What Was That Crazy Contraption?

Posted by Kathy on December 30th, 2009

We have a winner! Surfie guessed correctly that yesterday’s What’s That object was a bunion stretcher, used to stretch points in a shoe to allow more room for bunions if you’re so afflicted.

Business end

Surfie gets a Junk Drawer magnet and a mystery prize involving eyeballs. Surfie, if the package is leaking when you get it, don’t open it. Just kidding. Maybe.

In other news….

I’ve been enjoying a leisurely vacation from work this week. Leisurely up until the point when I had to take my cat to the vet. He’s been sneezing for two days.

Ever try to load an angry cat into a carrier? Yeah. I was all prettied up and ready to leave the house when the time came to introduce Lucky to his mode of transportation.

I quickly found myself in a fit of aerobic activity over what should have been a cinch. He always went into the carrier easily before. Today he challenged me to a duel.

I tried head first, then butt first, then any way I could first.  The boy was having none of it. Ultimately, I had to unscrew eight connectors on the carrier lid, which is tedious, and place him inside that way.

I later learned it’s best to go butt first, holding the cat by the scruff of the neck with one hand, then holding said butt while securing the hind legs between the fingers of your other hand. Next, lower the cat into the carrier that’s been placed on its short end, or at least on a diagonal. Got it? Sounds so easy on paper.

My recommendation? Bundle up in your thickest clothing, cover all your skin, wear a ski mask if you must. Or pay someone else to do it. And throw in a box of Band-aids.

p.s. Lucky is fine, but I’m wondering about my vet. She suggested to me, in all seriousness, that my cat could have caught something from my husband who is sick this week. She said if he has the flu (he doesn’t) Lucky could have picked it up from him. Do I have to check my vet’s credentials or has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Daisy, you’re a cat. Can you confirm?

A Weird What’s That

Posted by Kathy on December 29th, 2009

Today I have a weird What’s That item for you to chew on. It’s on loan from my brother-in-law. He doesn’t use it. He got it from a store that was going out of business. The proprietors had it hanging on a wall for decoration.

The object is very heavy and I almost chipped a tooth on it during Christmas dinner. I jokingly held it up to my mouth as though it were some kind of medieval dental device and whacked myself in the teeth. I dumb.

How to play:

Simple. First person to guess this object wins a Junk Drawer magnet and a mystery prize involving eyeballs.

What the heck is this? And lookie here. I’m even showing you scale.

Object Opened

This is the object fully opened.

Object Closed

Fully closed.

Business end

This is the business end up close.

A Menu With an Attitude

Posted by Kathy on December 24th, 2009

Geesh. It’s not like this restaurant was the epitome of fine dining. Actually, it’s more a bar than a restaurant. Whatever.

For the record, I ordered from the weenie drink selections with pride.


chicken fingers

I Conquered Another Fear!

Posted by Kathy on December 22nd, 2009

Some of you might know that one of my biggest fears was to fly on a plane all by myself. I managed to show that fear who’s boss last summer when I attended a blogging conference in Chicago. Let me tell you, I felt like a superstar getting that behind me. Kathy, 1. Fear, 0.

Unfortunately, I’ve got other fears, one of them heights, which was triggered when I walked over a bridge with my husband Dave in the Bahamas circa 1995.

We walked along just fine, until Dave exclaimed “Look! The water is beautiful!” I turned my head to take in the view and promptly lost my mind. I had to run over to the other side of the bridge and take a cab ride back.

There were to be no more walks over bridges for me.

Until today.

For years I avoided joining some of my coworkers who would take walks over the bridge for exercise or to enjoy their lunch hours at a summer music festival held every year on the other side of it. I simply could not fathom walking across that bridge. No how, no way.

But it bugged me that I couldn’t — wouldn’t — do something so simple as to walk across that thing. I mean, it’s just a sidewalk, albeit a sidewalk high in the air.

So I made a decision today to join my coworker Heather for a walk around town and a stroll across The Bridge. I’m pleased to report that I made it without crying in hysterics or having a panic attack.

Were there challenges? Yes. Did I sweat like a pig, even though it was only 20 degrees out? Yes. Oink.

If I looked to the left, there was fear of being so high up. Sure, there’s a railing there, but still. It’s the only thing between me and DYING.

If I looked to the right, I felt the closeness and rush of cars whizzing by and worried that I’d somehow fall over the guardrail, get hit by a car and DIE.

I had two choices: either look straight down at the sidewalk or look way, way off to the distance so that I didn’t have either death threat in my peripheral vision. I alternated between both methods until I reached the other side.

And thanks to my trusty co-pilot Heather, who gave me words of encouragement the whole time and notified me when we were and weren’t over water, it was almost a piece of cake.

If any of you have fears that keep you from enjoying life to its fullest, there’s pretty much only one way around it. You have to stare down that fear and kick its ass to the curb.

I know it sounds easier said than done, but I’m here to tell you that I thought I might die today and I didn’t!

Not dying is awesome, but living with one less fear feels even awesomer.



Windy Stands Alone

Posted by Kathy on December 17th, 2009


Our Windy is alone for the winter now. All the leaves have gone. No protection from the elements.


For those who’ve lost track of how long she’s been stuck in her tree, it’s 1 year, 8 months.

Is it too early to start planning her second birthday party? There will be cake again and I might rent a reception hall and hire a band. Too much?

For those who wandered into this blog and don’t know about the Windy saga, check out the Windy archive of posts.

Here’s a video of her I filmed this morning, marking yet another successful photo shoot wherein I do not fall off the roof of my building to my death. Yea for me!



What Was Your Very First Memory?

Posted by Kathy on December 14th, 2009

negatives OK, peeps. Some of you might remember when I wrote a post asking you about your firsts (first kiss, first car, first job, etc).

I had such a blast reading your responses. And now I’m going to ask you to dig deeper. I mean really deep.

Here goes. What was your very first memory?

I doubt any of you can remember when you were babies. I’m guessing the earliest age where one can remember anything clearly enough was around two or three years old.

Maybe your first memory was clear as day, or maybe it was only a hazy recollection. Maybe what you remember stuck with you for its seriousness or for it being funny. Whatever it was, think back and tell us!

As for me, my very first memory is of sitting in the living room, playing with toys, and looking at little dust particles dancing around in strong sunlight. My mother’s probably going to worry you’ll think I lived in a pig sty, but trust me, our house was antiseptic clean. I expect I was jumping around on the couches stirring up the dust bunnies.

I don’t know why I remember that. I do know I felt content at that moment, and curious about the fuzzy air I was seeing.

So let’s have it. What was your very first memory?

Nevermind the Slippery Sidewalks

Posted by Kathy on December 9th, 2009

Evil_Steps It snowed and sleeted and poured last night and this morning. I was concerned a bit about how well the sidewalks would be cleared around my building at work.

Icy sidewalks can be such a hazard.

But so can perfectly dry indoor steps that are pretty easy to navigate if you just pick your feet up as you ascend.

Not if you’re me. That’s right. I fell up the steps. I do not recall once in my lifetime falling up steps. Down, yes. Up, no. To me, there’s a big difference. The ego hurts more when you fall up.

(Note: Actual Steps of Death pictured above.)

I am currently nursing a very sore shoulder and a pretty ugly kneecap.

There is blood.

I ripped through skin when my knee stopped the fall.

The worst part? I fell in front of a colleague. He was terribly sympathetic and concerned, but if I were him, I’d be laughing all the way to wherever he was going.

I’ll be avoiding him forever.

Also, I’m getting a new husband because this is the email exchange we just had:


I hurt myself pretty bad just now. I fell UP the steps in the back stairwell. I’m bleeding on my kneecap. I don’t think I need to get anything checked out, but I will have one hell of a bruise tomorrow.

His response?


Way to go. 


p.s. Since I started writing this, my knee is now softball-esque. Is that bad?

Any Chicago Area Cat People in the House?

Posted by Kathy on December 5th, 2009

kitties I’m helping a friend out by trying to find a Forever Home for two adorable cats in the Chicago area. Rather than repeat the information about them here, I’m going to send you over to JD at I Do Things, who is on the hunt.

There is a HUGE incentive, besides getting to be a fabulous human being who can save kitties from a shelter.

The owner is offering a full year’s worth of kitty litter and food for the cats, PLUS a cash incentive.

Please help us by getting the word out: Stumble, Tweet, or Facebook this (or JD’s post).



A final thank you for all the good wishes and button-pushing and retweeting.


We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Remote

Posted by Kathy on December 2nd, 2009

stockvault_673_20070301Remember when your TV had twelve channels, 2-13, and that was enough on the dial?


And then we thought it was all cool and progressive to have channels that went up to a hundred or so?


My cable service just sent some hocus pocus through our receiver and suddenly my favorite channel is 1,129.


How My Blog Got Its Name

Posted by Kathy on December 1st, 2009

jdlogo My good friend Babs wrote a post yesterday about how she named her blog, Beetle’s Memories ‘n Ramblings, or Beetle Blog for short.

I thought some of you might be interested in the evolution of my blog and how it came to be named The Junk Drawer.

I say evolution because that wasn’t the first name for it, at least not for the URL.

When I first started blogging in July, 2007, I joined up with Google’s Blogger publishing system and chose a name for my Blogspot address. For some reason, I picked my real name. My old URL used to be kathyfrederick.blogspot.com.

While I strangely chose my real name for the URL, I had to come up with a name for the blog itself. At the time, I planned to blog about miscellaneous items that interested me or topics that could be of help to readers or at least entertain them.

1. Computing tips

2. Language and linguistics

3. Humor

Based on having a mish mash of topics I wrote about, my first choice for a blog name was Miscellanea. Now. Look at that word and how it’s spelled. Even the editing software I use to publish doesn’t think it’s a word. Could you spell it correctly with a gun to your head?

I quickly realized that it would make a bad name.

So where’s another place you throw miscellaneous things? Why, The Junk Drawer. Of course!

And so the name was born.

Over time I stopped writing about the first two topics, computing and language, and stuck to what readers seemed to enjoy more, the humor stuff.

When I moved off the Blogger platform in December, 2007, I had to register a new domain name and forward my old Blogspot address to the new one. After dropping two of three topics, I wasn’t really blogging miscellaneously anymore, but I still liked The Junk Drawer name, and so the hunt was on for that domain name.

Initially, I wanted JunkDrawer.com, but that was already taken and I wasn’t prepared to spend almost $2,000 to buy it from the owner. TheJunkDrawer.com was also taken. Strike two.

So I risked choosing a domain that was a little longer than those and settled with JunkDrawerBlog.com.

My suggestion for anyone thinking of starting blogging is to think long and hard about a name. Think of it as your brand name. And try to get the easiest-to-spell and shortest domain name possible. You never know how successful your blog will become, and so you want it to be memorable.

I’m interested to know how you came up with your blog names. Are you happy with what you chose? If you had to do it over, would you have chosen something else?