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'One bag, any size, 40 days: Gives you chills'.

You think I don't know, but I could hear you smirking when you were reading about UFOs. Can't fool me. You might not have any of those, but I bet you have some UFPs, (unfinished projects). And most of you have TAPs (thought-about projects).

The unfinished project could be that wobbly chair that needs a squirt of glue and a clamp. Easy, but you have to find the glue and the clamp. Too much trouble to go looking. While you can't do anything about it now, how about that garden spot you marked out last spring and then just dug a hole for a tomato instead of doing it right.

Some of you laughed about the baby quilts started for a now 16-year-old. What about the dollhouse, wagon, etc. that you started for the kids? Maybe you can finish it for the grandkids. You get the idea. Those are household, yard and fun projects that are waiting to be finished. Look them over, decide which you want to finish, and ditch those you don't. It's really easy to fill in that tomato hole and sprinkle some grass seed.

Now moving on to the thought-about projects (TAPs). The junk drawer that won't open. The towels that fall out when you open the linen closet. The desk drawer full of pens, pencils and boxes of staples. If truth be told, most of the pens won't write, the pencils have no erasers, and the staples don't fit any stapler in the house. The shoes stuffed under the bed, the closet so full it won't hold another blouse. We all have them, and we all have thought, "I need to clean that out." Thought-about, but not-even-started, projects.

Maybe the time has come to do more than thinking. When you smirked, you were just the pot calling the kettle black. I am going to give you an incentive to start some of those should-do-but-don't-do projects. I am giving you a week and a day to get your head around it. Feb. 14 is not only Valentine's Day, it is Ash Wednesday -- the first day of Lent. In addition to what you normally give up for Lent, I am suggesting that you also give up your junk and some of your time. (You can still do this even if you don't observe Lent.)

Every day, 40 of them, fill a bag. It can be a huge lawn and leaf bag or a small grocery bag -- with things you no longer want. It can be shredded papers, books for the library's used-book store, clothes and household items for the 4C's spring giveaway or The Salvation Army. It can be junk. Put it in your trash bin and have it hauled away. One bag, any size, 40 days. Gives you chills just thinking how neat and tidy your home will be, and how many people you can help in the process.

If your sweetheart will be giving up goodies for Lent, you might want to present her/him with that box of chocolates now. Speaking from my past, a pretty heart-shaped box full of sweets that will be eaten by others is not a welcome present. An evening out, or maybe an evening in, will be the thing long remembered.

Sorry that we didn't get to see the lunar eclipse. With the little bit that came through the clouds, couldn't tell what it was. The Boy said he could see a bit of red behind the clouds as he drove to work. Sister didn't get a view either. Always am disappointed when we don't get to see.

Now that political things -- State of the Union and State of the State speeches -- are over, we can start concentrating on the 23rd Winter Olympics. Opening day will have ski jump qualifications and curling. There is a curling rink that my sister takes me to. One can have lunch and watch people taking lessons on their lunch hours. Were we younger, we would sign up. But bad knees make us weary. If we fell, it would be most embarrassing. Not the falling, but people having to watch us try to get up. Graceful we are not.

Opening ceremonies will be on Feb. 9, then full-blown games. I am trying to cut my schedule so I can stay in front of the TV for a couple of weeks. Athletic I am not, but I like watching those who excel at their chosen sport.

Mardi Gras is in full swing, New Orleans is full of floats, locals, tourists and beads -- even more beads than people, if that is possible. I have friends who love to be there this time of year, but I'm not so enamored. Just too many people, too many drunks, too much, too much. I'll look at your pictures, but I won't go.

Doves begin mating calls before dawn, joining the titmice and the cardinals. Redwinged blackbirds are starting to migrate north. As soon as your soil is properly prepared, plant onions directly in the ground. Lunar apogee on Feb. 11 should help make livestock maintenance and child care slightly less difficult. As soon as the temperatures rise into the upper 30s or 40s, spray trees with dormant oil.

"If there's one thing I am good at, it's putting reusable bags in the car, driving them to the store, and not taking them inside." (Kelly Bean)

* ELIZABETH WOODWORTH is a weekly columnist based in Saline County.
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Feb 6, 2018
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