Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
We went out to Golden Corral for dinner tonight, and got bumped in the parking lot by someone in a big pickup who couldn't see my little blue car behind them. Minor fender damage, no big, but annoying.
So glad it's the weekend, but not sure that means I can slow down any. Epic is pushing toward opening day. Final dress is day after tomorow, and we'll have audience there. Freaky stuff.
Puppy wakes us up every night, can't remember the last time I got a night's uninterrupted sleep. Really, amazingly, bone deep tired.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
He had other fish to fry, though, and it was 2 hours before I got breakfast. Made tea somewhere in there, but running like a madwoman, didn't get to drink it. Trying to get an advertising piece done by today, for the German market. Arguing about what kind of content, who's in charge of it. My work blog has only had one post the last 2 weeks, both by someone other than me. Got 5 other blogs wanting me to send them posts, got about 30 videos that need editing, gotta rebuild website from scratch in dot net nuke, ... Basically, I'm going freakin bananas.
Oh, and it's quarterly ops review today, the day when everyone gets in a room with the top execs in the company and talks about what they did this quarter to earn their paychecks. This did not help my stress level. Got everything done the other day, so no prep for it, just a long day of nerves, especially when the previous departments ran long, and we got started an hour and a half late. So, really long day. But, when it was all over, CEO said, "That is the best marketing report I've heard, ever, since I started here in 1994. I've been here for 9 hours, and I'm listening more intently now than I was at hour 3 or 4."
We're all doing some pretty amazing stuff. My only real complaint is that I'm trying to do way too much at once, and everything is top priority. I keep juggling, trying to do everything, trying to get whatever is topmost priority at that moment out the door and running to the next thing. I'm a good juggler, but people keep throwing me more balls, it really stresses me out knowing that eventually I'm bound to drop something important.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I got some cute little suede ankle boots to go with it. Can’t wear sandals, of course. I’ve got an extra toe on the inside of each heel, sort of like a thumb on a hand. It’s handy for picking up laundry and such from the floor when I’m barefoot at home, but looks way too freaky for sandals. I tried on the whole outfit, along with the amethyst pendant that Ma gave me for my birthday about 30 years ago in front of the full length mirror. I looked downright hot if I do say so myself.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Jack and I went to help the cops who were down. One cop just had burns over his forearm. We cut away his uniform, laid some burn sheets over the worst of it, and sent him to sit in the passenger seat while we took care of his buddy. The other cop was burnt bad over nearly 50% of his body, screaming in agony. The smell of it choked me, and made my stomach turn. Jack called it in, and got permission from the doc on duty to shoot him up with morphene. The cop went out like Jack had flipped a switch. The cop was in for a horrific few months in the hospital, and had a high probability of not making it. And even if he did, he’d be scarred and probably disabled for life.
I jumped over the gurney longways from a standstill and landed in front of the fiery guy who ran into me instead. I stumbled backward into Jack. My uniform shirt caught fire instantly, and I shoved the burning man hard away from me with my left arm. Right into the shield of the White Knight. The force of my shove knocked the Knight down, and dazed the bad guy.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Don't get me wrong. Jack's a nice guy, even kind of cute. When I told Ma about it, she smiled and said she approved, that he was “a very nice young man,” and it was about time.
She doesn’t get why I’m having conniptions. Jack’s not the problem. It's me. I am a walking disaster when it comes to men. The world's oldest virgin. I'm damn near old enough to qualify for social security and there are 25 year old nuns who have gotten more action than I have. I’ve never even been on a real date. Who is a girl who is 60 and looks 20 supposed to date? I’ve always moved away whenever a guy got too close, but Ma’s getting too old to start over again with new identities. I’m here in Austin to stay, for a decade or two anyway. Jack’s like 28. What do people that age talk about on dates?
Geeze, this is embarrassing even to write, but see the deal is that dragons live for centuries, sometimes even millenia, assuming some self-righteous jerk with a sword doesn’t come along and decapitate them. Sounds great, right? People who think living for centuries would be great never seem to think about some of the fun realities of having that long a lifespan. Like 40 years of puberty. So far. Humans get a few years of living hell in high school while their voices break and hair grows in weird places and they get their periods and the boob fairy visits, and bam, they’re all grown up. There are times when I’d kill to be human.
I couldn’t even go to high school. I looked like I was 12 until I was 20. Managed to get through college by stuffing a bra with socks and using a lot of makeup. Took twenty years for me to fill out a bra enough that I could stop using the socks, and not long after that, I started getting scales. We’re not just talking slightly hard spots on my skin, I mean shiny, metallic, bright purple scales the size of nickels. And eventually a few brilliant green ones, too, and bigger silver ones the size of half dollars on my spine and one shoulder.
On the one hand, I keep thinking, when these cover my whole body, I’ll almost look like my dad, only with the reverse of his color scheme. I’ll have deep purple as my main color and green tiger stripes. That would be so cool.
On the other hand, I’ve got freaking scales on my body! And let’s not talk about the underside of my arms and my sides where my wings fold up. I don’t know how Dad did the, I’m perfectly human, thing. I can’t even let a date get to second base. If he so much as cops a feel, he’s going to know I’m a freak. And what would I wear? I can’t wear anything form-fitting or low cut. All my clothes look frumpy. I don’t have anything date worthy in my closet at all.
I’d better go shopping. I’ve got to find something to wear.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Got up, and couldn't find my keys, anywhere. I always put them in the same place, on the hook by my light switch, but they weren't there. Ma was asleep, so I couldn't ask her. I turned the apartment upside down. They were nowhere, just vanished.
I was going to be late, again. One more ding on my record and I'd be looking for another job. Not good. I like this job. I know it's weird, but I do. At least I can help a few people, sometimes.
I was running out of time. With 20 minutes left, I realized I'd never make it even if I found my keys. So, I gave up, and slipped out my window to the fire escape. I live in the tallest apt building in town. Went straight up to the roof, doing my best to avoid the railing section that screeches when you lean on it, right next to Mrs. Del Conte's window. She's my landlady, and she's got the loudest, yappiest Pekingese in Austin. I'd hate that dog if it wasn't so darn cute.
As soon as I hit the roof, I unbottoned my uniform shirt, and took it off so I could get my wings unfolded. Tucked my shirt into the back of my pants so I wouldn't lose it. It was well after 11 at night. The street lights keep everyone blind to the sky in the city, so not much danger that anyone would see me.
I'm not my dad. I can't do the full dragon thing, or I don't know, maybe I just can't do it yet. I'm still pretty young the way dragons count things. I can't quite fly. Can't just, you know, jump up and flap and lift off from the ground, although I can jump a couple stories with wing assist. I can also glide better than any hang glider ever dreamed, even gain some altitude if I catch the thermals right.
It felt so good to stretch my wings and catch the air, cold as a well-digger's ass this time of year, but the cold's never really bothered me much. It's just a different kind of swooshy feeling as it flows under my wing membranes. It's beautiful up there in the sky, and so perfectly peaceful. Everything pauses and the world takes a deep breath. I wonder sometimes why dad ever came down.
There's a little park right across from the hospital. Should have been empty that time of night. I tilted my right wing and circled to shed air speed, then flapped backward hard just before my feet touched grass. Light as a feather. Dad would have been proud. I was grinning, all pleased with myself for the perfect landing, and looked up ... right into the eyes of a homeless guy, sitting leaned up against a tree. He was huddled under every piece of clothing he probably owned until he looked like part of the landscaping.
"Uh, Hi." I snapped my wings closed and waved at him.
He looked dazed, but he waved back.
Hopefully, he'll assume the half naked, slightly scaly winged girl he saw was a result of whatever he had to drink before camping here.
I had bigger problems. The cell phone in my pocket read 11:57. I had three minutes to show up to work on time. Threw my shirt over my shoulders and ran, buttoning as I went.
Realized half way across the road that I got the buttons done wrong, stopped for a second to undo them. Dumb, really dumb to stand in the middle of the road, looking down at my buttons. Don't know what in the world I was thinking.
Some guy in an F150 pickup going way faster than he should have been going right in front of a hospital clipped me hard with his right front bumper. Threw me about 15 feet, clear over the sidewalk and into the wall. That really hurt. I was bruised for hours. And my uniform pants got ripped. Who goes that fast in a hospital zone anyway? I mean, besides us. But we have flashy lights and sirens and a good excuse.
The guy slammed the brakes and jumped out to come check on me, but I ran for it before he got a good look at me. Made it into the building, but the boss still dinged me for being late. And, for showing up looking like I slept in my uniform, and rolled in the dirt.
Some days, it just doesn't pay. Boss said they're too short-handed to fire me. Got that going for me, I guess.
Here's the kicker. After my shift, when I got home, I went to grab a couple slices of leftover ham out of the fridge, and found my keys next to the milk.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
When I got home at the end of my shift at 8:30 AM, Ma was up, making breakfast, scrambled eggs with bacon bits and cheese mixed in. She made toast for herself, and sliced tomatoes from her balcony garden, but I can't eat bread, or vegetables. Dragons are pure carnivores, and I inherited that trait.
I told her about the man who died over breakfast. I've already forgotten his name, which bugs me. Some middle-aged, overweight middle manager who clearly spent too much of his life working hard to make his company wealthy. Somebody should remember his name.
He had a heart attack. Our response times are the best in town, I'm proud to say, so we got to him fast. Some secretary had done CPR on him till we arrived. My partner paddled him, and he had a rhythm. He was breathing. If I'd bit him then, he'd have made a full recovery. My venom has some pretty remarkable healing properties when I'm in the right mental space. But I couldn't very well pop out fangs and bite the guy in front of his secretary and half his office. They were all hovering around, no matter how much I tried to get them to go back to their computers and status meetings.
The rhythm faltered, and he gasped right there while all his co-workers gawked. A second attack. It happens sometimes, like aftershocks after an earthquake. We couldn't get him jump-started again. He just ... stopped. And I watched it and did nothing. Well, not nothing. I did everything a human could have done to try to save him. But it wasn't enough.
I could have saved him. Right then, I was the only one who could. But I didn't.
Ma made comforting noises at me. "You know you have to keep your head down, Damson. I know how hard it is on you."
She doesn't though. She has no idea. What's the point of being so different. I've got all these abilities, but all I do is hide them. I should be using them to make a difference, like Dad did. Ma doesn't see what I see, night after night.
That guy, he was about my age, early sixties, time when humans start to die pretty regularly. I still get carded in bars, or I would if I drank alcohol, but still, he and I were the same age.
Ma and I ran through the same old argument a little. I pointed out that lots of folks who were different were running around in costumes saving people nowadays. They made the news, got endorsement deals from Nike, got medals from the president. They didn't have to keep their heads down and blend in, even when it cost a man's life.
She got all teary-eyed, and scared looking, and made me promise I wouldn't do anything crazy. It was that kind of thinking that cost my dad his life. Georgians got him before I hit puberty, and if they'd have known about me, they'd have taken my head, too. Might have killed Ma, too, just for consorting with dragons.
Ma's the only family I've had since then. It's been just the two of us most of my life, moving from place to place whenever folks started to notice that I didn't seem to be getting any older, or if they got a glimpse of my scales or wings. She's spent her whole life looking out for me. I promised her I wouldn't do anything that would bring the Georgians' attention.
Not Georgians like people from Georgia. Knights in the order of St. George. Dragon slayers. It's a secret society that's existed since just before the dark ages. But they're not ancient history, they're still around. Or at least, they were, about 50 years ago, when they chopped my dad's head off and left his skinned, headless body in the field at our farm for my mother and me to find when we got back from town.
Yeah, I'll keep my head down, and keep it on my shoulders. For Ma's sake. For now.
I guess if I'm going to write down my thoughts in a diary to keep from going nuts, I should probably sign them, but I'm not sure how. My full name is Damson Diane Drake. Ma named me Damson after the plums. My hair was brilliant purple when I was born. It's black now in most lights, although you can see shimmers of eggplant in bright sunshine. I try to avoid sunshine.
I mostly just go by Dee, because the name on the fake birth certificate I use changes every few years. Currently, it says Diane Emerson, my mother's maiden name.
Drake just means dragon, and it was the only last name my dad ever gave. He was the real deal. He could look as human as anyone one minute, and fly over the house in full scales the next, double in size till he was big as a plow horse. He was beautiful, too. Scales the color of emeralds with purple streaks in a pattern like a tiger, with heavier silver scales on his spine and chest. He used to take me flying over our farm and the woods behind it.
Now, I'm getting all teary-eyed. It's been a long night. I'm just tired.
Ma's settled in her rocker with her knitting and her cane close by, and her soaps on the TV. She can wake me if she needs anything. That's enough for a first shot at this diary thing.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I stayed home, worked on an article for work that I very nearly missed my deadline for. Squeaked in, got it done at 4:30 when deadline was 5:00. Sent it in, and found out deadline was actually 5:00 Monday. Aw, well, one more day for revisions and polishing. It could use it. Not every day I write a data integration article that features Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Gotta keep it interesting somehow.
Son, dog, puppy, and husband all played outside in the snow while I worked. I only hate them a little. Took a cute video of them. My baby put it to music and posted it on Facebook. We come from the land of ice and snow.
Tomorrow is the EPIC! faire. I will bellydance, and MC. Will dance for food. Should be interesting introducing myself.
There will be gaming and jugglers and magicians and food and such, too. No ticket price, just whatever you want to donate to support our intrepid improv troupe. It's indoors, but weather looks like it's going to get nice, so we may spill out onto the porch. You should come. It will be fun.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Day job: Big announcement simultaneously at events in the UK and in CA, time zone mess, no way to keep up with Twitter stream. I stayed up till 1:30 Mon night transcribing an interview between a prominent analyst and one of our guys, so he'd have the material to write me a good post on the new cool technology. No post yet, but hopefully first thing tomorrow.
Went to dentist yesterday afternoon. Been having nasty toothache for days. He cleaned my teeth and said he couldn't find anything wrong. It would probably get better. Useless. I so miss my fabulous dentist in south Austin. I may have to just take time off work and drive across town, if this thing keeps causing me pain every time I eat.
Half day Blogwell event I attended today had no wifi for half of it. Def of Irony: A social media conference with no wifi, so it's tough to blog or tweet. Wasn't really their fault, rolling blackouts all over town due to the extreme cold snap and massive increase in power consumption. It killed the network all over the UT campus.
This weekend, I was working on the shores of Lake Austin, helping at Rchard Garriott's land to clean up the shore, wearing a tank top and sandals. Today, I had 4 layers on top and was still freezing my backside. Texas weather, gotta love it. Expecting snow on Friday.
Came home this evening to find my daughter and her girlfriend visiting, with their great dane, and the tiny Pomeranian fluffball we're adopting. My baby had to frantically run to the pet store, get stuff, set up a pet gate, etc. while we tried to keep the tiny black ball of fluff, named Kuro, the unbearably cute, from getting stepped on by a great dane, eaten by our old man of a blue heeler, shredded by the cats, lost under the furniture, or otherwise out of harm's way.
I got roped into cooking dinner, chicken and dumplings, which Joe has decided I make better than anyone. I didn't put in enough pepper, and it wasn't as thick as I like it, but everyone seemed pretty happy.
So, in the half hour left of my day, I took the puppy out to water the lawn, am writing this blog, then I need to put away the leftovers and fold a load of laundry.
The heater has decided that now, the coldest night of the year, it should stop working. So, my baby is in a foul mood, and trying to troubleshoot the issue. He's on the phone with the repair guy while I'm writing this.
It's funny, but when I try to explain to folks why I never seem to have any spare time, they don't get it. One friend, who frequently gripes about being bored, suggested I buy a book on time management. I'd have been tempted to hit him with it.
Gotta go, food to put away, laundry to fold, and some time tonight, I'd like to sleep.
Nothing earth-shattering really, just a normal day,