Easier than writing lots of individual emails

Archive for December, 2007


Ok, so, my uncle Joe is one of my favorite people in the world…for LOTS of reasons.  We’re only 6 years apart in age and I have fond memories, when we were really young, of him hiding in freaky places and delighting in scaring me or memories of him physically harming me and then trying to bribe me with favors or goods when I threatened to tattle.  As we got older, we began to like each other a litle more…we began to hang out more frequently, I’d sit out in the garage for hours and hours watching as he built a dune buggy, a jeep, fixed a tractor or meticulously cleaned the garage.  Our conversations slowly shifted from movie quotes to life’s deeper issues.  We pondered God, love, creation, politics, justice, injustice, success, failure…and somewhere along the way we went from relatives to genuine friends.   

As life has marched on and we now live far apart and have crazy lives, our family Christmas parties have been the only time we’ve really been seeing each other over the last 10 years (oh, and the routine family funerals…but he’s not big on attending those).  And, let’s be honest, Joe & I feel no sense of urgency to pick up the phone and chit-chat…we call each other when one of us is on a ledge of some sort and needs to be talked down…and even then, thank God for voicemail.  But, even with prolonged silence, Joe is always on my mind…usually because I think of him everytime I’m driving.  🙂  He put me behind the wheel of a green datsun manual truck when I was about 12 (?).  He methodically and patiently taught me how to navigate that little rat truck through our pot-holed private road known as Youngs Valley Rd.  Then, on the real city streets, he taught me to think ahead of every possible scenario, know my open spots, and be prepared at any moment for anything, “Ok, up on your left, a little kid just kicked his ball into the road in  front of you and is chasing to get it.  What do you do?  Where do you go? NOW?!”  He taught me to pay attention and really he cultivated instinct in me.  Almost everything he taught me, I use today.  So, I think of him everyday and therefore I tend to miss him everyday for a split second or so.  So, in late November, I let the split second turn into a long stroll down memory lane and I realized that I sincerely missed just hanging out with Joe…like the old days in the garage or riding horses or finding ways to hide from Pat & Frank.  So, I called him and left him a v/m that instead of relying on the Christmas party to catch up, I wanted to hang out, for real, while I was home..  I put no guidelines on it.  The only requirement was that we were to be in the same space for an extended period of time which was not at a party:  I would go wherever whenever he wanted me to  and we could talk, not talk, whatever…I just wanted to hang out. 

He voicemailed back…absolutely!

So, we arranged that on my last day in the Bay Area (for Christmas), I would go to work with Joe for the day and hang out.  Joe’s a trucker and usually is hauling materials.  Joe’s REALLY good at what he does, always has been.  He’s like an artist with how he can manuever massive machines using only mirrors.  Anyway, I imagined a fun day cruising around in the truck, talking, laughing, being silent, etc. I had a few goals going into the day, but I never would’ve imagined how MUCH MORE fun the day turned out to be than what I already knew it would be!

I got to the yard at 6:45am (Joe had been there since 6am).   It was freezing, I parked my car and jumped up into the cab, he was on the radio with somebody.  I looked around and my eyes took in all the dials and levers…while I already had things I wanted to talk about, once in the cab and investigating, my mind began racing with tons of technical questions… :).  Once Joe got off the radio and we fueled up, we jumped out and did an inspection of the rig.  He explained what he was doing, what to be looking for…basically, as are all Driscolls at heart, he’s a born teacher and he was teaching me all about his craft.  That’s when I dubbed it ‘Career Day With Uncle Joe’

Now I’ll fast forward to the bullet points
-The work order for the day was to pick up an excavator, transport it, drop it off at a site, pick up another one and transport the 2nd one to a different site.
-Joe’s one of the top dogs at heavy equipment hauling and that job is no joke…fully loaded we were 160,000 lbs cruising down the road (he’s permitted for 240,000 I think).
-His rig (and trailers etc) had 58 tires in order to support all the components to haul the excavator
-when we got to the first pick-up site, he climbed up on the excavator and turned it on to warm up; he hopped down and did an inspection and then told me to climb up into the cab of the excavator.  🙂 
-reader’s digest version is that, just like when I was a kid, one layer at a time, Joe taught me how to operate this MASSIVE piece of equipment!  It was amazing and ridiculous!  At one point I was thinking, ‘every little boy that I know would be so stoked to be here right now’
-After he taught me how to use the arms, how to rotate the cab, how to make it ‘walk’, etc. I thought we’d switch out and he’d ‘drive’ it to the load site…nope…he had me ‘drive’ it the 1/3 mile to the trailer and then with a very tiny margin for error, had me load it onto the trailer!  It was SO amazing!  I have lots more details, but this post is already offensively too long…the combo of hanging out with Joe, talking about life, learning more about what he does for a living and seeing how unbelievably fantastic he is at it, driving a big ol excavator…it was just an awesome day!  I was so sad when it ended.

Anyway, here are a few pics…it was my camera phone, so they can’t even begin to capture the ‘leviathanesqueness’ of the tractor/trailer creature… (click on them for a larger pic)
-Joe is in the orange shirt (and he’s not a small man in real life…he looks like a dwarf next to the equipment)
-from the profile, there are 9 ‘sets’ of tires, but it’s 58 tires total
-one shot is the arm of the excavator in a dumpster…that dumpster is the size of the ones that you rent for the end of the week at college dorms…it’s to show scale
-the shot of Joe inside the cab is a scene I grew up with…Joe backing up a huge truck using only the side mirrors (and, I might add, he’s always spot on!)…oh, and the stache!

I am so thankful for my career day with Joe!  But mostly, I’m so thankful for Joe!  It’s so comforting having someone that you love and trust and enjoy so much… to always pick up where you left off and to easily follow them as they safely guide you into new experiences…he’s one of the few people that I would truly trust with my life! 

Career Day With Joe

Career Day With Joe Dumpster

Career Day with Joe Excavator

Career Day with Joe

Career Day with Joe Mirrors



So, once again, I traversed up to the Bay Area.  I arrived in Lafayette at 7:15pm on Thursday 12/20/07.  I arrived back in SCV around 7:15pm on Thursday 12/27/07.  There’s SO much to say, but I will only give some highlights:

-Les Mis: I realized that since 1992, approx 3 out of 5 times whilst driving to/from the Bay Area, I listen to the 3 CD set of Les Mis.  I absolutely love it.
-The Seelye’s: Odin, laughing, Christina’s always amazing food (which might get it’s own post), children, Pixy Playland, Team Christmas (!), my own room (with TIVO too), technological gadgets a plenty, laughing, conversation, laughing
-Driscoll party:  charades was ON-FIRE this year!, seeing and enjoying each other and without alcohol this year
-Ramia’s Christmas Day: hung out, ate, watched movies, no other family members except us (no need to get away to walk the Golden Gate Bridge, as is our new tradition)
-Career Day with my uncle Joe: was FANTASTIC.  It will probably get it’s own post too!  I just named it that.  There was no official program.
-Other/Random: my car is all grown up-the odometer flipped to 100,000 at the 580/680 split; it was almost entirely a week of uniform wear; saw Kite Runner by myself in Pleasant Hill; de-Christmasing the Seelye home was a spirited, efficient and gratifying use of team work!; using the saying ‘It’s a Christmas Miracle’ as often as possible throughout the week and converting Trevor and Christina into jr highers…   
Volvo Odometer     Volvo Odometer 100,000
There was TONS more, but no need to bore you with all the duh-tails.  Let’s just close by saying, God is so kind to us to have sent His son to be born amongst us.  Though the world seemingly wants to eradicate Jesus from all recognition during the Christmas zone, I am gleefully aware of how many blessings He bestows upon me with salvation, family and friends…and thankfully, I was surrounded mostly by people who wanted to talk about Jesus (as the sweet baby) and did as much as we wanted to!  All in all, I’d say, ‘Not bad’. (name that movie line) 


Bookman has a website…finally! (and a blog!)!!!

Merry Christmas to the waiting world!

CLICK HERE for the expert’s resources on the Life of Christ!


So, today I was pondering trying out for the show ‘Biggest Loser’.  Seriously. 🙂
I was thinking about what it might be like, how tough the workouts would be, if I’d be a ‘fierce competitor’ in challenges, etc.  Then I thought about the reward challenges where they surprise the contestant with a loved one from home that they haven’t seen in months and everyone cries etc etc etc

I wondered who I would want to come visit me and who I’d want to spend that valuable time with.  I’m sure contestants have to fill out paperwork ahead of time identifying which loved one to call and arrange travel details etc…therefore you probably have to decide that early in the application/acceptance process.  If I applied, I should probably be ready with that answer (who’s analytical?)

Wow.  I would imagine that being married would make the answer to ‘who should I put down as the loved on that I want to visit me during a surprise reward’ a no-brainer…hopefully you’d want your spouse.  But what about those that aren’t married?  As I pondered who I would want to visit with, I was overwhlemed with how many captivating and dynamite people the LORD has flooded my life with.  I still haven’t been able to make even a short list of the one person I would want to come visit…my musings: who would be refreshing? and encouraging? and fearless? and engaging? and appropriate with silence? and a good testimony to the watching world (and, let’s face it, someone who is not annoying)?  Given those criterion, would someone ever choose me to be their surprise loved one?  It allowed me to, once again, reflect on who I am (and who I am NOT but should be), to reflect on who God made me to be (and whether I am or am not being that person), to reflect on the resources He’s provided for me, etc.  

Last year I made a list called ‘People Who Bring Me Joy’…some names came quickly, some names came reluctantly, after some real consideration some names did not make the list at all.  Being in relationships is amazing in good ways and bad ways, but either way, I am profoundly aware that being in relationships with other humans is critical…demonstrated by God seeking to be in a relationship with each one of us, individually.  There is power in relationships: power to nurture, power to hurt, power to encourage, power to heal, power to torment, power to forgive, power to give hope, power to embarrass, power to show sacrifice, just so much power.  I think the profundity of the power is that relationships possess the opportunity ability to show others the love of Christ.  Wow.  I can’t believe God gives us, lame humans, so much power in His name.  He is an amazing risk taker (well, an omniscient risk taker..which doesn’t allow for risk, I suppose)!

Soooo, all that to say… I still haven’t decided who I would want to have as a visitor.  Though it’s a test of sorts to remind me that what I do know is that I want to possess the qualities that make people want to want Christ.  The journey of refinement through failure and victories never ends!


Once again, Ken & Beth make me laugh. 


Do you like puzzles, riddles, or just good old fashioned challenges? If so (even if you don’t) click on the doc below.  I started using this with students and it is awesome (and teachers, you might want save it and keep it on file for those ‘uh-oh, what are we going to do today’ lesson plans) …the opening
paragraph states

This test will give some gauge of your mental flexibility, creativity, and animal cunning.  In the many years since the test was developed, few people have been able to solve more than half of the questions on the first try (although in at least one instance the entire test was completed from memory in less then 13 hours), many people reported answers occurring to them long after the test was set aside, particularly at unexpected times when their minds were relaxed.  A relatively small number were able to solve the test in a few days. NO books, NO groups, and NO cheating.  Good Luck!”     



BODY WORLDS is coming back!!! 
A big bunch of us went to this when it was in LA a few years ago….and it was FANTASTIC!
It’s amazing!!!!  CLICK HERE for details!