enough to stave off our paroxysms of giggling. You see, the first bridge crossed a medium-sized river called Tetas, and though we thought that was funny enough already, that the second bridge was named Tetitas which in essence means 'little boobs' was just too hilarious for words but, the clincher was always the last bridge, the one that went over a wider, fuller tributary than the other two. Someone with a sense of humor had named this one Tetotas which translates into 'enormous boobs.' Tell me that had you been our age, this would not have seemed like the funniest thing in the world to you...

How I eat my pancakes story

Speaking of pancakes, I'm very particular about how I choose to eat mine, which is one of the reasons why I prefer the pancakes I make myself (it's not for nothing that my sister crowned me the Queen of pancakes early on in life). Firstly, I drizzle honey in Pollock-ian patterns along its surface. The quicker the better mind you since pancakes cool off rapidly and I must have that first honeyed bite when it is still hot enough to burn. Once the honey has been added, I start on the crispy edges. Crispy pancake edges dripping in honey are about the best part of the pancake and as far as I'm concerned, I could stop there with just the edges but, to leave a circular center of uneaten pancake smacks of craziness and I wouldn't want anybody to think that I don't eat my pancakes the way normal people do.

The 'are you normal?' story

Speaking of normal, my husband tells a story about an expat he was once introduced to when he lived in Baku. According to him, she explained to all and sundry in a most vampish-sounding accent, how she was of noble Polish blood and then went on to regale everyone with stories of her colorful past. Her most defining trait however, was that for no apparent reason she had a disconcerting habit of stopping people mid-way through a conversation to ask them this rhetorical question: You are not normal? Yeeees?

On my un-normal days, M teases me gently by mimicking the Polish lady's question back at me and, if I ever answered it the way I should, I'd have to go with no, clearly, I'm not normal. Witness this post, I call it exhibit A.


  1. The bluenoses in America would never allow a bridge to be named "Boobies." They'd be afraid of corrupting the children.

  2. Once again a really great & humorous post ! Really made me smile this Sunday .... your blog is great & if you click here you will see an award which I am passing on to you -:

  3. Well, it does seem as though you are quite normal - for you. Really, that's all any of us can hope for, no? And is the moral of the story that Mrs. Gonzalez only known how to properly drizzle a litle honey, Mr. Gonzalez might never have walked out on her?

  4. Excellent words and thoughts!

    Poor Mrs. Tetas de Pancake!

    I would like to taste pancakes created by the Queen of Pancakes!

  5. I love all the pancake stories, especially Mrs. Tetas...poor woman, did the children call her this name to her face?

    As to that certain Polish woman in Baku...ask M if by chance she was from Croatia? She sounds very much like someone I knew there...oh the stories she used to tell!

  6. Half-Past Kissin' TimeJuly 2, 2008 at 4:38 PM

    Milena, you are far from normal, which is one of the reasons I love you :)

    You are a wonderful storyteller. Mrs. Tetas de Pancake; too funny!

    Please read your email!!! (or are you avoiding me?!)

  7. Thomas: Actually, maybe the bluenoses aren't so blue. Ever heard of Grand Teton? Let's just say that Teton is bigger, waaay bigger than tetotas. Think -- ginormous.

    Lynda: Well aren't you the sweetest. Thank you. I feel truly honored. Next to the awards that Jennifer (http://thursdaydrive.com) and B. from (www.halfpastkissingtime.com have given me, this Arte y Pico will go up on my virtual bookshelf to admire and hold close to my heart. Thank you for finding me deserving of it.

    Ron: Do I sense a double entendre here? "normal, for you..." ;-)
    anyway, I know what you mean.
    I am terribly normal aren't I? Don't know why I would ever think I wasn't especially by comparison to other people I know...

    Oh! So true about the honey dribbling, oh wait, you said drizzling... makes a world of difference in meaning that. About as much as being called just plain Mrs. Tetas versus Mrs. Tetas de Pancake.

    Nick: Now, Nick, what is so excellent about the pancake story? This I am just DYING to hear.

    Poor thing is right. I actually felt guilty after writing this post but really, who in Panama would ever know about this... right? I mean... oh never mind. You don't know who she is so no harm done.

    You shall have your pancake dear Nick. Seriously. My pancakes are to die for good. I make them from scratch. They are fluffy and toasty crunchy around the edges and fat in the middle and the underside is never burnt and I always get them to just become the most beautiful golden color. I'm also innovative. You want healthy pancakes? I'll make them low fat and with wheat flour one for you. Glutten free but not chewy? - you got it. With fruits? All kinds. If you are a fan of Disney, I can make them look like Mickey with chocolate chips for eyes and nose and mouth. Reza loves these. I can even make a cat one for Alex. Pancake Queen's honor on that.

    Suzanne: No of course not! Even though we WERE mean little heathens. She knew however, we all knew she knew. It is that kind of unfortunate happening that once set in motion, takes a life of its own. We were never able to take it back. I'm ashamed of that.

    Yes, she's the one, I was trying to preserve a bit of anonymity in case the Baku crowd read the post. Masoud concurs in the great story department.

    B.: I love you too hon. Thank you. I'm not avoiding you. How can you possibly say that? I've just been lagging a bit in the reply to my e-mails department. Get back to you in a bit.

  8. Even as an adult, I would giggle at those bridges. I'm sure of it.

    I wish my pancakes (the ones made of flour, ahem) would turn out an perfect as yours sound. Lessons, please. Lessons.

    You tell marvelous stories. This one made me laugh!

  9. tetitas.
    so that's what they are called, she says to herself while standing nekkid in front of a mirror.
    hi miley.
    i have been swamped with life.
    have not had the chance to catch up with all of you.
    hang on, i will email you.



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