Monday, March 3, 2014

Uncertain and Irritated

I am seriously considering making Cul-de-sac Shack a private blog and then deleting all content.  I have recently come across articles online where people were paid for their submissions that have stolen photos I personally took and posted on this blog.  At the moment I am considering my options.  I have contacted the author and publisher but they will not respond to my emails requesting my photos be removed from the article.  As such, I feel that to keep ownership of my own property, I need to remove the blog and associated files.  I will make a final decision soon and let you know before I take the blog down, if that is the route I decide to go with.  Thank you for the over 4 years you all have made having this blog an enjoyable experience.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I was up bright and early Saturday morning.  No, I wasn't going to an estate sale, I was presenting at a conference!  My coworker and I, pictured above, submitted a proposal last fall to present at the Missouri Write to Learn conference at the Tan-Tar-A resort in Osage Beach (right on Lake of the Ozarks).  We were shocked when we were notified that our proposal had been accepted.  There were some big names in education at the conference, including Donalyn Miller, Rafe Esquith, and Steven Layne.  Because of the big name people, we expected to have somewhere around 20-25 people in our breakout session, which we felt completely comfortable with.  A week before the conference, I received an email that there were 75 enrolled for our session, and that there may still be a few more straggle in at the last minute.  When all was said and done, I believe we had either 68 or 69 in attendance.  Anyway, we were shocked at the large number.  It made things a bit more challenging as far as the activities we had planned, but it went far better than I ever could have hoped.  We worked with a great group of teachers in one of the largest rooms at the conference for an hour and fifteen minutes.  I was incredibly pleased with how well it went in the end.  The icing on the cake came after we finished when a lady who was in attendance came up to speak to us, gave us her business card, and asked us to write an article for a Missouri teaching journal that focuses on communication arts!  I'm still feeling hyped up about how great it went.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, February 21, 2014

I'm Still Alive!

Long time no blog!  Sorry for the long hiatus, everyone, but I am not making any promises to be actively blogging again.  About a year ago, when I last blogged, I had been struggling for more than three months to feel upbeat with the blog.  However, it just felt like it was becoming a chore, and I wasn't finding enjoyment in it anymore.  That is when I knew it was time to set the blog aside for awhile.  Sadly, I have found that I haven't missed it that much.  Life has a way of filling in gaps that we create, and suddenly I discovered I went almost 6 months without even logging in to Blogger.  Anyway, I do want you all to know I am alive and as well as can be expected (that doesn't sound very positive, does it?).  

I have severely cut down on looking for vintage goodies, and when I do seek something out, it is either a new piece of Pyrex, like this rare duck 043, or a new piece of Heywood-Wakefield.

So, I am guessing you are wondering a bit of what I have been up to.  Or, maybe not.  Either way, I am going to share.  Last summer I was approached to teach an online course for the university I graduated from.  I taught the course during the fall semester.  It went well, but I don't care much for online courses, as I prefer to connect with my students in person.  I am currently in my 8th year teaching in a small rural school in Missouri.  I love my students, and after teaching the online course, I feel sticking with what I currently do is most likely my calling.  At least for now.  Last fall, a fellow teacher and I submitted a proposal to present at a language arts conference, and were shocked when our proposal was accepted.  We present next week.  A recent email from the organizers of the conference notified us that our breakout session has 75 people registered, and advised that this number could still grow.  We were shocked, since we were expecting 20 to 25 total.  Oh well, it will be a great experience.

I am still living in the Cul-De-Sac Shack.  I will have been here 8 years in August.   I don't see myself staying here much over the ten year mark though.  While I love the layout of the house, the many years it was a rental took its toll, and I feel I have repaired just about anything you could think of because it spent years being patched back together without actual fixes.  I was good with these repairs, until some things that have been repaired started causing problems.  I have everything fixed now for the most part, but I am ready to move on.  I have my eye on a 4 acre lot on the edge of town that I would like to build on.  I have looked at a house or two as well, but I haven't found anything I am in love with. Honestly, my hope and plan at this point is to build a replica of the Shack, with the amazing open living space that I haven't found in other houses on the market.  I do want to make some adjustments though.  I want a utility room, first and foremost.  I am sick of having the washer in the house and the dryer in the garage.  I want to increase the size of the kitchen and dining room.  I want a second bathroom, and finally, I want a two car garage.  I envision adding maybe two to three hundred square feet total the the square footage of what I currently have.  I am sure my contractor will be scratching his head when I have him install the vintage light fixtures from the Shack in the new place, and insist on mid-century design details throughout.  That is the plan at the moment.  I will probably continue to occasionally look at houses as they come on the market, but I have some requirements that I am sure frustrate my realtor.  I am done with old houses, as much as I love their charm.  I won't consider anything built before 1985.  I won't consider a house on a small lot, one with a single car garage, or one that is too large.  I find I live in one little area of my house, and the rest is ignored. No need for a large house.  The realtor was shocked when I told her the 1600 square foot house I looked at about 3 weeks ago was too large.  Oh, one other requirement, I must be able to hear the trains.  That really did get my realtor.  I want to hear the trains, but I don't want to hear the church bells at my church which ring on the hour throughout the day and then play songs.  She didn't understand why I would want the trains but not the bells. The reason is simple, every house I have lived in has allowed me to hear the trains, whether at home growing up, in college, or even at the Shack.  It was one of my requirements when I purchased the Shack all those years ago.  It all comes down to a comfort issue, I think.

Finally, about a month ago, we unexpectedly lost my grandmother.  She was my last grandparent.  Last August she moved into a residential care facility.  We went out to visit her one evening after the home called to tell us she wasn't feeling well.  It was a Friday evening and we decided to take her to the ER as we weren't able to get the into her doctor that afternoon.  She made it two more days and passed away that Sunday evening.  Grandma was 93 and a half, as she proudly told the doctor that last weekend in the hospital.. She lived a great life, and was part of the greatest generation.  She married my grandfather in Oakland, CA in 1943.  She was a one room school house teacher and taught in the school in her hometown about 17 miles from the town we all live in until she started her family.  She spent the rest of her life as a housewife.  I think she may be part of the reason I became a teacher myself.  I spent as much time at Grandma and Granddad's house growing up as I did at my own.  My sister and I spent our summer days there, and true to her inner teacher, Grandma had lessons for us to do each morning.  I hated it at the time.  What kid wants to do that during the summer vacation?  But now, looking back, I can see she prevented us from that awful backwards slide that many students experience over the summer.

Okay.  Enough rambling on my part.  Hope you all are doing well, and I will do my best to occasionally check in with y'all.  Hopefully having the Blogger App on my iPad will make it easier for me to blog quickly.  I rarely use my laptop since purchasing the iPad last fall and the little app icon will be a reminder to check in once in a while.

Have a great weekend!

Missouri Michael

Monday, April 22, 2013

A New Venture

Well, I finally got sick of all the stuff in my storage building.  When a new flea market opened up here in town, I rented one of the first booths.  My booth has now been open about two and a half weeks, and I am pleased to report that things are selling very well!  My whole goal is to get things sold, so for antique items, I research prices online and then take 10-20% off that and so far it has been working.  I can't believe how much has sold so far - all of it small stuff - mostly kitchen items.  I have had to take new stock up to the booth at least twice a week so far.  Can't wait to get all of this stuff cleared out of storage!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mustang Update

Now that the bitter cold is leaving the area, and spring is starting to give us a little warm weather, Dad and I were finally able to have an opportunity to tow our 1967 Mustang fastback project out of the garage and tackle gutting the interior.  It's not completely gutted, but we made some excellent progress.

Check out the following pictures to see where we are at!

Lots of rust in that floorboard!  I swear, I don't know how the people at the factory were able to bend themselves all day to put some of those screws in for the back seat and panels!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice
To feel you again?
Over and over like a 
Trumpet underground,

Did the earth seem to pound:
“He is risen”

Over and over
In a never ending round
“He is risen, alleluia, alleluia!”

(Click through for video)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Perking Up

Has anybody else read The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or watched the movie?  They are both incredible (as well as the soundtrack).  If you aren't familiar with it, check it out.  

Anyway, with the way things have been going lately, I found these pictures to be incredibly helpful.  I hope that you enjoy them as well!