The Russian #Ukraine #atozchallenge #fiction

“You must come with me now.” The large man said with a deep accent.

I saw my husband consider his options then he put his hands up with resignation.

“Wise choice for you.” He ushered us toward a dark street and a car that was waiting.

I was considering if this guy was mafia, military, … none was a good option.

When we got in the car, he got behind the wheel and locked the doors.

“We have someone who needs to see you…”

My husband remained quiet and I followed his lead and squeezed his hand.

I know we drove out of Odessa, but I couldn’t tell you which direction. Then the car stopped at an old barn.

“Get out quickly we do not know what eyes are in the sky.”

I looked up at the sky and wondered if this was the last sky I would see.

It was dark inside until a single candle was lit. A man motioned us closer.

“This is important, but we must hurry.”

I could not see the man’s face clearly as his hat was pulled down and his collar up high. He had military rank that we could tell.

“I will give you this information to pass on to whoever you know that is close to Zelensky. No one can know I was the one to give this for my family’s safety in Russia.”

The man went on to give my husband as much information about locations and equipment as one man could keep in his head.

“The only way to fight this war,” he said in a whisper, ” is in the shadows.”

He then blew out the candle and was gone.

My husband wanted to call Dmitre immediately, but he knew this conversation could be a trap to find Dmitre.

We were driven back to Odessa and dropped off in another part of town.

“Passage is that way.” He pointed the direction for us.

“Let’s get to the church,” my husband grabbed my hand and we moved quickly. “I wish I could talk to Vlad.”

The church was so busy that we didn’t have time to think for hours. One of Vlad’s men had dropped off our supplies earlier that day so my husband stocked shelves while I dressed wounds and gave babies formula.

“I have to get this information out.” My husband said the next morning.

“You could go into any of the shops across the street. Have Olga’s husband Artem be your lookout.” I looked toward the street.

“Dmitre was pleased.” My husband caught me by surprise. “This is not the first Russian officer who has given vital information.”

“I wonder why?”

“Dmitre said most of the military were lied to. They do not want to see people die.”

I gave my husband a large bowl of Borscht and wheat bread. “Now is the time to rest before tonight and more refugees.”


Thank you so much for visiting.

This on-going story was originally written in 2007 in Odessa, Ukraine. I’ve tweeked it to arrive in 2022 but the elements of a multiaccess portal and a war (the original story had multiple wars) are original. The Passage that is central to this story is a real hotel built in 1880s. She’s seen alot of history stomp through her doors and I could feel the past while I lived there. I hope you see the tenacity of the Ukrainian people through this attempt to honor their bravery. Though this is fiction, what you read is based on facts being relayed from Ukrainian friends.

A great month of blogging with the A to Z Challenge

Links to the story in Order:


The Basics

Clearly Crazy


E- Eavesdropping

F- Friends and Family

G- Grumbling Titka

Hiding in 1991

I – Intensity

J- My Journal

K- Keep Moving

L- Cold Air Lunch

M- Medical needs

N- What Next

O-Out of Sight

P- Portal

Q – Questions


Hiding in 1991 #ukraine #fiction

The door opened and warmth poured out. A tea service was waiting for our guests. Luda plopped herself down on one of the couches with an “ooff”

“See now sister isn’t this better than sitting downstairs?” Malika took her winter coat off before she sat down to tea and cakes.

The children sat on the floor with their tea and were quite happy to be in the warm room.

“There are some activities in the bedroom for you children. Puzzles, crayons and some crafts are in a big box.”

“Now we must have some serious conversation.” Valeria sat down as the children shut the door to the bedroom. “This is not a vacation stop. Many in Odessa are in harm’s way. You have been brought here for your son’s sake.”

My eyes looked intently on Valeria. Ah, I thought he was a target.

“You are staying in the The Passage Hotel. Many in this hotel are from a different time. We can only keep each of you safe if you have minimum contact with the outside world.”

“What does that mean?” Luda jumped in before Valeria could finish.

“You are safely sitting in the Passage Hotel of 1991. The Communist regime has fallen and we will rebuild now. Also, if you have questions please ask them quietly, the children are just in the next room and there are guests in the room next door.”

“We are in 1991?” Malika asked quietly.

I noticed Luda getting ready to make a tirade but her sister grasped both hands, looked her in the eye and said “Shhhh.”

“There are so many questions that can be asked.” I added.

“But let me answer simply. We are each here for a certain reason at a particular time. Our working together will make this time more bearable.” Valeria nodded to me.

“Does my son know?” Malika asked.

“Yes and No. He knows you are safe because there is someone watching you. He also knows… I have said enough…”My husband’s kind face and calm voice had the necessary effect.

“You are the welcome guests of the Passage hotel. You are welcome to come and go. You can even take the children out to the park during approved times. We do not want you talking to people unless we approve this. I’m sorry if this sounds strict but it is to keep people in 1991 from having suspicions. And for protection.”

“What protection?”

“We have people who are being protected from every dictator and war since 1898. If a guest seems “old fashioned” it’s because they are. Let us introduce you before you enter into the life of another person. There are several we would love for you to meet. These are people who will never be safe in their world so this is their permanent home. We do not want the children to know. It would be a big mistake So please act normally but quietly.” Valeria was beginning .to look tired.

“We will be your friends from 2022.” I said confidently. “We are able to communicate with Dmitre and can bring news of what is happening.”

“Your friends will live in 1991 and also in 2022. Please be considerate of them.” Valeria got up to leave. “There will be some food delivered soon for your dinner. Each day you will have one meal you can eat down in the café. But I need to remind you, please eat silently, do not complain and do not talk to others. Your server will be one of us. Not everyone in the Passage knows about who you are. You must never pay. Your 2022 money will be of no use but it would make you a target. We do have enemies in 1991.”

“I think it would be a good idea to put all of our 2022 money in an envelope.” My husband reached into his wallet. Both of the women opened their purses. They gave me their wallets. “We also need your technology. It must be sent into the 21st century. “

“But how will we…?”

“There are no mobiles in Ukraine in 1991.” Valeria said with frustration.

I took the cell phones and 2 tablets and put them in my oversize purse.

“What about the children?” I asked.

“I will get their things.” Malika knocked on the door.

“Babushka needs your phone and your tablet.” The children made faces. “This will help keep your mama and papa safe.” They quickly rose to their satchels. I also need any money your papa gave you.

“Babushka.” Sasha got a grumpy look. “He said we could spend it the way we wished,”

“We will save this money for an emergency children. If there is very little food, we will each of us need to help.”

“Oh alright.” Dema gave his Babushka his wallet as did Sasha.

Valeria gave me some 1991 money and Luda as well.

“You must be the most careful.” She looked at both of us. “It would be very easy to use the wrong money.”

“We will find a way to keep it separated.” I looked at the money that looked the same as the money in my wallet.

“Tonight, you will stay in the next room. Tomorrow you will return to 2022. Every other day you will stay here. Unless it becomes unsafe for your there.”

“Then what will…”

“We will decide at that time. Remember the technology stays in hiding. If anyone asks about this family, tell them they were visitors who have moved on.”

“What about their car?”

“You had better move it to another place in town. In front of another hotel.”

Welcome to Penned in Moon Dust. This year for the A to Z challenge I chose to dust off an archived story i wrote while I was in Odessa Ukraine (2007) I’m actually glad I rewrote it to the current times. it represents what families are enduring and I hope the tenor of the story is “heartfelt.”

I appreciate your time if you are an A to Z blogger. This is an ongoing story and it is pulling from some events that have played out in Ukraine around the Southern Region of the Country. Odessa is a large city in the So. West, Mariople has been a beseiged city from very early days – she is also in the south on the coast of the Azov sea.

Links to the story in order:


The Basics

Clearly Crazy


E- Eavesdropping

F- Friends and Family

G- Grumbling Titka

Please enjoy visiting A to Z bloggers in April

Friends and Family #Ukraine #atozchallenge #fiction

The next morning there was an envelope under our door.

“Eviction?” I mouthed

“Embassy,” He stated as he ripped open the envelope. ‘As a citizen of the …. You are being strongly urged us to leave Ukraine.’ It says: ‘If you choose to stay, your embassy cannot assure your safety Please be advised the last flight, leaves tomorrow at 10am.’


“Should we call someone?”

“We were told.” I mouthed to tell no one.

“Let’s call granny and tell her we have decided to stay.” My husband said in an intentionally loud voice.

Anything else we might need? I wrote on our notepad.

“Yes, courage.” He wanted to shout.

We called granny.

“Hi mom. Yes, we are doing great. We are staying to do more writing. Oh, it’s completely safe. When you talk to your grandchildren tell them we are staying in a nice old hotel. You are so right it’s the perfect place to inspire writing.”

The funny thing was I realized that we hadn’t done any writing since we had arrived.

“Yes, we will talk to you soon…”

‘That was a big fat lie. When was the last time you lied to your mom?’ he scribbled.

‘”In another century,” I replied.

‘We have no clothing for the children.’ I wrote on the pad. ‘Let’s go to that used clothing store and see if we can find a few things.’

As we walked out of the hotel, I noticed a man paying too much attention to us. I snuggled against my husband and whispered in his ear.

“We at least have a face.” My husband gestured toward the stores nonchalantly. “Walls have ears…”

We were able to find just what we needed for the children and a few things we hadn’t thought of. There had been an old kerosene lamp in a store window. Light would be important.

I also asked Marina our shop clerk friend if she had anything that no one would buy.

“That makes no sense.” She raised her hands.

“I want to buy something so the money will help you and your family.”

“Oh, now I understand. We were sent too many matching ugly t-shirts. Pay me whatever you wish.” She made a face as she held one up.

“Yes, they are a unusual.” The t-shirts were a waste but money would help Marina.


“Dmitre, how are?” My husband sounded concerned.

“We will be overtaken in a day no more than two. My friend we did not expect Mariople to be vulnerable but they have already sighted Russian ships. My mother must leave.”

“That is a wise decision. We are ready for them.”

“You are?” The strain in his voice lessened.


“Okay. They are packed and ready.”

“What about you?”

“We would never make Odessa. We will go west to friends. We will hope…”

“And pray” the two men said in unison.”

“They will be safe here, my friend.” My husband said with assurance.

“We will keep in touch for as long as we can. We told the women to pack warm layers of clothing and to leave all else.”

“We hope for their safe arrival.”

“Yes, let us hope for the safety of many. Please have them call when they arrive. My mobile is the only way to reach us.” I could see the moisture around my husband’s eyes.

“Thank you, my friend.” Dmitre ended the call.


Reader: have you ever purchased an item or items with no usefulness to help another person?

We recently purchased a hat from a man in Uganda. So many people had been out of work that we knew any amount of money helped put food on the table. The hat hangs on my bed post as a reminder.

Thank you for visiting Penned in Moondust aka Moondustwriter. if you are visiting from the A to Z challenge, thank you for your time. here is the story in order – it is a fictional story about what is going on in current time in Odessa, Ukraine. Believe it or not this was originally written in Odessa during my stay there in 2007.

Links to the beginning of the story:


The Basics

Clearly Crazy



Catch the great bloggers at the A to Z Challenge

Clearly Crazy #ukraine #fiction #atozchallenge

It was a quiet and cold drive back to Odessa and neither of us wanted to say what we were feeling.

“We would be smart to get some food for a reserve supply and candles.” My husband got very chatty as we got to the edge of Odessa.

“We have one blanket but I think several more would be a good idea if the power goes off.”

Neither of us said, “Let’s just go home.”

It’s as if something was holding us in Odessa even though the signs were clear that war was coming.

“I’d really like to find the blue room.” I told my husband.

“They said there is no such room.”

“There is and it is a good size if the children have to come stay. There are no windows.”

“Then we will ask again tomorrow.” My husband collapsed from our long drive.

Before I fell asleep, I thought I’d heard someone at our door. When I opened the door, there was no one there. I should have told my husband, but I didn’t want to sound like an alarmist. I had forgotten where we were…

The next day we bought what we knew we would need.

“Crackers, sardines… even though I can’t stand them.”

“Cheese, bread, water…” My husband added “and matches.”

Though we did not have a log fireplace, I trusted his judgement about the matches.

The next day we bought more cheese, deli sausage, bread, and fruit preserve.

“You know this is crazy, right?” He knew all my moods.

“It’s going to make a great story.” He chuckled.

“Yes, it will.” I bit the inside of my lip. “If we are alive.”

Thanks for stopping by Penned In Moondust by Moondustwriter for the A to Z Challenge. This (continuing) story was birthed at The Passage hotel in 2007 in Odessa Ukraine. I changed the time period to the present. I hope you feel the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people as this fiction unfolds.

Join the A to Zers in a month of blogging.

Please visit these great bloggers:

Rae Squiggles
Lene D. Kottal
Deniz Bevan
Pradeep Nair
Bernie Rose
Beth Lapin
Swati Gupta
Ravi SivaramHttp://

Authors #Ukraine #fiction #atozchallenge

I looked for the room I had stayed in years ago on the photo gallery of the oldest hotel in Odessa that was still standing.

“It hasn’t been destroyed yet,” I called out to my co-writer/ husband.

“What if we did a crazy thing and booked a room?” His eyes danced.

“Are you kidding?” I’m not sure if my face registered terror or interest probably a combination of both.

“You realize we are not reporters, right?”

“Yeah, I know but this is the story of a lifetime and what better way to test your theory.”

“We are writing about several old hotels that are less likely to be wiped off the map.”

I noticed he had already opened Travelocity. I wish I had never voiced my theory that there was a portal that may be located at a hotel in Ukraine. It was a romantic notion that people passed through a passageway at a hotel curiously named The Passage.

“We are Crazy!!!” I shouted.

“Come on get out your Ukrainian dictionary and some serviceable shoes and let’s go.” His finger was paused over the order button.

“I guess were going to a potential war zone.” I started writing down what I would need including a long list of medical supplies.

We told very few people about our plans. We told his brothers thinking they always had our backs. We told our sons because we thought …

“That’s a real dumb idea mom.” Our youngest contended. “Dad what are you thinking?

“There could be some serious stuff before too long.” Our oldest pounded his fist.

“Keep watch over things here. Call your grandmother every few weeks and your sisters. Everything will be fine…”


Odessa was cold in December so we took what we had in winter clothing.

“Your clothes are not warm enough for Dmitri’s.” My husband pointed to a winter coat in the window of a boutique beneath our hotel.

As I was stirring my tea, I let myself go for a moment of reflection. The Passage was unique and beautiful. Built in the 1890s, it had dozens of frieze type sculptures that had survived wars and uprisings. The name reflected an actual passage that was built into the structure. Lovely shops and cafes were on a cobbled passageway that had a peaked roof made of glass.

“I wonder who has looked over this balconies before us?”

“You know the Russians have turned off the heat before in Ukraine. I just don’t want you to freeze.” My husband pulled me off the balcony and out of my reverie.

“I really need some lined boots with a good sole.” I scrunched my forehead when I saw the price of the coat. “Okay, I’ll get the coat and those boots if they have my size.” Fortunately, they had boots in my size and the sales girl added a hat that would ward off serious cold.

“Gloves are also a necessary part of your wardrobe.” She waved a pair of fur lined gloves my direction. “They are soft and lovely.” I had wool gloves but realized she could use the commission.

“How are you preparing for the possibility???”

“My husband and I are sure that we are safe as we can be. What can an old city like Odessa offer to Russia?”

“I hope you are right. Please stay safe.” I said as she carefully wrapped my purchases in brown paper tied with twine.

“Brown paper burns well on a cold night.” She smiled.

Her comment caused me to buy a wool blanket as we walked back to our room.

Photo is entrance to the shops at the ground floor of the Passage Hotel Odessa Ukraine.

Thanks for stopping by Penned In Moondust by Moondustwriter for the A to Z Challenge. This (continuing) story was birthed at The Passage hotel in 2007 in Odessa Ukraine. I changed the time period to the present. I hope you feel the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people as this fiction unfolds.

Links in order:



The Basics

Clearly Crazy


E- Eavesdropping

F- Friends and Family

G- Grumbling Titka

Hiding in 1991

I – Intensity

J- My Journal

K- Keep Moving

L- Cold Air Lunch

M- Medical needs

N- What Next

O-Out of Sight


Q – Questions

R- The Russian

S- Shots and Sirens

T- Turned Back

U – Uri

X- Xanthic

Y- Yevhen

Z- Zelensky

Enjoy excellent writing and creativity for April with the A to Z Challenge

Also visit:

eXplanation #elderlyissues #atozchallenge

Woman with mustard pot

“Can you tell me?”

“What would you like to know?”

With Dementia we often will be asked the same questions every shift or 10 times every shift.

I find the more confused a client is the more they can loop around a similarity.

“When is my friend Felicia coming?”

“We called. She’s on her way?”

“You know I’d really appreciate if you would call Felicia to find out when she’s coming.”

“We just called her.”

“I would remember if we just called Felicia. Call her”

“Let’s wait a minute I think she’s on her way…”

For family members these loops can seem frustrating.

I try to redirect my client’s focus sometimes it works while other times it just makes a client more frustrated.

So for the explanations keep them simple. Sometimes those questions are asked as our family is trying to get a grip on the last edge of reality.


How do you deal with frustration during Co-Vid Days????

Image attribution: Pablo Picasso “The Woman with Mustard Pot” 1910

Searching #poetry #art #elderlyissues #atozchallenge



Boys Wading


so easy when we’re small

no words need be expressed

I’m wading in the mud

and now I am depressed

I lost my very thought

went through my fingertips

a momentary drop

there’s so much I have missed


Searching when we are young seems part of the mystery of learning.

The discovery is part of the looking.

As we age it seems we search more and the lengthy discovery crescendos in frustration

So how do we as caregivers dial frustration down?

Don’t find the word that was lost look for it with your family member.

If it’s an object secretly bring it closely to them so they can “find it”

“Oh there they are” reflects a lighter tone than “I have lost my mind with my glasses.”

My response: “I”m so glad you found them. It would have taken me the rest of the day.” I smile understanding the art of losing things.

This photo of this beautiful work by artist Winslow Homer reminds me why we do it. We do it together ….


Photo:  Winslow Homer “Boys Wading” 1873 Smithsonian

What do you do when you lose something???






Grief #atozchallenge #elderly #haiku #photography

spider lily

final song

head fell against the pillow

flowers wept


I don’t need to explain what grief is in a time when the flowers in so many gardens are weeping.

One of my patients, before she was put in isolation, told me that she thought about her husband every day.

“He was a good man. Always looking for ways to make me happy. It was unexpected- His heart just failed.”

I saw the tears in her eyes. They expressed gratitude as much as grief.


These times are hard. I wonder if my clients will survive this pandemic. When I said “goodbye” when the lock down started, I didn’t know what to expect. (I had to make a hard decision to call off until Covid is under control because I have a high-risk family member who I could not put at risk daily.)

The last quarantine I was part of I was locked in not out of the hospital.

I’m also missing Uganda very much. The weeping flower above is a spider lily from Uganda.

How about giraffes? They are so beautiful and graceful. The spots on that mama are one of a kind. I can watch these animals all day.

what’s your favorite animal to watch???

And thank you A to Z challenge for a day in the key of G

G also stands for grateful. Thank a healthcare worker. Here’ s blog of a pathologist doing his part for Co-Vid 

Fragile #Elderly #atozchallenge

 fragile skin

fall crackles beneath feet

blue eye question

 sky hidden behind clouds

arms reach for emptiness

wind blows yesterday

your toes wave at me

another good day


People may not know it but skin is a barrier to disease and in the elderly skin is a battle front.  Broken Skin breaks and tears like tissue paper. A little bump against a chair can cause a big bruise or even a tear which can then be a wound. When we are “young” and active a wound heals in days in the elderly that same wound can take weeks to months. The worst wound I saw when I was a wound care nurse was in a bed bound woman whose bed sore had become a tunnel. That tunnel was about 305 mm (approx 1 foot). Through daily care, hydration and diet we were shrinking that tunnel. Needless to say those wounds on your backside are painful.

One of my main goals (with the elderly) is always up and out of bed. If they are now bed bound they need to shift as often as possible. If they can do that themselves so much the better but everyone favors their left or right side so they need to shift. In the hospital we often have to position our patients that used to be every two hours.

If you have a family member who is now in bed, get that person moving. If they cannot use pillows to wedge them on one side then the other. Legs up (on a pillow) legs down. And please keep them clean. Uric acid in briefs and just from our skin breaks down skin.

Places where we become fragile are sacral area (its boney there) elbows, ankles.

If you read my post a few days ago I mentioned water. Water will actually help keep skin cells plumper. Elderly do  not drink alot of fluids because then they have to get up (and go).

I think my letter “W” will be for water. I have learned to have a great respect for that molecule.

My leaf photograph reminds me so much of the elderly clients I have had over the years. They are fragile but with a singular beauty.

Any good skin tips? Lotions or awesome soaps????

Hope you are enjoying the A to Z challenge and thanks for your visit.