I Feel Terrific! Best In Years.

It took my cardiologist a bit of time and experimentation to finally get my meds in balance (in the beginning statins and other drugs he prescribed were making me sick, nauseous, weak and depressed) BUT I am happy to report that these last three weeks, I have felt terrific. With no end in sight! I got my nighttime sleeping habit (or lack thereof) under control and I am actually going to sleep at night at a decent hour (around midnight, a BIG improvement from 3AM!) and waking up in the morning at a reasonable hour: 5AM (instead of noon!) I’m breathing much better at night, thanks to ‘Breathe Right’ nose strips (I have a deviated septum).

My whole body seems to be functioning much better and clearer. I guess my arteries are running smoother, my heart must be beating better and everything feels like it’s doing what it was supposed to do all along. But, I must say that the Number One thing that is gone from my life, which, if you have been following my blog, was a BIG Hindrance Factor (BHF), is gone! And that BHF was stress! I finally chucked it to whatever was irking me and said to hell with it all! Once I put that stress out of my life, the rest just fell in to place.

I’m feeling terrific now. I’m feeling positive and I actually am happy when I wake up in the morning. No more dread. No more fear. I’m not afraid of anything anymore. I’m losing weight. I’m more mindful of the food I have been eating currently (or wrongly eating in the past) and have made many positive changes to my lifestyle. DH and I got rid of so much clutter that I am even more certain that living in a clutter-free zone helps my mental status tremendously. My home runs now like a fine tuned engine. Everything has a purpose and a place. If it doesn’t, it’s tossed into the garbage. No regrets. I am absolutely peaceful just sitting in my comfy chair, on my back yard deck staring off into the tree tops just so happy to be alive AND to feeling so, so good.

Have you ever known me to be so happy and content? I don’t complain about anything anymore. And NO! my doctor hasn’t put me on mood swinging drugs. Just a statin to help lower my cholesterol, which has been making my blood flow more freely, thus nourishing my brain. The other drug I take helps prevent heart attacks.

I guess it takes a while to find the right doctor, who understands you and takes the time to prescribe the right medicines that are right for you. I also realize that this point in my life, may be my last hurrah, so I had better make the best of it.

51RCSilgeTL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_

My sister and I both just recently got this book: :1,000 Places To See In The US & Canada Before You Die. I rented mine from the library but will be buying a used copy as soon as my library rental is up. My sister has already started her travel journey and is determined to see as much of the world as she can. DH and I are a little bit behind her BUT we should be off in our RV seeing as much of the US and Canada as possible, within the next two months. Our main goal is to travel together in the future. We’re all eying a cross country trek to Alaska! That’s going to be super fun!

Another one of our mutual friends has been eying an Airstream RV Bambi model, and will probably join us on our travels to Alaska. The more the merrier!

Live well my friend and prosper. Take care of your health. Downsize and de-clutter. Pay no attention to the negative, toxic people you may meet on your journey. Toss them aside and just concentrate on yourself. Because in the end, you’re going to be ALL you have.

All Hands On Deck.

old deck

I think this photo of my deck says it all.

What do you do when you have a perfectly good deck, sturdy, well built etc BUT it looks like crap? Thankfully Home Depot has this great product called Behr DeckOver (click here) that if applied properly, makes your worn out deck look almost brand new.

deck overAt only $35 a gallon (we needed two for our 15 X 12 deck) Home Depot had a sale two weeks ago for $10 off per gallon, as per mail in (or online) rebate. Needless to say, we took advantage of the sale. We also purchased two containers of deck cleaner. DH power washed the deck, which took a few hours. We let the deck dry in the sun for a few days. Our carpenter friend did the rest of the work which was to sand down the deck, re-secure the nails, and apply two coats of the Behr paint. The sales clerk told me to select a light color otherwise my bare feet would burn on the hot (literally) color. I selected rose beige which turned out a bit too pink for my taste. It is a backyard deck, after all!

Nonetheless, the newly painted deck came out spectacular (when you compare it to the before photo). I’m going to put down a tan/brownish indoor/outdoor carpet, a few potted plants and voila, my back deck transformation will be complete.

new deck

Finished deck. What do you think? Better?

When Your Peers Start To Die

tom's death

One of our photography members has passed away

One of the saddest things you are going to encounter in retirement will be the announcements of the deaths of your peers. Try as you might to avoid hearing such bad news, you won’t be able to escape it. This may sound cruel but the only way I have been able to deal with the many death announcements I have been encountering lately is to follow the old army rule. That is, if your buddy next to you has been shot or injured, just keep your eyes focused straight ahead and keep on moving. There’s nothing you can do about your injured comrade. You have to concentrate on preserving your own life stream. And that is precisely what I do. I concentrate on myself and try to make it through yet another day. This is NOT to say the death of a peer, loved one or friend hasn’t affected me. It has. I have my own inner demons to slay each and every day. I can fall prey to depression at the drop of a hat. And when that happens to me, I oftentimes wish for my own death. It takes an effort for me to snap out of this malaise but I do it because I am aware of it. For others, it may not be as easy.

I start my day with the bluetooth transmission of upbeat (soft rock) music. I don’t think there will ever be a day when music is NOT being echoed throughout my home. I have found that I can not be sad while I’m humming upbeat songs from either Elton John or Neil Diamond. Once I’ve finished my coffee and read my emails, I have a daily systematic routine that I MUST follow. On the days where my mind is a vast ocean of chaos and confusion, I have that daily routine to get me back together again and centered.

There’s no doubt that living life is hard for almost all of us. We’ve all had our shares of horror stories. My life has been no exception. I don’t know exactly what motivates me off the imaginary bridge when I contemplate plunging to my death and instead, get up out of my bed each and every morning to happily face yet another day…..but I do it! And I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I like my life too much. I do have fun! Sure I may not have a friend in the world right now and my kids wish I would just go away, but I don’t need them to make my life complete. I have myself AND my spiritual belief that God is my friend and the only friend who will never fail nor desert me. I suppose when you know you have HIM, and that you and He can face the world’s challenges together, everything else will be fine.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe in life after death. I think that this is it. Jesus promises us a life after death but I have a hard time believing and accepting that divine principle. So, make the best of it. Live each day to its fullest. Take risks. Make a fool out of yourself if necessary. Try new things. There is no such thing as failure. It doesn’t matter one iota what other people think of you or what names they call you because in the end, no one will know nor remember. Unless you have discovered the cure for the common cold, most of us just pass through this life in the blink of an eye. I hate to break this to you BUT our lives really don’t matter much to anyone other than ourselves. And God.

I’m not sad that Tom has died. I celebrate his life. Not his death at 74. He was living a great, well deserved life in his retirement years. Tom served his country honorably in the Navy, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during an extremely contentious time in American history.  Some of his hobbies included car racing, fishing, golfing, photography, traveling, scuba diving and skiing. How fortunate and lucky he was to have gone and experienced Africa. I bet he took some beautiful photographs that hopefully his wife will share with all of us at the club. I don’t mind my own life being as lonely as it is because I know in the end, just like Paula (Tom’s wife) will quickly find out, in the end, we are all we will have.

My eyes are focused straight ahead. God has given ME more days to live and I’m not going to waste a single second.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

This Is What Keeps Me Wealthy

DH and I are on a two month journey to pay off $11,357.61 in credit card debt (at zero interest). DH took on a job as a project manager for 2 to 3 months with the intention that 90% of his take home salary is to be applied to this debt. We started the pay down by withdrawing $2500 first out of our savings to immediately pay off the airline credit cards before interest was charged. Most of this total debt was to pay for newish furniture for our recently purchased Florida condo AND for repairs and remodeling projects to make our primary New York home sale-ready.

June and July have a total of 9 weeks. Once I made the initial payment of $2,500, each and every week since then I’ve been paying $1,000 towards our debt. I started with the smallest debt first and every week I pay down the next debt in order. The last debt to pay off is a whopper at $5,719.90. But every pay-day, like clockwork, the debt is being paid off in $1,000 weekly increments till eventually it’s all gone.

Now, I know most people can’t pay off their debt as DH and I have been doing. They need their income to live day-to-day. Oftentimes, it will take an average person many months, perhaps years to pay down their debt. DH and I live a very basic life on $1500 a month which is fully covered by our passive income. That’s why and how we can use his weekly take-home pay to quickly pay off these debts.

But, I have to say one thing: paying off debt is hard! Granted yes, I have it a whole lot easier than most people BUT nonetheless, paying off your debt is hard work! You have to sacrifice, you have to be determined and as Dave Ramsey put it, you have to be gazelle-like in getting rid of your debt. Even if it is at zero percent! DH and I have stopped all expenditures. We’ve stopped going out. I’ve been cooking 3 meals a day 7 times a week (I’m exhausted). ALL our energy and resources have been re-directed to pay off this debt. Which makes the logical conclusion: why go into debt in the first place?

First off, the debt alloted us to furnish our new condo quickly. DH refused to transport our 11-year-old furniture from NY to Florida for a $3,500 moving fee. He said we could equally use that $3,500 to buy newish (consignment store) furniture. WRONG! It cost us $8,500. That was a big fail and a huge miscalculation. Second, because DH is currently working, we had to hire a contractor to do DH’s work PLUS mow the lawn. Ka-ching! Dual edged financial sword. So, sometimes debt in your life has a good purpose. Now, however, it’s time to pay it back.

In a way, I’m glad it’s been a bit difficult paying back our debt. It’s a lesson to be learned, a pain to be felt thus keeping oneself out of debt for the near and distant future. In the interim, I am continuing to be a frugal and as cost-effective as possible. This week I did extremely well in the budget department. A local supermarket was having a meat and poultry sale: buy one, get one free. Their chicken didn’t look great BUT their steaks, pork chops and sausages looked divine PLUS when combined with the buy one/get one sale, when I did the calculations, I was getting the meat at a very fair price. I bought $66.51 worth of meat BUT paid only $37.03 after discount. That’s a savings of $29.48!

Also, my doctor has prescribed a new statin to help keep my cholesterol in check. The last one made me nauseous. The last one had a value of $32 but with my Humana Part D Medicare supplement insurance, my cost was only $4. This new drug, however, has a whopping cost of $226.56 per month! but with my Humana insurance my cost is only $11.50. That’s a savings of $215.06 per month or/and $2,580.72 over the year! (since I need these meds monthly) NOW my medical insurance is starting to pay off since my Humana monthly insurance cost is only $17. That seventeen dollars is turning out to have been a very wise investment on my part.

Lastly, I grabbed a bag of my regular dog food at Aldi this past week BUT when I got home, the bag was really cat food! I swear, the two bags looked identical! Anyway, my dog was starving so I fed her the cat food regardless. (she liked it!) I immediately brought the bag back to Aldi, got a $6.47 refund AND a bag of real dog food for free! Their mistake. Not mine. The two items should not have been co-mingled together on the same self.

And that’s what keeps the money in my pocket and DH and I wealthy.

 

Why Women Live Longer Than Men In Retirement: Housework

house+cleaningLadies, before you curse that broom or dirty cup in your sink, did you know that the housework you do each and every day is going to keep you living longer than a man? Yes, it’s true! Statistics prove (click here) that most women who consistently do daily housework chores live at least three years longer than a man (even if the man does his own housework chores!)

The team from University Medical Centre Rotterdam found that a 55-year-old woman who does little around the house is likely to live to see her 83rd birthday – but that those who keep on top of the housework should live on to the age of 86.

I don’t know about you, but I do a minimum of at least one hour of housecleaning per day. That’s seven days a week, for 52 weeks a year. No time off for good behavior (LOL). I like me a very clean and orderly home. The reason why doing this mundane housework will keep a woman living longer is because it gives a person purpose. Having a clean and comfy home makes for a very relaxed and dignified living existence. And it doesn’t come easy. Lots of elbow grease goes into keeping one’s home clean and shiny.
I make my bed each and every morning and go through much the same routine: tidying up the bathroom and kitchen, putting dishes away and reloading the dishwasher, daily vacuuming, a load of laundry every other day. I take great pride in living in a clean and orderly home. It does much to help my brain out, that’s for sure. I can’t co-exist with clutter. Dust bunnies are NOT my furry friends.
Once you get into a cleaning routine (and never miss a day!) the workload isn’t hard at all. Every day I go through my common, mundane routine and I throw in a bit extra like windexing all the glass or polishing all the wood furniture. Once a month I scrub the kitchen floors and re-polish the bamboo wood floors. Ditto for scrubbing out the bathroom. If I got right down and thought about it, home cleaning is probably the best part of my day.
Who knew?
What about you? If you’re living in clutter and a mess you’re putting yourself inside an early grave. Granted, yes, you can hire someone to do your dirty work but you’ll only be extending the life of your maid. NOT you! Roll up your sleeves, put on some happy music (that’s what I do……Disco Studio 54 to be exact) and get in there and start cleaning.
In the end you’ll get to do more of what you love to do.
Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper!

How To Get A (Retirement) Life

life5_2Ralph Warner wrote a very interesting book back in 2004. It’s entitled: Get A Life. You Don’t Need A Million To Retire Well. Granted yes, the book was written before the 2008 crash BUT nonetheless Warner does impart terrific information that any retiree or future retiree would find valuable.

How ever you lived your life before retirement is pretty much how you will be living your life after retirement. If you’re a homebody with nary a hobby nor friend before retirement, odds are good you’re going to be the same way after you retire: bored and alone. But if your before retirement life had been active and adventurous, you will probably bring those same traits into your post retirement lifestyle.

Many people spend so much of their pre-retirement life wrapped up in accumulating wealth, shunning friendships, avoiding fine-tuning hobbies and family involvement that when they do retire they sadly find out that all the money in the world isn’t going to bring them retirement happiness. Oh, they might have fun in the beginning traveling to exotic places, playing golf four hours every day, buying themselves luxury items and high-speed sports cars but eventually these actions start to wear thin as time progresses. And that’s what you have in retirement: time. Lots and lots of time. Without a job to offset your new-found time, you may find yourself immersed in a very sad retirement indeed.

Get A Life shares with readers sensible ways to ensure a fulfilling retirement — ways that have little to do with accumulated wealth and everything to do with quality of life. Warner stresses the importance of:
— developing family relationships
— maintaining and creating friendships
— improving health
— keeping active
— developing a robust curiosity for the world                                                           
–conversations with a variety of active, older individuals who set a fine example

So, what’s a retiree or near-retiree to do? Saving money for your retirement years is very important BUT not at the sacrifice of your family, friends, career, lifestyle. Think about it. If you have put aside family time in place of earning more money, you are going to be in for a very rude awakening when the time comes for you to retire. You are going to spend at least 25 to 30 years in retirement. Do you want to spend those years alone and estranged from your spouse, children and grandchildren? If the answer is no, then start right now rekindling your relationship with your family. Make amends with your sister, brother, daughter, son, spouse, aunt, uncle, mother, father now before it is too late.

Other than sack away money do you have any other interests? If you like to travel and think you will travel after you retire, think again! Odds are very good that once you hit 65 years of age, your body won’t be as nimble as when you were in your twenties. You’re not going to climb The Great Wall at 70. If you have a hankering to climb, do it now! Within reason, of course. Join the Girl/Boy Scouts with your kids today. Start that photography interest ASAP. Join a Motor Club, Book Club, Small Train Club……anything you have the slightest bit of interest in. Don’t wait. Stay informed today and tomorrow. If you wait till you retire to pick up any of your interests you may find that the boat has sailed without you. Technology might have left you behind and you’re too old to catch up.

However I was before I retired at the age of fifty is still exactly the way I am now (sixteen years into retirement). I made enough money at age fifty, that I knew if I lived the rest of my life as frugally as possible, I’d be OK financially. The pursuit of money was never my bag. I knew I always wanted to live like a rich person without the blood, sweat and grime that went with it. I developed my frugal skills rather than my financial skills to make my early retirement dreams come true. I have been living on $35K a year equally as nice (if not better) than my peers who live on $100K a year.

I continue to travel as comfortably now as I did back then. If I see a travel bargain, I jump on it. But I don’t sit and plan and hoard and save just to see some far-off destination. I have a mental Bucket list of where I want to go and what I want to do. If it comes along and I can afford it, I go. I’ve been RVing since the 1980’s. There’s something about that open road and NOT paying exorbitant hotel bills that keeps me coming back to RVing.

I have the same (writing) and a few new (photography) hobbies to keep me occupied. My exercise routine today is about the same as when I was in my 30’s and 40’s: basic yoga stretching, hiking, biking, swimming and reading current events (exercising the mind). I love trends and keeping up with the modes of ‘today’.  I live in the present, very rarely think about the past and give a slight nudge to tomorrow. I have no guarantee I will be around another day. All I have is today, right now……..the present.

Since I had my heart event this past February or March (the doc doesn’t know exactly) I have re-categorized my priorities. Both DH and I have had stress related heart problems this past year. DH’s was brought on (we think) from the stress of selling our Rhode Island beach house last year. We never want to go through that maddening event ever again. That’s why we are hesitant to sell our primary residence right now. Instead, we’re taking our time getting it sales-ready and giving ourselves a five year time line. As long as we have cash savings in the bank and can pay our monthly bills out of our passive monthly income, there’s no hurry for anything.

My stress was brought on with my fighting with my two daughters. I now realize how preposterous all of that was and so not worth it. When I read Ralph Warner’s question about family relationships: “Do You Want To Go 25 years Estranged From Your Children?” I realized I didn’t! I picked up the phone, made whatever peace I had to with my two daughters, set up new boundaries we all can agree on and resolved the whole predicament right there and then. Life is too short to stunt it in preposterous family matters. Resolve your own family disputes today!!

DH and I have carved out a fine retirement lifestyle for ourselves. We winter and summer in two different, comfy locations. Our NY estate in the mountains is peaceful. Our Florida gulf-side condo is beach friendly and action packed. Now, we’ve tacked on a tiny trailer RV for the local traveling in the US of A we still have a desire for. DH finally has a barn (with electricity) he can tinker in and fix up jeeps for later resale. I have my writing and photography to keep my mind occupied and on point. My family life is back on track. DH and I have boosted up a healthier lifestyle (it’s just another thing we have in common).

In other words, DH and I have a very nice retirement and it’s NOT all about the money. Granted yes, money is important but should be put in it’s proper place. Retirement is all about getting a life. And you don’t need a million or so dollars to get it.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

PS: I got Warner’s book for free from the library. But if you want to purchase it from Amazon, click here.

 

On Golden Pond

pond

On the edge of our property is a pond that connects to a stream that runs right through the center of our front lawn. Both waterways are a delight to view throughout the four season year. As I was walking past the pond yesterday, the sunlight settled on a tree and lit up the entire pond. I snapped this photo of it with my iPhone but I don’t think it does the pond justice. But you get the idea anyway. It’s a lovely pond and home to countless frogs, a few coi fish and the occasional duck or Canadian geese who pass this way on their own migration journeys.

Have a wonderful Sunday. Enjoy the day.

It Ain’t Easy Switching Back To Cash

thNow that DH and I are on a gazelle-like effort to pay off all our zero-interest credit card debt within the next two months, we’ve switched back to cash. After buying whatever we needed with a credit card with nary a thought about the ramification, I found it a bit disconcerting switching back to cash. It’s true what the financial analysts say: it hurts a bit more when you are using cash vs a credit card. The human brain simply doesn’t record credit card usage like it does good old, common cash.

Here’s the problem with credit cards: the insula doesn’t seem to understand how they work. When we pay with plastic, the transaction is abstracted. Instead of forking over cash, we just swipe a thin card. As a result, the usual hurt of spending is diminished – we barely notice that we’ve given something up. (As the scientists note, “The nature of credit cards ensures that your brain is anesthetized against the pain of payment.”). Because spending money doesn’t feel bad, we spend more money, even when we can’t afford it.

DH now gets $50 spending money for his work week and because of this he has been more cautious of how he spends his weekly cash allowance. I’ve switched back to using my debit card to buy groceries and other expenses and I’m stunned at how mindful I’ve also become when it’s time to make a purchase. This is NOT to say we were totally out of control when we made needed purchases with our credit cards. No. What I’m stating is that you certainly give spending any amount of money a second thought when you know it’s cash.

Go figure.

We used to tell ourselves that we were building up airline miles by using our main credit cards but realistically, I think DH and I have accumulated enough frequent flyer miles, we can buy an airplane by now. I think we’re done. By this time next month, all credit cards will show a zero balance and I think we are going to stick to our new cash-only status. In retirement, there really isn’t any room for credit card debt. Zero-interest or not.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

 

So, We Bought An RV

3289-2017HBMainExteriorDH and I bought a 2017 Jayco Hummingbird 17RB (17 foot, rear bath) RV today. It was a bit sooner than I had planned. But, we went back to our dealer friend in Michigan where we bought our iPod RV five years ago and he made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.

If we had purchased the RV here in New York, by the time they added on all the fees and make-ready costs, we were looking at $21,657. This was way above our $14K budget. So, we called Michigan and we got the RV of our dreams, complete with all the extras (like a free bike rack, free battery, free hoses etc and NO make ready fees) for $14,860. That’s a savings of $6,797 over the original NY dealer. The Michigan dealer had two 2017 models left before all the new 2018 models were coming in (and the prices would go further up) so we bought it.

I did some quick action and paid off two more of our charge cards of $1,722.33 and $1,506.81. Once those cards cleared and showed a zero balance due, I applied for an RV loan. We’re only putting $1500 down and financing the rest over 10 years. The monthly payment will be $140, with no pre-payment penalty. The interest on this loan is tax deductible because an RV is considered a 2nd home. So, I’m not concerned about the interest rate we will be paying on this loan. DH and I could use another tax write off.

I’ve gone through all our financials. Now that 4 of the 5 zero-interest credit card debts have been paid off, DH and I can comfortably manage the RV payment out of our passive monthly income. I always base our monthly expenses against our passive monthly income (social security, pension, interest and a loan payback from my daughter). This way, should anything happen to either DH or myself, we have enough passive income coming in to pay our monthly bills.

We’re picking up our RV before July 4th so it looks like we’re going to have a very nice summer! My head is swirling with places to go, places to see, oceans to dive right in to!

For more information on the model we selected, click here. We chose the rear bathroom model because the bathroom is very roomy! Enough room in the shower, toilet and it has a linen closet, medicine cabinet, mirror and lots of storage. A rear bath means the full front is dedicated to a queen sized bed (and overhanging flat screen TV)! The unit has one slideout which makes the middle of the RV, the kitchen and dinette roomy too! The kitchen table only seats two people and that’s all we are: two people. And a dog. The kitchen seating can fold down into a spare bed but the size is only good enough for a child. Maybe one day one of our grandkids will come along with us. Who knows? In any event, we’re ready!

floor plan-17RB

Our floor plan for the 17RB

If you want to see more about our new, tiny traveling vacation home, watch this YouTube video, click here. (WordPress doesn’t allow videos UNLESS I pay extra for it!)

 

Disney. Only For The Rich.

1496680229-disney-parks-1-1496630497

I’m getting tired of Mickey Mouse. Aren’t you?

In case you didn’t know, attendance at all the World Wide Disney Parks are down at least 17%. (click here) Why? Because Disney raised their park entrance fees by 20%. Disney isn’t worried. In fact, they are elated. Why? Because fewer people are attending, less work has to be done and because of the high raise in entrance fees, Disney’s profits are up. Makes perfect corporate business sense: work less, reduce your overhead, raise rates and watch your profits soar.

 

I’m certain Walt Disney must be turning over in his grave. This is not what Mr. Disney had in mind when he started his theme park enterprises. Walt Disney wanted to build a place where ALL children could go and have fun (with their parents, friends and relatives). Walt Disney called his theme parks the ‘Happiest Place On Earth’.

Here’s a comment from Disney Inc. regarding their drop in attendance: But while attendance fell, profits during that same time did not. The park portion of the Walt Disney Company had an operating income of $3.3 billion in 2016, which the Times reports is a 9% increase from the year before; again, an increase that could be attributed to the new pricing systems. So while fewer folks are going to the parks, those attending, no matter if they’re coming in on a peak holiday, are perhaps having a better experience than in the years before.

I don’t know about you but paying a $107 entrance fee to enter the (un) Magic Kingdom comes to around $428 for a family of four. That’s a helluva lot of money. Throw in a few meals (Disney frowns upon attendees bringing in their own food) and a few souvenirs and you’re looking at a one day price tag of almost $1,000. Granted yes, you can save (?) money by buying a multi-day pass BUT that means you have to stay in your hotel longer, have more meals out, buy more souvenirs, thus more ka-ching! No matter how you slice it, what you do and/or where you stay, if you’re going to Disney World it’s going to cost you big bucks. Sadly, Disney has now become a theme park for only the rich.

So, what’s a parent or fun-seeking child to do? Fortunately, Disney World isn’t the only game in town. Especially in Florida or California. You have Universal Studios, LegoLand, Harry Potter and Dinosaur Land to name just a few alternatives. In fact, attendance at Universal is up 7.5% (click here). Don’t forget you have Six Flags and as I have just recently discovered, DollyWood.

thDolly Parton, county music’s superstar (bless her ever-loving country heart) has built a beautiful, 150 acre, down home theme park in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. (click here) There’s a theme park, water park, resort, dinner show and lovely cabins to make your stay a memorable one. Located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, DollyWood is a 150-acre family destination and ranks among the “best of the best” in theme parks for Best Shows, Best Food, Best Christmas Event, Best New Ride for Wild Eagle, and Friendliest Park!

A one day pass to DollyWood Theme park for an adult is only $67. Children between the ages of 4 to 11, plus senior citizens age 60 and older get a discount! Hello grandma and grandpa! A one day pass to the water park is only $49 for adults with the same child and senior discounts applied. Of course, if you get a multi, dual park pass you will save even more money. Plus, if you buy 4 passes, as in a family of four, Dolly takes off another $40 in savings! I wouldn’t walk to DollyWood. I’d run!!!

With more than 40 rides, 15 exceptional shows, five of the South’s largest festivals, Southern-style dining, and the friendliest employees in the world . . . DollyWood is an award-winning destination! DH and I have put a visit to DollyWood on our Bucket List. It’ll be one of the places we are going to stop at and see while traveling in our new RV on our way to The Grand Canyon.

th-1And to heck with Disney. Thankfully, we Americans still have a fellow American, Dolly Parton who truly cares about us, is not corporate greedy AND just wants us to have fun AND enjoy life in her home town.

Thank you, Dolly. We appreciate it.

We will always love you.

PS: Netflix is running an excellent, luscious French version of Beauty And The Beast. The movie is dubbed but the story line is excellent, the visuals divine, the costumes, the scenery, this version will just take your heart away! AND IT’S FREE (with your Netflix subscription).