Category Archives: funny stuff

4 Years

Four years ago, within 30 days…
We signed the contract to have my house built, my dog died, and I was diagnosed with what ended up being an inoperable brain tumor.

I’m now sitting in the house I designed and we have just painted the downstairs bathroom, put new curtains up in the office, and gotten new (to us) living room furniture! Three years into living in said house, we’ve been slowly working our way through painting rooms, and fixing up stuff that we’ve shlepped around from duty station to duty station. This summer we’re planning on painting my daughter’s room and the spare room, and painting her desk as we move some of the furniture around upstairs.

My puppers is on my mantle in her pretty little oak urn with her collar around it, and someday we’ll plant her ashes into a tree in the yard.

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And my tumor is still there, still inoperable, and still the same size and shape. It’s still a journey, but I am mostly stable.


I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, then set it aside for the Great-FreakTHEEFFOUTTTTT of 2018 when my pharmacy miscounted my long acting pain meds and I freaked the FUCK out because I had visions of the pharmacy to tell me to figure it out, my pain docs to tell me to keep better track of my scripts, and no pain meds = no Xun. It wasn’t a  great 12 hours and I realized how close I am to the line of not deciding to live in chronic pain.

It was solved quickly and relatively easily….moving on….

I’ve been thinking about how much I blog. It’s not as often right now. I started a blog back in 2009ish? It’s gone through some changes and at least one major move from one platform to another. The last four years have focused more on the tumor near my brain stem. It’s ….. stable? Mostly. The tumor is the same size and shape as far as we know. But the effects of said tumor have progressed. I have dysphasia, confirmed via swallow study. (kind of a weird thing to go through) Aphasia when I completely lose words in the middle of sentences. Those may be connected to absence seizures. But I find I forget names of things, people, places….it’s easily the most frustrating thing about my current existence. (I spend a lot of time muttering to myself “I’m a frickin *writer*, I NEED words!!”)

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I’m rambling but basically it’s just thoughts about where I’m at right now. I’m medically stable. No more turning my life upside down and moving every year. No more waiting for orders or duty stations. I don’t fight with…well, anybody anymore. There’s just not the fight in me.

Right now, my life is my kid’s school and theatre group keeping me busy, and now that she’s on summer break, I’m just juggling house, kitties, her activities, and my mother coming for 10 days. My doctor appointments pick back up next month. I had a nerve study done of my left arm because I was having pain in my ulnar nerve and numb spots on the back on my hand, my index finger, and my thumb. In the ENS they tested motor nerves and there’s something going on in my forearm, so I asked them to send the report to my neurologist and I see her again July 30th.

Right now, my life is fairly stable. June 23rd was the 6th anniversary of my Dad’s passing.

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My kid keeps me busy. I probably don’t blog more often because I don’t think I’m very exciting right now.

But I did have a really vivid dream the other night that I’m thinking about writing about. It made me miss someone…..but it would be a great movie…

 

Even More Updates!!

April was nuts. I’m still trying to remember all the things and the stuff and the sharing…

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I live off my desk calendar

Rehearsals, a concert, prom, tech week….

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P!nk was amay.ZING!! And worth every penny for the not-exactly inexpensive tickets! Seeing her was bucket list stuff!

Four weeks of rehearsals for the kid because her school was (is …we have 2 more shows this weekend, and I’m finishing the editing of this post on Saturday afternoon) performing Anything Goes.

 

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Rehearsals were 4-5 days a week, weekends were set builds, and one weekend was a dance intensive workshop to work on choreography. The kids have worked their butts off and it shows! They have put together an incredible show!

We got through the ….um, “stupid” business trip and my husband got back on April 4th. We jumped right into April insanity; meaning 5-6 days a week of rehearsals, me interrupting rehearsals on April 17th to drive up to DC to see my favorite show EVAR, prom on April 21, and then right into tech week. “Tech week” means full dress rehearsals and long days the last week of April. I volunteered food and serving the cast and crew, the band, the faculty, and the parents and volunteers two out of the three days.

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Social Xunnie ; being helpful & feeding teenagers Photo: Ramon Tuazon

Watching how many parents and teachers step up and volunteer to support the show is inspiring. They’re working HARD.

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Seriously, I live and die by my desk calendar. Tech week

In the middle of tech week, we HAD to get tickets to squeeze in seeing Infinity War because we’re a household of hopeless geeks and I flat out told my kid I have to see it or stay off the internet until we do! Fortunately, we we able to find tickets for an 8 pm showing on Thursday night. (& we squeezed in a matinee on Saturday)

No spoilers. Don’t @ me. I’ve seen it twice so far. I won’t ruin anything for anyone else. 😉
But we will be seeing it again. Apparently we’re masochists.

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spoiler free commentary

Finally Friday, April 27 was opening night!

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I am so proud of these kids. And I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am for the teachers, staff, directors, and parent volunteers giving up all the time and work for this production. The kids have worked so hard and *my* kid is ecstatic about the chance to perform and all the support.  This is me gushing because this is a new chapter for my youngest and it’s awesome to see her doing the next thing and loving the experience and support she gets.

We’re closing out a long and busy couple of months. One three-week-long business trip, one snowstorm, 4+ weeks of rehearsals, three gun incidences in our schools, one trip to New York, one P!nk concert, six high school musical performances, and one blood draw (yesterday) for new Cobalt and Chromium levels for my ortho surgeon when I see him again in just over 2 weeks.

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Gentle hugs, a couple of deep breaths, and and 2000 words later it’s time to move forward. May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month! #gogreyinmay

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❤ ~ Xun

 

Quotations, quotations!

I don’t participate in many challenges. I’ve gotten a couple of shout-outs and met some incredible people through running my blog for the last *cough* years, but I haven’t really been structured enough to post regularly or get involved in group projects. I write like I live: a mom of 3, retired-Navy wife, creative mess (with a brain tumor). There’s maybe a little structure or predictability, but you have to look for it. And I do better on my Facebook Page.

But when I saw Wendy share her Quotation Challenge, I thought I’d jump in the pool too. Wendy’s a pretty awesome chick with an incredible story and I’m happy to share a little cyberspace with her!

Here’s how this works:

1. Thank the person that nominated you.
(Wendy, thank you for sharing such a cool challenge!)

2. Write one quote each day for three consecutive days (3 quotes total).
(Imma do all 3 at once, but please feel free to share 3 posts, or just jump in too!)

3. Explain why the quote is meaningful for you.

4. Nominate three bloggers each day to participate in the challenge.
(Kara, Sheldon, Bee, Tiara, Laura, ….just a few people that come to mind)

Wendy did all three of her quotes in one day and in the midst of everything I’m juggling right now, I think I’ll do that too!

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes. (I love words and I could do this all day)

Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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You don’t have to know me well to know a couple of things: music is air to me, and I’m a dancer. The body doesn’t cooperate very well anymore, but the soul still dances. I do a “Music Monday” post on my FB page because they’ve shown that music reduces pain and I love music. All music. Seriously, if you see my playlists in my phone, you wonder how many people share my music apps because I go from P!nk to Bleachers to In This Moment to Queen, Bowie, Hellyeah, Skylar Grey, Apocalypica, Eminem, Fleetwood Mac, to Andra Day. I’m not even sure that covers the breadth of all the music I listen to. But my text notification is DMX and my ringtone is Led Zeppelin right now so…yeah. Music = air.

 

 

Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

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aka: mind ya business.
…and I’m a dork that owns 2 full sets of “garb” and goes to Renn Fest every year. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is pretty awesome and always runs from the end of August to the third week of October and we try to go at least twice every year. Our village focuses on Henry VIII and is set around 1529. Our family loves all things Renn Fest and we’re happy to be hopeless geeks!

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Lexie: Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone.
Mark: It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life. It’s loss. It’s change.
Alex: And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime.
Izzie: That’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive.
Derek: By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won’t feel this way. It won’t hurt this much.
Bailey: Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way.
Owen: So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty.
Meredith: The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it.
Arizona: The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes.
Callie: And let it go when we can.
Meredith: The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again.
Cristina: And always, every time, it takes your breath away.
Meredith: There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.
Alex: Denial.
Derek: Anger.
Bailey: Bargaining.
Lexie: Depression.
Richard: Acceptance.
Grey’s Anatomy: S6 ; E2 “Goodbye”

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Meredith Grey is my spirit animal. She and I have so much in common. She’s the stronger, smarter, badass surgeon version of me. We’re both only children, with a father that bailed to start another family. My mother is still alive and doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, but it does run in my family and when I did my genetic profile, it showed an increased risk for me. We both have three kids. And we’re both dark and twisty.

I can’t even tell you how many times I have written this entire quote out through my journals. I watch Grey’s on Netflix like comfort food for my soul. It’s my favorite place to be. And when I’m working through grief, I always seem to come back to this one.

I have a couple of people that come to mind I’d love to nominate, but I don’t want to put anybody on the spot. But if you’d like to share, please tag me. I’d love to see what makes everyone else tick. Or if you just have a quote, a mantra, a Psalm….anything that means something to you and gets you through the tough stuff (or the awesome days!) and want to just share in the comments, please do!

 

(& in other news, I have a draft for the rest of the updates I’m writing. March and April were insane!! But I promise I’m gonna close out the (overdue) updates this week.)

❤ ~ Xun

Overdue Updates; Part II

So, in the six weeks I haven’t sat down to share with the group, there’s been a lot of crazy stuff (see previous post) and a lot of really awesome stuff. And… well, really just A LOT.

I went over the big, hard stuff already (and as I’m writing this, everything hurts and I’m really sore for some bizarre reason today), but I have some insanely cool stuff to share too!

(consulting calendar & notes)…
so…in addition to the stuff that put us on the national news in the last 2 months, we’ve had a bunch of good stuff and busy stuff and…well, I’ll just try to get on with it shall I?

My youngest got the chance to go on a school trip to New York City in March! They got on the bus at beforeGodgotup o’clock on March 23…

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The theatre group spent the weekend in NYC and got to see Waitress, Hello, Dolly! and Kinky Boots! They also had a workshop on stage combat techniques, visited Central park, Times Square, and Little Italy. It was a crazy whirlwind weekend and I am so grateful that the school got to pull it off and we could send our kid to do it!

My husband was sent out of the country on a work trip in March so I was juggling school shooting news, kid trip, and a snowstorm by myself for a bit. Oh! And updates with pain doc and neuro. I’m stable (mostly) and getting blood drawn this week to check cobalt and chromium levels before I see ortho surgeon again on May 22. In the midst of the insanity of the last 2 months, at least medically I’m stable and managing.

The most interesting things lately are just the dysphasia occasionally deciding it wants to flare (but I’m learning to manage it…did you know if you tuck your chin it helps when swallowing?) and my hip pops occasionally but I haven’t fallen and I am stable when walking. My rule is “I can go far or I can go fast … pick one”.
But medically, at least, I’m not very interesting lately. For now.

The best and coolest thing this year is I got to go see P!nk!!! This was bucket-list stuff and she is one of my favorite people on the planet. I even have lyrics from one of her songs as a tattoo…

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I got to take my daughters and see her April 17th in DC…

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It was amazing and she’s incredible! She opened the show hanging from the chandelier!!

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I tried to remember the songs she did…

Get the Party Started
Beautiful Trauma
Just Like a Pill
Who Knew
Revenge (which included a giant inflatable Eminem)
Just a Girl (No Doubt cover)/Funhouse
Teen Spirit (Nirvana cover)
Secrets
Try
Just Give me a Reason
I’m Not Dead
Just like Fire

…which was INCREDIBLE!! We were close enough to feel the heat from the fire effects…

What About Us
Perfect (see previously mentioned tat)
Raise Your Glass
So What

she literally flew across the entire arena!!

and she finished with Glitter in the Air.

It was an amazing show and the best concert I’ve ever been to and how much do I love the fact that my youngest’s first concert was P!nk??!!

April has been insanely busy, 4 solid weeks of rehearsals, tech week (aka: parents bringing in food and doing set builds because the kids are working until 8 pm), the kiddo’s first major high school musical production, prom, P!nk’s concert, and the opening of Infinity War because we’re a household of Marvel geeks.

Looks like I need to actually write up a third update!

 

Lazy Xun & the Updates

So…..um, hi. It’s been a minute. I can honestly say I have been meaning to sit down and write out an update since my last post was…..um, a minute ago.  But I plead that we have had 3 birthdays, 2 holidays, 1 school play, 2 auditions (the kid), 1 school break, 2 doctors appointments, 3 scans….and a partridge inna pear treeeeeeeee!

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Overwhelmed by holidays and birthdays and general end-of-the-year insanity, I kept meaning to send out an update, but when I had time, I didn’t have motivation. And vice-versa. I kind of managed to get through holiday insanity this year, but I’m not really sure how because it felt like I didn’t have enough time or my act together. But….we made it.

So. Updates. I actually have something.

My yearly check-in with Dr. PCM-Traffic-Director last summer lead to follow up labs 3 months later in November, and surprisingly Doc added Cobalt and Chromium checks to my labs. B12, Iron panel, TSH, T4, CBC were all pretty good. Most of my levels have stabilized since the MRSA mess of 2016, and thyroid levels meant no change in my Synthroid dose. But my Chromium and ….well, mostly my Cobalt levels sent doc to an ortho surgeon referral.

I have a giant hunk of metal for a left hip. I’ve covered that pretty extensively in the past…

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new hip, 2007

…and November 19th was the 10th anniversary of my hip surgery. Diagnosed in my 20’s, snarled at and told to lose “as much weight as I can”, and several ortho docs attempting to get me close to my 40th birthday (I had the surgery the day before my 34th birthday) later, I got a shiny new hip.

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My docs have just started watching my cobalt and chromium levels in the last 4?ish years and I have learned that there’s:

  1. normal cobalt and chromium levels
  2. high cobalt and chromium levels
  3. implant level cobalt and chromium levels
  4. high implant cobalt and chromium levels

and unfortunately us implant patients pretty much all eventually end up climbing the ladder.

Right now my Chromium levels are acceptable (2.0: 0.1-2.1 mcg/L serum), but my Cobalt levels are creeping up (2.3: 0.0-0.9 mcg/L serum), so off I went to a new ortho surgeon.

Ortho docs like my case. They get to learn from me and I’m a pretty unusual case. At this point it’s labs and x-rays, basically yearly. I have a whole file I keep with my op report, yearly scans, etc. Ortho doc went over my case, read my file, checked my labs, examined me, and sent me down for this year’s scans.

Two things popped up this year.

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One: it seems pseudotumors can pop up around the implant area, and my cobalt levels indicate that may be the case with me. He found one spot in particular to watch, but conceded it could reabsorb on its’ own, or it could just be bowel gas. Options for further studies include a higher level MRI to account for the affect from the metal or an in-office procedure to get a sample from my hip to test cobalt levels. I told him “That does NOT sound like fun.” He just looked at me.

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hip, 2017

Two: I have Myositis ossificans (calcified muscle tissue). Huh. I didn’t know that could happen.

So, after I told him shoving a giant needle into my hip joint wasn’t my best idea for fun, he conceded that he could check my levels again in 6 months and we can go from there. He seems pretty good, and I like him. I think the only argument we may have is if he decides I need a revision. I’m not really open to hip replacement revision surgery. That’s why I had the surgery I did 10 years ago. But it’s really interesting that most people just assume I would have the surgery.

I guess we’ll see…the story continues in June….

Hip Hip Hooray!

So in spite of my best efforts to ignore anything that even remotely resembles a birthday, my mom called me today to remind me I have a birthday tomorrow. We disagreed about exactly which birthday it is. Suffice to say we’re (read: I’m) going with I’m 36.95 plus shipping & handling.

BUT one thing we can agree about is 10 years ago today I had my hip surgery! A cutting edge, new, all-metal hip replacement designed to last the rest of my life. At the time of my surgery, it had only been FDA approved for about 14 months, and from what I can tell, it is not done much, if at all, anymore. And I was unbelievably lucky enough to have the #2 U.S. surgeon, who had, in fact, traveled to Birmingham, England to train on the surgical technique!

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So today I celebrate that I have a hip I can still walk on, and I am grateful every day for that ability!

Whether or not my brain tumor is related to said hip implant remains to be seen, and they just drew Cobalt and Chromium levels last Thursday, so I will keep you up to date when I get the results. I already know my chromium levels are high, but they’re normal-people high, not implant-patient high. Or at least they were 2 years ago.

Whatever. Ya’ll ain’t getting my implant back. I am not open to a revision surgery. It’s really damn hard to learn to walk again in your 30’s.

Side note: also, 15 years ago I was within 12 days of delivering my youngest child, my Rainbow Baby, my miracle I went through Hell and high-water to have.

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And the last thing to share this week is that I got to do a bucket-list, incredibly cool thing last Friday night. We went to the Kennedy Center and got to see FLUFFY!!! (Gabriel Iglesias!) (& if you know who that is, you know how funny he is!)
I don’t think I have ever laughed as hard as I did at his show. I had tears rolling down my face, bright red (thank goodness for awesome water-proof mascara). It was one of the best things I’ve gotten to see!

We had awesome seats, second row, stage right.

So, Happy Birthday Hip. I got to see Fluffy. And cobalt & chromium levels coming this week!

 

*gentle hugs* ~ ❤ Xunnie

7 Photos, 7 Days; Day 7!

Merry Samhain! Happy Halloween! And a good boo! to you all!

Today is my last day of my Photos From My Life series. Did you guys like anything in particular? I always think it’s interesting to see photos from someone else’s life. Where are they? What do they tend to take pictures of?

Some people take pictures of places, or things, moments, or other people so they can hide behind the lens instead of being in front of it. Some take pictures of places and people they love to remember.

As I was looking through my social media today, I counted how many of the past years I have thrown on scrubs and dressed up on Halloween as my alter ego: Meredith Grey. Since I created my personal Facebook page in 2008, I have dressed in scrubs 6 out of the last 9 years, with 2 other years as Alice (one was Evil Alice, inspired by Warehouse 13), and one year I was Sarah Sanderson. (and if you don’t know who that is, get your booootay over to Amazon and order Hocus Pocus stat!!)

This year I am dressing up as an Arkham inspired Steampunk Harley Quinn. (I’ll post pix tomorrow! The girl child is doing my make up!)

So, onward to the final Black & White Photo for my series!

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Merry Samhain! ❤ ~ Xun

7 Days, 7 Photos; Day 4

Happy Saturday! I love Saturday. It’s my favorite day of the week! I can be lazy and snuggle back under the covers just a little longer, or we can choose to go do something fun on a family adventure. Renn Fest season just ended for us and we always try to go at least twice during the 8 or 9 weekend run.

Movie nights, museum visits, trips up to The Kennedy Center. Saturdays usually have something good!

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See you tomorrow for day 5! ❤ ~ xun

Processing Time

One of the biggest changes I have noticed since being diagnosed with my brain tumor (headaches, vision changes, and falling down the stairs 4 times so far notwithstanding) is that I have days I have trouble processing time. I can look at the clock 4 times in 5 minutes and not being able to connect what time it is.

I understand morning, afternoon, and evening but I will have whole days when I have trouble understanding the clock when I look at it. It doesn’t matter if I look at a digital clock or a traditional clock.

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For example, if I have plans or an appointment at 1:30 pm and I look at my clock and see it’s 11:00 am, I know I have time before I need to go, do, meet, see, ect. But I have days that I can look at the clock 3 times in 10 minutes and not understand what 11 am means, so I do the math in my head again and know I have 2 & 1/2 hours. But it’s just on these days I keep looking at the clock and it’s just difficult for me to understand it.

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I think maybe it’s because:
1) I already struggle with subjective, abstract ideas. In college, the class I had the most trouble with was Critical Thinking. I fought with my instructor because I didn’t like being graded on something subjective.
I also think the Phantom Time Theory might have something to it, and I find the whole idea that the date and time is what we say it is because we’ve set it at some specific time. Clearly I’m not a fan of daylight savings time.
2) I think maybe the part of my brain that understands abstract ideas might have been damaged by the tumor and the crazy lasers they were shooting into my brain. (okay….radiation therapy, close enough.)

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According to the many, many, many scans of my brain and my tumor, the mass seems to be in the left prepontine area, right up against my left 5th cranial nerve. It’s too close to my brain stem for surgery, so it’s me and my tumor trying to figure out how to exist. So I figure out how to back myself up with notes, alarms, or timers.

I think human beings, especially Americans, struggle to process time. In America, we typically use the Gregorian calendar based on the idea that it’s 365.25 days each year, based on solar cycles. Other countries, and some businesses, use the Julian calendar. I learned that when I worked for Prudential Insurance too many years ago for me to tell you when it was.

I even understand military time and that Americans seem to write the date differently. October 15, 2017 vice 15-10-2017.

But…brain tumor or no brain tumor, what would you change about how you handle abstract ideas like time if you didn’t know what the rules were?

Hilarity Ensues

In the US we’re watching tensions built with North Korea and current administration. News out of Washington always seems like we just never know what’s really going on.

But today…..

There is a 30 foot inflatable chicken on the Ellipse near the White House. I’m only about an hour or so from this area and THIS is HILARIOUS! I dunno if you have a twitter or facebook, but if you do, do a quick search for “giant inflatable chicken” and enjoy the commentary!

Doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you’re on, this is FUNNY!

The Trojan Chicken!
“I don’t think Trump and North Korea should be playing chicken with nukes.”
You only elect the giant inflatable chicken once!
“Yesterday: Trump threatens North Korea with “fire and fury”, Today: We are LIVE covering the giant inflatable chicken on the South lawn of the WH.”
“Giant Inflatable Chicken 2020!”

Okay…..back to your day…..