The Week – A Unique Magazine




The Week is the most unique magazine I have ever encountered. As they say on the cover; “All you need to know about everything that matters.”

From the magazine in the picture above for the week of April 25, 2014, the most intriguing article for me is the “Detroit great house auction” piece. It reads in full:

Detroit is on the auction block, said Les Christie in “In an ongoing battle to fight blight and boost home values.” The bankrupt city has launched a website to auction off the more than 16,000 vacant homes that were seized in tax foreclosures over the last several years. Fifteen properties will be listed beginning May 5, with one house to be sold each day. Opening bids start at just $1,000, but “winning bidders must quickly rehabilitate the home and have someone living in it within six months.” The auctions will only be open to Michigan residents and companies, and winning bidders must put down 10 percent within 72 hours and close the deal with full payment in as little as two months. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

This one small story generated dozens of questions for me. Are the homes to be auctioned in a good area? How did this all come about?

What is the history of Detroit? According to Wikipedia, Detroit was “The Paris of the West.” That sent me off on a fact finding mission. I learned a great deal by reading Wikipedia.

Sadly drugs and drug lords had a bad effect on Detroit in the 1980s and 1990s. I wonder where those people are today. Will the people buying these houses be safe from drugs?

Drugs caused people to flee to the suburbs. Lower population meant lower taxes and fees being paid to the government. Detroit is now filing for bankruptcy per Wikipedia.

How does one create a new neighborhood? Will it be safe? Who will live there? What will be the return on investment?
Revitalizing Detroit is a massive undertaking, but it can be done. I hope the new neighborhoods cause Detroit to be called The Paris of the West once more.

I talked about Detroit and what is happening there now. The real message is to tell you about my favorite magazine, The Week. I like to read material that makes me think.

What is your favorite reading material?

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try



American Medical Costs



Have you ever asked how much a medical procedure will cost before you have the procedure? I have, but the person performing the procedure was never able to tell me the price. That leaves me to make a decision. Do I sign a form saying I will be responsible for this unknown charge or do I stop the procedure until I know how much it cost? How much will my insurance pay? How will my health be affected if I do not have this medical procedure? It is the only area of my life where I sign up front for unknown expenses. Not only that, I know that I am signing for high priced items. It is scary.

I just received a statement for a three day hospital stay. There was no explanation for the charges. I called the billing office and asked for an itemized bill. When I received the bill, most of it was in code. I asked for the code breaker. I was told there was none. I would just have to look the codes up in the dictionary. That helped somewhat. I am not sure why I was charged $15,307 for a patella (the knee cap) because I still have my own original. The dictionary explanation of stem fem leaves me wondering. That cost $8,100. I have no idea where they used $6,646 worth of cement. The Skryker Knee Replacement video mentions cement being used. I just can’t imagine $6,646 worth of cement being used.

I was surprised to see that the Prilosec like tablet I received cost $79. More surprising was the Topiramate tablet that I pay $.03 for cost $128.00 at the hospital.

I thought about contacting Medicare to discuss these charges, but they already approved them. If they unapproved them, that means I could be left owing thousands of dollars. I guess it is best I shut my mouth and pay the bill.

A friend of mine had a similar experience with high costs. She was in the hospital overnight, but did not stay the full 24 hours so she was an outpatient. She did not qualify for Medicare inpatient care. That meant she was charged in full for all of her medicine at the same rate the hospital would charge Medicare. She is paying off the bill at $25 per month for the next four years.

From the Facebook comments to that posting I learned that we have laws that keep the prices of pharmaceuticals outrageously high. Yes, Congress passed laws in the middle of the night that require hospitals to charge high prices for drugs. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but it’s the law. Check out this video from 60 Minutes.

It seems we are all doomed to pay the higher prices until the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. I tried to find a nice neat explanation of the ACA. After reading until my eyes burned, I can only tell you that we should be better off when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented. You may be interested in this article about the business end of Obamacare.

What is your experience? How do you feel about health care in America?

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try

Me and My New Knee


Continuous Passive Motion
Continuous Passive Motion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Five weeks ago today, I had my knee replaced. I had intended to keep you updated about the recovery, but all that didn’t happen the way I planned.

On the third day after my knee replacement, I went to the Health South Valley View Rehab Hospital in Las Vegas, NV. They treated me like a queen. I think it is the best hospital treatment I have ever received. If you need to go to rehab, I highly recommend this facility.

I am totally amazed to say that I was up and doing assisted walking within 24 hours of having my knee replaced. Within a week, I noticed I didn’t have any pain in my knee. I only had surgical pain.

There was a lady in rehab with me who had one knee replaced on a Monday and the second knee replaced on a Tuesday. I didn’t even know that could be done. Her approach to therapy was amazing. She always had a smile on her face.

Rehab is different than a regular hospital. We go to a large open room called the Gym. The Physical Therapist starts a patient doing exercises and then instructs the next patient. Patients encourage each other with smiles and encouraging words. There was a great feeling of support.

Physical therapy in the gym lasted one and a half hours a day. I also had occupational therapy for an hour and a half. I preferred the physical therapy because I wanted to regain my strength and get back in the swing of things. Back in the room, I used a machine called a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine. It bent my knee back and forth. The goal was to continually increase the bend of the knee until I reach 120 degrees.

As of this writing, the machine is home with me. I am at 118 degrees. The machine is heavy, but portable. It provides steady, constant movement as it bends the knee. It is a clever piece of equipment and I am happy to have the use of it. It is much less painful to use than manual manipulation.

After nine days in the rehab hospital, I was discharged to go home. Steve did an outstanding job of having safety grab bars installed in the bathroom. He bought me a walker and other things I needed at home. Everything was perfect. I just felt guilty having him wait on me all the time. Thankfully, that only lasted a week and then I was more independent.

Sixteen days after surgery, I started “out-patient rehab” at the Health South Rehab center in Henderson, NV. I go three times a week for a 45 minute one-on-one session with a personal Physical Therapist. He has everything timed down to the minute. We cover many different exercises in the time we spend together. Every time I go, he adds something new to my list of exercises to do at home. In addition to the four plus hours I spend on the CPM machine, I am using a goodly portion of my day doing therapy. But that is OK, I am making progress.

Before surgery, I was told that recovery would take six to twelve months. That is probably true for complete recovery. At five weeks, being about to walk unassisted, makes me feel very blessed. The word is that the more physical therapy that one does right after surgery, the more successful one is at regaining full use of the knee. That sounds good to me.

I learned that healing takes a lot of energy. My body required, and still requires a lot of rest. I don’t get emails answered immediately. I missed a lot of Facebook information. I missed Tweets and Instagram pictures, but I am gaining more energy every day. Life is good.

It is good to be back.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try!

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Bellagio – The Jewel of Las Vegas


The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is the first place I suggest people see when they come to Las Vegas. The scenes change five times a year, but they are always magnificent.

The current offering celebrates the Year of the Horse for Chinese New Year through March 1, 2014.  The horse sculpture is beautiful. When I stop and think about how much thought and labor went into making such a breath taking display, I am mind boggled.

IMG_6796 copy

The Ding Pots sitting at the entrance of the garden have special meaning. A nearby sign has the meaning:

Ding Pots

These vessels commonly made of bronze, widely used for cooking, could only be possessed by an official or a king. Our replica is an example of a pot that would  be used for worshipping by a Chinese temple.


Chinese Money Tree – sign

A symbol to bring good fortune to the Chinese while still living and in the after-life. Also used to guide spirits to heaven and provide wealth while there. The meaning has been handed down from ancient Chinese legend that a person shall grow wealthy through hard work and relying on one’s own sweat and blood.


Many people have their picture taken, especially in front of the money tree. Steve and I with our Godchild, Kathleen Cassidy, had our picture taken.

I totally enjoy going to the Bellagio Gardens. Most everyone is happy. People take pictures of each other. Smiles abound. People are cooperative. It is a wonderful place to be. It seems as if the magic of the place and the flowers mix with the people and their personalities. Everything is right with the world.

The magic of the garden is carried over to the registration desk where flowers are replicated. We always tell people to check out the entrance because you never know you may find.


Photo by Steve Brogan
Photo by Steve Brogan

Currently in the lobby is this jeweled horse. Beautiful to behold. Awe inspiring. The place was alive with snapping cameras and smiling faces.


Photo by Kathleen Cassidy
Photo by Kathleen Cassidy

More exciting was when we noticed the view of the horse against the Dale Chihuly ceiling. We took dozens of pictures trying to record the feeling we were experiencing.  We had a wonderful time.

I highly recommend you visit the Bellagio and enjoy the fabulous gardens where magic happens.

Mom Pop Pow – Where You Can Do It If You Try