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When I say it's bedtime, that's what time it is

February 20, 2012

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. For some odd reason we were all craving salt after a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, and not one to ignore what might be nature sending out a flare, I made a large pan of snack mix with pretzels and rye chips and cashews, and followed it with some dark chocolate sea salt caramel drops which I'm still perfecting to give as gifts when occasions arise.

So we snacked and drank a lot of lemonade and snacked some more and then it was hot chocolate and time for bed. Bedtime has always been a bit of a challenge. Used to be that Mr. Sundberg and I tag-teamed it and he bathed the kids and I dried and dressed them in their fuzzy footie pajamas and then we did the tuck-in with sometimes a story and sometimes not. There were short prayers and kisses and wishes on the moon and questions like, "Is God a flower?" and "Why can't poop be orange?"

Now, Mr. Sundberg is away much of the time, and you'd think managing, at bedtime, two adolescent children and one away at school ought to be a piece of cake. Well, it's not. Mostly it's a bit trying and sometimes it's a real ass-pain.

Nine Recent Reasons My Teenagers Won't Go To Bed At A Reasonable Hour When Asked:

1. I can't. I have too much to do and I don't have any other time to do it.
2. I can't. I have a headache and I think I might throw up.
3. I can't. Our teacher said that if you sleep too much it affects your concentration.
4. I can't. I can't sleep. My bed sucks. I keep feeling things crawling on me. I think I'm allergic to whatever my sheets are made of.
5. I can't. If I don't do this assignment tonight I'll get an "F" and then I'll graduate a year late and have to live with you a year longer.
6. I can't. I'm texting a friend who is having a REAL crisis this time.
7. I can't. I'm still hungry and my stomach is gonna keep me awake.
8. I can't. I keep having dreams about going through the ice and that water is cold.
9. I can't. I'm homesick (via telephone, text, or email).

It seems bedtime is when I'm most vulnerable to being crabby. For a short while. It's pretty much selfish, as the hour after the kids go to bed is time alone when I don't have to do anything. After 6-8 hours of answering questions requiring analysis and synthesis, cooking a variety of foods and coordinating its arrival at the table, cleaning up and helping with more homework (advanced chemistry and Romeo and Juliet papers lately), giving occasional long-distance encouragement for the college girl, and somewhere in there filling in Mr. Sundberg of the events of the day, I've earned a break, and that's why when I say it's bedtime, that's what time it is. Hungry or not. I've said it twice, now, and if I have to say it again, well, you don't want to go there.

Here's a recipe for something tangy to serve along with whatever meat you're serving. It's hearty and memorable. Much like my great Aunt Wanda, by whom this recipe came to me.

German Sweet/Sour Red Cabbage

3 - 4 slices bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 head thin sliced red cabbage
1 lg. sliced onion (red preferred)
2 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 c. vinegar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper as you wish
Pinches of your favorite spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger

In a large sauce pan, saute bacon until limp but not crisp. Add cabbage, onion and apple slices. Toss to coat with bacon drippings. Cover and simmer until cabbage becomes limp. Add vinegar (red wine, balsamic, or apple cider), sugar and other seasoning. Continue simmering, covered; the longer you simmer, the better the flavor. You may need to add a little more water; check while simmering. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Very good leftover and reheated. You may also use honey in place of the brown sugar, 1/2 cup.

Enjoy!

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