Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lua de Mel em Savannah, GA!

Tyree and I on the Savannah River.A little Public Health lesson about Yellow Fever at the Colonial Cemetery.
Camera tricks on the ghost tour! For more pictures of the ghost tour, go to the blog Tyree writes for his students:

At night at Forsythe Park.

Savannah is my kind of city; candy factories with pralines and taffy, ghost stories, seafood, art galleries, colonial architecture, parks, horse carriages and friendly people. We having a great time just walking around, being here, eating well and relaxing. Because we know when we get back it will be all packing and getting ready for New Orleans. Much love to everyone!

St. George Island, FL

Two days after the wedding, we went to the beach with Carly and Ashlee. St. George Island is my favorite beach in the area. As is tradition, we stopped for boiled peanuts along the way.

Way to relax after the wedding!
This is my favorite seafood restaurant, "That Place on 98" named for the highway along the coast. It was just rebuilt a few years ago after being destroyed by a hurricane.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Nossa Boda! 24 de Maio!! Pebble Hill

Tyree and I were married at St. John's Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 24th. It was an amazing day. I handed my cousin Laura my camera and she took pictures for me. We haven't gotten the professional pictures yet- but when we do, I will post those too. They are a little out of order because I just want to hurry up and publish them. Enjoy! Other pictures will come later. Much love, Heather

Dancing the Electric Slide to Mafikizoulo. EVERYONE was dancing!
Tyree dancing salsa with Grandma Betty.
Cousin Michele being merry.
Family coursages.
Getting ready for the ceremony at St.John's.
In the dressing room at St. John's. Sorry, no pictures of the ceremony just yet.
Cousin Michele fixing my dress at the reception at Pebble Hill in Thomasville.
Tyree looks pretty happy!
Tyree and I had our first dance to Monchy y Alejandra's "Te quiero igual que ayer,". We love bachata!

Antes da Boda...

My mother and I at the rehersal dinner May 23rd, at First Prebyterian Church.

Earl, one of the Percherons that pulled the carriage.

Despedida de la soltera!!

On Friday night, my cousins threw me a party. Nothing too crazy, promise!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

HPV Vaccine

These are postcards from a magazine encouraging young women to at least look into being vaccinated against HPV, the most common STD in America and the one associated with cervical cancer.

The postcards were just a small part of a major campaign promoted by Merck, the company that developed the vaccine. The fact that the company, and not local public health departments, lead the campaign may have contributed to a backlash against the vaccine. But more than likely, people are wary because of their own attitudes about sex and children.
Several states, including Texas and Florida tried to immeadiately put into law that all girls must be vaccinated against HPV (and thus, also, cervical cancer) before entering middle school. The idea is to protect girls before they become sexually active, which can happen at anytime between middle school and college. But the laws were killed due to lack of support from the public.

This could have been predicted; some parents don't even vaccinate their kids against measles. But add the fact that HPV is an STD, and suddenly it becomes even more controversial. The recommended age for this vaccine is 9 years and no one wants to think of their 9 year old having sex. But, again, the idea is to protect the girls before they are sexually active at all. HPV is the most prevelant STD, with very subtle symtoms, so it is very likely that when a girl does become sexually active, she will quickly be exposed to this virus and not even know it until she has an abnormal pap-smear. Almost all deaths from cervical cancer are related to this virus.

But the scariest argument I have heard against the vaccine, is the idea of complacency. There are some out there, politicians, parents and gynocologists included, that believe innoculating a child against an STD will actually encourage them to engage in risky sexual behavior. There is no science to back this up, it is meerly a feeling some people get, that the existence of deadly STDs is actually a good thing because fear can control teenagers' sexual desires. This thinking is not only wrong, but false.

What I want to know is, 10 or 15 years from now, when 19 to 25 year olds find out they have contracted HPV, are they going to ask their parents why they weren't vaccinated against it?
What does this mean for a possible HIV vaccine? Would very few people even want it, not admitting that they are at risk? Is the fear of "complacency" keeping drug companies from even trying?

The postcards say Tell Someone, so, I'm telling you. What do you think about it?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Misogynist Extremists

Opposites, in their extreme forms, end up resembling each other. Communism is the opposite of fascism, but in its extreme - totalitarian, miserable - it is hard to tell them apart.
Christianity is not the opposite of Islam, though there are some (both Christains and Muslims) who would see it that way. However, it is striking that the fundmentalist versions of both religions are so similar in their extreme misogyny.
The long, modest dresses and Edwardian-gothic hair styles are not the same as burqas, but aren't they? Look at the three images presented. What is the difference in demanding women braid their hair a certain way and demanding they cover their entire face?

Adults can wear what they want. What bothers me is the idea that young girls are being denied their rights as Americans. How can we become outraged by the treatment of women in Afghanistan by the Taliban when a woman in the US can be born and raised to believe she doesn't have the right to choose her own husband?
There are laws that protect these girls from the life being imposed upon them by the adults (including their mothers) around them. There are reasons it is illegal for a girl under a certain age to marry. The UN is currently encouraging developing nations to raise their marriage ages because girls who marry and have children before finishing their education, before their bodies are fully developed, before they are old enough to make decisions about their futures, have a whole book of statistics working against them.

"The Handmaid's Tale" is often compared to "1984". Instead of Communism, a misogynist regime is in power in America. Women are kept illiterate. Younger women are married to older men when their first wives can't bear children. The regime is supported by religious scripture. What's scary is that the novel could be predicting the Taliban OR this small community in America. Written in 1985, it was way ahead of its time in exposing the threat religious extremism poses to women everywhere.

Oh, and Happy May Day/ Labor Day to everyone. If we lived in Mozambique, Mexico or Russia we would have a holiday today.