January is drawing to a close and I'm still not much closer to being tidied and settled.  My clever girlfriends keep reminding me I don't have to move on posting. This is my forever home and I've got lots of time to settle in, throw out and decorate as desired.  Hardest of all is the MESSY MESSY MESSY studio.  I'm busting to get in there and start creating but there are priorities and its not on top of the list.  My dear girlfriend Pat is arriving from St George (USA) in just two weeks so my focus is making sure her room is pretty and comfortable. A few weeks after that I'm off on a cruise (Royal Caribbean Crafting Cruise) with another dear friend Philippa. Anyway - that's where I'm at just now. More to follow.

There has been precious little time since my last update to write anything here.  My knee replacement surgery appeared to go very well - sadly towards the end of 2016 it became clear (to me) that something wasn't right.  I didn't have time to wallow or even pursue further medical investigation.  I took my retirement from the Australian Army in January and relocated to Wodonga (on the Victorian/NSW border). Here I planned to buy a home and settle down to enjoy my retirement ..... ha ha ha.

After searching for some time it became clear that I wasn't going to find what I was after. So onto plan B - that's B for build a house ..... and build one I did. I am now the proud owner of 38.5sq of beautiful home in the quite semi rural suburb of Killara. I have a fabulous master suite, a beautiful kitchen family (complete with Butlers pantry and store) and best of all a Studio with specially designed wall units to store my craft material and scrapbook my time away (eventually).

I was referred to another orthopaedic surgeon (fabulous) and after months of x-rays, MRIs, gallium scans and finally a full on GA arthroscopy it was found my replacement was not attached to my femur (ouch .... no wonder it hurt to walk).  Back into hospital for a revision TKR (such an innocuous way to describe having your knee replacement removed and a new one put in).  Three and a half hours of surgery but I'm fixed. Lots of physio to do, bikes to ride, hydrotherapy etc etc .... the main thing is I can head into 2018 with more hope. On the down side months of no driving (just days after I got my house keys) means I'm far from tidy - and that's a little hard to take. But I'll get there.

It's hard to believe that Easter is just days away .... I will be heading off to hospital next week for my total knee replacement (right one first).  It's a little bit scary and very exciting. I'll let everyone know how it all goes.

What can one say to describe themselves - Mother, daughter, sister, soldier, friend .... and perhaps best of all Grandma. The last couple of years have been challenging both personally and professionally but through it all one learns to look at the positive, work hard defending those that need support and to try to embrace life.

I will have clocked up 34 years in the Australian Army in a few months - I often joke I could have murdered several people and been out on parole quicker. After years of moving around the country I am now undertaking my final posting - in Brisvegas. I'm a Welfare Officer - a very gratifying (though exhausting) role that gives me a chance to look after and care for sick, ill, injured and just plain stressed out soldiers and officers.  Of course I'm not on my own in the bigger picture - there is a vast network of physical and mental health professionals, padres, mentors, support personnel as well as wonderful organisations like VVCS, Veterans Affairs, RSL etc etc.

Christmas 2016 is my retirement date - always supposing I last that long.  The mind is willing but I'm afraid the body is wearing out fast. You just can't wear Army boots for over thirty years and expect your knees (particularly) to feel happy about it.

I've still learning a new way of life after nearly thirty years with my husband (age is no protection for relationship breakdowns) and discovering I do have some good ideas, I can eat chocolate for breakfast if I want to and paper crafting is not a 'waste of time' but instead a great joy.

I've spent quite some time reading self help books, and diatribes on how to make friends, lose weight, embrace retirement and generally improve my lot in life.  The funny thing is most of these do-it-yourself epistles are written by skinny, childless, single people who (whilst meaning well) usually have no first hand knowledge of the challenges faced by older Australians.

My first love is scrapping - but creating cards and more recently off-the-page projects is catching up fast. I've met some wonderful people who laugh. teach and encourage me - sometimes they even compliment me ..... and that's always very gratifying. I've even managed to have a few pages published (much to my grand children's' delight) in Scrapbooking Memories.

I'll add to my journey as new things unfold - thank you for finding the time and interest to look me up.