Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Wise Bean

I have always been told that each experience in our lives is just another learning lesson. As stubborn as I am, I would kick and scream stating that I had learned nothing except for the fact that men are scumbags.

Men are not scumbags.

I couldn't quite understand what lesson I was supposed to learn from each experience I had. What was I supposed to learn from a cheating partner? What was I supposed to learn from the pig heads I went on dates with? what was I supposed to learn from backstabbing friends? How about the time that I went on and off with a guy for 3 years of my life, where was the lesson in that? In my eyes, I saw no lesson, but just a bitterness growing within my heart.

My poor heart went through the following phases...



During those phases, I didn't quite comprehend what I needed to learn, until now...

I don't exactly know when it happened or why it happened, but at some point I started to see the reality of things and noticed that each experience was indeed a lesson to be learned.

*When my ex partner cheated on me, I learned that I had the strength to surpass that.

*When I went out with the pig heads, I learned what I was looking for in a guy.

*When my friends back stabbed me and abandoned me in my time of need, I learned not to expect too much of friends and choose wisely.

*When my 3 year ex bf came back and forth, I learned to grow with and without him.

Of course there were other lessons I learned on the way, but I didn't quite understand them as I do now. It seems that the older I'm getting the wiser I am getting (and for once my brain is actually working without the stubbornness interfering).

A while back, I had gone out with a man that suited me well. I had trusted him with myself after a while, thinking that our compatibility and the strange connection I felt with him would give us the healthy relationship I wanted.

But not even that could sustain it and I ended up with a broken heart.

I couldn't quite understand what lesson I was to learn from all this and as I continued hurting, I made the mistake of a drunken make out session with him. We eventually talked things out, but in the midst of it all he suggested Friends with Benefits.

That nailed it. In any other time of my life, I would have probably said yes, but by now knowing what it was like to be a FWB and getting crushed in the process was not something I was willing to try again. So I refused the idea and when I did, something within me changed and a realization came into light.

I valued myself too much to the point of putting myself into a friends with benefits with someone I had feelings for. If he didn't want to be with me, then why give him cake? he doesn't deserve cake especially coming from someone like me.

So what did I learn from all of this? How to value myself, how strong I really am, how I know that I deserve better than just a FWB, that I shouldn't let fear control the things I want in life, that I don't have to be perfect to make someone happy and foremost that I love myself just the way I am and that's good enough for ME.

As for guys, they aren't scumbags just confused and demented.

Just kidding.

It took me a while to figure it all out, but in the end I'm glad that I came to learn from my experiences.

Hanny the coffee bean

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

European Flashback #2: Marseille, France!

December 2009 was an oldie but a goodie for me. I spent one week (and my New Year's Eve) in the town of Solliès-Toucas with my French BFF Michèle. It was thanks to her and her family that I discovered the city of Marseille by having a lovely dinner in the Vieux Port and taking a gander of the tower alabaster basilica that is Notre Dame de la Garde.

This was the nativity display featuring the terra cotta figurines known as the "Santons," the little saints. They depict not only the Holy family but also aspects of villagers in the 19th century.

This wall holds portraits that were commissioned by sailors who were grateful to Notre Dame de la Garde for having protected them overseas.

Those sailors were very thankful back then.

I was lucky to have been present for this sunset. With the elevation, the view was breath-taking.

The Old Port with Christmas decorations.

We also drove by the Velodrome stadium, where the football (soccer) team Olympique Marseille play.

During my trip, Michèle lent me her copies of Marcel Pagnol's Marius, Fanny et César to read. Also featured are my gifts of a little compact mirror and a pearl necklace.

The French dinner table, as I remember it best.

What would a Provençal home be without its little saints?

And the best part about Marseille?

The traffic jams by the sea. Whoot, whoot.

Barb the French Bean

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Heart You, Target...

...but you cannot SERIOUSLY expect me to ditch the first Thanksgiving I've celebrated with my family in over two years to go shopping at midnight on the very early morning of Black Friday.

You see, I have not been training and preparing for this day like the crazy blonde lady you've been showing in your ads since last year. You know, the one wearing a red track suit and doing bicep curls with loaded baskets of crap to buy.

Last year, the sales began at four a.m. Now, they will begin at midnight. Hasn't she been through enough already? If you ask me, I'd say that she needs help.

Haven't you thought about what she has been putting her family through since last year? For all I know, she probably was so caught up with the Black Friday frenzy that she totally forgot to make time to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for her husband and two young children. And her kids probably think their Mommy doesn't love them.

I don't wanna end up like her, so it ain't gonna happen.

Next year, if you or any of your conglomerate cronies announce that you all will have a pre-Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving day itself, then I think I might find a nice cave to live in so I could avoid society for the rest of my life.


Barb the French Bean

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This is What Happens on Dating Sites

As you may all know from my past Ok Cupid post, I have kept my account on Ok Cupid for fun. I kept getting messages that people kept checking me out, but I never went on Ok Cupid to see
what these messages were all about...until now.

I was checking my emails when a message caught my attention from a so called "Thenewguyforyou." With nothing much to do, I decided to check what the message was all about and so I signed into my account...

What a mistake.

I ended up reading at least 8 different messages and each one more ridiculous than the other, but nothing as creepy as what thenewguyforyou had to say to me.

Now obviously this HAS to be a joke because I really don't think a guy would tell me all this shit (though who knows anymore...).

I continued to read the messages to see what other "interesting" things these men would say to me...

Really?? What is up with sandwiches lately. I'm beginning to think this joke is getting old, though I must admit I would have replied with "Me making sandwiches? you're the man you should know how to make your own god damn sandwich."

A lot of the comments I've gotten have been very entertaining, but nothing as entertaining as getting a "spammy" message and if you get one of those on Ok Cupid, you get this message:

Oh Ok Cupid! You amuse me so, let me tell you in so many ways...

Yeah, he knows exactly what I've been dealing with.

Hanny the coffee bean

P.S: While I was writing this post, I got this message:

Was that supposed to work?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This is Why Europe is Great

Surfing on the computer, I started to reminisce of my well spent vacations in Europe. I must have been in my teenage years when I made my way to France, Italy, Belgium, England, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Venice in 2005

Arc de Triomphe (France of course)

Part of the Berlin wall (2005)

Brussels, Belgium

I remember it like if it was yesterday. The scooters and bicycles seen in multitudes around the Parisian streets, the gondolas passing through the ponte dei Sospiri in Venice, the homeless with their dogs (they ALL had dogs...) in Belgium, The double-decker buses around the Piccadilly Circus in England, the groups of people moving around the Vienna airport in Austria, the painting on the Berlin wall (whats left of it) in Germany, and the Switzerland markets full of delicious cheese of all kinds.

As I kept reminiscing, I started to think of all the reasons why Europe is so great.

1. A lot of their magazines are filled with freebies! In England, they sometimes give out gift cards and nail polish with their magazines for only 2 pounds.

2. They are not afraid of the human body. In the places I visited, they are accepting of the body to the point that nothing is as censored as in U.S.

3. There is so much to see. On one of my trips to France, I saw urinals outside near the Eiffel Tower where a concert was being held.

4. In Brussels they have a cool statue of a naked little boy peeing in the fountain. Who does that? Who has that?

5. They have great food and the fact that you can walk! They don't use their cars as much...why when you can walk, take the subway, train etc...

6. Shopping there is fantastic! you find the cutest things, amusing things and if you are lucky you will even find outside markets that sell fabulous items (I know i found some in Italy).

7. Bargains, Bargains and more Bargains! I must admit when I was in Europe I found stores around England that had a lot of great bargains!

8. Did I mention coffee shops and crepe stands? Imagine a beautiful scenery while you are enjoying your coffee or crepe outside enjoying the view.

Of course there is a long list as to why Europe is great and if I actually lived there I might actually find not so great things, but as a tourist I believe Europe meets my needs when it comes down to certain things and come on who doesn't like freebies in their magazines followed by a walk around beautiful scenery and waffles?? I know I do.

Hanny the coffee bean

(Yes I took those pics in 2005. I had more, but I cant find where I stored the rest.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Today, I Feel Like A Woman

Today, I, Barb the French Bean, asserted my feminine kitchen skills and made French baguettes for the very first time in my life.

Yes, today, I made my bread-baking ancestors proud by using nothing but bread flour, water, salt and pungent active yeast that stunk up my kitchen.

(Mm. Can't you just feel the artisanal traditions of yore emanating from their misshapen golden brown crusts?)

Next time, I will add "a pinch of patience" to that list of ingredients.

You have my permission to laugh at how wonky they look, but don't you dare ask me to make a sammich with them. I make sammiches for NO ONE but myself.

(They went well with fried eggs and melted cheddar cheese.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Good Vs. Evil

Making a choice always seems to be a battle for me, especially when I have millions of different choices. However, two of these choices seem to stick out the most- good or evil.

There is that voice that tells you not to do it and then there is another voice telling you to do it. Of course I know not to do it, but deep down I want to do it.

Case #1: The sweet factor

There is always something you are not allowed to eat (if lucky, you can eat everything!), but in my case I should really, REALLY avoid sweets/desserts to maintain my healthy weight.

Case #2: Man hunt

Being single has put me in quite a pickle- who's going to buy my drinks now? Hence, why I am very tempted to hunt men down, flirt with them and get my drinks...

Case #3: Max out

Having credit cards in my wallet makes it hard for me not to want to get my very expensive Digital SLR Camera.

Case #4: Trip the bastard

That one person that just frustrates you enough that you want to injure him or just trip him as he walks happily towards his destination...yeah I get those all the time.

There's plenty of things that I have to make choices on and inevitably I tend to choose the evil choices sometimes (Okay so it could be avoidable), but in all fairness it does depend on the situation and only I am responsible for which choice I pick (even if tripping one of the many bastards in my life does seem like a good idea).

Hanny the coffee bean

Under Construction

You may have noticed that the blog's header that rocked such drawings as Demon Chihuahua, Copulating Snail , Poker King Kong and Ninja Squirrel has vanished!

Well, no need to panic, dear readers, because this is leading up to a NEW and IMPROVED header that will appear...some time soon. Some technical difficulties may or may not ensue.

So, yeah. Chillax.

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Beans

Edit: Just in case you were wondering what happened to the Demon Chihuahua, here is a photo of her after I've asked her if she could give me any job search tips.

Friday, November 11, 2011

European Flashback: Murcia, Spain!

I've been a bad blogger.

A really bad blogger.

Do any of you vaguely recall that I went to Spain in May? Were you expecting to see various photos of said trip and had your hopes dashed when they never appeared?

I only have on explanation for that: I've been a really bad blogger. I mean, come on, people, I went to SPAIN and I never blogged about it!

Fortunately, I happen to be a firm believer of PICS, OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN. So, six months later, I have finally come to my senses and I will do a series of therapeutic posts to ease my crying after having left Europe bi-weekly posts regarding my previous trips around Spain, France and maybe even Italy in 2010 (Italy happened when this blog was a mere twinkling in the eye).

Without further ado...I present Murcia, Spain 2011!

I teamed up with two of my cousins and they set off to give me a tour of the city center.

This is a statue commemorating the sardine fishers of yore. Of course, my guy cousin, who has a warped blogger-esque sense of humor, claimed that it commerated the foundation of the first Ku Klux Klan chapter in Murcia...and my other cousin believed him.

I soon learned that sardines are a big deal in the south of Spain, so much that the river has a sardine water fountain swimming in it.

Vibrant colors marked what would otherwise been just another cloudy day.

Two things I love are fountains and the color red, so seeing this fountain surrounded by crimson flowers in the Downtown area made me go just a little bit giddy!

Even the public garbage cans demonstrate the sardine fishermen.

Water for all! As my cousin explained, the south of Spain is very arid and often lacks the necessary resource of water. My cousin commented that the poster in question took on a somewhat political air.

I look drunk here. Drunk from the happiness of red flowers and fountains!
I can't really recall seeing statues of cardinals displayed in France.

Based on his pose, maybe the Cardinal also studied martial arts?

And this I certainly would have never seen in France (way too secular to display mega-sized posters of religious personalities). It's interesting to travel to different countries and see how they vary from one another.

The cathedral sitting in the public square is one of the most impressive that I've seen in years! Let's take a look around...

This was the view right in front of the Cathedral.

Ceramic street signs? Yes, please.

Our afternoon stroll made a pit stop at an ice cream shop in the plaza.

I discovered so many yummy things in Spain, and helado de nata was one of them. "Nata," in Spanish, means "milk cream," a.k.a. "that filmy disgusting layer of milky fat that forms after you've boiled milk at a certain temperature." For the sake of vouching for how delicious this ice cream really is, let's all just think of milk cream ice cream. It's so good that I honestly wish it were sold in the United States.

So, if you ever go to Murcia, you absolutely must stop by this ice cream shop and at least have one scoop of nata ice cream. Or two. Two scoops of different flavors! Nata y chocolate!

...Can anybody tell that I'm currently in Ice Cream Nirvana just by thinking about this place?

Nata ice cream time eventually made way to a night time stroll in the city.

El Corte Inglés = The Macy's of Spain

And I want THIS giant ladybug to be in my local playground!

Here are pretty much the same pictures of the same things, except we now have the added benefit of seeing them in the sunshine! I find that natural sunlight does justice in bringing the colors to come to life.

This is Alphonse X, the Wise. You WILL respect this man.

You will also respect Chewbacca...

...And Darth Vader.

This poster announces a day of solidarity to honor the Lorca earthquake. It truly was a disaster.

And here are a few shots of things that didn't quite fit into place.

Ladies and Gents, take note: "Love is a strategic game..."

Who else thinks that we need this store in the U.S.?

The local Football (soccer for us Yanks) team has their own merchandise stand in the mall!

"I only went to get a belt!" Apparently, Spanish guys always get something more in the malls.

I think it's safe to say that blonde is not the look for me...

Barb the French Bean