Saturday, December 26, 2009

Joy to You

Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

I grumbled about this holiday season, but indeed, joy prevailed. I've reflected and ruminated to myself, but thought I'd share some of the highlights, so I don't forget next year, when the anxiety begins anew.
My favorite things -

- taking Max & Alex to the Polka-Dot Penguin Pottery to paint travel tea mugs for their dad. We made a few ornaments too.
- Seeing Mark's love for his dear grandparents. Very tired from working the way only crazy ad guys work, he and two of the kids drove five hours round trip on Christmas Eve to take Grandma & Grandpa to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet lunch. (Which my boys proclaimed "truly awesome")
- the Christmas cards. Reading them, sending them, hanging them up.
- scrambling to make peppermint bark for favorite teachers the morning of the last day of school (I couldn't quelch that lovely impulse from the kids).
- seeing the elation on Christmas morning as everyone beheld the glory of a gift-laden tree
- actually chilling on Christmas day.  For the first time (I think ever), we didn't travel, didn't host.  I would be lonely if that were the norm, but it was a rather lovely exception.
- snuggling with my husband after three tired and satiated boys dropped into their beds. 
- Oh, one of the best - tucking Max & Alex into their box for four nights in a row.  We got a new TV this year for the big family gift, and Max & Alex decided that the box made the most perfect bed.  They piled in pillows, blankets and a litte reading light and slept in there for four nights.   

Wow.  It wasn't a freight train after all.  Hope yours was full of fuzzy moments too.

(Oh I would have more photos to post, but I can't find the dang cord that goes from the camera to the computer.  See, it wasn't all silver & gold.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finding a Purpose

Life is

what you make of it.

Always has been.

Always will be.

A simple quote, illustrated. (Grandma Moses)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Is that a Light at the End of the Tunnel or a Freight Train?

I'm sorry, but sometimes that's how I feel about Christmas.  It used to be my favorite time of year, but the older I get, the more I would like Christmas to be less.  In my household, I feel responsible for everyone's Christmas experience, and that's a lot to carry around all month.   I want Christmas to look and feel and smell as lovely and magical for them as it does in my memories.  Yet, I hate having to shop, shop, shop and decorating with a two-year-old has its limits (yes, that was the sound of crashing ornaments).  Witness the busted Christmas trumpet.

I think I need to throw up a few more strings of twinkle lights and gather the little souls around the fire to get back in the spirit.  Either that or call my mom and thank her for the Christmas miracles she pulled off so many years ago.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Post from my Past

Six years ago, I started a blog called, "Chick with Sticks."  I wrote one entry.  I feel so different today than the person who wrote the entry.  I had really forgotten the whole sitting in a chair crying part.  Isn't that interesting?  By the way, I don't knit much anymore.

Here's my post from November 2003:

Well, another obsessive blogger-reader has taken the plunge and started a blog. This blog will be my knitting blog (mostly) though I'm sure other bits of my life and crafty endeavors will seep through.

My current obsession is knitting -- a bit unusual that it's still my obsession after a year. Usually, I pick one crafty endeavor, dive in head first and burn myself out pretty soon thereafter. I think knitting has stuck because I love fibers and fiber arts, the possibilities are endless, and there is a true community out there, readily accessible, or easily held-at-bay. Knitting also fits my lifestyle right now. I really like to sew, but it's rather anti-social to hide out in a little closet-like room in our apartment every night.

My grandmother taught me to knit, but that didn't really stick. When I was 14, I spent the summer with a family in Germany. The oldest daughter, Veronika, taught me to knit. I returned to high school in the States, and needless to say, there were not a lot of knitters, cool patterns or great yarns out there. Pretty soon thereafter I lost my needles.

One year ago, my father died suddenly. I had a very difficult time coping with any kind of down time. As the mother of 2 two-year-olds, there is not a lot of silence, but I did have a half-hour in the dark as they drifted off to sleep each night. Before my dad died, I used to use the time to unwind and transition from the crazy day. After he died, I found myself silently weeping in the rocking chair in the dark every night. I needed something to do.

A friend in my mother's group brought her knitting one day and inspired me. I have always loved to make things (cooking was my last obsession, but it's almost always something crafty/creative). I went to my lys (happens to be "The Yarn Company", home of the Yarn Girls) and bought some Tahki baby, some needles and a got scarf pattern. My fingers sort of remembered how to knit, but they had forgotten how to purl. So, I consulted a recent issue of Martha Stewart, which had featured knitting, and re-learned how to cast-on and how to purl (my fingers forgot that too).

It was not until I joined a stich-n-bitch eight months later that I realized that I knit continentally. I had no idea that there was a difference. I feel an odd physical connection with my 14 year-old self, who knit constantly for one summer, not to begin again for almost 20 years. Somehow my body remembered, even though my mind didn't.

I named my blog "grin-grumble" because that's how Veronika (my German friend who taught me to knit) signed her letters, followed by a a happy face and a sad face. I always thought that it was a humorous translation of something German that didn't quite fit the American venacular.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Inside the Elves Workshop: a patchwork bag, a purple flower, a pair of pears

I love receiving homemade gifts, but I don't give as many as I used to, or really, as many as I'd like to. I'm too fragile to give to see my handmade gifts received in a cursory way by folks who just don't quite realize the time and love of a homemade gift, or may not want it.  Some people would really rather have a gift card or something lovely and delightful from the mall.  Sigh.

Molly's making a beautiful book, chronicling the holiday with daily entries and her gorgeous pictures.  I love seeing her process as well as the product, so I thought I'd put up a few shots of some things in progress over here.

First, a patchwork bag for a smart friend on her way back to school. This:

is supposed to become this:

from this book

And I made these beaded flowers:

which may become necklaces, or pins or something (ideas?) but I'm not sure that I like them.

I have few other works which are not camera-ready or cannot be shown yet.  But here's one of my paintings in progress.  Slow going and not that impressive, but I'm learning a lot from my new teacher and am loving the process, even if the product is not quite what I'm going for.

What are your favorite things to give?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flip Hunting

Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

That's what my husband calls it.

He had such a great idea today. We divided into two teams (mom+1, dad+2) and went over to the nature sanctuary. There's a trail we've done a zillion times that often evokes groans from the kids, but this time was different. Each team had a flip camera with the charge to video all forms of wildlife found in 40 minutes (that's about how much light we had left). We assigned points to each - 1 for bird, 4 for rabbit, 5 for deer -- with the judge's ruling final. The kids dashed into the woods and had a great time looking at things they often run by. After dinner, we reviewed all the videos and awarded prizes (Fizzy Lizzie's). We already have plans to do it again. You could easily play this game with cameras, cell phones, etc., but the Flips are nice because you can track the action and it's fun to listen to the audio.

We lost by 2.5 points, by the way, but it was close enough to be declared a tie.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I have been in the kitchen for about four days straight.  The first two guests arrived a week ago, two more arrived on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday.  Three left today, two still sleeping in the grey cottage studio.  In any event, I cooked big meals for everyone every night and now, I am spent.  Tomorrow,  I need a day without carbs and without meat or roasted anything.  I'm thinking Japanese food.

I am so grateful that I don't have to travel for Thanksgiving this year; that our house was filled to bursting, but didn't;  that our family came to see us and that they left;  that I have the kind of mother-in-law who tells me not to bother ironing the tablecloth.  Love that. 

And now, onto Christmas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You call them napkins. I call them distractions.

My name is Jill.

And I am a procrastinator.

With 12 hours left before the first of the family trickled in for T-giving, I had a very long to-do list. Did I cross things off my list? Well, no. I started cleaning the grey cottage studio -- trying to transform the craft emporium into suitable guest quarters, when I got distracted by some red & white floral, rejected as quilt binding, reborn as cloth napkins. They please me, however, no one else will notice. They may notice the bits of fabric and thread on the carpet, the unmade bed, the ironing board in the middle of the room.

Silly girl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Glimpse of the Dark Side

On Monday, I felt a hard cord-like mass in my right breast.

On Tuesday, my ob/gyn felt it.  He was cautious and vague, which was not comforting.

On Wednesday, I had my first mammogram, my first breast sonogram.  The mammogram tech was coarse (Her:  "You say it's not really a mass.  Well that's the code your doctor used.  He said 'mass.'  What am I supposed to put, it's a line?" Me (one millisecond away from losing it): "Look, I'm not the doctor here. Why don't you come over and feel it yourself." ) The sonogram tech was nice.  I closed my eyes for the sono and tried to think about breathing.  She told me the doctor had left for the day.  Then she told me not to worry.

On Thursday, my ob/gyn told me everything looked normal.

On Friday, the breast surgeon (no thank you!) told me I have Mondor syndrom, which basically means a swollen vein that you can treat with tylenol if it's painful.

End of story.

It was a long, emotional week.  I am grateful for kindnesses.  I am grateful for my problems, because really, they could be so much worse.  I am grateful for my husband and for my kids and for my friends.  And, I am grateful for my body. I don't always treat it so well, I say mean things about it, but in the clutch, it came through.

Now, back to our show.

Monday, November 9, 2009

primary patchwork

primary patchwork
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

The little patchworks, the relatively quick gratification of the sewing machine, a few hours here and there and it's done. I made my first quilt. It's a little thing. Just 30X40-ish. Too small really even for my toddler. But now, I'll add quilter to my list of titles (right before chief bottle washer).

Anyway, it was actually pretty simple and quite fun. I used a charm pack from American Jane's happy camper line. The results are a little too matchy-matchy for my taste, but at least they all work together and I didn't have to cut little squares or buy a bunch of fat quarters at once. I used a free pattern posted on Sew Mama Sew written by Elizabeth of Oh Fransson!

The quilting turned out to be simple simon because I backed it with a diagonal plaid. So I just followed the lines which were already there. My craftsmanship is shoddy, but my little guy doesn't mind and it doesn't have to fit anyone (always my downfall with knitting). My fellow crafters out there can understand the happy glow I had all day after pulling my new creation from the dryer. Others may think I'm mad, but you know it keeps me sane.  Too many more pictures on my flickr set.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Squash Soup. Danish. A patchwork something.

Yesterday I made three things.

1. Apple - cheese danish. In my quest to find apple recipes (apple-picking season= lots of apples), I am branching out. I made some apple cheese danish from a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens. I won't bother linking to it because I wouldn't recommend it. Sort of greasy. Better without the cheesy bits. Did you know that the danish cheese is farmer cheese + egg + sugar? You just put some of that on puff pastry, top with sugared apple slices & lemon and bake at 400. Oh, I guess that's the recipe. Not many people seem to make their own danish, but maybe that's because danish really aren't that fabulous. I'd rather have a chocolate croissant or a brioche.

2. Butternut Squash soup. Easy and delish. Recipe from Joy of Cooking. Roast 1 pkg. of butternut squash in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile saute the white part of two leeks and with some fresh ginger. Add the roasted squash (they say any kind of squash will work), 4 c. of chicken broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. Puree (hello, hand-held blender). Add 2 more cups of chicken broth and simmer a bit longer. Lovely topped with pumpkin seeds or croutons.

3. A mini-quilt-like object. I quilted a log cabin square for no good reason. Just practicing. I think it will become an apron pocket.

Why no pics? Can't find the camera charger and my substitute charger isn't working. A new Nikon one en-route, but never the same as that flat little original. What's the deal with that? Have to get that charger before Halloween, now don't I? Wouldn't pay for the express shipping though, just hoping it will get here from NYC in a day. Life on the edge. That's me.

What did you make today?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Haiku Friday

Big bosomed lady
Dowdy shoes, time-capsule hair
Cheeky pink handbag

Pink patchwork
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio

bright, juicy smoothie
you will lose your sparkle
sitting out all day

Cigarette smoker
You ruined my lunch
Beware of karma

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pictured :: Not Pictured


- Stillness.  Sometimes I think I take pictures of my kids rather than videos because it's the only time they are quiet.  (in the picture that is, certainly not while being photographed).

-Industry.  October seems to mean - get busy.  Just ask the fleet of squirrels zooming around our yard and the flocks of birds pccking at the grass.  The freight train that is September has left the station;  the holidays are on the horizon, but not in a menacing way;  the yarn calls from the bin;  the apples are hardier than the tomatoes.  More forgiving if you don't make them into something right away.  That suits me.

Not Pictured:
- Grins. The inordinate joy I felt when tooling around with my iLife upgrade. It has a face recognition feature which can result in some interesting questions. It asked if I was Max, which I thought was funny, because I don't think he looks like me, but my computer does.  So there.
- Intrepidation.  Starting a new painting class with a new teacher.  It's daunting. I feel vulnerable.  I love it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Magical Thinking

I remember when the twins were two-ish and once in a blue moon we'd have a jackpot day. Everyone would nap in sync, wake up cheerfully, eat all the healthy foods I'd prepared, actually play with some of their toys or get engrossed in something wonderful outside. You know the day. You had one too. Anyway, when that day ended, I'd re-hash every detail trying to figure out how to re-create that magic. What time did that nap start? When was meal time? What was the soundtrack? In other words, what could I do to make it happen again.

It seems funny to remember that person now, but I did it again today. Everything fell into place with little guy's napping and our mini-adventure, with the big guys' homework and football practice (not the eating though - nothing's perfect). And already I'm asking myself what I did differently to make this all happen.

As if my actions control all of their moods, wishes, motivations so perfectly.

I think the psychological term is "magical thinking."

If only it were so easy.

Oh well, at least it was a good one. Hope you had one too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pictured/Not Pictured

I got mono my senior year in high school right around the time yearbook photos of all clubs/teams etc. So, for the last time in my life that I would be a part of so many things, I was not pictured.

Football on Sunday. One kid ready to run onto the field, the other one really not so into it anymore. Hard to find the right tone for both.

Fall. Indeed, I love you.

Batman. The return of the costume. When Alex was two, he wore a cheetah costume nearly every day and night for six weeks. Jack seems to be following suit with his new Batman costume, already approaching 48 hours. A bit of a battle just to wash it. I love kids in costumes though, so I indulge him.

Not pictured:
Snake under the refrigerator. I don't know why I'm not more freaked out about it.
Mom visit. A great one. The two of us for lunch. It's been a long time since we've done that.
Sibling rivalry. Lots of it.
Weirdly sweet but undeniably yummy meatballs with sauteed chard.
My utter silly joy at having my camera back.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Sleeper Hit. Chicken Posole. Who knew?

Be honest, do you know what chicken polsole is? My guess was some kind of Mexican soup, and apparently there's many versions of this chicken/hominy broth. Perhaps I'm just the last to know.

Anyway, color me popular, because the crew over here actually liked it. (Dramatic pause while I fall off my chair). "It's really good," said Alex. Not so sure, Max eyed his little dish very suspiciously. "What are you afraid?" taunted Alex. And that was it, Max tried it too. Note to self, why not try some fourth-grade playground tactics at dinner? I kid, I kid. Not.

The recipe from Real Simple is here, but I googled around a bit, and found some great suggestions from the chat boards at epicurious. The bon app recipe calls for Monterey Jack cheese, but one commenter recommends chopped avocado and cilantro on top which I think would be fabulous. I also used some of the chili-garlic sauce from week one instead of an ancho chili. I bought my roasted chicken from the butcher rather than Stop & Shop, and it was perfect.

Turns out even the folks at Real Simple can make this one complicated, here's their longer version. I would not go through all that trouble with an unknown for kids, but it might be fun to try.

We did have one kitchen disaster tonight though, just to keep things interesting. I opened the refrigerator, only to have the word "balmy" come to mind. Yes, it was 70 degrees in there. As Miss Clavel would say, "Something is not right."

Sears guy coming tomorrow. Wish the trash guy was too, because we have a frig full of disposables. Needless to say, I'm baking a big batch of artisan bread tonight to use up that dough. My grocery store procrastination did pay off though. Ha.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spaghetti with Roasted Potatoes Made Them Cry

And they were not tears of joy.

Clearly I have really struck a nerve when one of my sons began crying when he saw that I added sweet potatoes and rosemary to the PLAIN spaghetti. It was not my two-year old either. And you wonder why my dinner repertoire has slowed to a trickle.

Well, he did have a bit of a point. I had high hopes for Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes & Ricotta. Sounds lovely doesn't it? Perfect comfort food on a rainy Sunday night? Hate to say it, but it was a loser. It was just too many heavy ingredients all together. Maybe squeeze a lemon over it..

I didn't cry, but I did cringe.

Tomorrow: beef stir fry with bok choy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 2: It's Friday, it must be Tilapia

I'm starting to think perhaps I should have read these menus before I began. I didn't -- I wanted it to be stress free and feel like someone else was answering the question, "what's for dinner?" The meals are far enough from my usual fare to get me out of my shrinking repetoire rut, but kid-friendly they are not.

Day 2: Tilapia with Peppers and Olives

Overall: Mark & I loved it. Will be a keeper for us, but have a hard time envisioning the kids who would happily dig into this one. If you have these kids, send them over, I will cook for them. It's a simple recipe -- saute the tilapia, then in separate pan (or, put it on a plate and use the same pan, like I did) saute peppers & onions and, here's where it gets interesting, at the end, add parsely, green olives and lime juice. Sounds a little funky yes, but it's just that twist that takes it from ordinary to "hey now."

On the plus side, all ingredients were cheap, fresh and seasonally right on track. Quick and lovely presentation. Just delicious mix of flavors and a new way to serve fish. I would serve this dish to friends.

On the what-was-I-thinking side: Kids would not touch this dish with a ten foot fishing pole. For them, I made Friday's dinner: Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes & Ricotta. More about that one tomorrow. Also, it's not really a full meal, you need to throw together a salad or Friday's dinner (as I did) if your husband wonders where the rest of the meal is.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 1: A flop. And some technical difficulties.

First, the sad news. Somehow a piece broke off my camera lens and it won't go back onto the body. I never took it off in the first place, just found it unattached in my camera bag. It gets worse. Took it to the camera shop with high hopes that I was the problem, but no. They have to send it out for repairs, and the fix starts at $100 just to clean the body of the camera (since the lens was off) not to mention the cost of fixing or possibly replacing the lens. And, it will take a while.

So, my plan for a well-photographed journey to a month of meals has started with a plotz.

Night one: Spicy orange drumsticks, green beans & cornbread.

Looked good. Easy. I liked little things like the drumsticks and the cornbread both baked at 400 degrees (something I never plan for). Nutritious and no allergy ingredients (well, the cornbread, but Jack skipped it). Annoyed that I bought a jar of chili-garlic sauce to use 1/2 teaspoon. I should have read that one through first.

Down side: The big boys ate the beans and the cornbread. Told me they weren't hungry for the chicken. Husband liked the chicken, but pronounced it a little weird. Perhaps because I think this is the first time I've ever made drumsticks. We will have to try it again, because I have a lot of chili-garlic sauce and orange marmalade left. Perhaps chicken breasts next time. Little guy had it for lunch the next day with no complaints.

Nothing I couldn't have thought of myself, but easier that I didn't have to plan it. I have a thing for citrus + chicken, so I liked it. The boys didn't eat it, but since they rarely do, so I don't feel so badly, and at least it was cheap.

To be re-booted when the camera returns. How can I continue with an undocumented life?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little scrambled

which way did he go?
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio
Many potential posts, but nothing felt right. This time of year feels like the time of new beginnings, and yet, I'm already pulled in so many directions. Our weekend was wall-to-wall birthday party, practices, scouts, neighborhood gigs, blah blah.

Anyway, I have a big idea though (thanks, Molly).

The challenge: Dinner. Little time. Lot of chaos.
Objectives: Home-cooked, nutritious meals that everyone can at least enjoy some parts. I feel like I've already hit a wall and we've just gotten back to Sept.

The strategy: Use someone else's plan. I'm going to cook the cover story from October's Real Simple Magazine,Month of Easy Dinners.
I should add that I have a cast of unique eaters. The older two are quite picky, and feed off each other's food reviews. The little guy's food allergies include: nuts, peanuts, sesame & egg. The older guy is lactose intolerant. And me, I'll eat anything, and it shows.

I would have a kick-off picture, but I can't get the lens back on the camera and I'm slightly panicked. Another story. Hoping a trip to the camera shop tomorrow will resolve that little crisis.

Now, back to the kitchen for reviews of night one.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harrisville General Store or When I Have a Store

Our go-to store while in New Hampshire is so perfect. At the Harrisville General store, they:

- write the menu on a big old school chalkboard
- sell bait. and arugula sandwiches.
- seat you in old farmhouse tables and mismatched chairs with the perfect amount of old peeling paint
- have an old cart loaded with clear jars of nearly-penny candy by the front door
- sell five different newspapers, three local and the Times and the Globe
- make homemade donuts daily
- place a basketful of local apples by the cashwrap as they come in
- have the only wifi sight for miles
- sell french jam, Mrs. Meyers counter cleaner and All free & clear detergent
- make great coffee

I started fantasizing about owning such a store, and then one of the kids asked me for more eggs, after I had already cleaned up. I was so annoyed about having to get up, that Mark and I both laughed at the idea of my fantasy of cooking and serving (don't I do that anyway?).

Can you tell I loved it?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

a thing for lakes

I love the ocean. But there's something about the lure of a lake. I think it started with Racing with the Moon and even On Golden Pond. Anyway, we had colds, we never climbed the mountain, but we did make a camp fire, catch fish, play board games, eat bad food and squabbled some too. The boys had to work an hour a day on their summer packets -- the whole idea stinks, but it's just the preamble to the next ten months. Sigh. Goodbye, summer. You were lovely.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gone Fishing.

I think we're the last people to take a summer vacation. It's even a bit chilly and rainy today, and yet, I'm packing for a week on the lake. Lots of talk in town of teachers, and school supplies and finishing those summer homework packets (yuck). So, it seems strange to be going away when I feel like I should be in the thick of getting ready.

And yet.

Why not have a week together out of the house. To be a unit unto ourselves. To spend more time outdoors and change our view. We're heading to a house on a lake in New Hampshire. Different house, different lake than last year, but hopefully much the same.

enjoy your week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Patchwork bag and I'm thinking of Christmas.

Patchwork bag
Originally uploaded by Grey Cottage Studio
Every year I vow that I'll start my holiday shopping/gift making about NOW instead of late November. I find it much more enjoyable to think about making gifts when it still feels leisurely, rather than pressured. I might make a few of these shoppers/totes for teachers/in-laws/friends, doable if I can make them production-line style now. I have enough fabric, Lord knows, to crank these out. I based the pattern on my enviro-sac, which I do adore. You can't beat a shopper that you can keep in your purse.

Hate to bring it up already, but do you have any thoughts about holiday gifts?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Print your Pics

A funny thing happened on Friday.

Mark took the kids to work in the a.m and I joined them around noon. He works in an advertising agency which means rooms full of fun toys -- giant printers and exacto knives and foam core and mounting stations. Most of all, lots of work space, a world of apple computers and savvy tech folks. Anyway, I printed some of my flickr photos as 11x14s to use for painting reference, since my painting season is about to begin again. Well, they were spectacular. So much better than the screen versions which I stare at day after day. I do make hardback books occasionally via iphoto/ so I see things in print, but this was better. I printed out a stack and decorated Mark's bullentin board while he was in a meeting. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. Just a few of the boys in the office (they were much more interested in the cereal station and the rolling chairs). Anyway, perhaps I am alone in this lack of printing, but it was rather eye opening and too much fun. I can't recommend it enough and I can't wait to go back and do more.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Few hours on the Beach

Are never wasted.

No one wanted to go to the beach. I know. That's when you've hit the summer wall. Time for someone to get bossy (ahem) and make everyone get. in .the. car. We didn't get there until 6, and stayed until 8:30. No lovely dinner picnic (original plan), just some peaches & popsicles. The water felt warm as a bath though and the sky was breathtaking. Jack declared the clouds "snuggly" and said he liked the green ones best. hmmm....