Radloff Family

April 2002

November 2003

January 2004

September 2004

October 2004

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

July 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

June 2011

July 2011

November 2013

Andersen Family

Bouncing Around

Deeper End of Chaos


I Am Not a Mused

Gifts from a Broad

Lots Better Then Your Blog

Grant Miller Media

Human Voices

Passionate Dale

Skyler's Dad

Vegetable Assassin

Able Home Builders

Advanced Computers

Affordable Cars

Alchemy Trans. Svcs.

Bill's Urban Wear

Byron Kuehl

The Chesterfield

Enabled Vets Outdoors

Fleet US

Healing Run

Heartland Hearth

Hope Talks


Iowa Dual Recovery Anonymous

Knotty Pine Kreations

Leather 'n Hawgs

Magnificent Board of Directors

Midwest Pipe

Northwest Iowa ALR

Parrot Film Co.

RVP Sports Productions

Shesler Hall

Simply Staged for You

Siouxland Freedom Fest

Siouxland Honor Flight

Siouxland Sleep Out

Tall Paul's Pickled Asparagus

Tom Foolery's

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quick update

A real quick update -- we found a contractor that will do the work for half the price, and we managed to get a couple loans to get the needed $$... So we'll be okay. We'll be living at mother-in-law's for the next week or 10 days (though I'll still be working out of this house during the afternoons so I can have Internet access), and we now have a bit more debt burden, but we'll be okay...

We'll be okay.

It's still a shock to that yesterday everything was fine, then this morning they're threatening to tear my house down... But we've got it figured out.

We'll be okay.

I'll be offline for a while...

I'll be offline for a while, sadly.

Our neighbors had problems with their plumbing and ended up calling in a backhoe to redo some pipes. While that was going on, they cut OUR sewer line.

Okay... So, they cut our sewer line. They're gonna fix it... Right?


Turns our our sewer line was built 90 years ago and had originally tied into the neighbor's sewer line, then both went out to the street into the sewer... Fine and dandy, except they changed the city code a few years ago, and now each house has to have it's own sewer line.

Okay... Now the city inspector is involved.

"But I didn't do anything wrong," I said. "Yesterday we were happy, now we have no sewer. What do we do?"

He told us that either we reroute our sewer line or he's going to have our house red-tagged for demolition. "Okay," I asked, "how much will that cost?" He didn't know, nor did he seem to care a whole lot, but the figure $8,000 to $10,000 kept coming up in conversation.

That's nearly a third of the value of our house.

Needless to say, we can't get a loan for $10,000 -- I just quit my job last week. We don't have that much equity in the house. But if we don't get the money, they'll tear our house down.

Dagmar's sobbing right now.

Thank God Dagmar's mother is willing to let us stay in her basement (which is really nice).

So... Our neighbors had some work done in their yard, now we have to move until the situation is fixed, find $10,000 in the next few hours, and there's a very real possibility we'll lose our house.

In any case, I'll be without Internet for the most part for the next couple weeks. I'll probably leave my computer hooked up here at the house for the rest of today, but then we gotta move.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

...a Chicken in Every Pot...

Gosh, I never knew I was THIS popular!

Friday, August 22, 2008

House McCain

You think THIS guy's gonna be good for the economy?

Senator John McCain, Republican presidential candidate, recently said that if you make $4.9 million per year, you're middle-class. You're not rich unless you earn over $5 million a year, in McCain's mind.

Boy, I can't wait to be middle-class!

If Republican Senator McCain didn't seem to be out of touch with THAT remark, how's this... In the economy today many people are having trouble making their house payments. Foreclosures are happening all over the place. Things Are Not Good. Hard-working, honest people are losing their homes. (I almost said, "middle-class," but I guess I'm not sure what that means any more.) In the midst of all this, McCain (R) was asked how many homes he owns.

Turns out he owns so many houses even HE doesn't know!

I have nothing against rich people being rich, but if you're rich AND in power, you'd best quit voting to deny benefits to veterans, don't tell people that in your world $4.9 million a year is middle-class, and don't forget how many houses you own! Especially when they look like this:

I've worked hard all my life, went to college, got a degree, served in the Guard and was fortunate enough to find a house I could afford ($40,000). I hate to say it, but John McCain will never understand my situation, my point of view. He's too insulated from us average people. And by "average" I mean those of us making less than $5,000,000 a year. Sure, the "Country Club economy" is working for him. Is it working for you?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Future Scares Me!

Well, I gave my notice at the print shop today. I told 'em I'd work part-time until the new lady gets up-to-speed, probably three weeks... Then I'll be on my own.

Gosh, I hope this works out! I'm scared spitless right now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Musings


I went to the dentist the other day. Not because my teeth hurt or anything, but because he said I had cavities. Invisible, painless cavities that urgently needed attention RIGHT NOW. Probably because the dentist's child is headed off to college in a few weeks and needs the money...

Anyway, so I go. "Hi Chris, come on back," said the assistant lady as I walked in the door, "you're right on time." I followed her through to the torture room in the back and sat on the uncomfortable Chair of Much Pain. The dentist was there, rubbing his hands in glee. "So, are you having any problems with your teeth?" he asked.

"No, I answered, leaning back in the Chair of Much Pain, "but you must have problems with 'em -- you're the one that told me to be here."

"Yeah," he said, sharpening his meat hook, "when you had your teeth cleaned last month we noticed a few cavities. You really should quit eating and devote all your time to brushing. But we'll get them fixed right up for you. Now lean back..." I lay back and stared at the ceiling. Eggshell, with no texture. "Open wider, please." The dentist stuck a wad of cotton or something in the side of my mouth, and jammed a giant Q-Tip in there somewhere. The assistant lady stuck the sucker hose in the back of my mouth, "Sccchllllluupppph."

"Okay, you're going to feel a small pinch," said the dentist, waving a syringe the size of a football in my face. "Gnuggga wom na," I said. The syringe went into my mouth. "A small pinch," I thought to myself. "Just a small pinch. No problem." That's when the fire shot down my neck. "WAAAArraaaaHHHAAAA" I yodeled through my nose. I could feel the needle probing around. Near as I could tell, the dentist was trying to numb my jaw by inserting the anesthetic directly to my brain -- he had that needle jammed about sixteen inches into my face...

But a mere six hours later (in "patient years"*) the dentist pulled the needle out. "Thank God we're done," I thought to myself. "Okay, we're ready to start," he said. "Gnufff" I answered.

I stared at the ceiling. Eggshell, with no texture. The dentist started doing things. Whiny things, with a drill. "Wheeeeennngggg wheeeeeee weeeeeennnnnnggg." The anesthetic worked, though, and I really didn't feel anything, though I marveled at the cloud of tooth dust floating out of my mouth. Could have been smoke, I guess. Hard to tell. The dentist and the assistant fell into a routine, alternating with the drill and the sucky thing. "Wheeennggg wheeeeeen wheee... Sccchllllluupppph. Wheeeereeen whee wee weeeeeee.... Sccchllllluupppph."

Every few minutes I would consciously force myself to relax. My hands were clenched together on my belly tighter than a three-year-old's grip on a piece of candy. My stomach muscles ached. Several times I thought I could pick the chair up with my butt cheeks, they were clenched together so tight. I'd lay there on the Chair of Much Pain, forcing myself to relax, knowing that in three minutes (patient time) I'd be all clenched up again, even though the anesthetic was working fine.

"Think of something else," I told myself. "Relax." So I thought of other things...

I thought of my childhood dentist, a gentle man who never caused me any pain at all, and somehow never had to use anesthetic. He retired early and moved to Chicago to play piano in a jazz quartet.

I thought of the time in the mid 1990s when I told my boss at the print shop that I had a dentist appointment at 8 a.m. the next week. "Okay," he said. "But Mr. X (our biggest customer) is coming in at 9 that morning to talk to you about a brochure. I need you to be here. And don't be all goofy on painkillers or anything either." So I went to the dentist -- a guy I've never been to before -- and told him to do what he had to do without giving me anesthetic. "I have a business meeting in an hour. My boss told me I have to be coherent and able to talk." So the dentist did his drilling and filling and whatnot without giving me a shot or anything. Talk about pain! I was covered in sweat by the time he was done, but I endured it. I ran straight to work, making it to the office right at nine, my mouth throbbing, the memory of the recent pain VERY fresh in my mind. "I'm here," I said. "Where's Mr. X?" My face felt bruised. "I'm ready for the meeting." My boss looked at me. "Oh. I forgot to tell you. He cancelled the meeting last week."

I came back to reality. Eggshell. "Wheeeeenggg whe whee wheeeeeennn..." What else can I think of to distract myself?

I thought of the time I went to yet another new dentist in my hometown in the late 90s. I was laying back, listening to the sound of the drill, enjoying the root canal best I could. "Wheeeee wheeeeennggg wheeeUUNK." I looked at the dentist. His eyes were real big. I looked at the dental hygienist lady. Her eyes were real big. "Uh oh," said the dentist. He rummaged around a bit, picked up some other instrument of torture and went back to working on my teeth. I forgot about the "uh oh" as he kept working. When he was done I decided to stop at the store for a few things before I went to work. As I walked about the supermarket I noticed that everyone kept their distance from me. No one would make eye contact. People in the store were very definitely nervous for some reason... I made my way through the checkout counter, where the clerk stuttered and stammered to me, ringing my items up as quickly as he could. When I got back to my car I happened to look down. The right side of my shirt was covered in blood. I looked in the rear-view mirror -- the right side of my face and neck were covered in blood. I drove home and checked things out... It was obvious the "uh oh" was the dentist dropping the drill in my mouth. I had a nice gash on the inside of my mouth, and a very thin cut from the corner of my lip down my cheek, bleeding like a stuck pig. Oddly enough I went back to that dentist two or three more times -- he was the only dentist in the area that would take payments.

I checked back in to reality. Eggshell. Relax. "We're just about done," the dentist told me. "Gnurf," I answered. He motioned to the assistant lady. She set the sucky thing down and handed the dentist something. "Okay," he said, "this is just sandpaper. It'll just take a minute."

"Sandpaper?" I thought. "In my mouth? What the..." I could feel the dentist shoving something (sandpaper, I assume) between two of my teeth. He started yanking it back and forth. "Kzzzt, kzzzt, kzzzt, kzz-POP."

"Uh oh," said the dentist. "Um, hand me the orthorefractohoojometer please." The assistant lady handed him a pair of pliers. He reached into my mouth and started yanking on something. "This will only take a... well son of a..." yank yank yank. My noggin whipped around like a bobblehead doll on Steve McQueen's dashboard. "Can you give me the dentoforcepectomentordealy," he said to the assistant lady, who handed him a pair of vice-grips.

By this time I've got both hands in a death grip on the Chair of Much Pain. My butt cheeks are holding onto the cushion for dear life. My eyes are crossed. The doctor grabs onto something in my mouth with the vice-grips and starts yanking. "Whang! Whang! Whang!" goes my head against the back of the chair. Finally, "Kzzzzt..." "Got it!" said the dentist. "Sorry 'bout that. The sandpaper got stuck between your teeth. Happens sometimes."

Within minutes he was done and I was making my wobbly, numb way to the door. "We'll need to see you in a few weeks to get the rest of the work done," said the dentist. "See you then!" I shot him a dirty look and slinked out to my car.

This was all well and good, and to be honest I'd kinda forgotten about all of it (it's good to blank some things out you know) until this morning. I was flossing. "Zip zip zip... Zip zip zip... Zip zi." Stuck. Damn.

*One patient year is roughly equivalent to forty-two "real" years. Therefore one hour in the Chair of Much Pain is equivalent to 42 hours in the real world.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nozzle Rage

Monday, August 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

First words

I still remember the first words I heard Dagmar, the love of my life, say.

It was the Fourth of July weekend in 2000. On my way home from a gig at 3:30 in the morning I happened to go past a buddy's apartment. I was anxious to get home as I'd just bought my first house earlier that week. But I could see lights on and people sitting on his balcony, and I was still all wound up from the gig, so pulled my car around the corner and stopped, thinking to have a beer before heading home to my new house. I got my 130 pound carcass out of the car and headed up the street, still sweaty and grimy from hauling speakers, my hair blowing in the wind. As I neared the apartment I could see all my friends up there waving at me, and I heard a magical voice, accented with the mystery of far-off lands, say from the balcony:

"Who is dat homeless drug addict und vhy are you all vaving at him?"

First Impressions

A few minutes later I was sitting on the balcony enjoying the company of my friends. It turns out they were sipping beer, having a going-away party of sorts for one of our group, enjoying the summer air. "Oh, Chris, this is Dagmar. You know her, don't you?"

"No, we've never met," I replied, nodding across the length of the balcony to the woman with the accent. "I've heard of you, though." We'd been running with the same circle of friends for six months, but had never met. When I would show up at a gathering, someone would invariably say, "Oh, Dagmar just left, you should meet her sometime." At the moment, the mysterious Dagmar was sitting in a puddle of shadow. And, it seemed, a puddle of water. "Are you wet?" I asked.

"Ja. I jumped into de fountain at dat fancy restaurant across de river." I laughed and sat back to listen to the conversation meander around me. The group had gone out to eat as part of the going -away party and Dagmar thought the restaurant was too stuffy and pretentious so she took a dip in their fountain... After a while the party moved from the balcony into the living room. I found myself chatting with Dagmar and playing Trivial Pursuit (they didn't give me credit for knowing where the pituitary gland is, which made me mad). Within minutes I fell asleep on the couch, letting the party wind down around me.

Our first impressions? It wasn't love at first sight... Until she saw me close up she thought I was a homeless drug addict, then all I did was fall asleep on the couch (a talent I hold to this day -- you show me a couch and I'll show you how to sleep on it).

The First Date

I'd bought my Little House in the Hood in June, and took possession of it on July 1st. I met Dagmar just a few days later, on the Fourth of July. I was planning to have a House Warming Party the following weekend. Every house needs to have something spilled on the carpet before it's truly a home, you know.

"Dude, you gotta bring that Dagwood lady with you," I told my friend a few days before my party. "I met her at your house, you MUST know how to get in touch with her somehow."

"Dagmar. Her name's Dagmar, not Dagwood." My friend leaned back, sipping on his Guinness. "I can try to bring her, but I can't guarantee anything."

I reached in my pocket. "Ten bucks. That's all I have."

"She'll be there."

True to his word, my buddy brought Dagmar to the party. I somehow made sure to wrangle her a seat next to me at our impromptu jam session in the basement. We finally got to talk. I called her "Dagwood" three times.

The next week she started gradually moving stuff in.

The Negotiations

For the next three months or so Dagmar and I held negotiations. "Vhat kind of relationship are you lookink for?" she would ask me. We'd talk about that for a while. "What kind of music do you like?" I'd ask. We'd talk about that for a while.

Both of us were in our thirties. Both of us had been burned before. I was just coming out of a two-year-long depression caused (I think) by the messy end of a bad long-term relationship I had in the 90's. Dagmar had just gotten back from a few years in Europe, where she had a bad experience of her own. We were both healing, but still feeling vulnerable...

"Religion's next on the list. Strong views?"

So we negotiated. Was I ready for a relationship? Did she want one? What are the deal-breakers? Are we compatible? We did NOT dive into the relationship head-first, but rather waded into it with small, precise steps.

"Children. Do you vant children?"

Every question was impetus for a week-long discussion... By the end of three months, we were sure.

The Proposal

We were sitting on the Couch of Many Negotiations one night, watching the kitten chase invisible monsters across the room, when Dagmar suddenly got up and got something out of her purse. "Look at dis," she said, handing me a box. "It's been in my family for nearly a hundred years."

I opened the box and saw a simple, elegant, exquisite ladies diamond ring. Very classy! "Very classy!" I said, admiring the ring. I put it back in the box and started to hand it back to Dagmar. She quickly stood up and looked the other way, not taking the box.

"You just keep dat for now," she said. "Und any time you might vant to give it back to me, I'd be villing to take it..."

Oh. OH! Oh...

Two months later, "Vhere is dat ring? It's not in any of your normal hiding places." She picked up a stein from the shelf and peered into it. "Vhat are you doing with that ring?" I sat on the Couch of Many Negotiations and smiled.

"I thought you were peeking!" I said. "Now I know. Just never you mind what I'm doing with the ring!"

Two months later yet, "Are you nervous?" Dagmar asked me, kissing me on the nose.

"Yeah, I am!" I answered. We were backstage at the community theater. I was just moments from going onstage as half of a two-man show. "I'm nervous." The show had just two actors, but there were fourteen characters. So me and my buddy Ross each had to play seven different characters, half of which were women. What this meant was that while one guy was onstage delivering a soliloquy the other was backstage changing costumes. So I had Dagmar backstage with me, helping me with the 20-second costume changes. (And they were odd costumes indeed -- for one character I needed to switch from blue jeans, T-shirt and bandana to wearing falsies, wig, dress and combat boots.) Dagmar peeked through a crack in the curtain. "Vhy are all our family and friends here at the same time?" she asked. "Almost everyone ve know is out there in the audience..."

The stage lights came up. Time to get moving... My first character was a cowboy...

An hour and a half (and uncounted costume changes) later I staggered offstage for the last time of the night. "You guys did vunderful!" Dagmar said. "It vas a great show!" The audience was still applauding.

"Yep, time to go do our bow," I said, grabbing her hand. "Come on, let's go." The actors went on first, so Ross and myself went to center stage and bowed, then we gestured at the wings and our costumers came out and we all bowed together. The audience kept clapping.

"We have one more announcement," said Ross, quieting the crowd down. "Here," he said to me, sotto voce, passing a small box to me behind his back. I took the box, opened it, and motioned to Dagmar to join me center stage in the spotlight. "Honey, will you... wait, don't pass out. Will you..." She looked at me with big eyes. "I asked your mama, she said it's okay..." Dagmar numbly nodded, tears in her eyes. The crowd, mostly family and friends, went wild.

The Wedding

"I don't want a church wedding," I said. "Me not either," agreed Dagmar. Over a period of weeks our wedding plans fell into place. We were gonna get hitched in the park.

The day of the wedding, August 11th, broke sunny and warm. I put on my black leather pants (that was the last day I ever squeezed my fat @ss into THOSE pants) and white shirt and got on my motorcycle and headed to the park. I got there before lunch, plenty of time... My parents and Dagmar's mother had been there already, decorating and primping the place. I found the box I was looking for sitting in a corner under a bush. In the box were toys. Kites, frisbees, little nerf balls... I figgered if it was my wedding I wanted to have fun! So I spent the early afternoon in the park, flying a kite.

People started showing up. The Americans spoke English, the Austrians not so much, but they all understood "The keg is over there and the toys are over here. Have fun!" Dagmar arrived, resplendent in the red dress my sister chose for her. We spent an hour or so getting our photos taken, then we called everyone together for the dinner. A fried chicken picnic in the park.

After we ate, we all went around the corner of the building to sit on the hill by the pond. My buddy started playing his guitar and the hitchin' ceremony started. We had the whole ceremony translated into German as Dagmar's family were all there. I'd written my vows in English, had them translated into German, and memorized them so I could vow myself auf Deutsch. Dagmar's cousins grabbed a guitar and sang her father's favorite song in German. (Dagmar's father passed away in 1980.)

The ceremony happened at sunset on a perfect night in front of a lake... The photo is really the way it was! That's not a backdrop, that's really real.

What you can't see in the picture, though, is that there are train tracks just a half mile away. Not one but THREE trains went past while we were in the middle of the ceremony, blowing their whistles. I didn't hear 'em at the time, but that's one of the things everyone remembers about the wedding... I remember crying, seeing Dagmar cry, watching our friends all light candles on the hillside...

After the hitchin' ceremony was over, we all went around to the other side of the building where my band was all set up and ready to play. We had a belly-dancer and a blues band -- it was a good wedding!

That was all in 2001. Since then we've gone through a lot -- a few medical procedures, a couple arguments, band changes, job changes, stress, and money woes... But what I remember most is that I'm not alone! We're in this together, and we laugh a LOT, Dagmar and I. The world is a much more comfortable place knowing Dagmar's with me. I'm not scared much about anything, 'cause she's tough and she's MY friend! She's taught me how to like myself, how to give to others, how to smile with my soul rather than just my face, and how to trust. I owe her a lot.

Love you much, Snookums! Happy anniversary!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Because everyone loves photos...

Our ventures the last few weeks:

Dagmar's gonna kill me for this, but she
won a fancy award a few weeks ago...

I went to this guy's bachelor party.
He drank lots of beer.

We met a nice puppy

I was in a parade! I love a parade...

I took photos for my buddy's wedding.
Looks like the kids are happy about the situation.

I was in another parade. I love a parade!

Went on a ride with a few friends.

Seagulls in Iowa? Why not?

Sad service. My buddy's funeral.

Saw the Governor speak. He's tall.

A few days ago I got up at 5 in the morning
and rode my bicycle to Veterans' Memorial Bridge
between Iowa and Nebraska to take photos of the
sunrise over the river. Strangely, the best
photo came from a nearby park.

Ducks. Notice that the water looks green?
The entire lake is covered in pond scum...

A visit to the family farm.

Something I thought I'd never catch myself doing again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

In an ongoing effort to embarrass myself...

One of my old bands (Hippie Go Lucky) got conned into doing a gig this weekend. A private party. Small gathering.

We've rehearsed three times in the last few months, which isn't much considering we haven't played in two or three years, and I haven't touched my bass more than a handful of times since then. I've pretty much hung it up. My hands cramp up after just a few songs and it's painful to play. And I can't remember how half the songs go.

But, okay, I'll do the gig this weekend. We'll see how it goes...

Here's a clip of the last time we played, years and years ago. You can see why we're not famous.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Yup. Pretty much.

You know, it'd be pretty progressive for a city to promote "alternate vehicles" simply by making one or two parking spaces on each block FREE, reserved for motorcycles, scooters and bicycles.

Sioux City doesn't do that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Offshore Drilling

I'm hearing a lot of people complaining that the Democrats are blocking offshore drilling. "If they'd just let the damned oil companies drill we wouldn't be paying four dollars a gallon for gas..."

Here's the deal. The Democrats aren't necessarily against offshore drilling, or even drilling in Alaska if need be. The thing is that congress has already given the big oil companies nearly EIGHTY MILLION ACRES of land to drill on. That's 80,000,000 acres they already have rights to use. But the oil companies aren't using that land, and are demanding that congress give them yet more land. All the Democrats are saying is if the big oil companies aren't gonna use the land we've already given them, they need to give it back before we give them any more land...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Completely Random

  1. When did people quit pulling over for funeral processions? How rude... Oh, and if for some reason you should happen to decide to PASS 45 cars, 30 motorcycles and a hearse from behind, don't change your mind halfway through and simply join the processional. And if by chance you DO find that you just sort of accidentally joined a funeral processional, please just pull over and get the hell out of the way. There's really no need for you to follow us to the cemetery...

  2. If I should happen to get a tattoo, what do you think I should get? I'm not really a "skull 'n crossbones" kinda guy. Maybe a happy face or something...

  3. Did you know that if you're holding a flag you do NOT salute when the order "Present Arms" is given? You're supposed to simply stand at attention with the flag in your right hand. Under no circumstances, not even when the newspaper photographer is taking your picture, do you salute with your left hand. I know, I know... it sure is tempting. But don't. Just don't.

  4. I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure...

  5. Some friends of mine are thinking of buying a laptop. Does anyone have any good/bad experience with a certain brand? Any advice I can pass along?

  6. I like this cartoon. My buddy Tom turned me on to it... Duck is a professional freelance photographer, you see. www.whattheduck.net

Copyright 2001-2010 | Designed by Chris @ HippieBoy Design | Contact Chris | Contact Dagmar