What is family


I have this friend…  not a “friend” friend, this is an actual friend.  She wanted to get her thought on this out, but doesn’t want to start her own blog page yet…



By Lavender Violet

Everyone has family, but not everyone agrees what the term “family” means.  For some, family is a small group of people who share your blood line, that’s the only connection there is though.  You are born into your family and have no choice as to who these people are.

For others, family is a small group of people you have “collected” over your life.  They share likes and dislikes, they have mutual memories of good and bad times. They are the people you have chosen to share your life with.

Still others believe that family is a large group of people, a group of people that share your blood from as far back as you can imagine.  Aunts and uncles and cousins that you have never met, and you would have to go several branches down the family tree to find the connection, but hey, they’re family!

If you had asked a year ago, I would have told you that family is a combination of that group of people that you are born into and have no choice about and that group you have chosen to have in your life.  I would have said the family you are born into is solid and never changing, and that your chosen family will fluctuate continually, with those that are always there and those that come and go over time.

I would have told you that both families are equally important and without either one you are not complete.  I was known to say things like “she is your sister, you have to love her” or “you don’t have to like your family, but you do have to love them”, and my favorite, “give them time, they will remember they are your family.”


Then, something happened. What happened isn’t important, but it made me rethink what family is.  This “something” has been eroding my vision of what family is little by little all year and I have now found a new definition of family.  Here is what I think:


A family is a group of people who love each other, for good or bad.  A family is a group of people who have come together from all walks of life and have connected in some way.  A family is made up of friends, old and new, that will support you without question. Some members of this family may be part of your blood family, but that is not what makes them a part of your group.

Your family can be the brothers and sisters you grew up with.  It can be the friends you made as a child.  A family can be the person you have fallen in love with.  A family can be all of the above, or none of the above, or any combination thereof.

Most of all, a family is what you make it!

You can have anyone in your family, and the flip of that is you can exclude anyone.  I have learned, just because “she is your sister/brother” does not mean you have to love her/him.  Just because they are born into the first family you will have, does not mean they will always be there.  If they are cruel and abusive, you are allowed to kick them out of your life.  If they treat you as their slave and only love you when you do their bidding, you are allowed to say no.

It took me many years to learn this lesson, and even more to develop the strength to put it into action, but I did. It took a family member “disowning” me just because I had the strength to say no.  It took a family member walking out of my life because I would not stop being friends with someone they did not like. It took a family member referring to me as “oh, the little bitch” when my name was mentioned in passing.

These experiences have left holes in my life that will never heal, but I have found that for each person whom I thought would always love me and be there for me, who walked away, I have one more that walked in.

I have my family!  I know who my family is.  Some I have known from the day I was born, some I met in my youth, some have just come into my life in recent years.  Each person I call family is someone I know I can trust.  I have learned this past year, that what makes a person family is more than just love, it is trust.

The popular saying that everyone knows is “Blood is thicker than water” recently I have heard that the original proverb is actually “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb”

The second quote has caught my attention.  I have done a bit of research, and will admit I cannot find anything to back up the claim that the proverb was changed.  However I have also found several interpretations of this proverb, and I think I like the longer version better.  The most popular definition I found was that it means that the bond of your covenant (your chosen family) is stronger than that of your birth family (the one that you had no choice over.)

So in the end, if I call you my family, it is because I trust you. If I call you my family, I love you.  If I call you my family, I thank you, for being with me, supporting me and showing me what family really is.



Love the one you’re in…

I am not a slip of a woman… I am fat.  I’m 280lbs. I’m also 5’8 (*I* say 5’9”, but my doctor says 5’7”, so we settled on 5’8”), long red hair (well… red auburn, the box said.)

…And I love the way I look. 

Now, this is a problem for most of the world.  Fat chicks aren’t supposed to love the way they look.  We’re supposed to be sad, crying, unloved.

Does this look like the face of an sad, crying, unloved woman?

Wait, I can do better!

This is me, sad, crying, and unloved

Once again, I love the way I look.  Want me to say it louder so you in the back row can hear it?  No?  okay.

It’s okay that fashion designers can’t seem to see big women. (Tim Gunn’s article)  Which I don’t understand… because we’re BIG, I don’t hide easily. It’s okay that the cool bras don’t fit me (for some reason, the half cup for a full, 10lb boob just doesn’t work), underwear that fit, well they are getting better about that… and I wear what I affectionately call “Whale thong” underwear.

I’ll spare you the picture of that.

I have a friend who wrote a blog about her stretch marks.  As soon as I read that, I went and looked at myself.  I agree with her.  I love my stretch marks too!  The DO look like the pictures of the rivers under the desert.

a bit o’ side boob there. This is *me*

I also love the way my stomach looks.  In taking a picture for another friend of mine, to show her the incisions from my hysterectomy, and I realize that my tummy looked cute. 

complete with war wounds from surgery

My legs look sexy, and I am damn fine.


I love the way I look.

I’m not saying I don’t have bad days, but all in all, I love the way I look.  Overall, my body now fits my personality.

America has a problem.  America has an obesity problem, and a shaming problem.  It’s like “Make up your mind, America!”

According to the CDC, 36.5% of Americans are obese, and we are letting the 63.5% of the (I’m sure) perfectly-healthy-no-eating-disorder people, shame us into being skinny. 


Why not love yourself, the way you are?

I’m not saying “don’t bother trying to lose weight”… people try to lose weight for all sorts of reasons.  Why not love yourself as you’re doing it? 

Art by Maya Kern

I gave birth to a 42 year old uterus

So, I went to the hospital on August 25, 2016.  They pulled me into the back room, made me strip, rub myself down with these god awful sticky and slimy wipes (my asshole burned when I ran over it with one), took my blood, worked on finding a spot for an IV, and made me wear a cap.


Before the cap.  all scared and shit
after the cap, because, you know.. the cap makes you feel better!

I was told the procedure was 2.5 hours.  Though, my procedures ALWAYS take longer.  I mean ALWAYS.

The drug doctor came in (the anesthesiologist, I think they are called… I call them my *best* friend) and asked if I was allergic to anything, I mentioned Morphine. She said she doesn’t use that on *anyone* unless she has to.

Then the gynecologist came in.

I was told my uterus was 6cm so they hypothetically *could* stuff it down my cervix and pop it out my vagina, but my doctor was worried that, since I’d never had a kid, there wouldn’t be space.  I told her to stomp on it, force it down, squish it flat and make it fit.  If she couldn’t I acquiesced to cutting me open, but only to get her foot in there to force it down.  She laughed.  I think she thought I was joking…  I wasn’t joking.

I was hauled back to the operation room, and just as I realized I’d forgotten to talk to the doctor about maybe scraping some of the fat away while she was in there, I was out.

I woke up in the recovery room like… half a minute later (serious long blink there) and I was told it actually took 3 hours and some odd minutes.  Didn’t feel a damn thing, of course.

I think I long blinked again, because suddenly my husband was there, holding my hand, and being a wonderful human being.  And then my friend Mikee, and my father in law, and my roommate  (with my traditional creamcheese and meat bagel!)

My tradional cream cheese and meat bagel

…and my mum.  My mother in law stopped by a little while later.  Yes, we are very close.  We had two of our friends come with us to the hospital (for my husband) and one stop by later.


As I said… I’m not afraid to talk about my operations.  There is no operation too private to be talked about… and I have had my fair share.  I have had a brain surgery, a gall bladder surgery (gall bladder was removed, brain wasn’t), a fatty tissue (that I’d named George) removed from my neck (seriously, it looked like a half formed Adipose!), a wort type thing from my foot when I was a small child, the ablation and the Essure…

So, the doctor said she’d taken everything except the ovaries.  She didn’t have to stomp, everything fit just fine. Nothing of note went wrong.  A textbook surgery.

I gave birth to a 6cm, 42 year old uterus.  I am one happy mother.

In the hospital on Friday, after they took me off the Dilaudid (hereafter called the KO stuff).

This is what I look like on the KO stuff.
 I was like “Nooooo!!!!  Don’t take me off of that beautiful drug!!!” (Seriously… they inject it into your IV, you can feel the KO to each of your limbs… it’s interesting to feel… and then you don’t, and you wake up an hour later or some shit)

I had this… lady, patient coordinator, I dunno… sticking her face a headbutt away and asking me, “Do yooo have to peee?  Urrrriiinnnnate?”  She was really freakin’ me out… I finally said I was ready just to get her outta my face!

When I got to getting up, I experienced a whole NEW world of pain, I was standing there, tears STREAMING out of my eyes and I felt as though my insides just tilted and collapse.  ALL of them.  I was stuck, standing, but bent over, couldn’t stand upright, couldn’t sit (that hurt too): the weird lady literally screamed that we needed a nurse.  Which brought her boss in.  ALL I wanted was my husband.  They got me sitting, a nurse finally did show, and ran off to get more of that KO shit.

I got back up and the weird woman was trying to help me. I had to shove the walker out of the way, grab the neighboring bed, say “I have my husband.”  To which she said, “Annnd yoooou hiv meee?”  I went into the bathroom and had to damn near close the door on her face.  Literally on her face!  Finally I sat down and Urrriiinnnnaaaated?.  Wiped got up, shoved the toilet paper behind the little giant bowl thing so they can count how many liters I’d peed (if you hit x amount you get to go home!). Then I headed back using the counter, neighboring bed, husband, and finally my bed.   The nurse got back with the KO stuff as they were checking me out… yeah… we had to be there till I woke up again.

Weird lady insisted on taking me out.  She had me in a wheelchair, which she insisted on hitting corners with.  Finally, I was in the car wishing I was still in the hospital.  Every bump on the road, I felt.

So, four days after the surgery, I’m feeling coherent enough to write!

I know it hurts now… it hurts to stand, it hurts to sit…  it hurts to be turned on… when I can be, which has NOT been very often in the past four days.   I have to not watch anything with either of the Chrises (Evans or Pratt), or Tom Hiddleston… or, or, or (insert hot actor/actress here)…. Because it hurts. Have to be careful where I sleep, because my animals are masochistic bastards.  Have to be careful how I eat. Because I’m ALWAYS hungry, so I have to eat small amounts.  It IS getting better.  Promise.  I WILL heal.

Women who are coming after me… You WILL fart… A LOT.  Just let it come out.  The only awkward thing is you’re partially sitting, so farts will come up the front.  But as it’s mostly gas caused by the surgery, it’s odorless and soundless (unless you have a husband sitting in the corner farting too).  And with the KO stuff… constipation.  Haven’t taken a shit since Thursday.  I will feel like I have to, and run into the bathroom and my body will say, “HAHA… made you run!”  I am on anti-constipation drugs every day.  (of course, the Vicodin probably ISN’T helping.)

While we’re on things they never tell you… Pregnant women… you will shit yourself while delivering.  Ruined the surprise!

I think I’ve covered everything.

All that’s left is the obligatory shot of my husband and I before the surgery…

The nurse tried to charge us money for this!  I told her she should wait till surgery when I most likely would just hand her my wallet!
If you have any questions, let me know!


Saying a final goodbye to my uterus(squeamish? Might wanna skip this one)

So, a few weeks ago, I found out, my ablation, which scars the inside of your uterus (I call it the scorched earth procedure) healed.  I had this procedure about a year ago.  Now, when I say “healed”, I mean there IS no scarring left.  Pictures show a bright healthy happy uterus. 

Remember this?

I got the Scorched Earth procedure about a year ago, because I had cramps badly.  I know, every woman says that, and to every woman, it’s true.  I thought it was a good trade for two days of bleeding.  Then it became three.  Then four.  I was done.  I researched all the methods to getting rid of them.  I was 41, not planning on having children EVER, and wanted my uterus gone.  Then I came across ablation (that scorched earth thing).  I had three months of blissful non bloody non hurty times. THREE  months!  I’d read about the negatives, and I figured “meh, I’m not *that* special!”  Yeah… I was wrong.  Fourth month, the cramps hit HARD.  Like they were waiting, storing up, hiding in the shadows until I got comfortable with the idea of not having my menstrual cycle (herein known at Shark Week). 

Found on internet

As soon as I did.. BLAMMO!  My cramps *laughed* at the naproxen.  They laughed even harder at the midol.  But! I only spotted for a couple days and that was it.

Fast forward to three months ago.  My GYN found a polyp on the inside of my uterus.  “Huh, that’s weird,” I thought, “that shit is supposed to be scarred.”  They surgery’d that polyp out, thinking that was the cause. 

Then my worst shark week ever.  Seriously.  It felt like someone was wringing my uterus out like a wet bar towel, and I was bleeding Niagara for a week.

My regular doctor was the first I’ve seen who would listen to how bad my cramps hurt. He prescribed Vicodin. All the other female doctors I had seen only told me to suck it up

When I went back for my after-surgery checkup, the doctor showed me the picture, I did a double take.  NO SCARRING.  I flipped out.  She said I may have endometriosis, and that I had done everything I could do, and the final step is to take it out.  I agreed.  I’m not using it, I don’t need to be in pain every month for the next ten years.  I only did the ablation because it didn’t require any cutting, they went up through my vagina, through the cervix, and the knocked me out to do it.

So, an urgent surgery was set up.  It’s tomorrow.  Like… really tomorrow.  I have roughly a week off work, more if necessary. 

What they are going to do, in layman’s terms.  (warning:  visualizers may not want to read this)

They are going to do a laparoscopic incision (actually… pretty sure two.) then they are going to cut my uterus from my fallopian tubes and my cervix.  Then they are going to shove it down through my cervix, to my vagina, sew me up, and pull it out through my girly bits.  OR if it’s too big, they will give me a tiny little incision right above my pubic hair line, and pull it out through there.  At least, I think that’s what the doctor said…


Just ate a yogurt (chocolate whipped Yoplait… very nummy) before I can’t eat till after the surgery.

It may be a couple days, but, as you can tell, I’m fairly open about my surgeries.  May describe them crudely, but I’ve never shy’d away from talking about them. 


And so it goes on…..

The little gaming con who could

Saturday morning of Dragonflight, just after we opened the door!



Dragonflight is a small gaming convention in the Pacific Northwest… at least… until this year it was.  Last year it *might* have hit 400, maybe.  This year, by midday Saturday, it hit over 800. 

This is the second year after the con was coup d’état’d by Amy Gembala, with last year being the last year with the old regime and plenty of politics and firings and leavings in the middle of the year.  Last year, it was light on the RPGs, medium on the board games, uber light on the LARPing and almost nonexistent for the miniatures.

I didn’t come this Friday as I was working at my day job, but Saturday I came to sit our table for our publishing company.  When they opened the door the room was instantly filled.  Compared to last year, where two or three people came in, it was a welcome change. 

About half the attendees are women.  About a 10th of the total attendees are next generation.  These numbers are awesome!  It means that people care enough about gaming to a) perform a Coup d’état to get one of the only actual table top gaming cons in the Northwest back on its feet and save it from looking like a long turd down the crapper, b) care enough about *this* con to have doubled the attendance in a year, and c) get their children involved.  (Take THAT you anti-gaming and “women don’t game” people).

I showed up Sunday not knowing what to expect.  Last year, Sunday was a dead day.  There was no one for the first 2 hours.  It was nice because it meant the dealers got to talk, but it was really no good for business.  Sunday this year was amazing.  When the doors first opened, there were at least 15 people in the room (that’s a lot comparatively), with more people showing within the first half an hour.

I asked a couple of dealers who hadn’t been here in a while what made them come. Dealers like Frog God and Kobold (wonderful RPGs) said it was because they decided they were not doing Gencon this year, live in the area, and chose to come back to the con that they came to as teens.  I asked Zucati (awesome dice and dice boxes) why and they said they were at Gameratti and saw an advertisement for it.  That seems to be the key, advertising wasn’t here before. 

This has always been a fun convention for me.  I have rarely had a bad time at all (aside from not selling very many books).  I’ve always had a fun time bonding with other dealers, as you do when you are in the dealer’s room. 

This crowd both surprises me and makes me very happy.  Dragonflight is thriving.  Tabletop games are thriving.  The proof is here!

*edit:  my French is bad.  Where I said coup de grace, I meant Coup d’état.  Sigh.



  1. From:  Amy Gembala Minor notes – last year’s attendance was 675 and this was my third year as convention director. Next year…1000!!! I’m glad you had a good time. 😀 (Hugs)


So, I’m no fan of Trump.  I’m sure Trump is no fan of mine, either.  Me being female, opinionated, feminist, and an immigrant.

That being said, there is one thing I’ve been struggling with…


Photograph by Jason Goodrich


This.  These statues (an installation called “The Emperor has No Balls”) appeared throughout the US, bringing at first laughs, then outrage, then discussions, then more outrage.

I don’t agree with this statue.  For a couple reasons:

1)      The people responsible for this (Indecline) are no longer attacking Trumps beliefs.  Or they are, and just chose a shitty way to do it.

2)      The people responsible for this (Indecline) didn’t see Trumps naked body (or… maybe they did?).  They chose the most ridiculous (for them), most “monsterous” (for them), and most unreal (for them) body type they could.

3)      The people responsible for this (Indecline) chose the smallest realistic penis (for them) they could, and no balls.

4)      He isn’t an Emperor.  To call him one gives him power, because words have power.

I understand that they were trying to make fun of Trump, but the body style they chose, and the penis size they chose are very real sizes.  They belong to very real people.  Some of us don’t see the joke.  Some of us would date that body style.  Some of us *have* dated that body type.

Some of us know that they just called Trump a trustworthy man with the displayed size of his penis. The ancient Greeks believed that the larger the penis the more of a dickhead and an idiot you were.

Some of us are fighting the stigma that surrounds the “perfect” body type.

Some us don’t like Trump, and didn’t find that funny.  Some of us found it sizeist and hurtful.  Some even find it Transphobic. (http://feministing.com/2016/08/19/psa-your-transphobia-and-body-shaming-isnt-radical/)

Some of us liken it to Trump jerking his arms in a gross parody of Times investigative reporter Serge Kovaleski (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/11/25/trump-blasted-by-new-york-times-after-mocking-reporter-with-disability/)

It did what it was supposed to do.  It caused discussion.  Yeay.  It caused outrage, from people who don’t even *like* the guy.

I really wish it could have been done without resorting to fat/body shaming and penis shaming.

trumpsandwichAdditions by Ranma Kumayama retrieved from Facebook.




Rhiannon Rhys-Jones is a writer, an editor, a gamer, and a self titled “fan extraordinaire”. 

Westercon 69 Panelist Schedule

My Westercon 69 Schedule:

Conventions of the Pacific Northwest
Ross Island
1:00:pm – 2:00:pm
Where do you go when you’re not going to your local convention? Come find out the wide range of geekalicious events the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Gregory Gadow, Karen Anderson
Forgiving History
3:00:pm – 4:00:pm
When you are reading your favorite writers of old, how do you deal with outdated views on race, gender, and violence – and still enjoy the writing? What classics can still be enjoyed despite our modern sensibilities?
Frog Jones, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, James Fiscus, John Scalzi, Sarah Gulde
What is a Furry?
Ross Island
4:00:pm – 5:00:pm
You have heard about furries, but did you hear the truth? Come find out out about the furry fandom and see if it is something you would like.
Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Rhiannon Louve
Sex Positivity
Ross Island
9:00:pm – 10:00:pm
[18+] They say sex sells, and it certainly seems to in the fannish community. Yet where does sexualization become objectification? And how can we strut our sexual stuff in a way that is safe and fun for everyone?
Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Jamie Hardy, Sienna Saint-Cyr
From Prehistory to Shamanism: Theology in Search of Human Uniqueness
11:00:am – 12:00:pm
Theology in Search of Human Uniqueness
Ari Goldstein, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Liz Argall
Construction Toy Play Time
12:00:pm – 1:00:pm
Come and build with Legos and other toys. Sorry, only photos of your creations (not the toys) can go home with you. Age 4 & up.
Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Shauna Mckain-Storey
LGBT in Fandom
Ross Island
3:00:pm – 4:00:pm
Inclusivity – that’s what the SF/F community is about. How to include everyone in your books, movies, circles, and how to do it naturally and correctly.
Amber Clark, Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones
Does an Advanced Civilization Really Need Sex?
4:00:pm – 5:00:pm
Our current means of shuffling genes and producing new people can be vexacious and more than a little dangerous. With the ability to take control of our genes not too far off, it may also be unnecessary. Might some branches of huamnity do away with it? What might a post-sexual culture be like?
Abbie Normal, Gerald D. Nordley, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Mike Moscoe
SF and Slavery
Ross Island
5:00:pm – 6:00:pm
It is more than 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation. SF gives more attention to the issue of slavery than most fiction does; Heinlein alone wrote 3 books focusing on it. Butler’s Kindred, Asaro’s Ruby/Eube novels, Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, a lot of fantasy novels and (lightly disguised) many robot and android stories . . . Why do our genres consider this an important contemporary topic, when so much of our culture is in denial of both slavery’s impact on who we are now, and its continued existence around the world? How does SF&F overcome that denial?
Ari Goldstein, Elizabeth Adams, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Jennifer Willis
How To Draw, By Not An Artist
12:00:pm – 1:00:pm
How do you draw a horse? Can I draw a horse? Nope. But I can show you steps to get you started! Please come if you are learning to draw and want to learn some tricks.
Charles Mason, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones
Parties at Cons
1:00:pm – 2:00:pm
How to throw a great party at a con without breaking the bank or trashing the hotel.
Frog Jones, Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Lynn Gold
Craft of Game Design
Ross Island
3:00:pm – 4:00:pm
What does it take to create a tabletop roleplaying game from the ground up? Hear from a panel of writers and artists who have invested countless hours into creating some of your favorite RPGs.
Anthony Pryor, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Hunter Mayer, Rhiannon Louve, Scott Woodard
Retro Robots Dance
6:00:pm – 7:00:pm
Do you and R2D2 have all the best dance moves? Wear your silver lame and circuit boards, or any costume! Come dance with us to classic sci-fi and oldies dance tunes! Youth of all ages are welcome.
Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Meredith Cook
Furry Terminology
Ross Island
9:00:pm – 10:00:pm
If you have been to the “What is a Furry” panel, now you can learn more about our terminology.
Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones
Whither conventions?
2:00:pm – 3:00:pm
What makes a convention? How are people changing the ways conventions happen? What do newcomers want out of volunteering, what’s still true that the old-timers know, and how do we deal with getting people to actually work together?
Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Mir Plemmons, Tom Whitmore