#5 – Visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. Check.

I’ve never met another girl who quite enjoyed an arcade as much as I do. Many a Saturday morning growing up, my dad would drop me off at Wunderland with a pocketful of nickels and pick me up around dinner time. When the nickels finally ran out, I could while away the hours playing Golden Axe and Bubble Bobble in the free room. On special occasions, he would rent me a Super NES at the local video store for the whole weekend, allowing me to play Street Fighter II and Super Mario Land until my hands cramped into claws around the controller. Some of my favorite memories in life are centered around a video game console. Good times.

When I learned about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas and knew I had to visit:

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So last weekend, Thor and I took a leisurely trip to Las Vegas, with no specific plans except to relax. As neither of us would be drinking, Thor was skipping meat, and I was skipping just about everything else, our fun would have to be a little more…vanilla. On Saturday night, we took a cab off the strip and out to the PHoF – which at first appeared to be an open door in a concrete building.


There was no front desk, no entry fee, no greeter. Just a big ass building (10,000 square feet) full of classic pinball (and a few arcade) games, amongst some other relics stacked up in corners or in the back. Although there were a decent amount of people, games were easily accessible, and the variety was vast, with rows and rows of classic pinball.


There were many OLD games, still totally playable, with an index card full of historic facts and details under the glass.


Most games were 50 cents a play, which is incredibly reasonable. Of course, sometimes an old machine at my quarter or one was out of service, but based on the selection and lack of admission price – who cares? Most people are blowing their money down the road in a slot machine anyway.

And of course, we played many rounds of SFII.


But my favorite part of classic arcades and pinball is the artwork. You really get a slice of time that just doesn’t exist from an at home console.



And who can forget this classic?


What was my favorite game? NBA Fastbreak, which I will be hunting for back here in Portland. Super fun!


All in all, we spent a couple hours whiling away our time and then promptly returned back to our suite at the Venetian to wash our hands. (Mental note: bring some disposable hand wipes next time around).

There we have it: my first goal of the year crossed off. We would definitely visit the Pinball Hall of Fame again, and it was definitely worth the $15 cab ride off the strip. How do you find the PHoF?

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My 2017 Bucket List in Review

Let’s be real – this was not an average year for me and my bucket listing adventures. The results are in, and I only checked of 60% of my 2017 goals – an all-time low!

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Some of my hopes were a little off-the-wall (befriend a crow) and some of them were a little tedious (5 minute plank or build a beach fort). I also never anticipated that we would spontaneously decide to buy a house this month so some of the more expensive items were tossed aside at the last minute (expensive steaks and snowmobiling).

Instead of dwelling on the shoulda woulda coulda, I did some pretty fantastic shit this year. So much that I can’t contain it in one blog post. Let’s dwell on that.

Seven Bucket List Highlights of 2017

  1. I logged runs in seven different states, and three different countries.


2. I experienced extreme claustrophobia in the catacombs of Paris.


3. I trekked across Barcelona to find a LOST themed bar (even if it wasn’t as cool as I had hoped).


4. I had a suit tailor-made just for me.


5. I hiked all 30.5 miles of Portland’s Wildwood Trail.


6. I legit collected shark teeth (and other fossils) on the beach.


7. I mastered the art of chowder.


Amongst several other goals of which I’ve already posted about. What did I learn this year? Continue taking risks. When I told people that I wanted to hike the full Wildwood trail, only one single person (my friend, Courtney) thought it was possible. Instead of wondering, she and I just went out and did it. (And afterwards, a pitcher of beer never tasted so good).

But this year was full of the strange, unique, and unexpected. My bucket list was almost secondary to where life took me.

Seven Non-Bucket List Highlights of 2017

  1. I ate my way across Europe for Spring Break, with a casual four hour lunch at a Michelin starred restaurant.


2. I coached an undefeated soccer team of middle school boys.


3. I spent a week at the Corwin head office for a mind-blowing, life-altering, reality-disrupting week of Visible Learning Training (which might not mean anything to most people, but it was THE learning experience my year).


4. I rode a gondola up to 13,000 feet in Vail and ate a delicious hot dog.


5. I spent 14 consecutive hours at the Oregon State Fair.


6. I danced all night to Lady Gaga in Las Vegas.


7. I lounged on the beach a lot (like, a lot). Multiple states and countries.

So there you have it. I got pretty whiny and stressed out at times, but overall it’s chalked up to a year full of learning experiences. My 2018 Bucket List is drafted, but I won’t publish it for a few more days.

Run #11 – Indianapolis

Do you ever get asked that question, “What’s your perfect day?” I can never come up with an answer, but my final day in Indianapolis comes close.

When I was first told that I would be working in Indianapolis, I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly excited. But when most of my colleagues were rushing to catch late night flights on our last night, I was relaxing in my hotel bed because I scheduled an extra day. This ensured that I could finally get a full night’s sleep, a big breakfast, and go for a run. In other words, meeeeee time.

Downtown Indianapolis is possibly the flattest place I’ve ever been, with a concrete horizon of government monuments and mini-parks. It is also possibly the cleanest city I’ve ever visited (at least downtown).


Being close to the university, I thought surely Purdue would be the place to see some of the city’s history – WRONG. While the university was well-paved and safe, I was surprised to only find newish looking architecture (and nothing very exciting) and not much green space. (Hey Purdue – y’all are lacking a charm aesthetic – get on that.)

There were a few parks (mostly dedicated to wars) and some waterways – so overall, a decent place to run.


Once I hit four miles, I called it a day and spent my last couple hours at the Museum of Medical History (nestled a little ways from downtown, in the former Hospital for the Insane) before catching my flight home.

A full night’s sleep in a comfy hotel bed, a run around town, a big breakfast, and a tour of medical deformities. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.


Technically, I completed my 10th run last weekend in Rockaway Beach (but I was busy too busy to blog) so that means I only have one more run to cross off my goal of running in 12 different cities.

#19 – Collect Shark Teeth on Topsail Island. Check.

Sometimes the best ideas on my bucket list are ones that I didn’t come up with myself – and that is the case of collecting shark teeth on Topsail Island.

First off, where is Topsail Island (for those of us on the west coast)? Off the coast of North Carolina, apparently there are MANY beaches of which I was completely ignorant in knowing about (I’m a west coast girl), and Topsail was about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport in Raleigh/Durham.

Oh also, it’s pronounced topsulllll not topsail. It’s southern, y’all.



Lucky for us, we have family with a beach house right on the beach of Topsail, and right from the beginning the weather and the beach were as good as it gets. The sand was super fine, the water was warm, and there were hardly any people around…so from beach snobs like me, it gets a very high rating.


But let’s get to the shark teeth. All along the beach it’s littered with shells, big and small. Over here in Oregon, there might be miles and miles of beaches, but you’re lucky to find a sand dollar. I asked for a lot of pro-tips from our hosts (who happened to have jars full of shark teeth) and I spent a lot of time looking at pictures on beach fossil forums online.

On my first day, I scoured the beach, picking up a lot of things but frequently wondering, Is this a tooth? Or a shell that looks like a tooth? I really wanted something that said THIS IS A SHARK TOOTH.


Also, I’m no spring chicken and bending over looking for tiny fossils was back breaking work. I would lay in the sun, look for teeth, eat lunch, look for teeth, read a little bit, look for teeth…

Here are my finds for day one:


On day two, the rain rolled in and I searched at low tide in ankle deep water. The fossil forums also had pictures of whale bones and stingray teeth which I’m pretty sure are part of my treasure finds below (on the right of the brain looking fossil).


I’ll admit that looking for teeth was mildly obsessive – it was hard to take a leisurely beach walk because my eyes kept scanning the sand instead of the coastline. I started following Facebook pages dedicated to fossil hunting on Topsail to see the most recent finds and compare my own.

On my later hunts, I did some looking but didn’t really come up with much and we left the beach for fried foods and a backyard party full of local surfers.


Next time, I’ll know what I’m looking for and I’m devoted to finding a BIG tooth (or whale bone) to show off, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with my treasures (and my enviable tan).


#9 – Go to Bharma in Barcelona. Check.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the television series, LOST. (The only person I know who might be a bigger fan is my friend, Kylene, who named her son Sawyer. That’s right. She did that.) Beyond binge watching the show over and over, I’ve integrated pretty legit lessons into my own classroom (my former 6th graders could analyze and deconstruct literary themes in key LOST episodes as if they were college grads).

You can whine all you want about the last episode not being the epic masterpiece you had hoped for, but realistically I feel like the show gave me years of enjoyment and it really changed the culture of how we watch TV. It was the first show to really cultivate Reddit fan theories and did a lot to incorporate teasers outside of just a typical commercial. LOST even pulled a few stunts to give fans their own twists by sending out fake casting calls and leaking fake episode synopses. You can blame LOST for the reason that no one was surprised William was the Man in Black last year in Westworld. We watch TV differently now. It made us more attuned to plot lines, and pay more attention to foreshadowing and character building.

It’s been seven whole years since LOST ended, and you’ve probably forgotten how great it was. Let me take you down memory lane:

Remember Jack crying in virtually every episode?



Or Sawyer’s sarcastic quips?



How about Kate’s inner turmoil?



And who could forget Hurley and Charlie’s bromance?



Remember how Sayid could snap a man’s neck with his hands tied behind his back?



Or how blown your mind was when they found the hatch?



How about when Sun traveled through space and time to get back to Jin?



I bet you also forgot that Michael played alongside DiCaprio in Romeo and Juliet.




So blah blah blah you didn’t like the way LOST ended? Get over yourself already. It was (and still is) a great show.

Now that I’ve gotten that part out of the way, let’s talk about the LOST-themed bar in Barcelona, Bharma, which I have put on my bucket list this year.

First off, I didn’t do a lot of research, for fear of getting my hopes too high. Instead, I knew a LOST-themed bar existed and that I would be traveling to Barcelona, so put two and two together.

Bharma is located somewhat away from the touristy parts of the city (though we still took a meandering walk to find it so it wasn’t terribly out of the way). Straight off, it looks cool.


And that’s mostly where the fun ended. The hours on Yelp showed that Bharma is open typically from 8:30am – 5pm, and then again from 11pm-3am. As we showed up at 12:30, you would think it was a safe bet. Instead, the place was empty and the waitress seemed annoyed with our entry. She also let us know that the kitchen was closed until 1:00.

Okkkk…we sat to have a drink and wait it out. When I asked for a menu, she said they didn’t have one. Riiiight. The guy behind the bar seemed equally unenthused with our presence. It is literally the only place in Barcelona where we have experienced crappy service.

I spent some time checking out the decor and memorabilia, which was fun but also not mind blowing.


40 minutes later it was clear that the kitchen was not going to be opening for us and we decided to pay our check and peace out for a lunch elsewhere. Hey Bharma, we traveled 5,500 miles and you are going to roll your eyes at us? No thanks!

Bharma wasn’t a total bust because we still had an adventure and can say we went, but frankly I wouldn’t recommend it – even for someone who is super into LOST. Instead, just come over to my house and let’s marathon a season together; I’ll order some official Dharma logo’d snacks and show you some show memorabilia that I own.