Visiting the National Gallery of Art

I have been to Washington D.C several times, but until today, I had never had the opportunity to visit the National Gallery of Art. I visited (and Elise happily accompanied me) the West Building as well as the Sculpture Garden. Boy, oh boy, I just loved that place!

First of all, I was anticipating to pay for parking and possibly ride the metro and then walk to the gallery. I was a little nervous about that since the forecast called for 50% chance of thunderstorms. But fortunately, A. We discovered that parking on the streets on Sundays is free and we easily found a spot 3 blocks away, and B. It did not rain a single drop!

The West Building featuring a special exhibit of Degas/Cassatt

The West Building featuring a special exhibit of Degas/Cassatt

The West Building is gorgeous and the layout very user friendly. This marble structure was the largest of its kind when it was built in 1940. It is breathtaking to walk through marble columns and marble walls. The entire main floor sits under skylights, which results in having much natural light shining throughout the building. The smart and easy layout makes it simple to walk through the exhibits fluidly, without the need to backtrack. The rooms and halls are very spacious and welcoming, allowing for a very pleasant and peaceful experience.

Ceiling over the rotunda in the main floor of the West Building

Ceiling over the rotunda in the main floor of the West Building

With Elise on the main floor

With Elise on the main floor

Of course, there was not enough time to walk through the entire museum, so Elise and I decided to linger mostly around 19th and 20th Century art, especially French, our favorite. What a sweet experience.

Picasso's "Madame Picasso"

Picasso’s “Madame Picasso”


Monet’s “The Walk — Woman With a Parasol”


Degas' "The Dance Lesson"

Degas’ “The Dance Lesson”

Vigee-Lebrun's "The Marquise de Pezay and the Marquise de Rouge with her Sons"

Vigee-Lebrun’s “The Marquise de Pezay and the Marquise de Rouge with her Sons”

Sargent's "Street in Venice"

Sargent’s “Street in Venice”

Across the street from the West Building is the Sculpture Garden. We took a mid-day break and hung out at the water fountain (which I hear turns into an ice skating rink during the winter), did some people-watching, sculpture viewing, and Elise spent some time sketching under the warm sun. I especially enjoyed the greenery: all native trees, bushes, and huge, beautiful flowers. We ate lunch at the Pavilion Cafe and then headed back to the West Building to see the exhibits we had previously missed.

Me by the reflecting pool / water fountain. In the background is the National Archives Museum

Me by the reflecting pool / water fountain. In the background is the National Archives Museum

A girl and her sketch pad

A girl and her sketch pad

Pretty Gardens

Pretty Gardens

Overall, our day at the capital receives a rating of 5 out of 5. At the end of the day we were reasonably tired but pleasantly satisfied with our experience in the Art Gallery. I would love to go again in the not so distant future and “linger” in a different section of the building.


Book Review: A Place of Healing

I just finished reading A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada, and I give it my highest recommendation.

Joni was paralyzed in a diving accident more than 40 years ago. Now, in her 60s, she’s writes this book while going through a new trial: constant, unshakable pain. What I like most about this book is Joni’s high view of God. Every page oozes with his character, calling, and work, putting all things, especially suffering, into perspective.

If you are struggling with the idea of being a Christian yet not delivered from suffering and pain, buy this book today. If you are dealing with physical illness or disability, this book is for you! Even if you are not presently suffering, this book will minister to you and equip you to be a good friend to those who do suffer. It will encourage you greatly. For me, it has renewed my sense of gratitude and contentment, knowing that my hope in the Lord is unwavering and true.

Exploring Virginia: Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah Valley

After 2 years of living in Virginia, I finally got a chance to drive through Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park. The weather was perfect and the sights from the overviews along the road were absolutely stunning. I grew up in Ecuador, surrounded by gorgeous mountains, but I lived most of my adult life in Florida, which has none. So this drive was like coming back home.

The only thing I wanted more of was time. Our drive was fairly short, and it takes several hours to go through the whole park. Now that we have a taste of it, we will be sure to go back again soon. I can’t wait to see it during the fall when the leaves are turning! Next time, I will bring my field guide, to make my bird watching more interesting.

Once hunger hit, we headed to our favorite spot in Charlottesville: Christian’s Pizza, at the downtown location. We love that place! The pizza is amazing, the pedestrian strip with outdoor cafes and shops is quaint and lively. It was the perfect way to end the day. (For more reviews on Christian’s Pizza, click here)

Game Review: BitWordy

Before you consider this online game review, keep the following in mind.

I’m in my 40’s. I’m not what you would call a gamer. I like games that distract my mind but make it work at the same time.

I like words.

I also like numbers.

I like games that are not too social so that I can play whenever I want to, and as much or as little as I like.

That said, here’s one of my favorite social media games:


If you like Boggle, you might really like this game. This is how it works: You look at a cube of letters and find as many words as you can in the span of 3 minutes. If you chose the standard option, words need to have a minimum of 3 letters each. You type as much as you see, as fast as you can. The space bar in your keyboard allows you to rotate the cube so you see it from different angles.

What I like about it:

  1. It’s a 3 minute commitment per game, which is very convenient if you are a busy person.

  2. You gain an “IQ” score which determines how good you are. Even if you don’t play against other people, you are competing against yourself, trying to improve your score. This works for me because I am, by nature, quite competitive.

  3. You have the option of playing against friends (I never chose this option) or going into a public room where everybody plays at the same time. There is no need to have social interaction with others playing but it does let you see your ranking in the room, which makes it, in my opinion, a little more fun. I opt for the “Open Room”, which is open to all player, no matter what their IQ is. Very rarely do I rise to the top of the room, but I like it nevertheless.

  4. This game is entertaining enough to distract you but it’s not mindless enough to make you feel like you’re wasting your brain. You are actually exercising it, and hopefully avoiding Alzheimer in your old age 😉

What I don’t like about it:

  1. You can only play it on a computer with keyboard. There is no app for Android or tablets, and I don’t think there is one for Apple either. However, the game is fairly new and as it gains more popularity, I’m sure it will expand and improve.
  2. Like any other game, it can be addictive! Who knows, maybe you will hate it, but if you grow to like it like I do, you’ll be glad they don’t have an app for your phone or you would be glued to it all day.

  3. You need to be fast at typing, which is not a problem for me. Just know it doesn’t use a touch screen.

  4. It is a Facebook app, so if you don’t have a fb, you can’t play it.

How to enjoy it:

Don’t be too hard on yourself. When you first try it, you will think you are as dumb as a door nail, because you will see others with IQ’s in the stratosphere. Expect that. Just play knowing you’ll get better with practice.

Try the beginners and intermediate rooms first. These will boost your confidence.


Please leave me a comment if you try it, and tell me how you like it. Who knows, maybe we can meet there one of these days.