11.7.21

Journey to Willow Lake in Queens (And There and Back Again, Out of the Bog)

In this post, I take a walk to a hiking trail next to Willow Lake in Queens. It's a marshland in the middle of a metropolis.

The author looks out over Willow Lake in Queens
View of Willow Lake in Queens (Looking Northwest)

Would you believe me if I told you I'm still in New York City but surrounded by marshland, wet bugs, bees, and butterflies born from under the weeds of the milkweed plant? I am. 

The Pat Dolan Willow Lake Preserve Trail in Flushing, NY 11367:
Pat Dolan Trail
If you wend your way down a nature trail (near 72nd Avenue in Queens and Regent’s Park), you'll find a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Van Wyck Expressway. I expected to see a bloated corpse — left by a serial killer — the area does have a veil of secrecy and hiddenness. But maybe it's because I trekked the trail near evening fall — just a hint of daylight in the sky. Now — I need to find a way out of this bog

The Author, in situ and in sweat


Another view from Willow Lake

How To Get to the Pat Dolan Willow Lake Preserve Trail:
By Subway: Take the E, F, M, or R trains to Forest Hills / 74th Avenue. Alternatively, take the F train to 75th Ave. Walk to the trailhead at 72nd Road and Jewel Avenue. 
By Bus: The Q64 bus will take you to Jewel Avenue and 136th Street. Walk the rest of the way.
By Car: Take the Grand Central Parkway and Get off at Jewel Avenue (Exit 11).  You can also take the Van Wyck Expressway. Turn on Park Drive E., going south. The entrance to the trail is between 72nd Avenue and 72nd Terrace. Alternatively, access the trail on the Forest Hills side of the trail — next to the Willow Park playground.
Note: I don't claim to know every route to get to this trail. Trains, buses, and routes are apt to change due to scheduling delays, and other delays. When in doubt, use a map!

10.7.21

Teacher's Summer Diary #2398: On the Tedium of Making Educational Digital Content (And Why a Walk, a Stretch, and a Sip of Water is Essential)

In this post, I talk about making educational resources for the middle and high school classroom and why distraction is my friendly passenger (although they don't always feel so friendly).

Author as a Gif
As per my last email (don't you hate it when you receive a message that begins that way) — or, shall I say, post — I've learned some new tips. First — there is beauty in
"Wish You Were Here  B.O.B.B.Y" Spray-painted on the side of a freight train car (pictured somewhere in Queens, New York
A message spray-painted on a side of
a train car.

small details. But my iPhone finds it challenging to capture the subtle beauty, so you'll have to contend with the bigger picture.

I read a quote today that I like — about achievement — "Before the gates of excellence, the high gods have placed sweat.”

I'm attempting to complete a monumental task this week, and I feel overwhelmed. I want to expand the teaching resources I created under my @stonesoferasmus brand — I have to go and proofread my inventory of 137 digital downloads I've created. I like the “making part” of the process — using design skills and creating incredible resources that middle and high school students can use. It's just very time-consuming. So to inspire me, I take long walks — hence the photos you see — and eat healthy — and stretch. Also — I got a bigger monitor for my computer. OMG. Having a large screen to work on makes a huge difference when creating digital stuff. OMG.

My goal is to have 200 products reviewed and created by the end of Summer. And on top of that, I'm taking a class on Special Education and Differentiation at Hunter College. The course is good — it solidifies some things I already knew about teaching and has already given me good ideas to move forward. Next year I'm teaching a section of Eighth Grade English, a World Religions class, a New York City history class — paired with Tenth and Eleventh graders in a combined section. Whew. I better get to planning. But. Oh. I see a bird in a tree. Ohh. Let me check this out. *Loses thirty minutes*. By the way, @kfs0520, is the last picture in this post an excellent example of Nantucket Red? Inquiring minds want to know.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

6.7.21

Brief Philosophical Thought: On Everydayness and How to Live One's Life to the Zaniest

In this post, I tussle with Martin Heidegger's concept of "everydayness," — all the while having fun in the town of Catskill, New York (Why, not?!).

Yellow Legs
Put your feet in the air!

Wag your tongue.
Martin Heidegger has this idea he calls everydayness. It’s a complex idea to explain, but somehow it has been on my mind. Everydayness is a condition of being in the world — with its routines, habits, conventions, etc. Let’s call them societal norms. And let’s further say societal norms were constructed to form a modicum of order and stability in living with others. Please don’t take my fish sticks, or I’ll murder you and all your kin. No one has time for that foolishness. So everydayness has its merits. But, then, it’s a tricky business when those same societal norms constructed to protect and carve out stability can also have the light effect of destroying freedom of self. Everydayness is being in a world where one is so caught up in the mundane busyness of living that one forgets how to live. For me — I feel a break from everydayness when I travel. When I’m not plugged into the typical 9 to 5 life. But something is terrifying about breaking away from everydayness. Because to break away from everydayness is to be authentic. And authenticity is most terrifying for one when one doesn’t know how to live outside the habits and conventions laid out for one. To wake up with nothing on one’s schedule, no one calling, no emails to answer, nothing demanding conformity — what’s left is the empty well of the self where authenticity is carved out. So I stick out my tongue. Get caught in the rain. Sit by the river. And feel the ache. The terror of being alive. Because life is so damn limited. A quick breath of air. Poof. You’re gone. What am I to do? And no — the answer is not in any advice or life coach’s guidance. I don’t know the answer. But at least let’s try.

Siamese Cat Sculpture in Catskill, New York
Catskill, New York populates its street corners with quirky cat sculptures.

Cosmic Cat Sculpture in Catskill, New York
Cosmic Cat

Two Kissing Dogs with Santa Hats in Catskill, New York
Kiss me, Kate!

3.7.21

A Visit to Chicago, Illinois and a Brief Re-Encounter with a Favorite Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago

In this post, I finish a voyage on Amtrak's Empire Builder route, and stopover in Chicago for a spell where I re-encounter one of my favorite paintings of all time!

Chicago's Millenium Park Near Sunset
Greig Roselli wears a surgical mask while traveling on public transit in Chicago, Illinois
All masked up in Chicago, Illinois
I’m in Chicago for a brief stopover (to visit @artinstitutechi to see my favorite painting, Georges Seurat’s “Sunday on La Grande Jatte”). I’ve been traveling this month — seeing America on the backend of a global virus outbreak that shook the economy, health, and morale of people. 3.97 million people have died worldwide. On the street, people don’t wear masks, and restaurants and shops have signs that read “If you’re fully vaxxed — no mask,” and a woman on my train a couple of mornings ago wore a tee that reads “Vaccinated AF.” In museums and on buses and trains and in the post office — people don their masks. But I had breakfast this morning — and maybe 5 out of 100 people wore face coverings. And lo did I behold a ginormous pump bucket of hand sanitizer.

A Chicago straphanger rides a Red Line train
People seem ready to move and socialize. Bars and clubs have swung open their doors. Streets are closed off for pedestrian use only. Summer is in the air. A young man seated next to me on the train from Seattle tells me it’s the first time he’s left his Lincoln Park neighborhood since February of last year. But the guy is moving out big — bought himself an @amtrak USA rail pass. That ticket gets you ten legs of a 30-day journey for like four hundred bucks. Coach class, only. He grins. And shows me his itinerary. It feels good to share train travel camaraderie. And I start to dream of journeys I have yet to take. Is the Ethan Allen Express to Vermont open? When will the train travel to Canada?


One of the Art Institute's Lions
Checking Out "Sunday Afternoon"
A Red Line train approaches
the station in Chicago.

I’m also worried about @britneyspears, and I hope she and her lawyers can roll back the strictures placed on her by her conservatorship. Leave Britney alone!

Bonus points — name as many Chicago locations as you can find in my post. Go! The winner receives a free digital download about Mythology from @stonesoferasmus

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29.6.21

Feeling Kinda Heated in a Heatwave — A Solo Adventure to Washington State (And How I Was Almost Stuck Without a Ride at a Safeway in Monroe)

In this post, I recount moments in my solo adventure to Washington State during a historic heatwave — a brief stop in Seattle, and how I managed to get back to my hotel in Skykomish (after missing the last bus). Read on, readers!
Greig Roselli feels heated during the Summer 2021 heatwave in Seattle.
Feeling heated in Seattle

The theme of my post is weariness. I hiked, and I walked, and I explored random parts of Seattle. Do you see the face of Greig? He’s bone-weary.

I’m not used to such locomotion. But I feel like the photographs capture the mood of the day — sultry, hot, relentless. A boy on the bus this morning played a Schecter electric guitar. And then told me a rational argument for gun ownership (although privately, I think to myself I’d never owned a firearm).

Evening in the Pacific Northwest with a wild flower bed on a patch of grass in a residential neighborhood..
A Glorious Patch of Wild Flowers
Seattle is beautiful. I shop for groceries in the Safeway in Monroe. I miss my bus to Gold Bar — and thus miss my subsequent connection to Skykomish. It’s 10 p.m., and I’m stuck on a hot evening somewhere near Highway 2. In front of the Safeway, a gentleman has a long conversation with another guy — he looks like a professional hiker. I ask them for a ride to Skykomish. I’m lucky because one of the men lives in Sultan. And I’m given a ride back to my motel in the mountains.

At night the stars beam, and I feel restless. I consider the prospect of living in a rural area like the mountains of Washington State — “Fun to visit. But I prefer New York.” I gather my things in the motel room — today, I board the train again.


Early Evening
Early Evening in the Suburbs
   I take a photo of an empty bus stop near Everett Washington
Bus Stop Near Everett














Where do you think I’m going next?

28.6.21

When You’re at a Crossroads: Take It from Me, It’s Okay to Feel Lost (Notes from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)

In this post, a high school English teacher gets lost in the forest of northwest Washington.
I am stuck at a crossroads — which way to go? Following the course of the Foss River in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, I’m allowed to be lost, a wanderer. I’m happy I found a rock to sit on so I can gather my thoughts, drink some water (from the mountain creek, of course). If you don’t hear from me, it means I’ve taken up residence in the forest. I’ll come out when I’m dang ready.
Foss River
The Foss River

27.6.21

That Weekend I Stayed in a Small Mountain Town in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (along the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State)

In this post, I write about why fantasy for the rustic life is really a sham. I'm not made for the mountains. But I liked my visit to Skykomish, Washington.

Greig Roselli
"Sheeeeeeshhhhh!"
The Amtrak Empire Builder Passes Through Skykomish, Washington
The Empire Builder 
passes through
Skykomish
I found a rock to sit on to do some writing. When you arrive in Skykomish, Washington — you're in the middle of the Cascades Mountains. Because a railroad tycoon by the name of Stevens, built a railroad from Spokane to the Puget Sound — the place is smack dab in the middle of train history U.S.A.
Crotchet Fishbowl in Skykomish, Washington
Fishbowl

By the 1890s, the United States had already built a few transcontinental railroads — thanks to the unsung contribution of cheap Chinese labor — which the government tried to put a stop to with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Even though Washington D.C. put a smackdown on immigration from Asia, the economy begged to open more portals to the West. A direct train route to Puget Sound. Open more trans-Pacific trade. But a train through the Cascades would prove to be a more difficult challenge. The mountains are a formidable presence — up to about 4,000 feet above sea level, which for a Louisiana boy, is a lot. I'm breathing air at high altitudes, refilling my bottle with water from the Foss River. 

Greig Roselli hikes along an interpretative nature trail near the Maloney Creek in Skykomish, Washington.
Shoes Made for Walking?
Loving being outdoors — but dang, it's uncharacteristically hot today — the high is 90 ° F. Even the people who live here say that’s hot. Sitting by the river — I don't jump in, but I feel the coolness of the rock, and the water is ice cold to the touch. 

What’s your favorite picture that I took?

Rock outcropping over the Foss River

Foss River in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Great Northern Railway Coffee Cup

Click Here to Read Part III

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