Through the Fog of Time

My childhood creek
Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015
As we age, humans tend to mellow out and nothing that had previously been that important matters anymore in the grand scheme of things. All struggles, frustrations, successes, victories, defeats, losses, and gains, dissipate in the fog of time. Regrets and memories of opportunities lost, of physical pain, of mental anguish and frustration diminish, replaced by arthritis, loneliness, and loss of loved ones. The struggle is still there for billions of others, very real and painful, but it seems almost irrelevant to us. Continue reading

United Nations Mandates “Sustainable Tourism”


Venice, Dodge’s Palace Photo: Ileana Johnson 2016
During my twenty-two visits to Venice, I saw and heard the frustration and disdain locals have for tourists. We were not just an imposition in their daily lives, crowding their beloved city, their favorite restaurants, water buses, museums, operas, blocking their narrow alleys, their canals, and often entrances to their apartments. We caused wakes with our huge cruise ships and further destruction to their already fragile buildings, infrastructure, and eco-system. Continue reading

Christmas, the Season of Faith, Family, and Charity

Christmas caroling in Romania, 1841 Photo: Wikipedia
Christmas was my Dad bringing home proudly a scraggly fir with sparse branches – fragrant with the smell of winter, tiny icicles hanging from the branches, miniature crystal daggers, melting on my mom’s well-scrubbed parquet floor. I never knew nor asked how he could afford it from his $70 a month salary that barely covered the communist subsidized rent, utilities, and food. No matter how bare the branches of my Christmas tree were, it was magical to me. Continue reading

What’s in Packaged Food?


Organic food Photo: Ileana Johnson 2015
Americans’ collective waist has been inching up every year and blood pressure increased thanks in part to our sedentary lifestyles and to the amount of sugar and salt in all food. For convenience and to save time, we often eat fast food and restaurant rich foods and walk much less than our slender European counterparts. Portion size is also much larger than we need. Continue reading

Twenty More Years of Socialism and No Good-Byes

Ploiesti water fountain I drank from as a child (taken in 2012)
When I left Romania after twenty years of frugal subsistence and tyranny under Ceausescu’s communist regime, I thought the nightmare was over, I was moving to America, the land of freedom and opportunity, and everything would be all right. All I had to do is study and educate myself as fast as I could. Continue reading

With Gratitude and Honor

Apuseni Mountains Photo: Wikipedia
Gratitude and honor are remarkable character traits that I’ve always searched for in my fellow humans. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I found them in a millennial! It was not a millennial born and raised in this country but in Romania, in the beautiful Apuseni Mountains of western Transylvania. Continue reading

The Right Man for Healing and a Rare Find

Hippocrates of the Hippocratic Oath
I was not sure my ENT specialist was a good fit for me even though I read the glowing praises framed on his office walls, praises coming from his patients, colleagues, and other doctors. The young man seemed to know what he was doing but his bedside manner was brief and rather cold. Continue reading

How Free Are You?

Woodcut: “The Ship of Fools”

What happens if you live off-grid?
If you live independent of utilities, water, and sewer, and provide your own energy through solar panels, have your own sewer system, and use rainwater, you may run into problems with your local government. Robin Speroni of Cape Coral, Florida, was sued by local officials that her off-grid home was illegal, citing the International Property Maintenance Code. She was found guilty of not being hooked to the water supply. Continue reading

Veterans Day 2017

(Written by FB friend, Joe Keller, and posted with his permission)

Even though I am a vet myself, I have always assumed the work of veterans was appreciated by all Americans who live under the flag and enjoy the freedoms the veterans put their lives on the line to protect. While it is nice to be recognized, being a vet is simply part of being an American who loves his country. Continue reading