Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ithaca, Ho-!

Yesterday (Saturday), the pups and I decided to head down to Ithaca to pick up my etchings from the Ink Shop and then do a little hike at one of the gazillion trails around the city. I had meant to come to Ithaca on Friday evening after work for the city's gallery night, but I was kind of an emotional mess... my department was re-organized and I still have a job, but it's not exactly where I want to be... as well as a handful of other dramas and a really bad critique on some design work I was doing... well, I was an emotional disaster. I spent Friday evening laying on the couch balling my eyes out instead. Anyway. Saturday I was feeling a bit better so off to Ithaca we went.

First I picked up my etchings at the Ink Shop. I promise I will post them tomorrow, as soon as I get them scanned.

Then, I brought my two ancy-pants hounds to the Six Mile Creek Trail which, according to my hiking books, was a tamer trail that Lucy would be able to negotiate fairly well (Ithaca is so hilly with so many gorges, a lot of the trails seem a bit more rigorous than Lucy would be able to handle with her arthritis). As soon as we parked, I recognized the trail- we had done a letterbox here maybe 5 years ago! It is a great little trail.

Frozen waterfalls:

Lucy examined every smell along the muddy path...

Cliff, our navigator:

Jesus may save, but I'm sure he's going to kick your ass for writing on his rock.

The creek...

It was a really nice walk, but someone didn't check the weather forecast before she took off to Ithaca so halfway through it started POURING. Cold, hard rain. Thankfully the temps didn't drop too much (mid 40's) so it was bearable but we turned around soon after and were soaked by the time we reached the car.

Did I mention we met another greyhound on the trail? A white girl with a fawn patch on her head named Paisley. Her owner was very sweet, too. We met them in the parking lot before starting out.

After I got my two stinky wet muddy dogs situated back in the car and semi-dried off, I decided to make the most of our trip and head to Cornell, to their Johnson art museum and then perhaps the Cornell bookstore. I had never actually driven Cornell by myself but remember van trips to the campus when I was in's like a freaking maze. So, after getting my map out and girding my loins, I drove the Scion up the hill to campus and thus began what felt like HOURS of driving around in circles, dodging student jaywalkers and Tcat buses, miles and miles of campus buildings that all looked the same, bumper-to bumper traffic, no parking anywhere, no matter where I turned to try to get back off campus... surprise! More campus halls! How the hell do I get out of here?? I seriously thought I was going to loose my breakfast after awhile. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer has a girlfriend who lives downtown, and when he goes down to visit her he gets sooo lost, everything looks the same, he calls Jerry from a payphone in a panic and is like, "Jerry, I'm lost man, I can't find my way out of here! I must be at the nexis of the universe!!" Well that's how I felt driving around Cornell. It was a freaking nightmare. A beautiful nightmare with spectacular city views, but still a nightmare!!

After what seemed like ages, I was finally able to find a parking space (the Johnson art museum had like 10 spaces, all taken, so I had to keep driving around campus...)... gave the pups a treat, grabbed my umbrella, locked up the Scion and headed back to the museum.

Here's a waterfall on campus. It was hard to get a picture because the sides of the bridge were built so high. I remember hearing many, many years ago that Ithaca has a high suicide rate among college-age kids because the academic pressure is so high so many kids jump off the bridges into the gorges to "end it." I don't know if this is true or not, but it gave me something morbid to think about as I trudge the 18 miles in the pouring rain from where I parked to the Johnson.

This is the Johnson Museum:

And this is the building up close. Yes, that's right... that green sign says "2 Naked Guys Cafe".

I immediately wondered if the museum cafe was run by 2 naked guys, kind of like the Naked Cowboy who roams around Times Square with his guitar. Would that be possible? Would the sanitation department allow that???? I found out, after entering the museum, that the cafe is named for two statues of naked men cavorting/jumping around in obvious... well, they are obviously happy to be alive. You can see one of them sillouetted in the window, throwing his head back and arms up in apparent glee.

I'm glad the cafe isn't run by two actually naked guys, that would be disgusting. Not that I would want to sit and eat a cupcake or something while looking at naked statues either, but I guess I'm a prude about that sort of thing. Apparently the more hippy, free-love population of Ithaca doesn't mind sitting at tables sipping lattes 2 feet away and at the same eye-level as marble genitalia! LOL. I would much prefer silk plants! LOL.

Okay. Two exhibits at the Johnson that were really awesome, and worth the harrowing drive onto campus: "Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya" was the first I saw and the abstract design and texturing of paint was fabulous.

The second I enjoyed as a) a feminist and b) because it involved lots of printmakers! "Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History: Innovative Women Artists on Paper"- really awesome. The artist who popped out to me most was Frances Gearhart- there was a color woodcut of hers that totally blew my mind. Here is a website devoted to her work.... aren't her woodcuts amazing??? Lord have mercy!

And another link on the Papunya artists: linky


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I hope next week is better. I love the hiking photos.


Jennifer said...

Very nice post and accurate description of navigating the campus! Drives me batty.

P.S. Found you through searching TwitterLocal. I'm j_wag on Twitter and my site is