Saturday, March 26, 2022

Alex Continues To Be A Hero In My Eyes

The latest from Zhitomir:  


Dear friends,

Big picture first.

The Belarus ambassador to Ukraine with family and other officials left Ukraine.

Russian marines from Vladivostok arrived in Belarus.

The Belarus military has concentrated assault groups in Brest, Kobrin and Pinsk, which is basically the Northern border of Ukraine.  Northern parts of Zhitomir oblast are still under missile, mainly villages near Ovrutch, Narodychi and Malin.

We will see what it is all about in a couple days.

I see more life in Zhitomir than last week. The street vendors, mainly from nearby villages, offered everything, chickens, veggies, eggs, seeds and others.


The guys in the rehab center in Vigoda purchased three small piglets. This is a good addition to cows, goats and chickens. More to come, if God’s will!

I have received several requests from self-defense units for shortwave radios, power banks and first aid kits. We will search for them in Poland or Europe and ship them to Zhitomir.

Thank you all for taking part in all possible ways to help us in Ukraine! Much appreciated!


P.S. A little humor. I got a call from the insurance company to remind me that my car insurance expires in 5 days.  I wonder if this insurance covers missile attack or tank encounters.



Dear friends,

Nothing has really changed since the last time. The best to describe this situation is uncertain.  The threat of the Belarus military joining the war is still high.

Zhitomir military oblast administration has announced new limitations for the civilians:

    1.  No videos of photos in the city and outside of the city

    2.  Taboo on visiting forests.

When I was out in the city today I was stopped twice by police and self-defense units for passport controls.

The gray zone near Zhitomir or zone of active land battles has expanded. The only safe way to get to Kyiv is to take a de tour.

I have received a letter from the mayor of Zhitomir with the list of necessities: My Polish family has been working on trying to find in Poland and Germany the items from this list (I attached this list FYI). Some of the military equipment from this list is just hard to find. The stores are just simply running out of them.  I was specifically asked by a commander of the platoon from Zhitomir for 3 of the Motorola radio systems (Motorola MotoTRBO DP2400) But no luck! 

So far we have ordered: long –term storage food, thermal blankets, thermal underwear and men’s underwear. We hope to get these items by Monday next week in Lodz and then we will ship them to Zhitomir Ukraine.

Thank you all !



Dear friends,

In 1991 I made my first pilgrimage from Warsaw to Czestochowa. I was a part of young people from my parish. We walked for almost 2 weeks. The destination was the famous Sanctuary of Madonna of Czestochowa. This icon of Madonna has a great significance for Polish people during the time of Swedish invasion.

Couple days ago I saw a new icon in one of my Jesuit's friend FB page. They called it the Madonna of Kyiv.

But this icon has a real name. Her name is Olga. During the shelling of Kyiv she covered her newborn baby to save her from shatters.

I believe in divine interventions. Like in 1655 Swedish army lost a battle at Czestochowa. The Russian army will lose a battle for Kyiv and the whole Ukraine.

On the other note. I was visiting two villages yesterday.

First I visited Stanislava. She is 76 and lives alone. Sasha is the mother of Sasha the shoemaker and he asked me to bring her medicine she needed. She gave me a bag of potatoes and lots of canning.

She went to her cellar to give me homemade pickles.


She also keeps goats for milk.


Second visit was to Ozerianka village. My father in law is a beekeeper and asked me to look after his bees. He has several beehives in the village South from Zhitomir. I met one of his beekeeper’s friends. I asked him if one can train bees and to be used  as weapons. One beehive can accommodate up to 100 thousand bees. Anatoly, that is the name of this gentleman, told me that Ukrainian kozaks were shooting with clay pots filled with bees into Mongolian cavalry.

Can you imagine bees getting inside of them into Russian tanks! Maybe this is the biological weapon which Putin is afraid of the most.

Anatatoliy shayari about bees used as weapon:


Peaceful life in the farm:


--- the end of Alex's report. Zenon’s comments below.


First, we managed to find the Motorola System in Australia. Our friends in Australia organized the purchase and shipment of 3 sets to Poland. Thank you Kristin!

When the radio systems are in Poland we will transfer them somehow to Ukraine, Zhitomir.


Do you remember Zhana from one of the previous reports from Alex (video: )? Zhana is a leader of a Zhitomir NGO “Zhytomyr Community Foundation”: . 

Together with Zhana and Alex we are trying now to find a way for people and organizations from the world who would like to support the Zhitomir community to ship the goods to Zhitomir. As Alex wrote, they have a specific list of items most needed: .

From Zhana’s experience, the international shipping services to Ukraine are not reliable now. But if they are delivered from Poland by trusted persons directly to Zhitomir, or even internally in Ukraine by the post office, there is a good chance that they will reach their destination. 

 Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Just A Shout Out For A YouTube Channel

Came across this YouTube channel and as Yogi Berra said, "It’s like déjà vu all over again."

Marc snorkels and videos in and around the beaches at Deerfield Beach, Florida. 

What blows me away is these places are the exact places I snorkeled between the ages of 9 and 16.  

At 16 my parents moved me to the Los Angeles area of California. We arrived on July 3, 1963 at what I considered the "armpit of the earth". If you look at the live cam of the beach next to the fishing pier in Deerfield, you can see the greatest place in the world for a young boy to grow up. 

That said, I've only been back once in 1999. I stood out on that same fishing pier and when talking to the gentleman next to me said, "35 years ago, I was that young man" fishing on a warm Saturday morning. 

So stop by Marc's channel and give him a shout. 

It's like having a salt water aquarium on your computer. 

Stay Tuned.  

Saturday, March 19, 2022

A Note Included From Polish Origins & More From Alex

I know a lot of you stop by and read my posts (137 already today & 154 yesterday). Five people asked me to continue the emails from Alex and I will continue to do so. I think it's important for everyone to know what the Russian military is doing in Ukraine. One can not agree with bombing apartment houses, schools, and hospitals. My cousin Dan in Wisconsin has also been in touch with Alex so now it gets even more personal. 

So here is the latest from Alex and a quick note from Polish Origins:

Dear All,

There are more than 2 mln people from Ukraine in Poland now, mostly children and women. New laws have been quickly introduced and more detailed regulations are still being adapted in Poland for Ukrainian citizens. Now, they can legally stay in Poland for at least 18 months, they can get their PESEL (personal identity numbers) which will help to use most public services (like healthcare). 

Hundreds of organizations and millions of individuals are actively helping refugees, also by inviting them to their houses for them to have a place to stay and live. As I recently read, from a psychological point of view, it is a much more valuable way for people to deal with trauma situations if they can function in everyday family life than if they were accommodated in refugee camps.

Next week besides Alex’s reports we will share with you a personal account of a teenager who managed to flee Kharkiv with his friend and their adult custodian. 

Now, read and see how is life in Zhitomir:



"Dear friends,

It looks like that the main goal for Putin is Kyiv, Kharkiv and some Southern cities in Ukraine.

Yesterday and today Kyiv was shelled and mainly it was in a residential area.

My friend was trying to evacuate a family from Makariv, which is the district center between Zhitomir and Kyiv. At the checkpoint in Stavysche he was strongly discouraged to go to Makariv. Ukrainians soldiers simply said that Makariv is a gray zone, where neither Russians or Ukrainians control. There is no definite front line. The Russians changed their tactics and worked in smaller groups spreaded in the forests rather than moving on the highway's in long convoys. 

Yarik, that is the name of my friend, shared that it was nothing like on TV to see war chaos in his own eyes. "I never knew who was shooting Russians or Ukrainians. But I was scared to death." Shared Yarik with me. The main highway is strewn with civil cars, burned and with bullet holes.

When last time in the food stores it became obvious that instead of 4 of chicken meat, only one producer from Western parts of the city still delivers product to supermarkets.

It is obvious the supply chain is broken. The logistics are broken. Of course the most important thing is to survive in this war, but you can’t survive without food and other basic products.

I visited Vigoda, a small village 20 km West from Zhitomir. I have been involved in the life of the rehab center for the ex-addicts since 2003 and helped them to become sustainable. The guys in this rehab center keep a small farming operation for their needs. Misha, the director of the center, told me that it is hard to buy grain crops to plant for their cows and goats. They found only one entrepreneur from Therniachov, who still has some corn and wheat.


Based on the progress of the Russian army in the South, many farmers would not be able to plant this spring. 

We never know when this war will be over, how Ukraine will look like after this war, but for sure the basic needs in food would be urgent.


P.S.  I received this map from a gentleman from Germany in January, almost a month before the Russian invasion .  He was a member of OSCE (Organization of Security in Europe) to monitor the last elections in Ukraine. I was his driver and interpreter. The map shows new borders, marked with Z-line. This is just an opinion from a German analyst. But..."


"Dear friends,

I turned 45 yesterday. This was the first time in 24 years that I celebrated it without my wife.  

In comparison with people from Mariupol or Kharkov, I’m doing great! Everything is relative. People in Lviv are sure that they are doing better than we in Zhitomir.

My friends came for a short visit yesterday. The curfew starts at 8pm and lasts till 7 am.

I put old military maps of Zhitomir oblast and Kyiv oblast on my wall. We marked all the places where the land battles went.

Sasha the builder shows Sasha the bookkeeper the places where he worked in the outskirts of Kyiv

Ukrainian authorities have called for ready reservists. This is the second line of reserve. FYI we have four lines. I and most of my friends are in the last line.

Every big city in Ukraine turns into well protected castles, there is little chance for Russian troops to win the land battles. That is why they choose to bomb the cities from the air.

Nothing can stop life. I mentioned before that I saw more people this week than last week.

A good sign was to see kids playing in the neighborhood playground.

I needed to exchange money today. Exchange points are still closed. Bank exchange rate is not the best. But the black market people are at work. I personally like to see their skills of counting money. Quick and no mistakes.

I choose life. Life is good!




"Dear friends,

Couple years ago I made friends with a bunch of kids who lived in the dormitory opposite the new SMU office in Zhitomir. The kids were climbing the fences of SMU property to help themselves with apples.  We made a deal with them. They come through the gates, help me clean around and I will let them play in the lawn and take as many apples as they want. 

On Fridays I would make them hotdogs and I love to listen to their stories. I liked them a lot. They were mainly from poor families and they didn’t have smartphones. They spent a lot of time playing with each other outside in the fresh air. I had a similar childhood.

Today I met Serega and Misha. They told me that the other kids I know left for Poland.  I invited them for a tea and sandwich.

Misha is 12 and he is an only child. His father got a stroke and his mom works at the drugstore. They stayed in Ukraine to take care of Misha's father.

Sergey is 10 and he has a sister Zlata. They stayed because the mother refused to leave her husband alone in Ukraine.

I asked them a question. Who will win this war and why.




Tuesday, March 15, 2022

All Is Quiet In Zhitomir

If you want me to continue to post emails from Alex, give me a 'yes" in the comment sections. About 100 people per day are stopping by, but only 1 or 2 are leaving a comment. 

If your answer is 'no", I'll continue to forward them to my son and my cousin in Wisconsin and post about other stuff. 

I appreciate your answers. 

A couple more emails from Alex who seems to be doing OK. 


"Dear friends,

It was a good morning! No missile attacks and bombing from the air. Nice and quiet.

The mayor of the city reported two news stories this morning. First is real good news. Elon Musk donated Starlink satellite devices and they arrived in Zhitomir too. Of course it’s mainly for the military, but it is the right  time. There is a fear that Russians might attack our internet towers. Second news is that Zhitomir Water Supply Company asked residents of the city to have water in store for 5-7 days. According to the mayor the city water supply lines could be next targets.

The city water was of bad quality before war and I preferred spring water. There are four springs with real good quality water in the village of Levkiv, 20 km East from Zhitomir.

We could not get to our regular springs; we were turned down by the local defense units. So we had to go to an old spring. It took us 5 hours to have 140 liters.


In the afternoon I checked how the people from the black market are doing. The official bank rate right now is 29,9 UAH for 1 USD, but in the black market I was offered 33 UAH for 1 USD. My friend from the black market told me that this is just the beginning of the big inflation in Ukraine.

I was always surprised that my dad, Franz, was buying vodka and was hiding all around his apartments. When he passed away, my brother took almost 60 bottles of Vodka of different kind. Franz was telling me that Vodka is the most liquid currency.

Now, when Vodka and any alcohol is prohibited, I start to understand the meaning of this currency. I’m sure with a bottle of Vodka you can do more than with money. Just think what has more meaning for a Russian/or Ukrainian soldier in the checkpoint after 12 hours in the open air, a gift of 100 USD or a bottle of Vodka.




"Dear friends,

It is another good day. Nice and quiet.

All the barbershops are closed. So if you do not have contacts you will turn into hippie real quick. 

I called my friend Tolik, who is a professional barber. He has not been working since the beginning of the war and mainly stayed home. 

I asked him if I could get him smth from the Metro. He told me that he is well prepared in terms of food and he was lucky to get some fresh chicken.

I did  not expect that it was super fresh chicken:


It was great to see him. He refused to take money, but gladly accepted apples from my garden. I think we are ready to come back to barter operations in Ukraine.




"Dear friends,

 All is good in Zhitomir. I think I saw more people this Sunday than one week ago.

I was at two church services and was surprised to see life there! Last Sunday most of Ukrainians were busy with evacuation, but it looks like some are coming back.

There is a passage in the Old Testament in Exodus 17. There was a big fight of Israelites against Amalekites. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

I think that people who stay in Ukrainian cities hold the hands of our army. Our presence is very important and encouraging for each other. We can win only when we are united!

This is video from Church of Crist meeting

This is video of Church Word of Love


Stay tuned.

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Continuing Yard Redo

Haven't heard anything from Ukraine in a couple days. I do hope Alex is OK. 

In the mean time, the yard redo is still in progress (although slowly). I've laid the left side of the walkway edging (black line) and purchased the pavers to put in. Just in case you've forgot, we're going to remove the grass and replace it with bark nuggets. But still need a walkway to the back yard.   

Those little square blocks (48 of them) are 15"x15" and weight about 100 pounds apiece. OK, maybe 30/35 pounds apiece. Feel like 100 pounds especially toward the last 10 or so. 

But before that can go forward, we need to "top off" the garden plots in the back yard with that wonderful garden soil preferred by the pot growers in our area. After all, Spring is coming on the 20th and its almost time for garden planting. You'll note the triangle box in the back of the picture. New this year specifically for Lemon Cucumbers if we can find them. We had one plant last year and it produced more cucumbers than we could eat. Also, last year we had them in a circular fencing and it was very hard to a: find them and b: pick them. So, as you can see I put a flat screen against the fence and it's done in such a way that it moves backward and forward to make picking easy. Later on I'll do a post on what we decide to put in the rest of the plots. 

Back to the yard. Once we get the soil in the garden starting Friday, the pavers will go in. Back on January 30th, I posted the cost of replacing the yard with a sod cutter. Scratch that. Now we're going to solarize it. Wet it down, cover it with clear plastic, wait 6 to 7weeks, and voila! dead grass, dead seeds, dead everything. Scrape off the dead grass and cover with landscape fabric and bark nuggets. Simple. Quit laughing, I know you are.   

Hopefully the rest of the lawn will look something like this.

OK, that's the update for today. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Bombing of Zhitomir

 It continues. 


"Dear friends,

Real quick.

Zhitomir oil and gas storage was blown yesterday night. Big fire started yesterday at 9 pm and was still going on until 2 pm the next day.

I wanted to buy food for pets. I went to Metro, which used to have a big section for pet food. It was gone!


Then I dropped in at the big distribution center for the city defense needs. This center is located at the sports school, not far from my home. I wanted to check what the current needs are.

I met an old friend of mine. She is a leader of the nonprofit from Zhitomir. She decided to stay in Zhitomir. She uses her connections to coordinate donations and distributions for the needs of the army and civilians of Zhitomir. Her name is Zhana, rather symbolic like Jeanne d'Arc

I asked her to share how she sees the urgent needs


Thank you all for your support and prayers.

Alex " 



"Dear friends,

Yesterday a dormitory in the South West side of Zhitomir was bombed.

It’s close to the recreational area and the river Tetyriv, where I like kayaking. Eugene Temiriajev lives only 100 meters from the destroyed dormitory. He is a retired military colonel. I got to know him in 2002, when he was one the editors of the book Rehabilitated by History. The book was devoted to record each victim of Stalin's repressions from Zhitomir oblast. Some SGGEE members know him well, especially Donald Miller. 

He spent all night in the cellar of his house with his daughter and granddaughter. No heating and electricity all night.

I wanted to come closer to document the destruction but I was not allowed by the militaries to do it. But it's interesting that in 1935 my grandfather Carol Brzezicki was building it.


Then I went to check on the house where I was born and lived for 22 years. My neighbor Valia (I call her tiotja Valia) showed me their bomb shelter.


I’m fine at the moment.




 "Dear friends,

It was hot yesterday in Zhitomir. Air attack on private houses in Zhytomyr at night was filmed by a guy who lives in Zarichny, a village just outside Zhitomir.


Later the mayor of Zhitomir announced that one private house was destroyed, one damaged and the building of the Zhitomir heating company was damaged. I’m afraid some people had a cold night.

I know this location well. This is the South exit from Zhitomir towards Berdychyv, right close to the main bridge.

I talked to a lady whose house was damaged. She was in shock. She told me that her family was sitting at the table eating dinner. She, her husband and her son were sitting at the table when all of a sudden the noise of the airplane interrupted their dinner and then in a minute a loud explosion and the part of the ceiling fell down on her son. He is alive and at the hospital. Nothing critical.

But, the house next to her was completely destroyed, 100% destroyed. The owner of the house is alive. She was just sitting in her chair. This is a true miracle! I believe in divine intervention. Angels are fighting for Ukraine! WE NEED ANGELES AIR DEFENSE TO CLOSE OUR SKY! This could be more effective than NATO.


I was so moved by what happened, I reached out to my pocket, gave her what I had, and received a warm hug and a generous kiss on a cheek . I feel so sorry for these poor people.