Even more than Barack Obama and all the obsolete analog TVs in America, I am so ready for CHANGE.

PlutoLast year I had three major losses: my career, my kid, and Pluto.  When my job was off-shored to Singapore and Cincinnati (did Ohio fall into the Atlantic?), everyone told me that early retirement was a gift.  When my only child left for college five million miles away, they all openly envied my freedom.  But nobody tried to soften the blow of losing Pluto, since we all know that is just sad.

So, if black is the new white and pomegranate the new cranberry, I declare 2008 a do-over year: 2009 is the new 2008!

Last year, I jolted awake every morning with two cups of coffee and this year I am switching to calmifying tea. Black tea, since I still don’t have the granola balls for that wussy herbal shit, and I plan to drink a whole pot each day – just to make up for lost time.  I’ll miss that caffeine high that hit me in the shower every morning and left me sopping wet with answers to world peace, global warming, and how to raise octuplets.  What I won’t miss is the acidic stomach ache it often gave me.  Besides, Al Gore is snubbing me on Facebook and I never could read my notes on the steamy shower door.

But besides my manic coffee disorder, 2008 had so many things wrong with it, I almost need a list to keep track.  In the beginning, I sat at home dutifully enjoying my retirement.  Stripped of my hi-tech ID badge, packing nobody’s lunch for school, and reminiscing over Pluto – I made a list of all the craft projects I had happily neglected over the years and then proceeded to beat myself up every day for not working on any of them.  Since I’m retired, it’s my job to have a good time and here I was ignoring that felted soap cover kit – all my bars as shamefully naked as the day they were milled.

Once I had gone pathological over my craft neglect, I moved on to cooking.  Over the years I had stashed away an enormous number of clipped recipes.  But then I did the food math: I would have to live long enough to see a mortgage meltdown on Mars – AND snack between meals – just to get through the desserts.  But I keep the pile around since it helps me understand the size of Obama’s stimulus package.

Organizing was my next albatross.  In my closet lurked the stack of size 8 corduroys I ordered from Lands’ End when they went on sale and I was down to a size 10 with hopes of starving myself into slimmer single digits.  Who knew they made corduroy in so many colors? Hitching up my black one-size-fits-all-fatties stretch pants, I shoved the door closed on that project.  Guess the joy of retirement had resulted in some stress eating – and not in the good way.

So now I was on a mission to exercise.  All day, all week.  Why not?  What else did I have to do in between visits to SaveSaturn.com?  Weights!  On Oprah I learned you can use soup cans.  I love soup.  Or walking, since now I wanted clam chowder for lunch and this would wipe out my gym.  Or, for variety, since I could already imagine trudging the same route every day in my Pluto For Planethood T-shirt, I could ride my exercise bike while watching The Food Channel!  But first, I had to check online to see if Lands’ End had any size 6 pants left on sale.

Now that I was channeling Richard Simmons, it was time to switch gears and cultivate my brain.  Finally I had time to read all those literary classics and information-packed books I had stacked around everywhere.  Even in the bathroom.  I wondered how many people I had unintentionally intimidated with my unread copy of The Mysteries of Harry Potter Revealed next to the toilet.  That reminded me: I needed to dust.

Cleaning!  That’s therapeutic, isn’t it?  Cindy, our psycho kitty, could keep me busy well into my golden years.  She is an “outside the box” free thinker who lives to surprise me – who knew a cat could pee in a sink?  The first time she did that trick, I suited up, morphing into a one-woman ninja hazmat team, and finished with a flamethrower shot down the drain.  Nowadays I’m so jaded that I have it down to a quick squirt of Simple Green and a blast of hot water.

teacup with yarnYou think I am making this up.  I could post pictures, but my mother didn’t raise me that way.

My mother.  My parents.  Oh my god.  There was a full-time retirement project.  But sometimes they “get on the computer” and could somehow stumble across this blog, so never mind.

So, as I attempt to exorcise 2008, besides replacing my early morning java jolt with chakra-straightening pots of tea, I’ve also escaped my project-infested House o’ Eternal Guilt by joining TWO, count ’em, TWO knitting groups.  I don’t even know how to cast-on, but that’s OK; at snack time, I scored three new recipes for flan.  I also found the world’s greatest therapist (a fellow star-groupie, based on her astronomical rates) and she helped me chuck my torturous “to do” list.  Except I think the cat ate it out of the trash.  Oh well.  I just hope it’s unreadable the next time I come across it.

Pluto may be gone, but if we all text-message Obama, maybe we can still save Uranus.