Sunday, February 28, 2010

the bedroom floor: a mini-saga

We wanted to paint our bedroom last weekend. So we took a trip to Kwall house, bought some lovely lavender paint, brushes, etc. and got home. As I arranged things in the room I began sweeping the floor. Sweeping and focusing on all the stains, scratches, unfinished surfaces, and future splinters waiting to happen.

My mom had mentioned before it’s better to sand before you paint, so to the dismay of my husband, I switched up the agenda. We went to home depot, bough sandpaper, lacquer, stain, and rented a ginormous sander. Don’t get me wrong, just because we rented a big fancy sander, doesn’t mean the job was easy. Talk about sweat equity, Brad is a wonderful man. Soon, we had a beautiful smooth floor, so pretty.
Out came the Provincial stain (supposedly one of the lightest home depot has to offer). We tested a corner, it seemed a little dark…”oh well” we thought, it will lighten up and maybe we’re supposed to spread it thinner. Half a room later I stood back and looked at our floor, it was black, and orange. A Halloween floor. After all that work and basically forcing brad to go along with my crazy scheme I wanted to cry. All that work. That money. Black and orange. (This picture doesn't even do it justice, it was hideous.)

Chaos ensued at our household. What to do? We had already returned the sander, and we were burnt out. But the thought of leaving it uglier than it was before, after all that work, confused my soul. Back to home depot, a very nice man allowed me to take the sander again at no cost, and even hooked us up with some free floor finishings. (You might think the following picture is candid, what with the monkey-arm and all, but I actually set this up, then Brad called and I forgot about the timer. Home depot gave me an awesome attachment to a broom handle to make finishing the floor easier.)
In order to lighten the heavy load I had placed on Brad with this project, my mother enlisted as a volunteer to help with the cause. After the experience with “provincial” I became skeptical of stains, and decided to let the natural beauty of the pine speak for itself with a polyurethane finish. A few hours later I was a happy woman. I love our floor. And soon, I will love the whole bedroom. We just have to paint now, hang a few things, and decorate a bit. Thank you to Brad, mom, and Home Depot for making my floor dreams come true!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Food of Love

My husband and I shared our first Valentines together and in order to make it special I obviously had to revolve the day around food. I decided to make Msemen for breakfast, a "crepe" like flat bread that we had for breakfast each day on our honeymoon in Morocco. I make us each 2 just like we had there- one smothered with nutella and folded up, the other "fromage" with laughing cow's creamy swiss cheese. I decided to mix things up and threw some scrambled eggs in the cheese one.

For lunch I attempted to recreate one of our favorite meals from the Utah County days, Lomo Saltado (served with Papa a la Huancaina sauce). We frequented a wonderful Peruvian hole-in-the-wall restaurant called "El Rinconcito del Inca". It was basically a make-shift restaurant in a peruvian family's basement with no more than 5 tables. Everyone who worked there was part of the Peruvian family, except this one random Scandinavian who spoke little English, I never did figure out his role there, but it just added to the quirky uniqueness of the location. I've driven past there several times since they took their sign down, I wish I knew what happened to them... I've got the sauce down though. (learned to make Aji-de-Gallina and Papa-a-la-Huancaina while living in Chile with a Peruvian.) The Lomo Saltado sauce also had the flavor right, but I think I the meat would have been softer if I had time to marinate it longer.
And then there was dinner. Almost daily I drive past Tuscany, this beautiful restaurant in a Chatoe-esque fancy builiding just down the road from us. I see candles lit on talbes by the window, and I envision getting dressed up and enjoying some exquisit meal there with my husband. So as Valentines and our 1/2 Anniversary approached, it was definitely in the running. We called and after hearing that filet mignon, chicken picatta, and veal marsala were on the Valentine's menu I was hooked. Unfortunately, despite rave reviews from friends and family who have been there, Tuscany did not live up to our expectiations. We ordered filet mignon, only to be told a 1/2 hour later they had run out. After finishing our soup we waited 45 min before the next course arrived. After waiting for dessert we were told that they had run out of that too. All in all the service was bad, they were underprepared for a big fancy restaurant day like Valentines, and our 9:00 reservation had us finished with our meal after 11:00. I kept imagining what a special meal I could have made at home for a fraction of the cost, and thats exactly what I plan to do next year. And that was the conclusion of our Moroccan, Peruvian, Italian-American dining Valentines.

Sure, we look happy enough...but I can still envision the empty dream of what could have been with dinner at home.

1 ½ C flour
1/2 C fine semolina or pan harina (or normal flour)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp yeast (or baking powder, I just added that cause I'm too lazy to use yeast in the morning)
3/4 C warm water
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl or mixer. Add water, and mix to form a dough. Add more water/flour if necessary to make a soft dough you can knead. Knead 5 min until smooth and elastic. (The mixer works fine). Pour a little oil onto a cookie sheet, take balls of dough and using the oiled surface with oiled hands spread out dough and push down to a thin square shape, thin as possible (1/8”), don't worry about the oil, there was no fat added to the dough, so be generous. Cook on a hot ungreased skillet. After cooking one side spread the nutella or cheese on the cooked side, fold up in 1/3s and eat hot. It'll taste better if you go to Morocco and have a lady on the street make it for you, but since most of us can't do that very often, this is pretty good too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plunder’s Lovers Delight or McFlurry, it’s Love.

Half year Anniversary & Valentines.
It’s a big love day for the Hagens.
A lot of people seem to not like Valentines, I’m discovering it has less to do with if you have someone to celebrate with or not, and more to do with how annoyed you might be with the commercial/cheesy aspect of the holiday. You may disregard a newlywed’s take on Valentines, but I have spent the majority of my V-days without a sweetheart and still always enjoyed Valentines. I think there’s nothing wrong with adding a day to celebrate love and relationships each year, even if sometimes it’s just celebrating the idea of it. Come on, we have calendar days dedicated to trees and popcorn… there’s nothing wrong with a love day.

I like decorating sugar cookies, being able to wear pink and red together, and reflecting on the love in my life. Whether we’re eating Plunder’s Lovers Delight or sharing a McFlurry, this Valentines will be the best, because it’s our first one together. It’s so weird that me and brad weren’t even officially dating last Valentines, and now we’ve been married for 6 months. Time is flying by and marriage is living up to the adventure I expected it to be. It hasn’t been bliss every day, but overall being married to brad has made my life infinitely better. I’m changing and growing into a better woman than I was before. I love life with you Brad! Happy 6 month anniversary and Happy Valentines. Te Quiero. XOXO

P.S. We've been sleeping on a matress on the floor for the past 6 months, and today, in honor of love, we bought a bed. I absolutely love it! (I walk in the bedroom just to stare at it. Then when I'm on my computer all of the sudden I'm looking at pictures of it without even realizing it. I'm almost ready to move on to a normal relationship one might have with a bed, soon.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby Nurse

Just in case you didn’t know- I am so much happier this semester in Nursing. This may have to do with the fact that I don’t have a cruel instructor who despises me. Even if it does, I know that it also has to do with moving on from adult care. I love working with kids. Last week I got to practice my Spanish with an 8 year old girl who had an appendectomy, we had fun and I managed not to get lice from her.

Today my patient was an infant, not even a month old, who was born with HLHS (a congenital heart defect). I wanted to melt as soon as I saw her. She was so sweet, and still looked adorable even with oxygen tubing, an NJ tube, IVs, and scars from recent heart surgery. Her young parents were so positive and working hard to learn what they needed to before she can finally go home from the hospital with them. I think in the future it’s not going to be good for me know about all these things that can go wrong with babies, I feel like I’m in training to be the world’s most paranoid mom. Sometimes it can be so sad and hard to see little ones struggling with health problems. No one deserves it, but they especially deserve to have a happy, normal childhood. As I held that little infant in my arms and listened to her tiny heart and lungs I felt an overwhelming feeling of how much God loves each of his children. It felt so amazing to hold her; I can’t even imagine how that must feel when it’s your own baby. Those parents weren’t fretting over how their child had an abnormal heart, had to be fed by a tube, and would be lucky to make it into her teens. I could tell they just loved their baby, were grateful to have her, and wanted to do their best to make her happy.
I’m so confused now about what I want to do for my capstone this summer, I’ve been thinking labor and delivery, but I have to make a choice before I even get a chance to experience it and know if I like it. I loved working with that baby, and I’m sure it would be neat to be there when new babies are first coming into the world. I love what I’m doing right now though, and it might be safer to do something I know I’m enjoying. If I do pediatrics I don’t know if I should do surgery or oncology. Decisions, decisions. And ones I have to make soon.
(I don't get why the cap fell out of fashion, nurses dressed so much better back in the day.)


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