For the longest time (like two years ago when I decided to create this blog), I didn’t want to be on the internet. I had things to say and I wanted a venue to say them, but I didn’t want people finding me. I didn’t want the internet world and the real world intersecting. It seemed like it would get complicated. People find you on Facebook, but you don’t necessarily want them knowing every detail of your life (aside from what you post as your Status every ten minutes). It’s not like I ever talk poorly about friends, family, or work – but sometimes it’s nice to have a clear boundary between your worlds.
Then it started getting complicated trying to keep everything separate. In reality, everything in my life is so intertwined that it’s almost silly to try and organize them differently. So, here I am. Who am I? Well, let me introduce myself.
I’m Leanne, a 30-something in Poway, California living what one could call an idyllic life. I graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and work in San Diego as a civil engineer (doing water/wastewater planning). This is the only time you’ll hear me talk about where I work (I can learn about work-blogging fiascos from other bloggers, thank you). For the last seven years, I’ve been involved with the local section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and their Younger Member Forum. Through that organization, I’ve met countless other engineers through the country (and internationally) and had the opportunity to participate in numerous community service events. It may be considered professional networking, but it has an enormous social component to it. It’s also how I met my
boyfriend fiancé husband.
Through a combination of savings, timing, and generous parents, I live in a nice house with a large backyard. It took me a couple of years to figure out how to maintain all the landscaping, but with some help from Travis and a functioning lawnmower, I think we’ve got it under control. It probably also helps that we did a complete front and back yard overhaul that eliminated most of the grass in our yards. Every year my garden gets bigger and better and we reap the bounty of tomatoes, squash, and garlic. We have fig, pear, guava, lemon, and orange trees that are producing, and we planted a new aprium tree that will hopefully start giving fruit soon.
We share our home with three dogs, a cat two cats, and two
four three chickens. If we were zoned for a goat, I might have one. If miniature cows existed, I would definitely have one.
Everyone has something that has been a constant throughout their life, whether it’s art, music, friends, family, animals, writing, or just zoning out. For me, that constant has been food. I don’t know when it started or what got me focused, but that’s what it is. I’ve watched my mom bake since I was little and the only time I’ve suffered poor cooking was the year I had to eat meals from the Campus Housing meal plan. Food sustains me. I’m happiest cooking a good meal for friends or just for Travis. I love baking something warm and sweet, enjoying a bite, and then sending the rest off to one of our offices. I’ll read through cookbooks or magazines like they were an intriguing novel. A good meal makes me happy, a bad one actually makes me sad. Like the dogs, sometimes a good cookie is all I need to cheer me up.
Sometime in 2004, I came across someone’s review of a recipe she said she had tested for a recipe site. Having too much time on my hands and thinking it would be fun, I signed on as a recipe tester for Leite’s Culinaria. I’m proud and honored to now be considered one of their Senior Recipe Testers. The site publishes recipes from cookbooks, but because of their extensive testing process, you can be assured that any recipe on that site will work. If it doesn’t, it gets re-tested and if it fails, it’s taken off. I’m just as honored that David Leite let me participate as a recipe tester for his first cookbook, The New Portuguese Table. If anything, testing recipes keeps me in the kitchen and expands the types of dishes I’m comfortable cooking. It’s broadened my interests and gives me a reason to step out of the engineering world for a while. My job may be a practical decision, but it pays my bills; being part of a food community fuels my passion.
Since starting this blog, I’ve also done product reviews for MS&L. Sometimes, it’s looking at a website; others it’s reviewing actual products sent to me. This blog is also part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher Program and Tastemaker Program. Any reviews published here will distinctly describe whether I’ve received the product as part of a review campaign or it’s something I’ve purchased on my own and just happen to love.
Since he’s all over Facebook, I figure Travis won’t mind my posting his picture for all the Internet to see. I’m not so worried that random Googling will bring any crazy stalkers here, anyway.
I could talk volumes on how awesome he is, but that probably only makes me seem spoiled. Oh, wait. I am spoiled. If I cook, he does the dishes. Sometimes, if I’m tired or stressed, he’ll cook AND clean up. I buy the groceries and make Costco runs, he takes me out for dinner. He moved into a house full of dogs, fur, and sometimes-cluttered counters, but he’s still here and I haven’t heard him complain much. He takes out the trash and mows the lawn (if I clean it up first). He’s helped me fence my garden, protect the chickens, and fill in holes created by digging dogs. He muscled through our kitchen demolition and spent hours in a dust mask to cut through the stucco around the kitchen window.
Travis makes sure I’m warm enough, even if that means putting a jacket in the car against my protests. A jacket I often end up wearing because I am, in fact, too cold. When I get cranky and unreasonable when I’m hungry, he just steers me towards food and waits for me to come to my senses (it usually only takes a bite or two). He doesn’t even get mad at me for being all crazy-from-hunger!
He’s taken over the garage with his beer brewing and motorcycle keeping. On the flip side, he’s also organized the garage and keeps it clean. I’ve learned how to ride a motorcycle, shoot a gun, sleep in a tent, and use a saw because of him.
What can I say? I love him, and I’m lucky he loves me back.
Photos of our adventures get posted on our Shutterfly site.
You can read what I used to say about us, before I decided to out myself on the Internet.