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Thanksgiving has recently become a time for my family to gather at either my brother's place in Chicago or my sister's place in Florida. This year, the tradition continued in Florida. I flew down Wednesday morning and returned to Michigan Saturday night and had a wonderful time the whole time I was there. Here's a bunch of pics from the trip, so you can be jealous of the good time I had.

The first task is dinner preparation, an activity that everyone participates in.

bread slicing

Here, my nephew Sean and I are racing to see who can cut up their loaf or bread for the stuffing quicker. I spotted him a couple slices for a handicap and still beat him, as you can see here, with my eyes closed.

hammering the turkey

Part of my brother-in-law's recipie for baking the turkey involves removng the backbone from the bird with a hammer and a knife. This significantly reduces the cooking time. The backbone is then broken up into pieces parts, again with the hammer and knife, and dropped somewhere into one of Steve's secret concoctions. Above, my nephew Sean does the honors with the hammer. Note the anticipatory expressions on my sister Bridget's and my brother Ray's faces.

Once dinner prep is finished, we retire to the living room to participate in the age old tradition of watching the Detroit Lions make a fool of themselves on Thanksgiving Day. Despite their best efforts to the contrary, the Lions were able to pull out a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers this year, aided by a near-deaf referee in the overtime coin toss.

Air Maggie

Here, my brother-in-law Steve invokes "Air Maggie." Maggie came to visit this year with her parents, Mark and Christy.


Once Steve was otherwise occupied (the football game was in full swing) my nephew Sean took over the Maggie responsibilities. Here, Maggie shows Sean a thing or two about computers.

The thrill of victory... The agony of defeat

victory defeat

A trip to Florida wouldn't be complete without a romp down by the oceanside. Sean, Ray, Maggie and I did the honors this year. Above, I run rampant with the ball Sean and I were chasing, then pay for my mad dash with my lungs.

And then, the feast begins...


Left to right are: Myself, (hidden behind me)my sister-in-law Tracy, Sean, Bridget, Steve, Ray, my Uncle Glen, my father Ray, and Christy.

The Lermak clan

Christy, Maggie and Mark.

The Friday after Thanksgiving was Disney day. Two Rays, Sean, Tracy, Christy, Mark, Maggie and myself made the excursion to the new Animal Kingdom park this year.

The Tree of Life

The centerpiece of the new park is the Tree of Life, located on an island in the center of the park. Approximately three hundred differant animals are carved into the trunk of the tree at various spots. This picture was taken from a boat, during a tour around the island.

Sean and ape

Here, Sean stands to the left of an ape carved into the base of the Tree of Life. Oops, I mean to the right.

Animals on Parade

A parade wound through the streets around the park in the afternoon.

We're going on a boat!

Maggie and I wait in line for the boat tour here. The chant arose, "We're goin' on a boat!"