Saturday, August 1, 2009

Records in Weather/Severe Threat/Vacation Memories

Tropical Atlantic and Pacific are quiet.

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for Phoenix and the Seattle area hit a record 103 on Wednesday. Seattle had 3 days of record heat in a row although Saturday’s high should “only” be about 90. It’s that ridge—remember the ridge that brought so much record heat to Texas? Now, the West has been getting the same treatment. Happy first day of August!

As the weekend begins, the ridge is flattening a bit. There is still some troughiness over the northeast US and that is allowing some weak cold fronts to move through the Oklahoma/North Texas, and Arkansas. This will set the stage for thunderstorms and as is the case for today’s weather—some severe cells.

Houston, another hot and steamy day with some scattered showers and thunderstorms. There is a heat advisory for the coastal counties where higher humidity will lead to more stressful heat. Look for even more of the same on Sunday with slightly cooler temperatures due to more rain.

Let’s do sad or triste, pronounced TREES-tay. It is so triste when vacation is over.

Feelings are one of the things we cover in our upcoming Volume 2 of our DVD series, Let's Learn Spanish with Frank & Paco. Sad is one of the words. Volume 1 has won 2 major awards and covers topics like Home/Family/Eating/Drinking/Play. Order your copy from You can also order from,,,,,, and For our English as a Second Language (ESL) version, go to

Heading home from Table Rock Lake. Taking the more scenic route through northern Arkansas. It is not very far from Little Rock to Branson…but on the road we take with hills and turns and little towns, it always takes longer than say an Interstate.

Last year when we were heading home, we stopped at this little restaurant called Kelley’s in Marshall, Texas. There was only one waitress on duty (I think the other one was sick) and the place was packed to the gills with locals. They all gave us that look as we walked in (you know—you aren’t from these parts are you?) Well, the poor waitress was running around like a chicken with her head cut off. So, one of the old-timers got up and started pouring coffee for everyone. It was a really good breakfast—just took some time to get it.
Well, back to this year’s trip--
On Wednesday, we hit the lake early. There are some restaurants on the water where you can dock. One of our favorites is a place called Campbell’s and that’s where I lost my camera. That was a special day though, because Jeremy was with us. Jeremy is the older brother of Lindsay and Kylie. I got some great pictures of him with his sisters right before I lost the camera. That was such a bummer, because Jeremy does not like to have his picture taken. And, he actually had humored me—cooperating and smiling. But, alas, those photos were lost. So, I took one with my picture phone. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity had passed. Jeremy wanted to sleep as he was about to drive back to Chicago. So, all I could get was the photo at righ with Jeremy sleeping while his sisters (so kind and obliging) gave me more nice smiles. Happy to report that Jeremy made it home safely and caught the Cubs/Astros game the next day. He was sure to let us know how bad the Astros were beat. Jeremy had arrived on Sunday evening—a nice surprise for Joni—she didn’t know he was coming.

Thursday was rainy. So, we headed to Branson Landing (on the east side of Branson). That’s on Lake Taneycomo. Lots of your favorite shops, but what we girls really enjoyed was Cantina Laredo. The sign said gourmet Mexican food and I’m thinking “gourmet Mexican”—what in the world is that? Well, now I know. The spices were different than your standard Mexican fare—but not weird—they were unexpectedly delicious. I would love to watch the chefs and see what they use. I had the tortilla soup and chalupa (with chicken). I wouldn’t change a thing about the soup…just perfect. The chalupa was a feast for the eyes with lots of colors and the chicken and some tortilla chips artfully and colorfully arranged. As I looked around at the other plates, they were also works of art. And the dishes were colorful and varied. They also offered both mild and hot salsas with perfectly crisp and non-greasy chips. The wait staff was attentive and just the right amount of friendly. Even though the décor was upscale, the treatment was not ostentatious. I thought with the décor , that the servings would be tiny, but they were substantial enough to allow everyone to leave satisfied if not slightly full. We ate there at lunch and my entrée was only $7.99. I thought that was surprisingly reasonable. See photo at right.

Well, here’s the funny part…as we were leaving, I noticed some newspaper articles which they had displayed in the entryway. The chain was started in Dallas and there happens to be one on Westheimer in Houston. I had never heard of it. So, I guess we’ll be going to check it out.

At the end of Thursday, the sun was out and Friday, we had an absolutely perfect day on the water. Took Sarah for a long ride on the jet ski. The faster the better with her. Just watch her or she’ll try to make it take off on you. We didn’t even get back to the cabins until about 6. None of us wanted the day to end. But alas, it was time to pack up the boats and cabins.

Aunts Creek Resort is slowly being sold off—the cabins beings offered for purchase. Several have already been sold. There is a very good chance we won’t be able to stay there next summer. So, we will be looking around for another location. This has been a trend in recent years. The resorts used to have 3 months of people staying. But with sports and August school starts, the time people can come is getting shorter and shorter. A lot of these resorts just can’t make it on only 2 months of rentals.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Cecilia Sinclair
Wonder Weather Woman

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