Clams on the Half-Shell and Roller Skates at Church 

Did you think I gave up on my 30 days of gratitude? Oh ye of little faith.

Trust me, I have definitely been meditating on gratitude and have been appreciative for something different everyday. However, I will admit, I was having so much fun, I didn’t take the time to stop and write.

Catch up time!

Right where I left off, Friday, July 7.

Last week, as you know, I was in San Francisco for a work conference.

Tuesday when I arrived, I went for a really long walk from Union Square, up through Chinatown, over to Nob Hill, down through the Tenderloin and back down to my hotel.

Wednesday was spent setting up our booth, which was loaded with t-shirts, mugs, pint glasses, tote bags and tons of other great swag displaying only some of the items stations can purchase from us to have their station logo printed on. This involved considerable lifting and moving and bending and reaching. It took most of the day, but it looked great when we were done.

Wednesday evening, all day Thursday and most of Friday were spent on my feet at the booth, greeting attendees and letting them know about our offerings for gifts for their contributors. The event itself went well and some really good things are sure to come of getting to meet with NPR folks and other public radio station peeps from all over the country.

But come Friday afternoon 4:45pm, it was time to dismantle the entire booth and pack it up to ship back to Colorado on pallets.

No biggie if you are planning on going back to your room whenever packing gets done and order room service and take a nice hot bubble bath.

However, I had other plans.

My niece, Courtney, lives in San Francisco with her fiance, Matt. Not sure what time we’d be done on Friday, we planned on me coming over to their apartment Saturday morning. Mid-week I’d considered whether I might be done early enough to get together with Courtney Friday evening.

I texted her and asked if she wanted to do something if my boxing up was completed at a decent hour. And I put the suggestion of a Girls Night out there in case she was interested. I knew I’d get to spend time with Matt on Saturday and Sunday, but girl time with my niece, who I rarely see, would be precious.

She said Girls Night would be good and we began going back and forth about what we should do.

Originally I’d thought perhaps she’d come in the direction of the hotel while I was finishing up and we’d go sit and have a glass of wine and gab.

But that wasn’t sitting right with me. I wanted this night to be special. I wanted to do something at least a little more unique than cocktails. I commented that I wished I had better dancing shoes. Or that we could go to karaoke, or if there was a cabaret show. Just something that I don’t do often and that would be unique and different from what she usually does.

She sent a link promoting Dueling Pianos at Johnny Foleys just down the street from where I was. That sparked my interest a little. Could be fun.

Before I even had a chance to reply, I received another text from her…

“Would you want to give this place a try!?”

And then a link with a photo. A van in front of a church.

The Church of 8 Wheels.

Yes! Roller skating!

SkateChurchof8Wheels

Sure my legs were tired and aching from standing and walking all week, but as soon as I saw what the place was, I knew that was the perfect place for our Girls Night.

It also was more in tune to the types of fun Courtney and I (and her younger sister, Paige, when she came along) used to partake in when she was little. We had countless adventures together, and crazy fun sleepovers, with tons of laughs and games and girl talk.

And I particularly liked the idea because her next text was that she’d always wanted to go. We were going to experience this cool-looking place for the first time together.

Throughout the day Friday, I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy chatting with various people about public media, and not overthink about packing up all our items, what time we’d get done, and whether I’d be exhausted.

But I couldn’t help it. I was so excited!

As luck would have it, a very neat couple who used to live in Colorado and work where I do now, had moved to San Francisco. And my boss invited them to join us at the booth to help out. The husband had been part of many of these conferences during his years with the company, so when it came time to tear down, he knew exactly what to do.

We finished earlier than I could have hoped.

After saying my good-byes to my colleagues, I went to my room and put my feet up for a half-hour in preparation for the night ahead.

I went on the Lyft app for my first time and arranged a ride. Courtney and I met on Haight Street, which was an area she had yet to explore since moving to the bay area two years ago.

She and I strolled along the sidewalk gabbing and looking at menus in the windows as we considered our dinner options.

We decided on a cute, little sushi place. We sat and each had a Sapporo. We shared unagi and California rolls. Well, I enjoyed the unagi–Courtney wasn’t up for trying eel that day.

After a nice meal and some catching up on wedding plans, we walked up the several blocks to The Church of 8 Wheels.

It is an actual church that has been turned into a fantastic roller skating rink with wood floor, disco lights, and live DJ spinning the hip tracks that make you want to groove and move.

They have lessons on Saturday afternoons and family skate sessions. But Friday evenings are reserved for The Godfather’s Friday Night Roller Disco.  Remember Good Times by Chic? Yeah, it was like that.

Oh what a night! After getting our rental skates, we sat down on a pew against the wall and changed out of our street shoes. We stood up, patiently waited for a lull in the people skating by and slowly pushed off on our skates.

SkateDancingI felt a little unsure for a moment, but soon gained my skating feet. Courtney and I each had moments here and there where we were a little shaky, but we’d quickly regain our balance and roll on.

We skated nonstop (and without a single fall!) the rest of the night. Here I was in this amazing coastal city, San Francisco, at a church converted into a roller rink, roller skating in the disco lights and jamming to awesome songs with one of my most favorite people ever.

Courtney commented something I’d been thinking too. Though most of the songs were great, they hadn’t played anything either of us could just completely get lost in.

The night went on, and we didn’t sit down once. The skating was exhilarating. We even joined in a dance in the center.

The rink was beginning to empty out some. We hadn’t talked about leaving, but it was getting late.

Then Courtney and I both heard it, the opening piano music of ABBA’s Dancing Queen.

The song put smiles on our faces and swooped Courtney and I into its energy. We picked up some speed and skated with a little extra zing in our wheels.

After the final notes, we looked at each other with knowing smiles.

Courtney asked, “Is that a good one to end on or do you want to keep skating?”

We rolled to the side and sat down on the bench, exhilarated as we switched back into our street shoes, a wonderful Girls Night completed!

Gratitude, Day 15:

I am grateful for an especially good time with my beautiful niece, Courtney, with sushi on Haight and roller skating with her to one of my very favorite songs.

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