Shoulda knocked on wood…

Well, Mike, you were right. That last post was tempting fate, apparently, ‘cuz about 6:30 on Monday night, the right side of my throat swelled up. A lot. We’re talking golf-ball size. I, of course, stayed completely calm. Riiiiiiiight. I think it was more like this:

I was in the living room, watching TV, and Kyle was in the office, on his computer. I don’t think my throat suddenly swelled up, but it suddenly became noticeable when it hurt to swallow the Cheez-Its I was munching on. “Kyle!” I yelled. “What?” “Something’s…wrong!” And with that, I raced into the bathroom to examine my neck in the mirror. Yep; very swollen on the outside, and it was becoming difficult to swallow. Commence major loss of composure. It should be noted that Kyle’s throat had been swollen for a day or two already, but I’d ordered him to keep it to himself, knowing full well that if I got a sore throat I’d freak. Apparently, the boy doesn’t follow orders well.

Well, remembering the standing orders from both my surgeons, we proceeded to try and get some medical care. Our new HMO (Kaiser Permanente) is a little weird, but we’ve really liked it so far. So we called the appointment/advice line, hoping to get some info on an Urgent Care facility. Apparently, Kaiser doesn’t do those, and this is lame. We were told that all the clinics were closed, so our only option was the ER. Also, the nurse was a jerk. I totally get that I sounded absolutely ridiculous, wanting to get in to see a doctor pronto for a swollen throat I’d had for 10 minutes with absolutely zero other symptoms. I really do. But I explained my situation to her and tried my very best to make her understand why this was serious; she just never got it, and she seemed very exasperated with me. Which, in the emotional state I was in, just hurt more. In any case, the ER seemed like overkill at that point, so we got an appointment for first thing Tuesday morning (my doctor wasn’t available all that day, so with another doctor), and we just figured that if we really needed to, we could always go to the ER whenever we wanted to.

After that, I wanted a priesthood blessing, so Kyle called one of our home teachers, Barry, who came right over. He and Kyle gave me a blessing that really helped calm me down a lot. Tuesday morning, Kyle went with me to the dr.’s office (my appt. was at 9), but had to leave before the dr. actually came in (he had a meeting at 10, and she didn’t come in until 10). I was glad he was able to sit with me, though, since it helped keep me from freaking out.

I had been concerned about explaining the severity of my situation to the dr., especially after my experience with the nurse on the phone, and since she was completely unfamiliar with my history. I needn’t have worried, though: she was very nice and understanding and didn’t act like I was some crazy person. (Perhaps it helped that she could see the huge, relatively fresh scars on my neck?) She said my right ear was a little swollen inside, so I probably just have a little bit of a cold, but she gave me some antibiotics just in case it’s bacterial. (She acknowledged that ordinarily she wouldn’t do that, but if it would help me feel better, she was fine with doing so.) And yes, I know there’s a large chance the antibiotics won’t have any effect at all. But as I know very well, it could be bacteria, and if it is, I’d just as soon get rid of it ASAP before it has a chance to develop any complications.

So I’m taking my antibiotics like a good girl. I don’t think there’s any change today, but at least it’s not any worse, eh? And I’m not too worried, really. If I think about it too hard, I start fretting, but then something else pops into my head and I get distracted and quit worrying. So that’s good. Hopefully, this will be better soon.

My evening alone

Tonight marks the first evening that Jess and I have spent away from each other. I must say it is strange. It is very quiet around here. For those that are just joining us here, Jess volunteered with the Utah County Rape Crisis Team when we lived in Utah. Eager to do similar volunteer work here in Livermore she found Tri-Valley Haven and joined up with their crisis team. Tonight was her first night of training, so that’s where she’s been all evening.

I decided that it would be a good evening to go for a run. I want to get back into running regularly, since I haven’t been running since some time in February. So I took off jogging down Livermore Avenue. Boy am I out of shape. I jogged for about 1.5 miles before resting and stretching. Then I walked a mile and jogged the remaining half mile to get back home. It was a good run, I’m just completely out of shape.

The rest of the evening I’ve spent working on some programming projects. I did some work to keep the Board alive, and got the code base setup on my desktop so I can start working on Board 5 again. I made dinner (exciting plate of spaghetti and a slice of toast). And now I’m finishing up this blog post. Jess will be home in another 30 minutes or so. Maybe I’ll play some Guitar Hero in the interim.

Also, unlike the cool weather Mike is having down in Sunnyvale, the weather here in Livermore is lovely:
Livermore_weatherThis is usually how the weather is, occasionally it gets cranky and pushes into the 90’s and even the 100’s, but that doesn’t usually last very long. I certainly don’t miss Utah summers.

Ubuntu 9.04 Touchpad Scroll Region

Jess has switched her laptop to Ubuntu and in the process there are some tweaks to be done. One of them was that her touchpad has a little area set apart for scrolling and the default option on Ubuntu was allowing scrolling for a small amount past that set apart area. Unfortunately, they’ve just updated those settings to be part of the HAL device settings rather than the Xorg.conf settings. So now there is not a nice clean GUI configuration program.

After some messing around I was able to figure it out though. You need to create an FDI policy in the directory “/etc/hal/fdi/policy”. It doesn’t seem to matter what you call this as long as it ends in “.fdi”. So I called mine “touchpad.fdi”. In this file we put:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<match key="input.x11_driver" string="synaptics">
 <merge key="input.x11_options.RightEdge" type="string">5900</merge>

(For more information on how to form this file see:

If you follow these instructions and things don’t seem to work, you might try switching the encoding option from “ISO-8859-1” to “UTF-8”.

Anyway, save that text into a file like “/etc/hal/fdi/policy/touchpad.fdi”. The next step (which was left out of 99% of the information I found online and made me very frustrated) is to restart HAL:

sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

After HAL restarts, log out and then log back in.

If it found and read your file properly something should have changed. If you want to test to see if things are working at all you can try setting the RightEdge value (5900 in the above) to something small (I’ll warn you that this will probably turn your entire touchpad into a vertical scroll area, however you can do some sneakiness to recover, first you can still access a terminal by accessing your menus using ALT+F1, and you can access the shutdown menu (not the logout menu sadly) with ALT+CTRL+DEL).

You’ll need to play with that value in order to get it to work for you. I tried to be clever and calculate it from some information, but it didn’t work, so [shrug] just play with it. I changed things about 200 at a time which was enough of a change to notice.

I hope this helps someone out.


Thursday night was our one-month anniversary, so Kyle and I celebrated by attending Livermore’s Shakespeare Festival, which was presenting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was outdoors at Concannon Vineyard, and it’s gorgeous up there.

The picnic area opened up before the show, so I got a dinner of fried chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes all ready for when Kyle got home from work. He stopped on the way home and got some beautiful flowers…

our one-month anniversary!…and cheesecake. Yes, my husband knows me well. We headed out, parked, picked up our tickets, and set up dinner at a table under an arbor. There were grapes hanging down and everything! The view was amazing–rolling hills, grape vines, rose bushes, and a sunset. It was definitely one of the more picturesque things I’ve done in my life. And yes, we ate the whole cheesecake (it was a small one, though).

Now, to the actual play. I have a harder time reading Shakespeare’s comedies (the tragedies tend to be my favorites). But seeing them performed is another matter entirely! I just struggle with interpreting things properly without any actors to provide intonation or gestures, and what’s supposed to be funny often just ends up being confusing. But this performance was wonderful, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed myself silly, which is always a good way to celebrate anything.