MUSHY'S MOOCHINGS: December 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009


I arose early this morning and made my way to Knoxville, to watch Lily and Kinsley open and play with their Santa gifts. It was a wonderful time, especially knowing how sick the two were just a few days ago, with Lily actually be hospitalized. They seemed fine and played briefly with every new toy; their runny little noses shinning above a wide smile! They still have some mending to do!

Lily made Corey and I a cup of "play" tea, with two imaginary sugar cubes, and then turned to learning how to feed a "Hungry Hippo"! Of course, we had to pay close attention to the little white balls, because Kinsley is at that age where everything goes straight to her mouth!

Tia's parents are Baptist Missionaries in Africa (I can never remember the exact country, but I think it's Tanzania...they can correct me later), and have been there for over 20 years. Tia was actually born and went to school in Africa, before coming to America to live with her grandmother and go to school to study pharmacy. She is a brilliant lady and a very good and loving mother. My son is a lucky man to have her as his wife.

Tia cranked up Skype on their computer and shared Christmas morning with her mom and dad. They talked for a long while, but Lily was just to busy playing to spend much time sitting still in front of the Mac, talking to Beebe (an African name for grandmother) and Bahbo (an African name for grandfather).

Sometimes I'm a little envious they have cool names and I'm just Papaw, but at least she knows the difference between us. Corey's mom is Granby, and Judy is Momma Judy, and Granby's husband is PopPop! They're all cool names for very cool folks!

Anyway, Christmas Day is normally when Judy and I make a big dinner for Tracy, Katie, Eddie, and my mom, but Judy has been sick for about three days now. She is very dizzy and has a terrible sounding cough. She got a shot at the doctor's office Wednesday, but it must have been a placebo since she hasn't gotten any better. So, Christmas Eve's breakfast was canceled and today's traditional supper was rescheduled for Sunday.

Not having had the annual gathering here today meant that I didn't get to visit with Tracy and her family, but at least I got some time in with Katie Bug on Tuesday (previous post). Sunday's not that far away now, so I can wait just a little longer.

It wasn't a normal Christmas, but it was still enjoyable, and it didn't rain as much as was predicted.

I think my brother and his wife are coming to mom's tomorrow, so that should be lots of fun. If we can get all the grandchildren together for photos, it will turn out to be wonderful. We'll see what happens.

See ya!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Katie spent the night with us Monday night, but she did have a date. As she prepared, her Granny sat in the bathroom on the pot (wearing her "Simply the Best Grandma" t-shirt) watching and talking to her. It's always the same thing, boys and college! She has a new boy friend now, but she still discusses the old one with her Granny.

I told her that I was planning to meet Corey Tuesday morning for a little shopping and then a Wild Wings lunch. Her ears perked up and her eyes got big as saucers when I said "Wild Wings", so yes, she was down for it!

Katie got up when I did and went home to get ready and to leave her mom her car. After eating a quick breakfast bar, I dropped by my doctor's office and got my H1N1. Judy told me her shot hurt like the devil, so I was expecting the worst...nothing! It was as if the nurse hadn't stuck me at all!

I picked Katie up and we were off to Knoxville. We met Corey at Gander Mountain and shopped around there a while, about long enough for them to find the barrel of "pop guns" and begin firing at me!

We then made a trip further east so Corey could pick up a Christmas gift for his wife, and then headed back toward Wild Wings. However, it was still early, so we decided to peruse Best Buy for a few minutes.

Well, it turned into about an hour visit, especially after Katie and Corey decided to outdo each other on Guitar Hero! Turns out Katie was much more experienced and racked up the most points.

Katie then discovered the Mac computers and started messing with the video/still camera application. She managed to freeze these three shots of us goofing off in the store. It wasn't the first time, and I sure hope it isn't the last!

We finally made it to Wild Wings and dug into the "wing bar", which included some boneless selections this trip. They were might good, but they failed to keep the wing bins full and selection was poor. Of course, I'll give them another chance to straighten up!

Corey received a call from Tia telling him that Kinsley was wheezing badly and she was taking her to the doctor. Since Lily just got out a day earlier, we were all concerned about the little one.

We all expected Kinsley to be admitted to the hospital but as it turned out she was sent home. The doctor said she was getting plenty of oxygen and the breathing treatments they were continuing at home was all she needed at this time.

So, it all ended up "good"...same as it started, but I'm still concerned about the kids and whether or not they will be well enough for Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


My grand daughter Lily was admitted to the hospital after medication for "walking pneumonia" failed to work break her 3 day fever of 102 to 103. After a two hour wait in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Knoxville, she was admitted and put on an antibiotic and fluids IV drip. Her oxygen level was below 90 and it should be 92 or better.
Yesterday, while we watched her sleep (see photo included here), her fever broke and was around 97.6. She slept for over 2 hours, which was more than she had gotten the night before. She may have slept more had her daddy's cellphone not rang!

This morning I called and Lily was finally eating and drinking, and had slept the entire night! I could hear cartoons playing in the background, so I know Corey was happy too...just kidding!

Corey told me that her sister, Kinsley, was at the doctor as we were talking. She is getting sick too and Tia was making a preemptive visit to the doctor; fearing she might develop pneumonia as well.

UPDATE: Both girls are doing fine, but Lily remains in the hospital. Test came back today with this diagnosis:
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. It can be more serious in young babies, especially to those in certain high-risk groups.
  • Bluish skin color due to a lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
  • Breathing difficulty or labored breathing
  • Cough
  • Croupy cough (often described as a "seal bark" cough)
  • Fever
  • Nasal flaring
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stuffy nose
  • Wheezing

Infants under age 1 are most severely affected and often have the most trouble breathing. Older children usually have only mild, cold-like symptoms. Symptoms usually appear 4 - 6 days after coming in contact with the virus.

Antibiotics do not treat RSV. Mild infections go away without treatment. Infants and children with a severe RSV infection may be admitted to the hospital so they can receive oxygen, humidified air, and fluids by IV.

A breathing machine (ventilator) may be needed.

RSV is the most common germ that causes lung and airway infections in infants and young children.

The disease spreads from person to person through contact with contaminated tiny droplets or objects that the droplets have touched.

Risks include:

  • Attending daycare (there are many, but here is the main cause in young children)!
Please remember the little girls in your prayers and for all the little girls and boys who are sick and/or in hospitals. Looking at Lily lying there yesterday (as in the photo), with the IV tubes running from her left hand, and with an occasional oxygen mask over her little face, brought big tears to my eyes. Little ones should be spared the pain of illness, but...such is our earthly burden.

My best to you all this Christmas. May God bless you and yours in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I know, you're probably saying to yourself, "Thank God he's finished", but I just had to post all my favorite photos for the 2009 "Historic Harriman Christmas Tour" on Flickr and invite you to see the full tour in sequence.

The full Saturday tour now includes photos from the Stowers, Cassell-D'Alessandro, Tarwater-Knobloch, Anderson-Demyanovich, Stowers-Velker, Smith, and, finally, the Hendrick-Saye Residences.

To be honest, I did not get up to the "Hospitality House" (the Saye home shown). I was attempting to get to another camera angle on one of the little green hills in front of the home and literally popped a calf muscle. Although the injury was a "grade 1" pull, it hurt like crazy! At first I thought my wife had hit me in the calf because I dared step on the grass, but it was the muscle tearing. It literally felt as though someone had hit me with a baseball bat!

I apologize to the Saye's but I'll make it a point to come there first next tour! But, I used their home to give everyone a taste!

Anyway, click on the embedded link in the word FLICKR above, or here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I have posted photos of the beautiful Tarwater home within the same "2009 Historic Harriman Christmas Tour" set. Click the bold link to go there. Look for the new photos at the bottom of the set, if you've been following along, and don't forget to double click on them to enlarge them!

The 1951 circa home is pure southern charm!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have posted the next beautiful home photos within the same "2009 Historic Harriman Christmas Tour" set. Click bold link to go there. Look for the new photos at the bottom of the set, and don't forget to click on them to enlarge them!

The Judge Robert B. Cassell home was built in 1905 and stuffed full of Christmas items! It's a wonderland!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


For years, when my dad would drive down Pansy Hill in Harriman, I have dreamed of one day getting to go inside the Stowers "Mansion"! I got that opportunity Saturday and it was a dream come true! It's exactly what you would expect from a Victorian Queen Anne home...beautiful white-oak woodwork and plush period furniture. I took lots of photos, fearing I may never get another opportunity.

HERE THEY ARE for your viewing pleasure!

Don't forget to double click the photos to see the larger, or on "All Sizes" icon to see them original size.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Sometime during the high winds and light snow Sunday night and Monday, this huge oak tree (center of photo) was pushed almost to a 45 degree angle. The soil around the base of the 24” tree had been disturbed a couple of years back when a tree growing next to it toppled, and this year’s 12” surplus of rain weakened the grip the roots had on the ground. One of the nearly 50 mph gusts that passed through the area shoved it against several smaller trees that prevented it from falling into the house next door to my vacant lot.

My neighbors were concerned that if it went the full distance it would strike the end of their house, and with the additional length the supporting trees would have added, it would have slapped heavily against their home. Therefore, since it was my tree, we decided to have the tree cut and split the cost*.

The first guy my neighbor called, who will remain nameless, was a certifiable nut! Instead of business, he talked the entire time about some one he knew at his church committing suicide. He stopped once to interject that he would not cut the tree unless it was supported by a crane!

The dollar signs rolled up in both our eyes. We glanced at each other, one saying, “We’ll get back with ya,” while I gave her the silent “call me” sign! The man left, still talking mostly to himself, and I went back to my house.

When my neighbor called I told her that I was calling “Blanks Tree Work” (Roane County, Tennessee). She agreed and soon I was calling her back telling her that Greg Blanks was on his way out.

Long story short, Greg sized up the job, noting that it would be tricky, (but no crane) but that they should have no problem. He then gave us a very fair price…we shook hands and he left promising to be there the next morning.

The crew arrived just after 8:30 and had the tree on the ground in about 3 hours. However, as I write this, I can still hear them cleaning up the debris. So, the job took about 4 and a 1/2 hours.

The tree was hung up in several smaller trees, with one medium sized gum holding most of the weight. The trick was to cut the tree from the top down without messing with the limbs supporting the weight. The tallest section was roped off to one side, which eventually caused it to fall well clear of the house. One large limb was finally left near the middle of the tree, just at the end of the heaviest part, while they cut the base and applied weight to the single limb (see red arrow). Suddenly it cracked and down she came in a big huff and a cloud of flying twigs that shook the ground where I stood snapping away!

My neighbors can sleep in peace tonight without worrying about their house, and I can stop worry about every little imaginary detail.

Last night I dreamed about snakes…snakes were everywhere under me. Strangely I was walking on my hands through the snakes! I’m sure they just represented all the possible things that could have gone wrong today. As usual, nothing did. Greg Blanks took care of me once again.

*The law on a tree from your yard falling on your neighbor is that HIS homeowner’s policy is supposed to pay. The trick there is…HE must have insurance. If not, then you have to get involved. In this case, I decided to do the right thing.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


There have been several occasions when bad weather systems have passed over, under, or around us, and last night was another.

Walden Ridge (or Walden's Ridge) is a mountain ridge and escarpment located north of Harriman and Rockwood, TN. It marks the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau and is about 74 miles long, running generally north-south. The mountain range generally separates East from Middle Tennessee.

It’s this range, being over 3,000 feet at its highest, that protects our section of the Tennessee Valley, sometimes called the Volunteer Valley. Frequently heavy storms, those with high winds or tornadic activity, and even heavy snows, are pushed from their normal easterly track, around Roane County and further north into Anderson (Oak Ridge) and Knox (Knoxville) Counties. There have been two occasions within the last 5 years when tornadoes have come down off the Cumberland Plateau and into Morgan County (just 5 miles from my house), but in my memory there has never been a tornado in Roane County. One could argue that Mossy Grove is in Roane County, but technically it is on the county line (CLICK HERE) and considered Morgan County.

We have had “down burst” that pushed a lot of trees on my property down, but there was no evidence of twisting in the downfalls.

Last evening the warnings were for high winds and heavy rains. We got a lot of heavy rain and some wind, but nothing damaging. The warnings of 50 mph winds locally, and 80 mph in the mountains, were heeded by the local utility companies, who kept workers over sharpening chainsaws, and just “in case”. As for us, the higher winds seemed to go around us…thankfully.

However, there is evidence of the heavy rains in our backyard…well; technically that part of “my” yard belongs to TVA. Yesterday you could see nothing but mud for about 300 yards out, but this morning the water level was about 40 to 50 feet up into “their” yard (it has been higher)! They are reporting that our area received over 3” of rain, and the areas up stream got 2 or more inches, and it all accounted for what’s in “our” yard today.

I sure hope everyone fared as well. My backyard will handle the rain, but I can do without heavy winds.

I do wish the mountain would allow the heavy snows through!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Christmas in Roane County, Tennessee annually means that each city will have its own parade, a guided tour of its historical Queen Anne and Victorian homes, and other festive events. The home tours are held on consecutive weekends, usually the first weekend in December for Rockwood and the second for Harriman. The old magnificent homes are all decked out in their Christmas finery, with bright and flashing lights, with their owners dressed in period clothing, proudly showing off their homes. Some homes even offer finger foods and hot cider!

The seasonal celebration this weekend, for Judy and me, began in Harriman at the annual “Merry Tuba Christmas” concert. There are over 200 Tuba Christmas events held this time of year across America, and the one we attended was one of 7 in the state of Tennessee.

Harriman’s principal “Tuba Christmas” organizer, Dr. Joe Williams, has been leading this gathering for 21 years. He also formed the local Babahatchie Community Band, made up of enthusiastic musicians from all the local high schools and veterans, some of which are retired and played together in high school years ago!

This year’s event was at the Harriman High School auditorium, and led by Sande MacMorran who is Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Tennessee's Music Department, and the Associate Conductor and Tubaist with the Knoxville Symphony. Mr. MacMorran, who was once a member of the United States Army Band in Washington, is Music Director of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra Programs, and has been Conductor of the Youth Orchestra since 1979.

If it’s not too late, click on This Link above and find a “Tuba Christmas” event near you. I guarantee you’ll have a great, usually informal, time, singing along with the band as they play your favorite Christmas Carols! Professor MacMorran also entertained us with his musical and historical commentary between carols.

I don’t know if all events are free, but the one in Harriman is always free…as a matter of fact, the members have to register and pay in order to participate in the concert. It’s a love of music, the season, and people that drives the bunch to perform!

Later Saturday afternoon, Judy and her sisters Terri and Neena (whom we call the Dragons), accompanied by us Knights (their men folk), tour Rockwood’s homes, following the map with numbered houses and addresses, with a history of each. We were impressed with how the current owners have kept up or completely remodeled the homes. I will post more on the Rockwood home tour next time, and a follow up after we make the Harriman rounds next weekend.

But first, let me talk about the “Battle of the Cannons” that is held on the Saturday of the “Rockwood Christmas Tour of Homes” at 2:30, featuring the men of the 28th Tennessee Infantry, Company “A” “Caney Fork Mess”, and coordinated by the “Sons of the Confederacy, Camp 1750” of Crossville, Tennessee. This year they braved light snow and a very cold chill factor to portray a small skirmish of Union and Confederate troops that occurred near Rockwood in September of 1863. Union troops were forced to quit the field and retreat from Chickamauga to Chattanooga and in trying to regroup and resupply, they came to what is now known as Rockwood.

Southern troops, in an effort to prevent the Union troops from resupplying and rejoining the larger ranks, frequently attacked the encampment. A full scale skirmish unfolded with great intensity from cannon and rifle fire. With terrifying “Rebel Yelling”, the Rebs unleashed a ferocious attack! The Yankee soldiers not killed or wounded were quickly subdued and captured.

However, I want to first talk about, and show you, the reason for the “very southern” in the post title. What in the world does the Civil War have to do with Christmas? Well, our country endured 4 years of a terrible War Between the States, which included 4 Christmases!

With such a grand local history, the organizers see fight to include this reenactment each year at Christmas time to coincide with the “tour of homes”! For two days and nights these brave reenactors set up camp and brave the elements, giving visitors a brief glimpse into what it was like to have been a soldier during this time.

Near the featured “Daniel Peterman House(in background), an encampment of Union reenactors set up camp, complete with tents with straw bedding. Captain Peterman established a mercantile business after the war in Rockwood, and built this home sometime in the 1880’s, which features two staircases. It was easy to step back in time and imagine what it was like in 1863 when seeing this encampment near the old home.

My favorite shots were of the Confederate cannon atop a small rise, with a blue sky background, and that of a gentleman portraying an army surgeon showing the tools of his trade. The fake bloody leg was to illustrate where a punkin’ ball had entered a real leg during the war, and how the splintered damage of an actual displayed leg bone (click on photo with the medicine jar to see leg bone) occurred.

Later the “general” came out of the Peterman House and visited the shivering troops to boost their morale.

It was a wonderful evening, one that ended at the Gondolier for pizza, Italian sandwiches, and Fat Tire for all!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Got our first snow this year on December 5th…hasn’t done that in several years; however the dab we got was about our usual. But, it gives us hope that we are returning to more normal winters in East Tennessee…in spite of Al Gore! (Hint: Global warming is a hoax!)

Judy saw to that we were warm and cozy with her prize winning chili in our stomachs. More on that HERE!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


Judy and I did a little shopping today after my dentist visit. I bought a warm looking black twill shirt-jacket and a pull-over, both half-price at Kohl’s. Judy also found some jeans that were also on sale and a little Christmas nightlight for Katie Bug.

Afterwards, we stopped at Wild Wings and ate a late lunch, and the leftovers turned out to be our evening meal.

Of course, we had to have dessert, so we stopped at Harriman’s new Pattycake Pastries, and bought a couple of “cream horns”! Supposedly, these babies are made from the very same recipe used when Merri Mac Bakery was open years ago in the same location. After eating them…later by the fireplace, they are as I remember! Good things are starting to happen in Harriman, and this is one of them. Please patronize Mike Borman’s shop frequently. We need to keep our money invested in our community. (More about the new bakery on the Princess Blog soon.)

Anyway, because of the buying spree, we decided to make room in our closets by bagging up some things for the “Clothes Closet”. Someone needing a couple of warm coats this year is going to be wearing some good ones! We filled two garbage bags, and made more than enough room for the new stuff!

I dumped in half my old collection of baseball caps, most hardly ever worn, so someone might like those. Anyway, I pulled a bunch of old hat/lapel pins off the hats before putting them in the bag. I made this montage of the pins, so you can enjoy them. You can probably deduct from them a lot of who and what I am. I really hated to put them way in a drawer, but I just don’t wear hats much anymore unless it’s below 32.

Some of you will probably enjoy this photo, ‘cause back in August and September of ’06 I posted two “cleaning out my drawers” posts that some of you got a kick out of…CLICK HERE OR HERE to go back in time!

All the time I was pinning them to the cushion I used as a holder and background, Judy sat there watching adorningly, talking to Tracy on the phone, and feeling all good inside from the wings and cream horn she had just eaten! Look at her…she’s beautiful and very happy!