Pretty Prickly

Grief and mourning

I have been very prickly, lately. They say things get easier with time. Six and a bit months later, things have certainly not got easier. They are different. And it’s hard to explain exactly what that means. What is different is having to accept that you never know – really – what will trigger an emotional response.

grief, mourning

At the beginning of December, I was at the opening of the McGregor Art Walk. It’s an event that had been in the planning since February or March, and when that began, it was with The Husband’s full support. He was supposed to have been at that, and other, events over that weekend. Needless to say, I was flying solo that evening. That’s not new, but it’s most certainly different now. People’s conversations with me are different.

Conversation one

Pleasantries dispensed with, “I so admire widows and widowers….” she gushed.

Something in my brain clicked. I have absolutely no recollection of the rest of conversation other than that I somehow had to extricate myself from it, and move on. Once the formalities of the evening were done, I bade the host farewell and confessed, “I have to flee…” Mercifully, she understood.

I retreated to my usual Friday haunt and shared the gist of that conversation with a friend who lost her life partner a few years ago. She was aghast. As I had been. I spent the best part of the next couple of days, vacillating between bridling with incredulity, and reflecting on whether my reaction to the word “admire” was appropriate.

I did what I always do, and consulted the dictionary:

This is what Collins told me about admire:

Word forms: 3rd person singular present tense admires, present participle admiring, past tense, past participle admired
1. VERB B2
If you admire someone or something, you like and respect them very much.
I admired her when I first met her and I still think she’s marvellous. [VERB noun]
He admired the way she had coped with life. [VERB noun]
All those who knew him will admire him for his work. [VERB noun + for]
Synonyms: respect, value, prize, honour More Synonyms of admire
2. VERB B1+
If you admire someone or something, you look at them with pleasure.
We took time to stop and admire the view. [VERB noun]
Synonyms: marvel at, look at, appreciate, delight in.

When I read the first definition, I began to second guess my reaction . Then I read the second and which is the context – and which connotation – I usually associate with the word. I cannot – and could not – reconcile either pleasure or delight with the unwanted condition of widowhood. In my understanding, when one admires someone – like a firefighter, nurse, or teacher – it’s aspirational. Unless one aspires to being a mariticide. And the woman said it with her husband of at least 40 years at her side.

On reflection – I’m doing a lot of that – I realise that she was probably less admiring of the condition than of how the widow appears to getting on with things. It’s taken me nearly a month – and a second conversation – to get to this realisation.

Conversation two

I had a catch-up conversation with a client last week and it included a brief look back at the year, which from a work perspective has been a relatively good one. He thanked me for my contribution – especially given what had happened this year – for not dropping the ball. He concluded that it – how I coped – was an inspiration.

Why, I asked myself, had I not balked at that remark?

Again, I went to the dictionary, and before I did, I realise that the comment had context: he (and the team) – as far as anyone can – had shared my journey. We had much more than the perfunctory conversation that happens when you happen to bump into someone. There was empathy, compassion and concern which, when my house was burgled, translated into practical and material help. And, with all that, they gave me space to work at my own pace which enabled me to continue meeting deadlines – and earning. I needed the work for other reasons, too it was more than a necessary distraction. It helps to give my days, weeks, months, shape. A real reason to get out of bed.

More reflections

So, when I reflect on the context of both conversations, I’m struck, again, at the power of language – to break down – and build up. It also reminds me of the sports’ rule: play the ball, not the player. Yes, I am now a widow, and perhaps that’s why I had such a knee-jerk reaction to that comment. One doesn’t sign up for widowhood and if one has the misfortune to lose a life partner, even though you think you are, you’re never prepared. Nor is one prepared for the journey that is mourning. It’s different from any other, and until one embarks on that new

sunrise mourning grief

path, one cannot even dream of beginning to understand.

Now, I must look to the sunrise each day, and start all over again. On my own.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post script
If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:

  • re-vamping old recipes. As I do this, I am adding them in a file format that you can download and print. If you download recipes, buy me a coffee. Or better yet, a glass of wine….?
  • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts.

I blog to the Hive blockchain using a number of decentralised application’s.

    • From WordPress, I use the Exxp plugin. If this rocks your socks, click here to sign up.

    • Join Hive using this link and then join us in the Silver Bloggers’ community by clicking on the logo.
Original artwork: @artywink

Hung out to dry, or did @gmuxx just duck?

Yes, I know that at best, I’m employing too many cliches and, at worst, mixing metaphors, and I warn you, if you read on, it’ll not get any better.

It’s not in my nature to air dirty laundry in public. I don’t like confrontation, either. However, there are two other things I loathe more: oblique insinuations that only an in-group will get, and which are barbed arrows at some poor unsuspecting individual who has no idea what s/he has done wrong.

There does, however, come a time when it’s necessary to both confront and air a little dirty laundry.

While many Steemians have been weighing in on the Tron / SteemISNOTtron issue, with things taking on almost nuclear proportions, other Steemians were just getting on with their lives – on and off Steem.

I have kept an eye on things but, frankly, there’s been more than enough going on in my offline life, that I’ve not really weighed in.

One issue that crosses both my offline and Steem life, is my website.

A little background

A couple of years ago, @fredrikaa and @howo launched the @steempress plugin that enabled WordPress bloggers to post to the blockchain. For folk like me who don’t “do” code and the little I know, I’ve learned by osmosis, this was a godsend. At the time, my WordPress deal didn’t allow me to use the plugin: one has to have a self-hosted domain and blog via the WordPress application. To the rescue @vornix who offered what was, effectively, a piggy back service. Just on a year ago, they terminated the service; like all service providers worth their salt, they informed users. In advance.

I have been blogging on WordPress since 2014 and joined Steemit as a way of expanding my audience (as well as because of the potential for monetising my writing). That’s not the point. Nor is it about hanging around because of the community – although that is true – it’s about a body of work. I’ll come back to this, but first:

Steempress and what it did for me

Steempress is brilliant tool. It enables people like me to post seamlessly to the blockchain using an interface that was not just familiar, but very user-friendly. It enabled me to improve the quality of what I was posting because I didn’t have to spend most of my time worrying about coding and formatting.

However, what it also meant was that I was actually maintaining two blogging sites. That’s not really efficient. It also meant (because it’s the nature of things) that the blog getting the most attention was the one that posted to Steem. My “regular” followers dropped off and were getting peeved. One, whom I know in 3D life actually asked me

Are you still blogging?

Cause for pause, right?

Not long after the Vornix announcement, being quite settled on Steemit (my 2 year anniversary was nigh) and as the sunset date approached, users were approached by a number of service providers offering hosting services. Some were quite aggressive and required payment in fiat. Vornix had accepted Steem. One that approached me was very aggressive. Direct messages – on Discord and via my blog’s Facebook page.

I don’t respond well to hard sells, being nagged or pushed.

Then, as I recall, there was a comment from @gmuxx on one of the Vornix posts reminding users of the imminent sunset: offering a similar service and included an invitation to a new Discord Channel – the Steemblogs Club. He also offered these services in the Steempress Discord.

Cutting a long story short

A year ago, this coincided with happenings in my 3D life, when I was considering not just consolidating blog platforms, but launching a personal website. I needed a space to showcase a few other things not relevant (necessarily) to the blog and/or Steem. I wanted one home on the Interweb. In consultation with @gmuxx I went ahead and bought a domain from a local reseller, canned my WordPress package and paid over SBD for a year’s hosting. I can’t remember how much, but if you want to find out, you can. Because, as you know, all the transactions on the blockchain are publicly recorded.

At the time, I was more than delighted with the service I received. Not only did @gmuxx offer a hosting service but he also backed up and transitioned all the content from my old blog to the new site. I was more than thrilled. He communicated frequently and allayed all my concerns.

I was comforted that my body of work wouldn’t be lost. I went ahead and developed the site; I felt in control.

More to the point, I incorporated the economics into a #spud post, and:

I told lots of people

I recommended his services

I added this footer to every single post

A few months ago, I messaged him via Discord about something, and the response was that he’d get back to me – he was busy. It wasn’t urgent, so I didn’t pay it much mind.


Exactly a week ago, I get a message from @zord189 asking if I could get into WordPress. At the time I could. He couldn’t. Nor could he get hold of @gmuxx.

I wasn’t having a problem and was even able to share my last post via Steempress.

Actually, I forgot that I had reached out to @gmuxx. Until Zord contacted me and I remembered that he had not got back to me.

However, because I knew that my domain was up for renewal, I had already been planning to reach out and discuss ongoing hosting.

Then, there’s more

Three days later (Wednesday), my site is not available. I also start searching for @gmuxx. I hadn’t done it sooner because we were back in the throes of loadshedding. I emailed him. No bounce back but also no reply. His own website is gone. He’s no longer on Discord. His Steemblogs Club Discord channel has been deleted.


In the intervening time, his Steemit blog is updated and his personal URL removed.


My website is down. My domain reseller and various other providers tell me that the domain is “blocked” and that there has to be permission from the host to release it.

How can I even begin to do that if @gmuxx cannot be contacted and all the providers are literally kicking the can up and down the road and between each other?

From insult to injury

I paid for some coverage for our Sunday Supper offering which went live on Friday. With a link to my website.

Having spent two days contacting providers along the value chain to to get access to the domain I purchased independently and where my content should have been safe. I am more than disgruntled. I am livid.

My potential new host confirms that should we be able to get the domain unblocked because the content is on the WordPress platform, it should be safe.

Right now, that seems like a very big but.

I feel completely helpless.

This is not atomic, considering other events on the blockchain and in the world, but it is, to me.

I paid over my SBD in good faith, but feel as though I’ve been hung out to dry. Zord and I are not the only ones. I know of at least one other – @mountainjewel – who’s also trying to recover her site and her content. There may well be others.

So, if anyone has suggestions as to how this can be resolved, please comment below, or tag me in the SteemPress Discord.

Why should we be hung out to dry because @gmuxx has ducked?

Post Script:

  1.  If you signed up to get email notifications via the social media and didn’t get notified about this post:  it’s because that data is lost to me.  I am sorry.  If it’s important to you – it is to me – please sign up again.
  2. The date for this is set for the date it was first published to the block chain and to give you a little context as to why it appears that I’ve not posted for some two years.

Until next time
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.
  • If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.

  • Should you join the Steem platform, you are welcome to contact me on Discord on be sure to look out for the Steem Terminal – a dynamic team of folk who will happily guide you through the apparent quagmire of blogging on blockchain.
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats as well as posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

Not Posted to my cyptoblog with SteemPress but posted via SteemPeak and re-pubilshed here