Reducing Triglicerides and Cholesterol

A couple of years ago my triglyceride and cholesterol levels were borderline high. My primary physician wanted me on statins immediately! For the rest of my life! What?!

Examining the numbers, I found that both my HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) were at normal levels, but my overall cholesterol (good and bad combined) was borderline. My triglycerides were approaching borderline high levels as well.

Because I don’t like taking unnecessary prescription drugs, and I’m a smart-ass, I decided to do research instead of taking his advice.

Everywhere I looked I read that to lower cholesterol and triglycerides you needed to decrease fat in your diet. Cut out all that butter and meat! I had done raw food diets in the past for short periods. I decided to see what my blood levels looked like on a raw food diet. No meat. No dairy. Lots of fruit and veggies. I ate salads, wraps, and juiced quite a bit. Nuts for protein. Dates and fruit  to sweeten deserts. I allowed myself some rice and rice-pasta on occasion. The end result? No change. I lost some weight, but my cholesterol and triglycerides were still high.

I decided it was time to look at the science.

Quick Kale

Quick Kale

A friend mentioned wanting to get more greens into their diet, so I thought I'd post a really fast, easy, and tasty way to cook up kale. Takes less than…

Coding Up a New Remote Control

I was using Philips Pronto remotes for over a decade. No more. My last one just died.

The Pronto was a really cool device when it first came out. From the beginning it included a fully programmable touch screen graphic interface and could replace a pile of remote controls with programmable automation. This was way before tablets and smart phones. You could build a glitzy interface and set one button to do multiple actions, like turn one the TV, turn on the receiver, switch inputs, turn on the DVD player, dim the lights, etc..

Due to all the competition from tablets, smart phones, and other cheap devices and apps, Philips stopped making the Pronto last year. There are now hundreds of automation options available. I started looking into what to use to replace the old Pronto, and quickly decided to take a totally different route.  I’d just code up my own.

Refreshing Our Bathroom

Our house was built in 1950. The first floor bath looked it. Hadn’t been updated in decades. Rusting medicine cabinet. A loud, rattling ventilation fan. Corroded faucet. Outdated electrical. Water wasting toilet. Aged wallpaper. Since we kept putting off a full remodel, a few weeks ago I decided to just do a quick refresh.

Above is a photo of the old bathroom.

Ripping a bath down to the studs can save you a lot of aggravating retrofitting work and allow you to get exactly what you want, but it’s also a bigger commitment to expense and  inconvenience. While doing this refresh, our bathroom was never out of commission. I finished one project, cleaned-up, and then moved onto the next. The big things to keep in mind is that a full remodel gives you a fresh start, and a simple refresh has less down-time, but requires working within existing limitations of the existing room. It’s a trade off. Decide what’s more important to you.

Our bathroom felt worn out worn out. The fan noise woke people up. The faucet couldn’t be cleaned any longer. The electrical just looked and felt like danger on the wall. We also didn’t have enough storage space and had to keep some things in our hall pantry.

While working, under the layers of paint and wallpaper I discovered the room was originally pink and gray-blue with big brown-red linoleum tiles accented in a golden style equivalent to paisley. The built-in vanity had once been pink as well, so I assume it is original to the house, since pink is a very 1950 color choice. The wood drawers also have our address written in pencil on them to designate the job for the cabinet maker, which is very old school. The tile job is sloppy, and was likely slapped up by a homeowner in the last remodel, which I’d guess was in the 1970’s or 80’s. This is a room that has remained partially intact for 60 years, and would do so for a while longer now since the walls, ceiling, tiles, and vanity were staying intact.

An early decision we made was to switch from dark brass to brushed nickel. We liked the brighter metal and matte finish. The pain about switching is you have to switch everything to get a consistent look. I got carried away. I even changed the door hinges and door knob to nickel.

In case you’re not interested in the details, here’s a glimpse at what we have today:

For more details about the changes made, read on!

Using Interviews in Fundraising Videos

A month from now, October 14th, will be the yearly fundraiser for Community Housing Network. I’ve been providing media assistance for this event for many years, taking client photos and creating videos. What’s most interesting about this gig are all the personal stories I hear when interviewing those helped by the organization. Some were homeless. Some are handicapped. Some are the emotional family of handicapped individuals. Others are recovering from mental illness. Just showing up with a camera tells these people that I’m interested in them, and most just open up and tell me all about their lives. I always have to coax them to talk about what’s going to be relevant to the project at hand, but between those discussions I always hear some strange or interesting stories. For example, one guy that worked at an airport  offered details about why you never stand in front of a jet plane engine and what impacts can do to the human body. You never know what you’re going to learn.