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San Diego Revisited

Two years after leaving San Diego and the Space and Naval Warfare Command we had the chance to get together with the people who made Southern California such a warm memory.

At the end of July we drove out to spend a long weekend wth Sal, our Army War College and SPAWAR buddy who lives the California dream -- in a house in Point Loma overlooking the San Diego bay.

The view of the city from Sal's hillside Point Loma bungalow.

An Unbroken Circle
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the crew I worked with at SPAWAR, the old PMW 176 (Navy Satellite Systems Program Manager) crowd. They were kind enough to meet us for dinner in Old Town at a Mexican restaurant, where we could catch up with their new jobs, their new marriages, and even their new children.

It was great to see—clockwise from left—Sloane (Mr. Radio Voice of the Army); Jen (Ms. Life of the Party); Andrew (Mr. Where's My Sliderule?) and his lovely wife; Sande (Feng Shui Meets Iraq Guru); Ellen (our Mother Hen); Noelle (Ms. Super Analyst); and Linda (Ms. Socker Mom) and her new family. Truly, a circle of friends.

Diamonds Are a Guy's Best Friend

Sal and I spent an evening at the new Petco Ballpark (parden, me, Sal, if I occasionally called it a "stadium") and watched Barry Bonds make a fielding error in left field but redeem himself with a booming homer.
The view from Sal's season ticket seats, at left

Square Meals and Round Glasses
We couldn't pass up the chance to have breakfast at our favorite morning spot, the Red Sails Inn, on Harbor Island. It was where we shared our first meal with Sal when we lived in San Diego, and the first one on our return.
The Gaslamp Quarter is the "in" place to get lit (no pun intended, well,actually, maybe it was).

We spent a lazy Sunday afternoon there indulging our vices and learning to speak Italian from Sal. (Note to Sal: There are two women raptly watching you...do you see the second?)

Sal, bless his heart, is busy signing the marker for the drinks at Guadalahara, while John regales Cherie with stories of growing up in wine country. "One fish, two fish..."

If this isn't a poster for sobriety, Jen, it should be!

The SPAWARRIORS gather at the Mexican Cafe in Old Town to catch up on old times. Where's the bonfire?

From left, Noelle, Jamie, Cherie, Jen, Sal (and Ellen behind him), Win, Andrew, and Sloane.
The party continued at Zocalo, a candle-lit patio cafe down the street, where Cherie and Sloane sparred over politics the rest of the night.

Black hair ... brown eyes ... white teeth

Sal remarked on the family resemblence between him and his new "son," Jake. Yes, we see it too. Woof!

The Midway: San Diego's Newest Attraction
From the deck of the Midway the San Diego skyline looks like an extenion of the ship's superstructure. The aircraft carrier is docked at the Navy Pier in the San Diego harbor and has been turned into a museum where visitors can explore Navy life above and below decks.
Sal, Navy's Mr. Cool, directs air traffic from the
controller's office overlooking the deck.
Cherie gets a chuckle out of life in the living quarters, especially enjoying the view in the shower.

From the old to the new...the USS Reagan, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, is bethed across the harbor

Fair Seas and Following Winds

Alas, all good visits must come to an end, but Sal was determined to send us off with pleasant memories and a hang over by taking us to his favorite Mission Beach bar, the Beachcomber.

To the accompaniment of a live band and the raucous noise of a jam-packed crowd, Sal bought round after round of Margarita and Vodka tonics for his friends.

Cherie pinned Matt's picture on her shirt, and that too was good for a couple of rounds from strangers who took pity on a soldier's mother.

We spent the midnight hour walking the ocean beach and eating pizza in an all night dive in a semi-successful effort to sober up enough to get home.

And here was the view out Sal's beveled glass door the next morning as we packed up to leave. Methinks the camera was feeling the same way we were as we woke up dry mouthed but also wet-eyed at the prospect of saying goodbye yet again to a good friend and a wonderful city.

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