Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Welcome Visit from the Alex Chalfin Family and their Tesla Model S Electric Car

The Tesla Model S in our neighborhood.

Yesterday, we had a nice but a short visit from Alex and Elaine Chalfin and their two kids, Wesley and Samantha. Elaine (Lanie) is Macrine 's niece, the oldest daughter of Pepot (Fe) Jambalos. They were on their way to visit a friend in Folsom. Since Folsom is only 5 minutes away, they decided to visit us. They brought with them my favorite dish ( cooked by Merlet)-Chicken Adobo Sa Gata( Coconut milk). Again thanks a million, Merlet, Chalfin Family for the dish.
While Lanie was visiting Macrine, I ask Alex about Lanie's electric car-Tesla Model S, 2013. ( see photo above). He asked me If I have ever ridden or drove an electric car. I said no, so Alex drove me around the neighborhood for 5 minutes. It was the smoothest and quietest ride I have experience in my life. The car made me feel like a millioneer. I did some Internet search on this car and here a summary for your information.
2013 Tesla Model S Overview: The Model S is powered by an electric motor, and test drivers are amazed by its responsive nature and ample power. A single-speed transmission is standard. The EPA reports that the 2013 Tesla Model S can go 208 miles on a charge with a 60 kWh battery pack, which is exceptional for an electric vehicle. Still, the Model S’ 94/97 mpg equivalent isn’t quite as good as the fuel economy equivalent ratings of less expensive electric vehicles, like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Ford Focus Electric. Test drivers write that the Model S’ precise steering and athletic handling add to the exciting driving experience, and while some cars sacrifice ride quality for agility, the available air suspension keeps the Model S comfortable and composed over imperfect roads.

Many auto writers note that the 2013 Tesla Model S’ cabin is just as innovative as its powertrain. While one reviewer complains about wind noise in his test car, others gush about the 2013 Model S’ attractive, modern design and quality construction. Most auto writers say that the Model S’ standard five-seat cabin offers plenty of space in both rows. A pair of optional jump seats in the cargo area can increase seating capacity to seven, though test drivers write that these seats are only intended for small children. The automotive press agrees that the crown jewel of the interior is the vivid 17-inch touch-screen display, which they say is highly-customizable and easy to use.

The 2013 Tesla Model S comes with a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control and a seven-speaker stereo with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and two USB ports. Optional features include a panoramic moonroof, an upgraded stereo and a tech package that includes a power liftgate, automatic keyless entry, navigation and a high-definition backup camera.

2013 Model S Price Increase
George Blankenship, Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Ownership Experience November 29, 2012


We originally unveiled the Model S in March 2009 with a base price of $57,400 ($49,900 after federal tax credits). Today, Model S is the most award-winning car of the year and the base price remains at $57,400, the same price set over three and a half years ago. During this same period of time most automotive companies have had at least three price increases and general inflation (CPI) has gone up 8.75 percent. A straight 8.75 percent CPI increase would now yield a base price for Model S of $62,400, an increase of $5,000. We are increasing prices only half that amount, giving Model S a new base price of $59,900 before federal tax credits.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Time for Some Violin and Piano Music-Sibelius Violin Concerto

The news of the passing of Macrine's first cousin ( Rene Elizalde Nieva) a couple of days ago caused a lot of turmoil in our household. For the last three days, Macrine kept on asking me when and what time is the wake. She wants to attend the funeral services. I told her its impossible since we are in the US and the service is in the Philippines. Today she finally calm down and realize our situation. With this in mind its about time to have some Piano and Violin Music! We dedicate this piece to Rene Elizalde Nieva! May you rest in Peace, Amen!

2015 Heifetz Institute Artist-In-Residence Ji-Won Song performs a stunning rendition of the Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 by Jean Sibelius, in a piano reduction featuring Heifetz faculty collaborative pianist Carlos Avila. Performed at a "Heifetz Sunday Matinee" concert at the 2015 Heifetz International Music Institute, located on the campus of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA.

More Details:

Two Comments of this Performance:

1.labémolmineur : I don't think the point was to laugh at the end of her introduction. She was being serious, and Sibelius's tragedy should not be laughable. What a moving performance, from both violinist and pianist. I love that Ji-Won Song is sensitive (and humble) enough to allow the pianist to be a whole orchestra and that this is played intact, no cuts- an intense, continuous story, delivered by two equal artists.

2. elgatosucio : I dare to say this young girl is one the great one of this opening century. Perfect technique and pure passion. She makes the violin talk, scream and cry. Just sparks coming out of that instrument. Congratulations on the pianist too. They are both incredible musicians.

Notes about Sibelius from Wikipedia: Jean Sibelius was born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius on December 8 1865 and died on September 20, 1957 in Finland. He was a composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

The core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies which, like his other major works, continue to be performed and recorded in his home country and internationally. His other best-known compositions are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse triste, the Violin Concerto, the choral symphony Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela (from the Lemminkäinen Suite).

Other works include pieces inspired by nature, Nordic mythology, and the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, over a hundred songs for voice and piano, incidental music for numerous plays, the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), chamber music, piano music, Masonic ritual music, and 21 publications of choral music

Personal Note: Carlos( pianist)is Macrine's nephew-only son of Charro Jambalos-Macrine's youngest sister.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Tribute to Rene Nieva-Macrine's First Cousin

Rene Nieva, Macrine's first cousin on her mother side of the Family (Nieva Clan of Marinduque) passed away yesterday after three weeks at the ICU in the Philippines. He was just like a younger brother to us. His life is filled with accomplishments as a writer, PR man, a loving husband, Father and Grand father. Attached are some of his personal and professional accomplishments and a couple of photographs of our family personal relationship with Rene and his family. We will missed you Rene, But I know You are in Peace Now! Macrine and I love you very much!!!
I can not stopped crying!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Surprise Visit from Dinah, Ian and Sara DiCampli

Today we have a surprise visit from my oldest daughter Dinah- a resident of Oregon ( Portland area). She and a friend from Walnut Creek ( Tom) along with Ian(-Dinah's only son) and his girlfriend Sara from Roseville spent 2 hours with us enjoying Chinese lunch- courtesy of Dinah.

Ian and Sara DiCampli

Both Macrine and I are ecstatic of their visit specially Macrine who is suffering from Cabin fever. We had not been to our neighborhood Casino for the last three weeks-because we are scared of the Flu epidemic in our neighborhood.

The last couple of days Macrine had been suffering mild confusion a side effect of one of her medications for her Parkinson. She wants me to drive her to our beach house in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque. Philippines.

However, after Dinah's visit Macrine's mood improved. She is now binging on the Sees Chocolate candies that Dinah gave her for her advance Valentine gift. Dinah and Ian: Thanks a million again for your visit, the Chinese lunch and the See's Candies.

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Latest Developments on the Treatment of Parkinson Disease

Dinah's Visit last Year- Macrine's enjoyed very much visit from relatives. A phone call from relatives and friends are most welcome!

In the next couple of weeks will be the 5th year after Macrine was officially diagnosed with Parkinson Disease. Today I believe she is on Stage 2, thus the medications, diet and exercise did retard the progression of her debilitating nervous system disorder. There are days when she feels she can do anything even cook or travel, but there are days when she is down and could barely walk. Most of the time she sleeps about 10 to 12 hours per day as side effect of her medication. Sometimes she is confused and thinks she is in the Philippines. She sometimes forget where she places things. You have to remind her of taking her medications etc...

I am lucky and grateful that our youngest son (David III) helps me taking care of His Mom on his day off from work. Otherwise my duty as the primary care taker would be unbearable. We are in the process of hiring part-time help ( not covered by my insurance) to help me with daily care and demands of Macrine, my spouse for over 60 years now. One of the positives, I learned for being a primary care giver was to be more patient and understanding.

Again, thank you David III for your help! Thanks to all relatives and friends who had visited Macrine both here in the US and in the Philippines. Special thanks to those relatives who call Macrine regularly just to say Hello. I would not mentioned names but you know you are and indeed we highly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. Keep the call coming, rain or sunshine!

The Nieva Brothers and their wives visit in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines 2016 ( From L to R: Yong, Rene, Genny, Wendy, Oski, Macrine and Me)

Below is the latest development on treatments of Parkinson Disease for your information. Read on..

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Did Your Parents Give You a Lucky Name?

Image from

My late Mother-in-law had given my wife a formula based on numbers for predicting whether a marriage, a birth of a child or any addition to your household will bring good or bad luck or even death to your family or household. My wife had followed this formula when we assigned names to our four children. I am not superstitious, but I follow it also, because I have witnessed several cases of relatives in the Philippines, that had suffered early death, divorce or sickness because the combination of the baptismal names of the couples falls into the category of CONDENADO ( meaning condemned or death). This an update.

There are five categories, BUENAS( good luck), DUDUSO ( doubtful), PELIGRO ( danger), MALAS( bad luck) and CONDENADO. I have the number values for the 26 alphabets and the numbers that are suppose to be lucky, doubtful, danger, bad luck or condemned. But my wife refused to give her permission that I divulge this in my blog. But here is the essence of this pseudo science of numerology.

The 26 alphabets are assigned numerical values from zero to 26. Some of the alphabets have the same values. Eight alphabets are valued 12, four alphabets are valued 9, three alphabets are valued 18, and the rest from of the alphabets are valued from zero to 26.

The letters in your Baptismal name is added. This sum tells the numerologist if your number is either of the above five categories. Then the baptismal name of your wife is also added. The sum of your name and your spouse is added. If it exceeds 30, you start counting to 1. If you have a baby, the baptismal name of the baby is added to both husband and wife's total. Any addition to the household, even household help must be considered especially if the maid, cook or gardener lives in your house.

So how will you know if the sum of all the names in your household will bring you good or bad luck?

There is a list of lucky numbers, unlucky numbers, doubtful numbers, danger numbers and condemned numbers. There are 7 lucky numbers among them are 7, 9 and 11. There are eight unlucky numbers among them are 4, 8, and 29. There are 20 doubtful numbers among them are 5, 6 and 27. There are 8 danger numbers among them 12, 15 and 23. There are 8 condemned numbers among them are 3, 13 and 30.

Let me cite a specific example. My name "David" has a numerical value of 30 or zero. From the chart of 5 categories it is a bad number. So my parents did not give me a lucky name. But if you combined it with my wife's name value 21 our total is 21. The number 21 is doubtful. When our oldest son was born we made it sure that the combination of our 3 names is among the lucky numbers of 1,3,7, 9, and 11.

This numerology system is similar but not identical to the Chinese numerology. For example number 4 is a pretty bad number in Cantonese, for it sounds death, but in this system 4 is a good number. Eight is a good number in Chinese, but a danger number in this system. Both 1 and 9 are good numbers in Chinese and in my mother-in-law numerology chart.

Curious? I am sorry I can not elaborate more on this. My wife says, it will be bad luck to give details of this Numerology Activity that my Mother-in-law had been practicing for years when she was still alive. Evidently, this has been passed from generation to generation and believe to have originated from Spain. Have you heard a similar activity in your local province in the Philippines, UK or in Spain?.

Read the following related article:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Binging on the Widely Acclaimed TV Series-Damages

Last week, I started watching an old TV series that I have heard but have never watched. The series is titled Damages which premiered in 2007. It has 5 seasons and I just finished Season 1 and 2. I enjoyed these two seasons very much so I did some web search on this series and here's a brief summary from Wikipedia.

Damages is an American legal thriller television series created by the writing and production trio Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler. It premiered on July 24, 2007, on FX, and aired for three seasons before moving to the DirecTV channel Audience Network in 2010, airing for two further seasons and concluding in 2012.

The plot revolves around the brilliant, ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) and her newest protégée, recent law school graduate Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). Each season features a major case that Hewes and her firm take on while also examining a chapter of the complex relationship between Ellen and Patty. The first two seasons center on the law firm Hewes & Associates (located in New York City). Later seasons center more on Patty and Ellen's relationship as Ellen attempts to distance herself from Hewes & Associates professionally and personally.

Known for its depiction of season-long cases from the point of view of both a law firm and an opponent, the series is also noted for the technical merit of its writing, including its effective use of plot twists and nonlinear narrative. The series has received critical acclaim and various award nominations, with Close and Željko Ivanek winning Primetime Emmy Awards for their performances.

Other established actors in the cast include Ted Danson, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Timothy Olyphant, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, John Goodman, Ryan Phillippe, Dylan Baker, Janet McTeer and John Hannah.

Season 1 focuses on a class action lawsuit against the fraudulent multi-billionaire CEO of a defunct company; the plot was inspired by various corporate scandals and characters involved in them, most notably the 2001 Enron scandal. Season 2 deals with the energy industry and related environmental issues; the story is influenced by recent and ongoing environmental cases in the United States in the mining industry and by the events of the 2001 California energy crisis. The writers were guided by environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who shared his experience in the field with various corporations and CEOs. Season 3 is largely based on the 2009 Bernie Madoff scandal. Season 4 describes events based on the Blackwater Security Consulting scandal. Season 5 storyline was inspired by the vicissitudes of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Looking forward to viewing Season 3,4 and 5 in the next three weeks. If you like legal drama, mystery and thrillers, this is a must viewed TV series.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Links of My Ancestral Roots and the Nieva Clan of Marinduque

Some of the David Balleza Katague and Macrine Nieva Jambalos Clan during our 60th Wedding Anniversary, May 8, 2017

Last week my daughter and grand daughter called me that they are discussing genealogy and asked me for the links of my ancestral roots as well as Macrine, my spouse of over 60 years. I have written several blogs and this subject since 2009, but in order to facilitate retrieval of these information, just in case my other grand children and other relatives will be interested in their ancestry in the future, I am listing the following links.

These will include my ancestry both on my father side of the Family- K(C)atague, and my mother side ( Balleza). The ancestry of the Macrine's mother side ( Nieva Clan of Marinduque) is also listed. I do not have any information on Macrine's Father side of her Family (Jambalos). The Jambalos clan is a big clan from Marinduque.





5. (Chapter 1 to 8)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Some of My Favorite Quotes on Solitude and Creativity

Several months ago, I received the following e-mail from Joel Cuello, current President of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering. His e-mail inspired me do some search on quotes from the famous (dead or alive) personalities on the subject/topic about Solitude and Creativity. I am listing 15 of my favorite quotes below.

Here's Joel e-mail:

"In the foregoing link and in reference to Abueva's career longevity, the sculptor was quoted as saying that "the artist must possess the inner drive, passion, and LONELINESS of a long distance runner to go very far.”

Personal Note: Napoleon Abueva is Philippine National Artist for Sculpture who was my contemporary at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in the mid 1950's. (

Quite notably, this sentiment was echoed just this past week by Cecile Licad, the world-renowned pianist, who was in the Philippines to perform Chopin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Personal Note: My wife (Macrine) knows very well Cecile's Aunt Gloria Licad Lanot in the mid 1950's. My wife at that time was employed by Mr. Serafin Lanot( deceased) in his(Printing Press). Gloria Licad Lanot was married to poet-essayist-journalist-astrologer, Serafin Lanot. He was a former director of the Bureau of Printing and head of Tamaraw Publishing House, Inc. I also have the honor meeting Mr. Lanot once in his office when I visited Macrine. For more details on Mr Lanot life and achievements read:

Gloria Licad was the sister of Dr. Jesus Licad, M.D( father of Cecile). Gloria(deceased) was also a pianist and a retired music teacher from the University of the Philippines College of Music. She finished Music, major in Piano at the St. Scholastica’s College, and was praised by her professors at Chicago Musical College, where she obtained her M.A. in Piano.

Cecile Licad was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying that, "I understand it that people are truly proud of you and want you around most of the time. But an artist needs to withdraw from that crowd, to be cloistered like a nun and to be able to reflect on her calling. It is not an easy profession. You have to live life, but you also make sure your art is enriched by it."

The need for such "alone time," of course, is familiar to most artists, scientists, scholars and writers. It is part of the calling.
I believe, however, that many of us can attest that such "alone time" is not a lonely time -- but indeed a time for searching, questing, discovery and, on occasions, enlightenment ". Best regards, Joel
The following are fifteen of my favorite quotes on Solitude( Being Alone) and Creativity

1. “Talent is nurtured in solitude … A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Göethe

2. “Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” ~ Franz Kafka

3. “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.” ~ Nikola Tesla

4. “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” ~ Pablo Picasso

5. “Every kind of creative work demands solitude, and being alone, constructively alone, is a prerequisite for every phase of the creative process.” ~ Barbara Powell

6. “A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”  ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

7. “The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” ~ Aldous Huxley

8. “The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”  ~ Albert Einstein

9. “History shows that the majority of people that have done anything great have passed their youth in seclusion.”  ~ Thomas Carlyle

10. “To be creative you must create a space for yourself where you can be undisturbed… separate from everyday concerns.”   ~ John Cleese

11. “And here in my isolation I can grow stronger. Poetry seems to come of itself, without effort, and I need only let myself dream a little while painting to suggest it.” ~ Paul Gauguin

12. “Artists with serious aspirations need to be left alone to follow the course of their own imagination.” ~ Robert Genn

13. “Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone.” ~ Vincent van Gogh

14. “My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions.” ~ Claude Monet

15. “Because I cannot work except in solitude, it is necessary that I live my work and that is impossible except in solitude.”  ~ Pablo Picasso

Personal Note: To me, Being Alone and Loneliness are not the same. I could be alone for hours writing and never feel lonely.
Do you have a favorite quote?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Improve Your Parenting Skills as a New Year Resolution

The 4 D's from Left to Right: Dinah, David III, Me, Macrine, Dodie and Ditas, 2016

Today is Day One of the Year of our Lord, 2018. To most of us we believe in a resolution to improve our lives. So, If you are a parent, I suggest you improve your parenting skills.

The other day while talking about my children careers, my Italian-American neighbor asked me if Macrine and I had good parenting skills. Without hesitation I said yes, because all my four children are successful in their chosen careers. (

I know we were not perfect parents, But we did try to be good parents. Are you a good Mother or Father? Read on...

There are six qualities to possess to be good parents: Patience, a good Listener, very Understanding, Consistent, show empathy, and excellent ability to express love. If you possess 4 to 6 of these qualities, I believe you have good parenting skills. For details and specifics on these qualities read:


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