Archive for August 29th, 2009


Kyle’s 17th Birthday and Niagara Falls

August 29, 2009

Wow! I can’t belive Kyle is 17 already. Where has the time gone?

I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday and he decided on dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Buffalo, followed by a visit to Niagara Falls. We had planned to go to a Teppanyaki restaurant that we had previously visited, but upon reading a couple of recent reviews of the place, decided on a more favorably reviewed restaurant called Wasabi. Despite the spicy name, it was a great little place with delicious food and the presentation of the food was excellent!

I ordered Teriyaki Strip Steak, which was wonderful.


Jeff ordered the Chirashi. It was gorgeously presented.


Kyle, Sarah, Erin, and my father-in-law shared this Titanic portion of sushi and sashimi.


I did not get a picture of the food my mother-in-law ordered, but it was equally awesome in presentation.

After a filling, late lunch, we set out towards the falls. Along the way, we made a quick pit stop and Kyle suggested I get a picture of the sky. It really was a beautiful day for a trip to the falls. The sky was blue, the temperature was warm, but not hot, and the weather (mostly) cooperated.


Upon arriving in Niagara Falls, we drove around a while looking for cheap parking, but found that all of our old favorite places now either cost, or are reserved. I guess when the casino opened, all the prices shot up…for everything! We found a spot and parked, then walked across the bridge to Goat Island. It was a slow go as I was having a very bad breathing day. Along the way, we saw this building…

I was intrigued by the artwork at the top. I couldn’t quite tell for sure what it was, but with some searching, I did find some information on the building. It is the United Office Building, built in 1929, and it has an Art Deco Mayan Revival motif in several places on the building, including all around the top levels. Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel compelled, at the time, to walk around the building and photograph other Mayan art on it. Something about not being able to breathe and the rain that was beginning to fall. We ducked into a souvenir shop to wait out the rain for a few minutes, then we had clear (from rain) skies the rest of the day.

As we were crossing the bridge, I noticed these silly geese swimming in the water just yards from the crest of the falls! Don’t they have any sense? (you really need to click on the picture to enlarge it in order to see the geese)

Once we got to Goat Island, I noticed this squirrel. The black squirrels that reside near the border, both in the US and Canada, are notorious for being mean, evil little creatures. They will chase you! Yes those fluffy little 1 pound creatures have the ability to make grown adults run away. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just have an air that says “I own the place, I dare you to challenge my right to be here…” I quickly took this guy’s picture, then walked away. I didn’t want him to think I had anything at all against him!

This squirrel seemed much friendlier than the one above. He came right over to us. We suspect he has received some “free handouts” before and has lost his fear of people. Anyway, I thought he made a good subject for a picture or two.

Erin is the only of my children that enjoys having her picture taken, so I take many of her. This one I found amusing. Her hair is like a barometer. Here it is saying humid. Her hair is normally quite straight, but as the humidity rises, the frizz and waviness of her hair also increases.


The next five shots are the obligatory, “I went to Niagara Falls,” shots. They really look better enlarged…just click on them.



Having lived within a days drive of the Falls for most of my life, it would be simple for them to have just become another site to visit. I have never, however, ceased to be amazed by the power of them. The following picture screams “power” to me. They really are an awe inspiring site to behold!

Kyle wanted to see the Falls all lit up at night, so we ventured out onto the observation deck as the sun began setting. I have no monopod or tripod, but I still wanted to try my hand at a few night photos. I took several which range from awesome to awful. The following two fall in the awesome category. I was very pleased with how they turned out, especially considering I had nothing but my arms to stabilize the camera.



This is my artistic, don’t look through the lens, just point, fire, and hope for the best shot. I like the way the sun is just a little dot in the picture.


I think this guy might have had the best seat in the house!


Kyle reported that he had a very good time. It was ridiculously late by the time we got home, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.