ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

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

Archive for April, 2010

When You’re Smiling

So this Spanish man who loves his rice is dining at a typical Spanish restaurant. First he chooses ensalada de arroz (rice salad?) followed by arroz a la marinera (fisherman’s rice) followed by paella (rice with a few mussel shells and prawn whiskers thrown in) and of course to finish postre de arroz (rice pudding to you and me).
A band was playing that night.
“Do you have any requests senor? asks the camerero.
“Si,” responds the diner, “Something by arroz Stewart.”
“Rice pudding Stewart?” don’t get it I tell Luis.
“Arroz – Roth, Roth Stewart” Luis explains. Spanish can’t pronounce letter d.
That is stupid joke I tell him. Spanish sense of humour too silly.
“Well, engleesh humour sorrybull,” he replies.
Typical Spanish – they have to bring bulls and donkeyhotes into everything.

“Donkey falls down well,” Luis tries again. “What shall we do?” farmer asks wife. Wife replies, “Throw him paja (straw) because agua (water) he is not short of.”

Paja also means stupid person so this joke can easily be misinterpreted. Jack Paja Straw! No offence Jack, have to say that living in Blackburn in case he gets in again.

Luis still laughing at donkey joke, donkeyjokey, but as Engleesh don’t tend to have donkeys, or wells, this joke not go down well (ha ha double play on words!) Rod rice pudding Stewart and rice as in Chinese take-aways far more applicable.

Rice is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s population including Blackburn. Staple means food that can be stored throughout the year and not famous stationary store. Rice is sometimes tossed at weddings instead of confetti. This tradition dates back to Roman times when the bride carried a sheaf of wheat rather than a bouquet of flowers. The guests tossed grains of wheat at her and she wore wheat in her hair.


Shredded wheat?

On a bad hair day my hair tends to look a bit like shredded wheat, especially if I haven’t been conditioning it properly. Nowadays I suppose we could also toss Special K or Kellogg’s crunchy nut clusters, or my own personal favourite when I wake up in the middle of the night Frosties. But sadly the shredded wheat tossing custom fell by the wayside under the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 when instead the wheat was baked into small cakes then crumbled over the bride’s head – and probably used after to make the trifle. In later times rice replaced wheat because it was cheaper and the rice tossing tradition has stuck to this day.

During my rice based research I kept coming upon the intriguing question, “Do birds explode if they eat wedding rice?” – this not another Spanish joke by the way, although it sounds like one. I never did find the answer to that but I did discover there is a charity called Rice and the letters stand for Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly. Made a note of that – it might come in useful.

Condoleezza Rice was another name that kept popping up like a rice crispy, snap, crackle and pop, during my lengthy research and I couldn‘t help noticing her dazzlingly white teeth. Teeth are currently on my mind because (a) along with the nation I have been watching Simon Cowell’s teeth on Britain’s got talent and (b) due to my advancing years I don’t want to end up with false ones, so I braved a visit to the dentist. As usual as an HIV positive patient I was given the last appointment of day, which did little for my self esteem but I am used to that by now. My teeth were all fine as it happened, I merely had a build up of plaque and tartar, which the hygienist industriously chiselled off with her ice pick and pneumatic drill, but tutted behind her mask and told me my teeth were badly stained from too much smoking and drinking.

As I can’t afford to pay for a professional whitening treatment as soon as I got home I had a look on the net. where I found – “A simple and cheap recipe for whitening teeth using something everyone has in their cupboard, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.”

Well, tis a good while since I attempted to bake a cake and the only peroxide I could find was my moustache bleaching cream – maybe kill two birds with one stone? I googled natural remedies and found another recipe of lime and salt, that sounded nice, but they forgot to add the tequila.

“Mash strawberries into a paste then rub all over teeth,” was another – but don’t try this at your local tea rooms, or at Wimbledon for that matter and definitely don’t answer the door when the gas man calleth.

Rubbing teeth with lemon or orange rind was another suggestion as the pith allegedly works like a sponge or rubber. Are they taking the pith? But never do what a colleague of mine did and use a brillo pad.

After the scrape and polish my teeth felt all clean and shiny and I couldn’t stop smiling at myself and everyone else. Smiling makes other people smile as Ken Dodd rightly sings, “when your smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you,” or in the words of the poem by anonymouse – a distant relation of dangermouse –

smiling is infectious you can catch it like the flu

when someone smiled at me today

I started smiling too

I thought about the smile

And realised its worth

a single smile like mine

could travel round the earth

so if you feel a smile begin

don’t leave it undetected

start an epidemic and get the world infected.

Please note this does not apply to HIV. Although with poetic licence you could adapt the words.

HIV is infectious

you can catch it like the flu

when someone showed the telling signs

I knew they had it too

I thought about the virus

then realised its worth

a single virus just like mine

could travel round the earth

so if you think you have the signs

don’t leave them undetected

or you’ll start an epidemic

and get the world infected

head off to the G-U -M

and get yourself a -tested

because if knowingly you pass it on

you’ll get yourself arrested.



Ashes to Ashes

Heck – giant clouds of volcanic ash hovering over our heads. What next I wonder?

Good news today however we presented our project for ‘thrivine’ the ‘Positive Picture’ to the Dragon’s Apprentice and we were accepted.  So any one living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the East Lancs area, please come along and take part or contact me for further details.

The Positive Picturewill consist of forty two small canvasses in the form of a mosaic which will depict the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS

AIMSBeing part of the project will encourage people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to address their feelings of isolation, stigma and depression in a safe and confidential setting with people who are all affected by HIV. The participants working with person centred art therapy and visualisation exercises will be provided with the means to express their pent up emotions. 

Skills for lifeDuring the six week project the members will acquire new skills by learning basic painting and drawing techniques.

OutcomesA sense of pride in the finished product, increased feelings of self worth and of being involved in a joint product, which will go on to raise awareness and reduce stigma. The project overall will help people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to cope with the challenges both social and physical of living with a long term chronic illness and the side effects of the medication,

The finished productPromoting change through art. The Positive Picture will be used to raise awareness, especially around World AIDS Day, by being displayed locally in public venues such as Blackburn Museum and Blackburn Cathedral. It can also be used as a resource to present to the media. Body Positive North West has already expressed an interest in displaying the Positive Picture in their centre in Manchester. The finished product can be used for fund raising purposes through the sale of prints and postcards. Because the canvasses will be in the form of a mosaic, the Positive Picture can be easily assembled, hung and transported.

FilmThe documentary/video diary which will be made during the six week project, will be used to promote HIV awareness in schools, colleges, you tube and the media.