Monday, August 27, 2007

Think tropical

I'm off for an extra long weekend vacation... I'm looking forward to dipping my feet into some beautiful blue waters.

In the meantime, I highly recommend peaking in on the San Diego Zoo's Pandacam and the newborn panda sleeping with Mama, Bai Yun. It's such a peaceful sight.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Smaller and leaner

The layoffs came as expected. Everyone was on pins and needles the afternoon beforehand. We all expected to receive an e-mail in the late afternoon announcing meetings in the morning. At least, that's what happened in the last round.

For whatever reason, they changed the format this time. Perhaps it was because fewer people were being laid off. Instead, this time, it was a matter of whether the calendar appointments that magically appeared on your calendar (time stamped 7pm the previous night) were individual meetings with your manager and/or HR.

My inbox showed a group meeting for 10am. There was one person missing from the e-mail. Soon after, I saw her walk by to join the VP for a meeting. It could only mean she was getting a package. Our admin noted that when she left the office, he had a large, white envelope in his hand. She's a smart gal, so it's unfortunate that we're losing her. It wasn't really a surprise, however, given that she has recently moved and was trying to work remotely. In my limited experience, the level of communication with her had gone down considerably because of her physical absence.

The biggest heartbreak for me was learning that my former boss, the person who brought me into the company, was let go. Savant was key to the company's early success with the product. It's rare to meet someone who is so sharp and strategic. I think Savant has known the writing was on the wall for months. It was growing more obvious that he was not coming in as early as before, nor did he take his computer home at night.

I learned a lot from Savant. It was great to have such a positive and supportive manager. Many of us were very loyal to Savant, so it's hard to imagine what the office will be like going forward.

People are mostly taking the layoffs well. There is a minority of people who are making things difficult. They've been asked to continue working through the end of the year to help transition their roles. Naturally, you can guess that some people are resentful and not wanting to help out as much with day-to-day duties they would normally have done. It's causing some feathers to get ruffled.

That said, I also worry about the comments people have made in groups about those people. One person in particular, Lido, who I must work with on a regular basis, is lacking in sensitivity. While I understand his frustration (and there is a history of clashes between the two), Lido lacks professionalism in his behavior.

Recently, we had a meeting to update some managers about the upcoming changes in the organization. Lido is working with his team to get some projects approved and has run into roadblocks. The managers asked when he estimated the projects would be approved. His comment to the twenty-some people in the room was, "Today hopefully, assuming that [said person] had taken her medication today."

Most people laughed at the comment because there is a strong sense of comradery in that group. Personally, I think that was a very harsh comment that's uncalled for and quite improper. It makes me wonder what he says about me behind my back. I don't know that I really want to be around Lido much, but I have to work with him (thank goodness he's not my manager). My other people (at least the women I've talked to) all find him uncomfortable to work with because he's difficult to read and has an unpredictable mood.

Obviously, these next few months are going to be filled with a variety of challenges. While I'm thankful to still have a job, part of me would have been just as content to say "adios." This will never be the place that it once was.

For now, I tell myself this is a good opportunity to build some other managing skills. I for one am someone who learns best by doing. As much as I hate conflict, I know it will help me do things better in the future. Six months from now, I'll re-evaluate and think about whether it's time to change jobs.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What does this mean?

Sale? The two words don't seem to have any relationship to each other. And yet... I look up one of my deal finding site and scroll down much farther than I normally would to find this:

*************************************************** 72-hour sale: Up to 88% off membership fees

Online dating service takes up to 88% off its membership fees via this
link. For example, get 6 months for $4.25/month, or $25.50 total. It's the best membership deal we've seen from Discount ends August 25.
Hotness: hotness: 3/5
Posted 7 hrs, 21 mins ago

I'm still trying to believe this. It's like skipping one latte and scone per month. What could motivate them to offer this? Was this meant to be a special deal for a select group of people. Is this the slow time of the year for dating? Did they know it would end up on the Internet for everyone to take advantage of?

Seriously, I post this for all you readers that might want to give it a go and share your adventures on your blog for me to read. ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sorry, my interpreter is not here

This is another one of those examples of me failing to take things at face value, reading too much into things, or general cluelessness.

I stopped by the library after work yesterday to return some books. I happened to spot a space directly in front of the building entrance. Remembering the fine parallel parking lessons given to me by Mr. R (who was also our math teacher), I pulled forward to line myself up with the car ahead of my space.

As I was backing in, I noticed a guy crossing the street. He stopped just before passing in front of me to look back at his car, pointing his key fob back towards his car. I didn't think much of it other than, "he must have forgotten to lock his car."

Just about when half my car has passed the left corner of the front car, I turned my wheel counterclockwise to begin straightening into the parking space. My eyes moved up to the rear view mirror to see how close I was to the minivan behind me.

Momentarily distracted by the fact I was a tad too far away from the curb, I stopped to realize that it looked like I was about the hit the minivan. After driving a sedan for ten years having rear cargo space is tough to adjust to because I tend to think I'm closer to objects than I actually am. I don't think I hit the minivan.

I tried to move myself in closer to the curb but gave up after one attempt. My stop would probably be less than 10 minutes so why fret over a parking job that few people would notice.

To take advantage of the warm weather, I was dressed in a deep blue, ruched shirt that picked up the blue circles in my geranium pink and yellow skirt. I walked in and headed straight for the return slots. As I turned to my left, I quickly noticed a guy waiting in the circulation line. He seemed to be glancing at me.

Once I had dropped off my books, I walked around the circulation to find a book. As I passed the line, I realized the guy at the front of the line was the guy who had crossed the street earlier. He was probably in his 30s, dark-skinned (probably Indian), and wearing his sunglasses. He appeared to be having a friendly conversation with a slightly older woman behind him.

When I walked within 10 feet, he looked towards me (so I assume since he was wearing dark sunglasses) and commented, "nice parking job" in a lovely British accent.

I had no idea what to think of his comment. I simply put on a big smile and walked past the two of them. There was no sarcasm in his voice, he seemed perfectly normal. And yet, I wasn't sure why he was talking to me. My typical reaction is to think that somehow I'm being teased or made fun of. (Such is my reaction from many elementary years of playmate teasing.)

As I walked out of the library, I thought about the situation. Was he making fun? Did I almost bump him while I was trying to park? Was he simply being friendly? Was he trying to hit on me because I looked cute?

What should I have said or done?

I hopped in my car and got ready to leave. I couldn't help look over to where I thought he came from and saw a shiny, black Audi TT parked with generous spacing between it and the cars sandwiching it. The rim of the alloy wheel looked scratch from curb scrapes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yes, that's my name

I came across this article today. I thought it was amusing and shows that celebrities aren't the only people looking for novel baby names. Of course, Asians probably have a more justifiable reason for looking for something unique given the limited number of surnames. Imagine if a quarter of the population ended in Smith or Johnson.

Using a symbol like "@" reminds me of Prince. It's just a lame way to be named. Think about how much teasing this child may go through at school.

Of course, then I think about a friend of mine who complains that he can't write his own Chinese name because his dad had to pick the most complicated character for his first name. His dad is a very educated man who chose American names that had distinct meaning, but at least they were names you find in a baby book.

In this case, maybe it's a good thing the government can reject your paperwork.

Couple Tries to Name Baby 'At' Symbol

Thursday, August 16, 2007

(08-16) 08:21 PDT BEIJING, China (AP) --

A Chinese couple seeking a distinctive and modern name for their child chose the commonly used Internet 'at' symbol, much to the consternation of Chinese officials.

The unidentified couple and the attempted naming were cited Thursday by a Chinese government official as an example of bizarre names creeping into the Chinese language.

The father "said 'the whole world uses it to write e-mails and translated into Chinese it means 'love him,'"' Li Yuming, the vice director of the State Language Commission, said at a news conference.

The symbol pronounced in English as 'at' sounds like the Chinese phrase "love him."

Written Chinese does not use an alphabet but is comprised of characters, sometimes making it difficult to develop new words for new or foreign things and ideas.

In their quest for a different name, Li said that the parents of baby '@' were not alone. As of last year, only 129 surnames accounted for 87 percent of all surnames in China, Li said, suggesting that the uniformity drove people to find more individual given names.

"There was even a 'Zhao-A,' a 'King Osrina' and other extremely individualistic names," Li said, according to a transcript of the news conference posted on the government's main web site, .

Li did not say whether police, who are the arbiters of names because they issue identity cards, rejected baby '@' and the others. But nationwide last year there were 60 million people's names that used "unfamiliar characters," Li said.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ghost town

As I mentioned, we all waiting for word of impending layoffs. People around me are pretty nervous. I had lunch with my old boss yesterday and she was acting as if she'll be cut. She kept saying how great it's been and what a wonderful ride we've had together. It was disconcerting to hear her say this with her always pleasant attitude.

Usually when I arrive, there are at least two or three people in their offices. Each day, it seems people arrive a little later and leave a little earlier. This morning, I came in at my usual time to find only one person in the area, the temp administrative person. No one else showed up until almost an hour later! I commented to the temp that I couldn't help wonder if I had missed a memo. What secret meeting was I not invited too?

I understand it's unnerving and worrisome to think about layoffs. We all want to know what's going to happen. Still, I don't understand this work ethic. If you are ready to go and don't care, fine, come late and leave early. I would probably behave that way a little. But if you want your job, shouldn't you still come at the normal hour? I don't necessarily work 100% or even 80% these days, but at least I'm present.

Even so, I think it's important to have a good attitude about your work and finish things so that others (including those you may need a recommendation from for that next job) see that you are a reliable and honorable person.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Messing with endings

I don't know... I love the show but I'm happy where it ended. Then I saw this the other day:

Chris Noth to return as Mr. Big in movie
The Associated Press
Article Launched: 08/10/2007 11:30:37 AM PDT

NEW YORK—Mr. Big and Carrie Bradshaw will be together again, this time on the big screen.

Chris Noth, who played Sarah Jessica Parker's love interest on HBO's "Sex and the City," is slated to reprise his role in a feature film spun from the long-running TV series.

Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon will also reprise their roles for the romantic comedy, to be distributed by New Line Cinema in association with HBO.

"There is no need for funeral arrangements," said Michael Patrick King, who will direct the film. "I assure you that Mr. Big is a very 'big' part of the 'Sex and the City' movie."

"While I have not spoken to him myself, Chris Noth assures me that Mr. Big is alive and well and ready to report to the set in September," King said in a statement Wednesday.

King was one of the executive producers of the TV series, which ended in 2004.

What drama could they possibly create that would be realistic and could be neatly wrapped up in two hours? The only thing I can think of is a wedding and all the trite drama and slapstick associated with getting to the alter. They did such a great job leaving the ending simple and happy - why stir up trouble?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Where do my feet go?

My company is going through some big layoffs. We already went through some last year so people are rather ambivalent about this situation. I can still remember last year as we all crowded together between cubes asking the status of each other and others down the corridor. It was sad to watch as week after week people sent goodbye e-mails expressing the mixed emotions, remembering the good times and wishing everyone luck finding a new job.

Many signals had been floating around signaling this new wave of layoffs. The size of the layoffs was the unexpected part. We still have a mini-wave this week that could directly impact the people (including myself) who I interact with regularly. A few people already know and are taking it well. Frankly, we've all been here for awhile and perhaps this is a good way to get some people off their butts to find a better or new challenge. As sad as we all are to see people go, no one's particular sad about going.

My feelings about possibly leaving are very mixed. You may remember that last year I was expressing a yearning for taking a break or quiting. I was unhappy with my life in general which made being at work rather unappealing. Now, I'm in a position where I'm comfortable. I have a job that's not incredibly stressful but still interesting most of the time, and I have an incredibly easy commute.

I sat down with my manager the other day as part of our "regular" meetings. The timing was so that he naturally wanted to ask me how I'm feeling about the situation. It was difficult for me to answer because there are several components to my feelings. He probably sensed my ambivalence about my job status.

The past year has been okay. In every job, I'd say there are phases of boredom and phases of intense interest as projects come and go. Unfortunately, those phases of boredom have been more frequent the past couple of years, partially due to circumstance beyond anyone's control. Still, I've learned a good deal, taking on projects that required me to interact with different people and try new techniques. In the back of my mind, however, I had been feeling an itch to leave. Working on the same product for five years is a long time. I want to learn something new.

When the company relocated, however, my commute became so easy and the work load required little overtime. It was perfect because it gave me more time to enjoy myself with after-work activities. I've been experiencing wonderful work-life balance. That said, it's made me complacent about wanting to leave for my career's sake. I haven't had much interest in developing my career because I just wanted to be happy. This is something I chose not to really bring up with my boss. Who wants people to know that you aren't working that hard?

The factor that I chose to bring up was that about being part of the team. Most of the people who are my equal or above are men. The people I must work most closely with behave with somewhat of a "boys club" mentality. It's subtle, it's probably not completely intentional, but it's there. One person in particular is difficult to read. I am only one of several people who have expressed difficulty working with him.

I'm no social butterfly, there are things I need to learn and practice. But I'd like to think that I've tried to have casual conversations to get a read on what's happening and make suggestions about initiating projects that could be supportive to the department's goals and strategies. With all the "fire fighting" that's been going on for the past year, however, I feel like I've been left to guess and get second-hand hints of what happens. Our monthly department meetings haven't been held since... November? It's difficult for me to contribute with projects and information when I don't know what's happening. I think my boss appreciated that I want to be more involved.

I told my boss that I've been feeling underutilized. My work has been valuable, but once I share my results with people, it seems the run off with it and never talk with me about it again. It's weird to have others mention they've seen my work but I've had no involvement in what they saw. I'm trying not to take this personally, my stance is more that, as a department, I'm not being consulted about things. How can I do my job when I can't see how people react and what actions or discussion arise from my work?

My manager acknowledged some of these deficiencies. I ever offered that if there was something I was failing to do that I'd appreciate some suggestions or pointers on how to improve. It was scary to say all this, but I knew it was important to voice my concerns.

He also asked me about my future plans. First, he asked where I see myself in five years. I told him that somewhere along the line that I'd like to try a slightly different career path to test my interests. If that didn't work out, then I'd come back to my current career. My answer didn't seem to give him what he was looking for, so he narrowed the time range and asked what I'd like to be doing in two years. The answer for that was easy, I told him I want to be working on a different product. The minute I said it, I wondered if I was putting myself at risk. Does this signal to him that it's not in his interest to keep me?

In terms of how I'm feeling about the layoffs, I told him of my ambivalence. I said it's hard no matter what because we went through this last year. Being in an atmosphere where people are scared and distracted, it's tough to be productive. He made it clear that I needed to tell him whether or not I want to be here. The implication in his tone and his facial expression implied to me that if I wanted to be laid off, he'd make sure I got the package. My response was that I enjoy what I do but that's it's difficult in this environment. Hopefully, he also understands that I won't stay if the communications issues don't improve.

It's all a little scary. As much as he hinted that he wants to keep someone in my position, I'm not willing to bet money that I still have a job. Our sister department knows all but for sure they will all be losing their jobs. It's weird to be so open with someone, you never know how much you can trust management. I think for the most part, my boss is a decent person. That said, I know there's a part I can't trust because he has to do what's best for the company (and his buddies). Perhaps I should more firmly express my desire to be here to ensure that I keep my job. But frankly, my ambivalence keeps me from making that effort.

Taking the package is tempting, I would have enough money from the severance to not work through Christmas. Gosh, it would be nice to have some free time eh? I've always wanted to be one of those people who spend hours at the library in the middle of the work day. Then again, what are the chances of getting hired during the holidays? And, sometimes, it's kind of nice to go out on your own terms rather than be pushed out. If I knew for sure what I wanted my next job to be, I would be more tempted to leave, but since I'm still trying to figure that out, I want to enjoy my comfortable position for now.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

What's what

I received the following "article" in an e-mail from one of the dating sites that still has me on their mailing list. It's always good to reread these kinds of lists because they help to focus all those silly ideas, feelings, and questions that are floating around inside one's head. In the past I've often found it hard to describe some of the ideals and needs that I look for in a guy. This seems like a very good set of basics. I think it's a very fair list of traits that people could keep in mind when assessing a relationship.

What's important?

The key to dating well is to know yourself and your partner deeply enough to be able to accurately observe the ways that you interact from the beginning stages of the relationship’s development. The feeling of new love is like nothing else, but if you are completely swept away in emotion to the point that you are ignoring obvious incompatibilities, you might find that months and maybe even years down the road that you feel "cheated" in your relationship. By ignoring the following seven similarities you could be missing out on a much more satisfying and happy relationship.

When I read it this time, it reaffirmed some of the choices I've made in my life. It reminded me about why my guy is often right and where sometimes my rationale for decisions is sometimes unrealistic. Attitudes and priorities change as you grow older, no answer is perfect. The best you can do is be honest with yourself about who you are versus who you want to be at that point in time.

1. Spiritual Harmony
Although not always referring to religious affiliation, spiritual harmony refers to a shared perception of God or a higher power as well as how much weight spiritual belief weighs in on your life. It is about the relationship of spirituality in your life. If you are religious or very spiritual and your partner has a very low level, there may be problems, especially if marriage and children follow.

I'm not religious, so it goes to say that I'd prefer someone who is similar. I dated someone Catholic in college. I learned a lot, and I know I don't want to deal with that again.

2. Desire for Verbal Intimacy and Ability to be Intimate
Intimacy is what romantic relationships are all about—emotional intimacy, mental intimacy, physical intimacy, and for many spiritual intimacy. A committed, monogamous relationship is a special union in which you can share the most intimate sides of yourself and so can your partner with you. As part of sharing this intimacy, there are three key factors: the ability to connect with another through caring, interest and compassion, the ability to express, and the ability to listen well. Beyond those skills, both partners must have mutual desire to get to know the other on all of these levels. Love is a total package, and one that must be wanted equally by both parties.

This one is very important even though I would never say I'm very good at it. My problem is that, in the past, I've bottled up feelings when I've **really** liked a guy. I'm afraid to rock the boat or scare him off by talking about my hopes for a future together. I also fear showing a side of me that seems insecure or annoying because they will like me less or realize they don't want to be with someone who acts like that. It's something I've worked on through friends, through my therapist. I also need to know that he'll tell me what he's thinking when he's brooding in the corner. I can't read minds, and it's totally frustrating when it's brushed off as nothing.

3. Energy Level
The energy level of a person may sound like something simple, but it can affect many things about a person, including other key similarities partners should share such as ambition level, interests and personal habits. If the disposition of your partner is more low-key and your disposition is all about high energy wave-making, you can be sure that there will be future problems to contend with—you’ll want to go, go, go, and your partner will feel pressured and may even pressure you to slow down, down, down.

This is definitely important. I don't want a couch potato but I could never keep up with a party-hopper. Sometimes I wish I'd done more of the clubbing scene in my twenties, but it's just not my pace. I like being up at a decent hour, like 9am, because so much can get done before noon. I've never understood people who wake up at noon on weekends.

4. Ambition Level
Differences in ambition levels can wreak havoc in relationships because work and achievement is such a large part of our culture, and work in most cases is necessary for survival. Those who are highly goal-driven will have a hard time understanding why their partner seems to be "aimless" or is not interested in accomplishing anything, when to their partner, they may seem like they never take time to stop and simply enjoy life for what it is. And yet, life for what it is to the ambitious is work and achievement. Therefore, ambition level is best when relatively similar.

This has definitely been a reason for not wanting to continue dating one guy. He would constantly complain about his company and his job and yet he stayed there for years. Even now, (we're still friends) he has a somewhat aimless career. It would have driven me nuts. I have no interest in being the wife of a CEO who's never home, but certainly I want someone who cares and nurtures their career.

5. Role Expectations
Not just about traditional roles of who stays home and who works, role expectations can involve everything from who does particular household tasks such as shopping and taking out the trash to who pays on a date to how a person should dress. Role expectations should be similar and compatible. It is not so important what the roles chosen are, but that both partners enjoy and are happy with mutual expectations that partners have for each other.

I don't think I consciously think about this, not this comprehensively. I do always joke about who's going to cook or fold laundry so this descriptor captures the bigger pictures. I'd like to have it be fairly equal but I think there are just some things that one person will do better than the other. I'm not June Cleaver though it might be fun to try for a few months.

6. Interests
Relationships are built on love, attraction, compatibility and a history of shared experiences. Interests help to create those shared experiences that become memories of happy moments spent together. Looking back, participating in particular interests becomes evidence of the good times and love that you have shared. While all interests do not have to be the same, and partners can introduce really enjoyable independent interests, the major ones should be relatively similar. If your idea of a Saturday involves a beach chair and a great new bestselling book, but your partner is more into hiking, biking and rock climbing on his days off, or if your partner’s idea of riveting entertainment is rental movies and take out on a Saturday night but you’re already dressed and ready to go out to paint the town red, you may want to reconsider whether your interest aligns enough for a long-term relationship.

This is definitely something that makes a difference. The one thing that can be hard to tell is whether a hobby someone has is something incompatible or something that you need to give a good try. My cousin has dated men who were into the outdoors. She tried camping once, but it wasn't fun. She's an urban girl. Her tolerance is a half-day hike within 20 miles of modern facilities. On the other hand, CC's sister-in-law was a total urban girl until she started dating her current boyfriend. She couldn't stop talking about his awesome body, now goes camping with him often, and works out constantly. They never would have imagined her new-found interest in the outdoors. When I look at couples I know, it definitely seems to be a better fit if they enjoy similar things like playing piano, board games, cooking, parties, traveling. It's amazing how long couples can debate, even argue, over the color they want to paint the house and what fabric and style to choose for new drapes.

7. Personal Habits
Personal habits are often overlooked during the "honeymoon stage" of any relationship. In fact, even some of the most off-putting habits later declared as near-deal-breakers are even regarded as "cute" or endearing. Whether or not your partner is on time or runs chronically late, is clean or messy, is responsible financially or plays things more "loose"—all of these personal habits come into play. Additionally, habits like weight management or fitness activity level are equally important. There may be other personal habits that particularly resonate with you as being unacceptable—make sure you watch out for them and agree to come to terms with them; most times habits are hard to break and even harder when they’re not likely to change.

I'd guess this is the reason many people move in together before getting married. People want to know if they can get along. As much as two people might spend their time together, it's impossible to know these things unless you live in the same space and share responsibilities. There are things to be fixed, places to be cleaned, bills to be paid. A guy who's bachelor apartment is strewn with junk mail that's been collecting for years or who's bathroom hasn't been cleaned for 5+ years (yes, I have male friends like this) is going to have to change. Can he? I want someone who I believe wants to take care of himself. I don't want to be a mother who has to clean up after someone or remind him to watch his calories and salt intake. I have to admit, I want someone who wants to look attractive, though not someone who spends more time or money on it than me. For me, I still don't like the idea of living with someone until I'm engaged or married. Who knows what will actually happen, I just want to know there's serious commitment before I take that big step.

This list has been interesting because, often, when little things have bothered me about someone I've dated, I worried that I was being picky or looking for excuses. Seeing this list, however, reminds me that some of these little things can turn into bigger things if I don't talk them through to determine whether or not they are serious issues.

Nothing, of course, is ever perfect. There will always be compromise. I see from married friends that you learn to know how to pick your battles or present things in ways that minimize conflict. I don't know that I really understand the criteria for marriage. There's so much uncertainty involved compared to dating because you have to think about the long term.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Say no to pot pies

Last week, I decide not to cook, and I forgot my lunch leftovers at work. So, I pulled out one of the frozen Marie Callender's pot pies I've had in the freezer for a couple weeks. These days, I try not to buy a lot of prepared frozen meals, but there are just those days when it's nice to have some for backup.

Pot pies are a comfort food for me. I remember eating many of those Banquet meat pies at home as a kid. I just loved eating the hot filling and flakey crust as I watched cartoons.

I've perfected the speed at which I cook these pies. The problem with the box instructions is that the microwave fails to cook the crust properly and the oven just takes too darn long. The best compromise I've found is to microwave the pie for 7-8 minutes and then pop it in the toaster oven for 5-10 minutes. It's great because the filling is hot and I still get my flakey crust.

As I popped my turkey pie into the over, my eyes caught a glance of the nutrition label on the back of the box. You know, that lovely black and white rectangle that reminds you whether you're eating healthy.

My first glance was the calorie content per serving, 530 calories. Things seemed to register rather slowly in my head because before I could decide whether that was a reasonable number of calories to be consuming, my eye had moved up to a little box that appeared to have been added in hindsight just above nutrition label. The box was sized just enough to fit the one line of text which read:

"This entire box contains 1060 calories."

Say WHAAAAAT! Holy cow!!! Okay, I know these pies can't be super healthy, but that super unhealthy. They are big, but I can't see feeling full after eating half of one. It must be all the cream in the sauce and the pie crust. I'm really sad because this means that I can't go buying these much in the future. 1060 calories is more than half of the calories I should be eating in one day.

No wonder Americans are so overweight these days, look what we're being sold in the stores! (Take a look at this obesity map CNN created.) You know people are living off fast food and frozen meals rather than cook something from scratch. Evil, evil food manufacturers.

I've been eating much healthier in the past week - lots of farmers' market veggies (heirloom tomatoes are awesome) and fruits. (Okay, I do have homemade chocolate ice cream in the freezer, but I only eat a scoop a day.) But gosh, sometimes I do miss that fattening and salty flavors.