ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for March, 2008

Shake Rattle n’ Roll

Yes, It’s that time of the year, even though you wouldn’t think it by looking at the weather, when the gloom of winter starts to ascend, Spring is on its way and our spirits begin to gradually rise as the winter of our discontent at last begins to lift – well, at least my winter of discontent has, opposed to my bosoms which don’t seem to take much notice of the seasons and are more determined it seems to follow the laws of gravity. Talking of giving things a much needed lift, I went out and bought one of those memory foam mattress toppers (not in lieu of a new bra I hasten to add) because every time I get sick and am confined to my bed, I lay there and think, I wish this mattress wasn’t so bloody hard. To be honest, I’m not sure whether the mattress is getting harder with the course of time or whether my bones are getting closer to the surface thanks to the HIV making them protrude like uncoiled springs and causing me mattress (as in muscle) wastage.

The other thing I contemplate whilst I’m lying there too weak to do anything about it, is, why the hell did I paint those walls Barbie doll pink, especially seeing as there’s no Ken on the bedpost (or bed knob) horizon and hasn’t been for quite some time. So, whilst I was feeling in the pink health wise, I decided to give my bedroom a makeover, starting with my bed. The very first thing I did was to throw away the old feather mattress topper which had become somewhat of a nightly Chinese torture due to the fact that most of the feathers had worked their way through and were either poking me or tickling me to death all night (where’s Ken when you need him?) and by morning had somehow managed to attach themselves to me and I often woke up looking like an oven ready chicken, plucking feathers out of the dimpled folds of my cellulite. I replaced this torturous object with a new memory foam mattress topper instead, which promised to give me the best nights sleep I’d ever had and like the erstwhile Ken, cradle my pressure points with its memory retaining foam. I covered it with the new white bed cover I’d bought, allegedly designed by Twiggy. Well, I remember Twiggy from the old days and if anyone needed a memory foam mattress to cradle her protruding bones it was surely her, hence her name. The bed is now several inches higher and I feel a bit like the princess and the pea in both senses of the word, as throughout the night I have to frequently get up to go for one. My bed now looks very inviting though and the height of fashion, although it’s come to something when I get more pleasure out of dressing the bed, as the Irish say, than dressing myself. If there was only a Ken on the horizon, it might be a different matter of course, but who would want a Barbie with HIV. Maybe there’s a gap in the market there – positive dolls, a bit like those cabbage patch dolls but complete with their own medication – and no bottoms of course.

Thinking about Twiggy and the fact that most celebrities now have at least one licensed product which bears their name, set me wondering what I would put my name to if I was ever famous. Due to my total disinterest in cooking, it wouldn’t be pans, that’s for sure, unlike Jamie Oliver and his culinary mates, although Jamie also does a tasty sideline in earrings and has a penchant for studs and hookers. He insists that where his pans are concerned, size really does matter and so do thermo spots, although I’d get those checked out if I was him. Jamie says that he is particularly partial to using his own equipment and brags about the fact that he has an eight inch chopper. He was pipped to the post however in regard to endorsing pans with his name, because as we all know, Peter got there first. There was also that group of dancers back in the sixties Pan’s people.

In the name of further research I googled ‘celebrity pans’ and was asked did I mean ‘celebrity pants’ so I said yes and discovered that Brittany Spears doesn’t wear any. But never mind, she has her own perfume confusingly called ‘Curious’ and ‘In Control’ – maybe she should do another one called confused. I was then asked if I wanted to see the up -skirt-no-pants photo, which I admit I clicked on, although I had to register to get a proper look, by which time I’d gone right off the idea. Now if it had been Ken……

Jennifer Lopez also her own perfume called ‘Love at First Glow’ so she must have a memory foam mattress as they allegedly retain body heat. Although, I have to say, with her bum she hardly needs one. Oh dear, back to bottom envy again. As an HIV positive woman whose bottom has sadly disappeared, will I ever get over this lost bottom syndrome? Never mind, at least I can go to bed tonight and sleep cradled in the arms of my memory foam mattress. Some people don’t like them you know, especially courting couples, as apparently it makes it difficult to turn over, but what’s that to me without a Ken.

Related songs and lullabies to listen to –

‘Do you Ken John Peel’
‘You raise me up’
‘Ken you feel the love tonight’

BARBIE DOLL JOKE

A dad is on his way home a bit late from the office when he realises that it’s his daughter’s birthday and he has not bought her a gift. So he stops at a toy store to buy his daughter a Barbie. Inside he sees a Barbie display and asks the salesgirl how much the Barbies are.

The girl responds: ‘Which one? We have: Gymnasium Barbie: £19.95; Volleyball Barbie: £19.95; Shopping Barbie: £19.95; Surfer Barbie: £19.95; Disco Barbie: £19.95; and Divorced Barbie: £299.95

Shocked, the man asks, ‘Why is Divorced Barbie £299.95 when all the other Barbies are £19.95?’

Exasperated, the girl responds: ‘Sir, Divorced Barbie comes with’: Ken’s Car, Ken’s House, Ken’s Boat, Ken’s furniture, Ken’s jewellery, Ken’s money, Ken’s computer, and Ken’s best friend!

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Easter Bunny Girl

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If you’ve been good the Easter bunny will have presumably already left you some eggs, according to age old custom, in your bonnet – or if you are an old man in your flat cap. If you happen to be a youth of today, without any asbos, you might well find some lurking in the bottom of your hoody.

The Easter bunny is a mythological rabbit most likely based on pre-Christian custom honouring the fertility goddess Eostre. According to the 8th century historian the Venerable Bede, better known as Rowan Atkinson, the word Easter is derived from the Germanic goddess Eostre pronounced yo’ ster (one for the hoodies) a fertility goddess from whom we derived the word oestrogen. Not much is written about her lesser known sister progesterone, which is a pity and probably why women are having so many problems with PMT and the menopause these days.

I often wondered why rabbits are associated with Easter and now I know. It’s because the hare and rabbit (sounds like a pub) were the most fertile animals around and so became symbols of the new life during the spring season. Females can apparently conceive a second litter of offspring whilst still pregnant with the first, in which case. I’m glad I wasn’t born with big floppy ears and a fluffy tail, well, at least the fluffy tail.                                                           

The expression ‘Mad as a March hare’ comes from the wild caperings of hares, as the males fight over the females in the early spring and then attempt to mate with them. Males are often prone to fighting and ritual (not to mention mating) and there is one particularly silly ritual where the gentleman half stands and half sits when a lady leaves the table. This is commonly known as ‘bunny dipping’ and the phrase allegedly originates from the Playboy club and the bunny girls who developed the ‘bunny dip’ so that their bosoms didn’t fall out of their bustles when they were bending over tables – the mind boggles.

According to etiquette, it is always applicable for a man to stand when a female is taking her leave, or about to bend over the table by the sound of it. Other advice on etiquette and on how to become a lady, should you so desire, is freely available by clicking on ‘Diva village – how to be a lady’, where all will be revealed – or not, depending whether it’s deemed correct to take off one’s clothing in high circles or at the dinner table.

Here, ms Diva advises that if a lady’s wine glass needs refilling, she should play with it until her male neighbour notices, although she doesn’t say what. Well, that doesn’t sound very ladylike to me. Although she does go on to state that one should also refrain from wiping one’s nose or picking one’s teeth, which would be no good at all for a rabbit.

Rabbits are often present at the dinner table, but usually in a casserole dish as opposed to bending over it, and there are many different ways of cooking them. The Welsh have always been renowned for their rare bits, as well as their cheese on toast and there is nothing tastier, it has to be said, especially with a bit of Worcestershire sauce sprinkled on top.                                            

Talking of cooks, I noticed a range of earrings and necklaces when I was out doing some retail therapy today by Jamie Oliver. What’s going on? Talk about out of the frying pan and straight into the forge. Rabbits and Hares are also very popular these days in sculpture and people also used to wear severed rabbits foots as jewellry, so maybe that’s what gave Jamie the idea.

How to celebrate Easter ‘Top Gear’ style; I was just watching my heart throb Jeremy and he was racing around in an old banger with a colander of eggs over his head, which broke of course and dripped down his ‘dear’ square face. This leads indirectly to the term ‘bunny boiler’, which originated from the film ‘Fatal Attraction’ when Glen Close performed her very own version of bunny dipping as in boiling the pet rabbit. There is even a website at BunnyBoilers.net where there is a link to ‘she boilers’ and where you are invited to tell them all about your bunny boiler and they will give you a unique bunny boiler rating. I wonder if they would be interested in my boiler? It’s been acting up a bit in these high winds and I am absolutely dreading the pilot light going out.

The Goddess Eostre has also got her own website and her message today is that if you have been going through a period of stagnation, (yes) and lethargy, (too right) where nothing seems to be happening, (tell me about it) well let it go. Now is the time for growth. The Goddess says that wholeness is matured when you stretch and that stretching promotes growth. Well, I’ve been stretching all day but I don’t feel any taller and I still don’t seem to have a bottom. Maturer yes, as in old. Perhaps I should make her an offering – but not a rabbit casserole of course, and maybe she can help me grow my bottom back.

I am conscious of the fact that apart from bottoms and the lack of them, I haven’t once mentioned HIV in this entire blog. The following poem ‘The White Rabbit’, a poem which has been passed down through the generations of my family, I can somehow relate to HIV especially as regards prejudice and stigma. I will it leave it up to you to make your own comparisons.

The White Rabbit

There was once a rabbit with silver fur
And her little grey neighbours looked up to her
Till she thought with pride in the moonlit wood,
“The reason I’m white is because I am good”.

“Oh dear, oh dear” said the tiny mole,
“A fairy has stumbled into a hole.
It’s full of water and creepy things
And she can’t get out as she’s hurt her wings”.

“Don’t tell me about it,” the white rabbit said
And she shut up her eyes and her ears grew red.
“There’s lots of mud and it’s sure to stick
And my lovely fur is so long and thick”.

A little grey rabbit popped up from the gorse
“I’m not very strong but I’ll try, of course”.
And his little tail wagged as he waded in
And the muddy water came up to his chin.

But he caught the fairy tight by the hand
And sent her off safely to fairyland.
But first she kissed his little pink nose
She kissed his cheeks and his little mud toes.

And when the day dawned in the early light,
That little grey rabbit was……

Shining White!

A VERY HAPPY EASTER TO ALL HIVINERS

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The White Rabbit

There was once a rabbit with silver fur
And her little grey neighbours looked up to her
Till she thought with pride in the moonlit wood,
“The reason I’m white is because I am good”.

“Oh dear, oh dear” said the tiny mole,
“A fairy has stumbled into a hole.
It’s full of water and creepy things
And she can’t get out as she’s hurt her wings”.

“Don’t tell me about it,” the white rabbit said
And she shut up her eyes and her ears grew red.
“There’s lots of mud and it’s sure to stick
And my lovely fur is so long and thick”.

A little grey rabbit popped up from the gorse
“I’m not very strong but I’ll try, of course”.
And his little tail wagged as he waded in
And the muddy water came up to his chin.

But he caught the fairy tight by the hand
And sent her off safely to fairyland.
But first she kissed his little pink nose
She kissed his cheeks and his little mud toes.

And when the day dawned in the early light,
That little grey rabbit was……

Shining White!

Ne’er Cast a Clout

neer-cast-a-clout-3              picture:sacrifice:©adrienneseed

Well, I hope no one has taken their vests off yet, or their liberty bodices, especially if you happen to live in the north, because as a result of global warming the weather up here is decidedly arbitrary with temperatures going up and down like a bride’s nightie, as they say in Australia. So my advice to you if you want to avoid hypothermia, is to wear pyjamas or refrain from having sex, especially with an Australian.

But if you must indulge and also insist on wearing your flannelette nightie, at least position yourself near a radiator or over a handy hot air vent like Marylyn Monroe, but not too hot mind, if you want to avoid global warming of a different kind. Some might like it hot, but think of England as our mothers used to say whilst having sex and save energy as well as the planet by turning your thermostat down a notch or two. Or better still, keep your thermal vest or liberty bodice on at all times which will act as a kind of loft insulation to avoid catching a chill in your dormer area so to speak, or wear one on top of the other like we had to do in the old days.

For those of you too young to remember the so called glories of the liberty bodice, it had nothing whatsoever to do with liberty or suffragettes, in fact the reverse, although it did cause suffering to a lot of pubescent young women of my generation. It was allegedly designed to liberate women from the corset, but mainly for maids so they would be unencumbered by whalebones and therefore freer to get on with their scrubbing. So any scrubbers out there can take heed.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                         With or without bones, this uncomfortable garment, designed primarily to ward off the cold, was a sleeveless bodice made of a warm fleecy fabric, a bit like wearing an oily sheep inside out, so refer to back to previous advice about not sleeping with Australians or even standing in close proximity to one, especially a sheep farmer, otherwise you might find yourself having your ‘dags’ shaved off.

The liberty bodice also resembled a kind of straitjacket as it was tightly fastened by a row of tiny rubber buttons and when worn over the vest, which was usually the case, it was supposed to encourage good posture, but instead caused you to walk like a penguin. The fleecy wool was difficult to wash, so was normally encrusted with layers of Vick and impermeated with the smell of camphorated oil. It had the added complication of suspenders to hold up your stockings, or long knitted socks, and came into existence in the days of the balaclava, which stopped your head from getting frostbite by covering your whole head, including your face.

However, back to my earlier warning; don’t let yourself be fooled that Spring is here by the odd host of daffodils or a sprouting crocus or two, because the worse is yet to come and as my mum always said, ne’er cast a clout till May is out – and there are more howling gales on the horizon.

Talking of howling gales and casting clouts, what about poor old Gale Tilsbury falling down the stairs in Coronation Street. Before global warming came to our attention she was the most severe gale we had to worry about in these parts. The question is, did she fall or was she pushed?

On a more serious note, nobody should have to suffer being on the receiving end of clouts, or casting them for that matter, at any time of year, let alone May – or wearing liberty bodices either. And neither should they have to suffer any kind of bullying, especially from their children. Being HIV positive lays one wide open to being bullied thereby becoming a victim and feeling less worthy about ourselves. For that reason we should continue the fight against prejudice and stigma in order for that not to happen.                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                       As the liberty bodice was renowned for keeping off the winter chills and HIV positive people are prone to pneumonia, maybe we should keep ours on.
                                                                                                                                                         If you haven’t got one, they are still available apparently at http://www.openbottomgirdles.co.uk
or if you just want to see what one looks like, they are on display in some Australian museums. But no matter how badly you want to hide away from the world because of your positive status, whatever you do, don’t resort to wearing a balaclava and a liberty bodice at the same time.

POC HIV Rapid Testing

401px-red_ribbon_svg.pngIf you live in the Manchester area the sixy second rapid HIV test is now available at Body Positive North West. Click on the link to find more details.

To find out more about the benefits of early testing read the excellent article by Alice Welbourn, international activist and campaigner on women’s rights and HIV/AIDS by clicking on Open Democracy link.

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IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY MOTHER DOREEN SEED nee DOWNS
7/2/22 to 30/12/05

A HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL HIVINERS AND ALL MOTHERS, ESPECIALLY POSITIVE MOTHERS.
I would like to wish all mother’s a very happy Mother’s Day and especially positive mothers who deserve a very special commemoration. It is bad enough being HIV positive yourself and having to suffer in silence whilst trying to spare your children from societies enforced shame. But if you are open about your status and that affects your children, well that is another matter entirely and it makes me realise the importance of continuing to tackle the stigma.

This was clearly brought to light to me yesterday when I went for a counselling job interview and one of the panel commented that some parents might not be happy about the fact that I was HIV positive and open about my status. I don’t remember exactly what I said in response. I probably nodded my head in a meek, submissive fashion and agreed. It was only afterwards that the power of that comment hit me. Why wouldn’t they be happy about it? What danger would I be posing to their children who were not even legally classed as children because it was a college of Further Education?

When I was discussing this later with my son, he made the further comment that maybe that’s why no one would give him a job, because of having a mother who has HIV. As you can imagine these two comments made me feel like the lowest of the low and reconfirmed the prejudice and stigma that still exists in relation to this disease, a fact of which I had become complacent because of all the support I have received both through speaking out and this website.

I wondered if any other hiviners had had any personal experience of this and how it had made them feel. For my part, rather than make me hang my head, this has made me even more determined to tackle the stigma and prejudice (I’m getting sick of having to repeat those words) otherwise things will never change. This unfortunately is the reason women choose to stay invisible, in order to protect their children, as well as themselves and if this kind of attitude still exists in a college of Further Education what hope is there for change.