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Sorry we are late - - again > another huge overdose of - - *the to do*s - and - some too much* - Hope Thanksgiving was wonderful in the USA.

Thanks for the photo - ( from - - Our Neighbor )

The Pyrenees - Cataluña

Catalonian Pyrenees

A favorite spot is the Catalonian Pyrenees - lush peaks and valleys where skiing - climbing - hunting - fishing and all other ... are surrounded by thousands of years of civilization.

Catalonian Pyrenees

Roman bridges span trout streams - gourmet restaurants at the foot of the ski slopes - the Val d*Aran hosts - Baquiera Beret - where Spain´s Royal Family spends Easter Week and is considered one of the country´s finest ski resorts.

Mountain trails with superb views to be found on foot or horseback in the summer - on skis in the winter.

Catalonian Pyrenees

The mountain architecture - similar to Alpine high country design - with steep - slate roofs reflect the stone cordillera surrounding these Pyrenaic dwellings.

If the snow is faulty - you are next to France and Andorra - for day trips - and many other ski options.

More about the Val d*Aran - in Catalan and Castllano - although they speak *L*Aranes* in the valley - another linguistic branch of the Langue D*Oc - Provincial root of Catalan

Rocky Mountains - New Mexico

No place is able to compete with the dry snow of the Rocky Mountains - New Mexico - being our usual choice - recommended - - at least once a year.

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Luna y Bombé

Little Luna The Little Bombe Cat

The Turkey Created Havoc

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Madrid - Luna and Bombe could not figure this out.

Very busy - coordinating the turkey - cranberries and whatnots ..

... we heard a baby kitty screaming somewhere - and thought - - *no more orphans*.

Bombe was running around wildly - hitting us in the heads - in a total tizzy - - - yet - it took a good hour - (and the Concierge - ringing) - before we realized - that Luna had decided - - in all the excitement - to take a trip out into the hall and down a half flight of stairs.

Her very first time out in the - - wild - real - world - (since moving in ) -- - we found her trembling and *screaming* very loudly -- each and every hair stood straight up - - and - we ... calmed her and took her home - - then - apologized to all the neighbors (in the North of Madrid).

We are looking for a summer (or permanent) exchange program for them - preferably with parakeets - if any of you are interested please write to:

exchange program - (they are bilingual - and have their backpacks ready)

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Our Favorite Recipes - Restaurants and Chefs

Recipes from the Pyrenees

Cuisine in the Val d*Aran draws heavily on the wild products from the surrounding mountain habitat - hare - wild boar - partridge - trout - wild mushrooms and berries are important ingredients in the local gastronomy.

Wild Mushrooms

Wild Mushrooms

The blend of French and Spanish cooking together with the mountain basics of the Valle de Arán has resulted in a unique cuisine (Aránes) praised across Europe.

This cuisine has been complimented by other regional restaurants such as Basque. The valley also has a collection of gourmet restaurants that rival anything found at even top French resorts.

Catalan Recipes

Raw Prawns with Dried Strawberries Chefs

Raw Prawns with Dried Strawberries, Large Olives and Basil - from Carmen

More about modern Catalan cuisine

Olive Oil and Fresh Bread

Olive Oil and Fresh Bread - Umm

Towards Barcelona ... Catalonia - from Collioure to Barcelona - has been successful in preserving its culture - its traditions and its own particular language. There - they use the Catalan - and not the Castilian language - and they are always ready to assert and claim their difference - their particularism.

Its cuisine offers rustic dishes that are nevertheless tasty and full of flavors. The sun seems to have dropped a little of its saffron yellow - and its spicy red ... The cuisine is also a language whose *garlicky* accents have enhanced the fluid sweetness of the olive oil.

Here - We suggest a typical Catalan meal for 2 persons.

Garlic Soup

Garlic Soup (starter) - a nice winter warmer

- 2 garlic heads - peeled - 1 egg yolk - Olive oil - Thyme - 2 slices of stale bread - mixed - Some slices of chorizo

Bring to boil half a litre of water together with the thyme and the garlic for 10 minutes. Meanwhile - whisk the egg yolk and the olive oil till they thicken. Out of the heat - mix some garlic soup (remove the heads) till you obtain a more or less thick consistency - depending on your preference. Add the mixed bread - add salt to taste - sprinkle the slices of chorizo and serve immediately.

Snails with sauce

Snails with sauce (main course)

- 2 dozens snails (already cooked) - A cup of diced bacon fat - 1 cup of small pieces of chorizo - 1 small onion - 1 garlic clove - 1 tablespoon skimmed over with flour - 1 glass of white wine - 2 tablespoons olive oil - 1 big tomato - 1 glass of water

In a large stew pan - brown the thinly minced onion and garlic in some oil. Add the diced bacon fat - the small pieces of chorizo - and the diced tomato. Add salt to taste.

Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and make sure that the tomato is thoroughly crushed. Pour in the white wine and water.

Add the snails and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with saffron-flavoured rice.

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No nation on earth is quite as good at enjoying itself as Spain. There are so many fiestas that even if you could attend more than one a day you would not be able to see them all in a single lifetime.

New Years

New Year - begins in Spain like a Carnival party with people in masks in the streets - who - - try to eat 12 grapes during the last 12 seconds of the finishing year. A tradition that is said to bring good luck - if you get it.

Puerta de Sol - Madrid

Puerta de Sol - Madrid

Hours before midnight on New Years Eve - tens of thousands of people gather in Madrid*s Puerta del Sol to await the chimes of the clock on the tower - which dominates the Spanish capital*s central square. The excitement builds up as the magic hour approaches. Finally - at the stroke of midnight and the dawn of the new year - everyone will eat twelve grapes - one for each chime. We watch this on the television.




We would like to tell you that the grape eating ceremony is a ritual whose origins are lost in the mists of time - but in fact it is of quite recent vintage. Early in the twentieth century - according to most versions of the story - freak weather conditions resulted in an unseasonable bumper harvest of grapes.

At a loss over what to do about so many grapes at Christmas time - the canny growers came up with the idea of the New Year ritual. The success of the idea is a tribute to Spaniards* talent not only at celebrating fiestas - but at coming up with new variations on the theme.

New Years in August - When a power cut prevented villagers in Berchules (Granada) from celebrating New Years Eve - to the chimes of the town clock in 1994 - they decided to welcome the new year at the beginning of August - and have done so ever since.

Kings Day

Three Kings

Three Kings

Feast of the Three Kings. In Spain - children receive their Christmas gifts not from Santa Claus but from the Three Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). On the previous day there are parades in most towns depicting the arrival of the three gift bearers.

Young Girls

Wee Señoritas

On January 5th - every child in the country will place a pair of shoes outside the bedroom door and then they will head for the streets to watch the Cabalgata - the parade depicting the arrival of the Reyes Magos - each of the magi ensconced on a brightly decorated float - from which they toss candies to the throngs of eager children. When the children return home - their gifts will be waiting for them.

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What to do When You are Down

This time of the year - a great idea is to - indulge in a -- very wild and intense *pity party* - YES - DO IT.

Spend - - at least - - one hour (or two) - feeling absolutely terrible and disgraced ... really feel super sorry for yourself.

Tip Toe

Then ... forget about *all that stuff* > move on ...


- and think about the idea that the Spring is closer now - - yes - longer days of light (starts soon) - the lovely colors - fabulous fragrances - - warmth and the birth of all ... it is so close now.

Now - turn on some excellent music and ENJOY !!


For example - visit Gladys Palmera - (yes in Barcelona) - for great boleros - vallenato - cubanísimo - jazz latino - tropical sound - - also mariachi -
norteño - mix - dance mix and much more - - a careful selection within their library of 140,000 records - (many are not available any more) - -

Radio Gladys Palmera FM - be sure to hit the RGP Online button - to connect to this radio station !! Do not miss the Photo Gallery > (galería fotográfica) > super fotos by Aurora F.

SUPERB GLADYS !! - EXQUISITE - as always ... and a highly addictive -

Cocktail - "Cocktail Caribeño"

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We Love to Hear from Our Friends.


Please write to us. If you like we will publish your correspondence in our next newsletter and web site. Tell us about yourself, your needlepoint *addiction* - what you would like us to add or remove from our newsletters ... or any of your favorite anecdotes! If you prefer to remain anonymous be sure to include this at the end of your note. Just select below and write - it is that simple. Make some time.

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Nice Thoughts from Our Friends.

Dear Jan, I just opened a needlepoint store outside of Phila with my daughter and was browsing web sites for newsletters ........ and came upon yours !!!! IT is wonderful ........ no way could I compete !!!!!! Hopefully you will be in Long Beach in January ....... I look forward to meeting you ! Trish Reilly Trish's Place Strafford, Pa. 19087 PS - Would love to have your Internet newsletter ........... I was just talking to one of my daughters about it ........ and how wonderful it was ..... very different from the other needlepoint letters and fun ............ Have you ever skated at the Philadelphia Skating Club ........... I think it is a pretty big association in Ardmore, Pa ......

Bird Dancing

Oooo! Very cool - Jan. I like the - new canvases - If I did needlepoint I would definitely want these as much as I like your older line.

xoxoxo - from San Francisco

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Favorite Sayings

Like nearly all languages - Castellano (pronounced Castiyano) Spanish arrived at its current state over hundreds of years. It had its origins in Indo-European and then in Latin before it became a distinct language of its own. Here you will learn more about the history of a language that is spoken by more than 300 million people.


Help me Out of Here !!

The Spanish language is rich with refranes > sayings or proverbs that often become a shorthand way of conveying a thought or expressing a judgment - a unique form - yet a loving vehicle of communication.

Here you will find a collection of a sayings - one for each day of the month.

Of the literally hundreds of sayings that are a part of the language - this section includes some of the most common as well as a few others that were chosen simply because they are so charming.

Es de bien nacido - ser agradecido

It is of the well - bred to show gratefulness (for a favor- for example)

Spain is a country with a very keen sense of community - one does a favor for an other - if the other does not reciprocate - the giving ends and the relationship cools.

Reyes Magos

Another ...

Saliste de Guatemala y te metiste en Guatapeor.

You left Guate-bad and went to Guate-worse (You went from bad to even worse)

Mouse Running

GOTTA RUN -- This is all for now. ¡Hasta Pronto!... and Thank You for - again - for taking the time to read this.

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