w(h)ine and cheese

Lunch with Jeff's family at Piccolino's, Napa Town CenterYesterday Jeff and I traded the cold and fog of Daly City for the heat and sunshine of Napa Valley, taking along Jeff’s mom, his mom’s sister from Concord, and his mom’s brother and nephew from the Philippines for an afternoon of wine tasting and sightseeing. By the time we drove to Concord in the East Bay to pick up Jeff’s aunt and then had lunch at Napa Town Center (at Piccolino’s Italian Cafe), we only had time for a single tasting (we shared two flights, a “classic” and a “reserve”) at Artesa Winery, with its interesting architecture (the tasting and event rooms are built into a hillside) and art collection, and a quick stop to see the faux chateau at Domaine Carneros.

Artesa Winery, Napa

Afterwards, we drove to San Pablo to drop off Jeff’s uncle and cousin at the home of a friend and classmate of his uncle’s from their small town in the Philippines. We thought we’d just drop them off around 6:00 and then head on home, but we hadn’t counted on Filipino hospitality which, I was told again and again that night, required that we stay for a meal. It was closer to 8:30 or 9:00 by the time we finally left. Both Jeff and I were tired and a little annoyed at the unexpected delay (having gotten up early that morning to do the drive to Napa, we knew we’d have to get up early again on Sunday for the AIDS Walk), but the hospitality was quite gracious and the family extremely friendly and engaging. The events of the past week had left us all a little emotionally drained and raw, but even with the extenuating circumstances I’m embarrassed that my desire just to go home was more apparent than I’d have preferred.

Also disappointing was that both cameras’ batteries were nearly exhausted, and the Nikon finally stopped taking photos after just a dozen or so, with each of those even taking 30-40 seconds to focus and save to disk. Some photos I took didn’t get saved at all. It’s strange; in the past my cameras have gone months and months on a single charge, so I’d gotten out of the habit of checking them. But oddly all of my battery-operated devices seem to lose their charge much more rapidly now than they did back in Virginia. My cellphone, which used to go for a week or two between charges, for example, now discharges at least daily; the Pocket PC seems to need charging much more often; and the iPod really has never been able to keep a charge, so I can’t tell if it’s any worse here. It seems on the surface unlikely, but is it possible that there’s something different about the climate or the environment here that would affect a battery’s ability to keep a charge?