A Special Christmas Edition

Christmas Day 2009


Snow in Texas


          We have lived here in Texas for over 4 years now, and it has snowed about 5 or 6 times so far.  The funny thing about snow days in Texas is that they most always follow a day of summer like weather.  As I write this it is snowing outside, although it won't stick because yesterday it was 70 degrees, and the low last night was 45 degrees.  It never fails, when we see snow it is always after a warm spell.  With the exception of maybe a couple of times, the snow has no chance of sticking on the roadways.


          A couple of weeks ago I made a statement on Facebook; "I hope we all have a White Christmas".  At the time we were not expected to have any snow, in  fact up until late last night, we were not supposed to get anything but rain.


          Today's snow is wet and we're getting about 5" or 6" maybe more, but as you can see, even though the wind chill is around 20 degrees, the roadway is still well above freezing.  They are saying now that wind chills tonight will be in the single digits.  Brrrrr...


I can't remember if I have ever had a white Christmas before...

Were You Ready for the Holidays?


          The Christmas season is coming faster and faster every year.  I was just putting up the Halloween decor and all of a sudden, it's time to pull out all the Christmas stuff.  Did it sneak up on you like it did me?  I knew it was coming, but for some reason, it's here already.  Next week is next year!


          I may have mentioned this before, but we have a rule in our home, with the exception of purchasing gifts early, we don't look at or purchase any Christmas decor until after Thanksgiving.  Earlier and earlier in the year stores are putting out the Christmas decor.  This year I was standing looking at Halloween decor at Wal-Mart and next to the Halloween stuff was, you guessed it, Christmas decor.  That's just not right.  If people just stopped buying the stuff before Thanksgiving, they might stop putting it out so early.  I don't hang lights anymore either.  We came up with a safer way to display lights at our house.  I guess Marisa is afraid I will fall off the ladder beings every strand has to be hung using a ladder, most can be hung with the 6' ladder but some require the big ladders, and the extension ladder is not quite tall enough to get to the peak over the garage window.  So now we put reflective floods of different colors around the base of the house and then line the hedges and walkways.  Not one ladder is necessary.


          Even the Web Site doesn't take on the feel of the Christmas holiday until after Thanksgiving.  We are traditional in that sense, and trying to keep our tradition going as long as possible, at least in our small World.


Merry Christmas from The-McCanns.com



The Graduate


        This year is Brandon's senior year in high school.  He will be graduating in early June of 2010.  He has been doing very good in school since high school and now he will graduate at 17.  He doesn't know what he wants to major in so he will be attending the local community college and make his decision later.


          Brandon is into computers big time so we are sure he will go in that direction.  He seems to pick up the software fast and can use professional tools like PhotoShop, Dream Weaver, and Flash to mention a few.  He has had a few computer classes including Web Site Design.  He has his own Web Site and has actually built his own Gamming Server using some virtual PC software and an old copy of Windows Advanced Server 2000.  With minimal help from me, he was able to set it up and get it running.  Good job Brandon.

The Wild Wild West...


        One thing we noticed since moving to Texas is the wild animals that seem to be around.  We have seen Raccoons and Possums in our yard, every kind of bird you can think of including some rather large one's, and even a snake in our house.  The other day we were out looking for a case for Marisa's new phone, to wear on her duty belt, when on our way home I spotted a coyote running around Southlake.  The picture on the right is not real clear because it was pulled from video, (it's a long story) but at least Brandon was able to catch this male coyote in the middle of town, (we know he is male because he relieved himself on the bushes).  This is the second coyote we have spotted in Southlake, the time before was in more of an unpopulated area, but this time we are looking at this animal in the Kroger parking lot.


          Just the other day there was a local news report about pets being taken in neighborhoods in Allen Texas.  A couple witnessed a coyote snatching their toy terrier right out of the front yard, right in front of the woman.  She ran after the coyote but was unable to save her pet.  In Allen they are growing fast and moving in on the coyote's territory, however in Southlake, these animals are being seen in existing shopping centers, and it doesn't seem that people in close proximity bother them.


          Even though we lived close to the foothills in Folsom California, we never really came upon much wildlife.  We did spot a group of deer once near our home, but a couple of years later, that area was plowed over and made into a golf course and housing track.  I didn't notice a lot of birds, some but not near as many as we see in our back yard here in Keller.  It's a great feeling to see as much wildlife as we do, makes you feel like urban sprawl is not as effective in this part of the country.

Submit Your Own Story!


          If you have some family news you would like to share, either on the Bennett side or the McCann side, or Malone, Taylor, Castleberry, Gibson, etc., etc., and want it included in the next newsletter, send it to me.  You can submit it using the feedback form Here, or Email me the information.  Include some pictures if you have some.  Get the word out, inform the masses...



If you don't see any pictures, Click Here



12/24/2009  4:30 PM

We would like to wish all of our family and friends a very;


From Gary, Marisa and Brandon


Class of 2010

Wild Animals spotted in town


 Coyote in Southlake Texas


Coyote Alert in Allen Texas



If you want copies...


          Pictures on my Web Site are low res so they load in your browser faster but they are not good for printing.  So remember that any picture you like in any news letter or on the Web Site, you can have (in full resolution) for free.  All you have to do is Email me explaining which picture it is you want.  Let me know what type of internet connection you have, and any Email file size limits.  There is no limit to the number of pictures you can have.  Email me at;




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Picture Archives




A Blackberry World


          Some of you may have an iPhone, or a flip or slide phone.  It seems that today, more and more, you need a phone with a qwerty keyboard in order to use the text feature.  I had a Razor and didn't text much, and then I got a Krazor but found the keys too tough to text anything informative.  I find myself texting more now that I have moved up to the Blackberry.  Marisa got me started with the Blackberry phone when she upgraded her 8310 to the Bold 9000.  She uses it for work, email, texting and of course sometimes she uses the phone to make calls. Lately she added the "Turn by turn GPS" feature which is pretty neat, however it sent us on a wild goose chase trying to find an AT&T store, it turned out the store moved and thus the phone kept saying it's ahead but never indicated on the right or left.  Every time she upgrades her phone, I inherit the old one.  I started with the Curve 8310, now I have the Bold 9000, because she has just upgraded to the new Blackberry Bold 9700.  Because AT&T changed their policy about smart phones, all smart phones now on AT&T's network must have the data package, so now I have Internet and Email and FaceBook on my phone.  Now I am connected even when I don't want to be connected.


          The Bold 9700 is one of the best smart phones I have seen yet.  The LCD screen is really high resolution, measuring only 480 X 360 pixels, however the pictures are clear and crisp.  It doesn't have a trackball, instead has a pad.  We have yet to determine if the pad is better.


          She originally wanted an iPhone because of all the apps available and it is a real cool phone, however it's more of a toy and if you use your phone as a tool, especially a work tool, the Blackberry seems to fit better.  My problem with the iPhone is the keyboard.  I just can't seem to hit the correct keys, and without the clicking feedback, I don't even know if I selected a character or not.


Do you have an iPhone or Blackberry?



Our Tribute to Our Veterans


Click on the picture above to visit the page - opens in a new browser window


The Family Veterans Page


          Many of you already know of the new Web Page I started just after Veteran's Day this year.  I have been thinking of a page like this for some time but it was the sending of pictures on Veteran's day of family members who have served that got me going.  Cousin Larry Malone started it, and cousin Karen Hett submitted some ideas and some pictures.  Thanks to all who have contributed so far.  This new page is dedicated to family veterans, however you can submit anyone you want, they don't have to be related to me, just related or a close friend of a relation.  We are not going to limit our page to just Veterans directly related to us.  Your brother may have a best friend who served with him, we want to pay them a tribute to their service also.


          To contribute, send me pictures of the Veteran, preferably in uniform.  Give me their name, time of service or during which war, and rank if known.  I will post them on the page and notify you when it's complete.  Keep coming back to see if anyone has been added.  I also have many pictures from the different times that I will continue to post on the page also.


A Special Thanks to our Troops serving in the Military today!




Ho Ho Ho...


Family and Friends Page


Edgar McCann  - WWII



Duane Malone - Vietnam Era




What Do You Get Someone Who Has Everything?


Another Computer....


          A perfect gift for Christmas is a new computer.  Computers are getting cheaper, except for the Mac, computer prices are coming down very fast.  A new HP computer with a dual core processor, 4Gb of RAM, 650Gb HDD, a DVD burner and a wide screen monitor and Windows 7 home is only about $600 to $700.  Even cheaper at places like Best Buy or Fry's.  We were out the other day looking for ink for the Epson printer and found just that at Staples.  Normally you would expect to pay $1,200 or so for a computer with all of that.  Mac's on the other hand still run around $1,700 for the middle of the road.  Although you can get a 13" MacBook for around $1000.  Laptops are also getting cheaper but don't get fooled about the netbooks, they are exactly what you pay for.  A great deal netbook for $200 to $300, you get a slow Intel Atom processor, not much hard drive, no DVD drive and 1Gb of RAM, you do get a nice WiFi card and a Cell phone card so you can pay $60 a month to your cell phone company for the ability to connect anywhere.  Give a computer this year.  Keep in touch for the rest of next year.


Like me, one can never have too many!


  The Gift that keeps on giving


          Our privacy policy is very simple.  We do not give out information to anyone unless they are an immediate relative.  We do not give out personal information to anyone.  We will not post addresses or phone numbers unless specifically asked to do so, and then only within the secure section of the Site.


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          Don't forget about my Downloads Page on the Web Site.  I will try to place links to important programs and utilities from time to time for you to download.  I know some of you still have dial-up access so I will try to make things smaller to download faster to your machine.


          I have added some links that I think some of you will enjoy, if you haven't checked them out before, check them out now.  Especially check out Google Earth.  If you haven't seen what it is, download it and install it, you can zoom in on anyplace on earth.  It also includes Google Sky, which shows the night sky and all of the stars.  You can see what the sky looks like from your house, right on your screen.  My Links Page...  I found out recently that it also has a flight simulator which is hidden like an "Easter egg" (a small program or movie hidden in a program or utility).


          Missed a past edition of the newsletter?  You can view past issues on our Web Site.  Some are actually printable, you'll need Adobe Reader to download and print them.  Go Here to view past issues of our newsletters.




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