Before I left France for the States I had been having vague abdominal pain, mostly in the upper right quadrant, enough that I went to our doctor at the beach. She said she could feel that my gall bladder was enlarged so I had an ultrasound and, indeed, it was enlarged and I had a stone. When we returned to Paris I went and saw our doctor there, a guy I pretty much respect as he always seems up on the latest things. He knew about the nightmare we had gone through in the States last year with the TB diagnosis so I asked him if he thought I should get my gall bladder out before we went in case I had a bad attack while in the States. (We did have insurance coverage this time). He told me no but did give me the name of a surgeon whom I should have gone to see.

Rainbow from the car on the way back.

So we were in Austin and I had really bad pain late one night. If we hadn’t had an early plane flight to Arizona the next morning, I would have gone to the emergency room but luckily I felt a little “pop” and then a little “glug, glug”-I guess a stone came out of the bile duct- and the pain went away and I went back to sleep. The next few weeks I had some symptoms but not major pain. I was hoping to make it back to France so I could have surgery as it was obvious that I shouldn’t have waited. We were in Arizona a week and then drove up to the Grand Canyon and then over into New Mexico. We weren’t  going to return until Sunday but a weather front was on the way with rain or snow and we tried to stay ahead of it sometimes driving between two storms with just a little rain on the car and we returned to Arizona on Saturday. That night I had pain that wouldn’t go away and at 2:30 in the morning I woke up Maurice and we went to the emergency room and had my gall bladder out the next day. The surgeon said it was very nasty and I should have had it out a long time ago-if you have symptoms it should come out. So, this  time we had insurance at least. The attack didn’t happen in a plane, on the road in the middle of nowhere, at a reaally small town in New Mexico but in the right place at the right time.

A double!

Silver City

Most people haven’t heard of this small city in southern New Mexico. It has a pretty interesting history with Apache attacks, Billy the Kid, and it was founded as a mining town for silver explorations. I was born in Houston, Texas but raised here until junior high. We were in the area on our trip so made a stop to have a look.

Some sort of municipal building.

It looked liked the old town area was becoming an artist’s zone. There were lots of colorfully painted buildings on thr main street.

This former garage had been made into an art gallery.

I liked their lamp posts.

We had mexican food here for lunch. There was an older couple at the table next to us and I asked if they knew my aunt, the last of my Father’s family. They didn’t but when they heard where we were from, the lady started speaking fluent French. They had visited France a lot and were also from Louisiana. They had some sort of Cajun band there in Silver City.

White Sands

In southern New Mexico is the White Sands Monument. I remember going there as a child as I was raised in New Mexico and it is a special place. It’s known by some for the site of the first atom bomb detonation in its northern section. The sand is made of gypsum which normally dissolves in water but due to several factors remains.  It doesn’t retain heat like those sun soaked beaches that you have to race across but is cool to the feel even on the hottest summer day. We were there on a cool day and our feet got cold actually as we walked around with bare feet

We started seeing the yucca plants as we got near White Sands. These were in front of the visator center.

That is the white sands in the background. Notice all of the footprints and the trails left by people sliding down the hills on metal saucers. I had hoped to get some photos of pristine sand dunes but it would have required more of a hike than we were up to.

The light wasn’t the best but we got some great skies.

I found a bit of sand that hadn’t been walked on.

A closeup.

Looks like snow.


Not far from Santa Fe is a little town called Chimayo which contains a popular religious shrine. We made the drive there on a sunny, chilly day to check it out.

A statue of Mary passed on the walk from the parking lot.

Lots of candles and rosaries every where.

The entry to the chapel. There weren’t many people around but I imagine it’s very different in the summer.

This is a statue of the Christ Child of Atocha. Note the children’s shoes put there as the statue has worn shoes each morning after pilgrimages to help others. I’m sure the Catholic Church is driven a little crazy by shrines like this popping up. There was also a hole full of “miraculous” dirt with many crutches left nearby after healings. So, what the heck, I took a tiny pinch and put some on Maurice and some on me-something healthwise was coming for me a week or so later. I will need all the help I can get.

A Great Hotel

The La Posta Hotel was full of beautiful architectural details and fablous art.

 One of two fireplaces.

 Even the phone to call rooms was decrative.

 I loved this painting. I saw it each time we got off the elevator.

 These figures were on a fireplace mantle.

 The pretty dining room. We never ate there though.


Santa Fe Art

Santa Fe is full of art galleries, hundreds I think. I didn’t buy anything, beautiful though they were. I actually do have a really pretty Santa Fe print from years ago in my Paris apartment. It doesn’t really go with the decor, such as it is, but I love it. It was fun to walk around and peak in windows.

A row of shops.

 I liked this painting.

Isn’t this cute?

Embroideried leather, including boots.

So creative.

And look at these beautiful purses.