The view from here

My bed buddy Fat Kitty

Reentry into the real world after our epic trip to Maui has been rough. I’m going on my second week with a virus that is at the the fun cough-til-you-puke stage and I’ve only been getting a few hours of sleep at night if I’m lucky. Saturday night I was such a basket case over my lack of sleep I drove myself over to a new ER clinic that opened near our house to get anything I could to help me stop coughing so I could sleep.

What they prescribed didn’t work.

So I went two more sleepless nights and finally called my doctor’s office Exempla Family Practice Specialists yesterday and left a message with the nurse to call me with another prescription. I didn’t hear back, didn’t hear back. I finally followed up later in the day and that nurse was unavailable again. By now, I was ticked. What kind of doctor’s office doesn’t call back? I left a not-so-kind message and voila, an hour later she returned my call and said she couldn’t prescribe anything new without seeing me (and she couldn’t have told me that earlier?) And, of course, it was too late in the day to set an appointment so I’d have to go another sleepless night.

Suffice it to say, I am switching doctor’s offices after my appointment today. This is only the tip of the iceberg of the unresponsive and apathetic staff I’ve had to deal with there. I put a call out to my Facebook friends for local doctor recommendations and I was, quite frankly, appalled at some of the experiences others have had in dealing with inadequate care. I’ve resolved to accept nothing less than excellence when it comes to my family’s health and it’s sad that so many practitioners are forcing us to settle.

What I’m going through is minor in the long run but I have a potentially serious follow-up health appointment on Friday that has been weighing heavily on my mind. Jamie has been having a bad rheumatism attack and my mom is back in the hospital, which is another story entirely.

Can you tell I’m stressed?

I’m way behind on catching up. I was sitting here beating myself up that I can’t focus to get any work done and that little voice inside my head whispered, “Be kind to yourself. You have a lot going on. Get better, focus on what is important.”

After a week of health crisis, it’s a sobering reminder of what really matters.

A sucky (yet good) early birthday present from the dentist

My teeth are a disaster. This, from the girl who didn’t have any cavities all growing up and who brushes and flosses daily. I started having problems on my mission in Switzerland but my downhill spiral began after my pukey pregnancies. A couple of years after Bode was born, I spent thousands of dollars fixing up my mouth–root canals, crowns, you name it.

I haven’t been back since. This is in part because 1) I hate the dentist 2) We’re self-employed and it’s generally cheaper to pay out of pocket than the ridiculous dental insurance premiums and 3) I haven’t wanted to spend any more money on my mouth, especially since we finally paid off our garganuan medical bills.

The kids and I went for a check-up last summer and they had a perfect bill of health. Me, on the other hand? Over $3,000 in work. And so I did what any rational, cheap, dentist-hating person would do: I didn’t go back.

However, the right side of my mouth constantly aches, particularly after I eat sweets like gummy bears. And because no person should have to live a life without gummy bears I went back for Phase 1 of my treatment plan on Monday.

Note: dentists and Mondays go together like fish and water.

One of my pet peeves of dentists is they carry on a conversation as if you can somehow answer back. Mine particularly liked pointing out all my mouth’s shortcomings, observing, “We’ll have to have a conversation later about all this decay and why it’s happening when you’re so young.”  Sure, Dude. Can’t wait for that one.

He didn’t keep me in suspense for long. After fitting me for a crown (nope, not the royal kind), he asked me my age. “I’m 41,” I replied.

“Really? I thought you were 10 years younger!” and he didn’t pursue the “you’re too young to have rotting teeth lecture.”

My takeaway was two-fold. 1) He thought I was in my early-30s (hurray!) and 2) apparently my level of decay is perfectly acceptable for an over-the-hill 40-year-old.

Either way, I’ll take it.


CHILL: New Year, Same Old New Me

When we rang in 2013 a year ago, I had a sense of foreboding that it would not be among my best. And it wasn’t. But there were personal victories as I learned to harness some of my lifelong weaknesses, making it one of my favorite years despite the lack of externally awesome summits.

I was at boot camp the other day and my instructor Robyn casually struck up a conversation about her “spirit animal.” I blew if off as some pagan metaphysical mumbo jumbo  but what she said next resounded with me. Her sensei asked her what her word was to define herself. She thought of all the things she is but her spiritual leader led her to the one word she was not and what she desperately needed to learn to be or do. Her word was REST.

The mere thought made her uncomfortable and that was the entire point. She already knew who she was but she needed to become so much more and that was how she could do it.

Robyn and I are a lot alike. I love this quote on Pinterest:

I thought of all the things I am. Happy. Ambitious. Adventurous. Fun-loving. Fierce.

Robyn continued, “It’s tough to come up with your own word so ask the person closest to you what your word should be.”

What would Jamie say? Immediately CHILL popped into my head. He is constantly streaming a barrage of “you need to chill out” and he’s right. Last year was such a powerful year because I really acknowledged some of the things I am not and slowly, deliberately started to make some necessary changes. Learning to chill is not something that comes easily to me. I lack patience, want responses now and am unsatisfied with procrastination and mediocrity.

Professionally, I’m at a crossroads. I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities while working from home and feel strongly I need to keep doing that while my kids are young. But some doors have been closed, I’ve shut a few of my own and I’m straining for a glimpse out of an open window. Should I continue on the same path or take another one entirely? Keep building or start over?

I don’t have the answers and the only impression I’ve received is “wait, it will come.”  So, that’s what I’ll do in 2014. Be hopeful. Be adventurous. Be happy. And learn to CHILL OUT.

Last year, I started on my path of healthier living–mentally, spiritually and physically. I’m learning it’s OK to take baths, curl up with a book and just do nothing sometimes. I’m learning to say “no,” to always put my family first and to be present by stepping away from my computer and turning off my phone. I am aspiring not to be overscheduled because an open, uncluttered and free mind allows for peace and revelation to flow. I am disheartened by so much around me, am often overwhelmed with fighting what feels like losing moral battles but I have resolved to be a force for good. I am practicing being kind instead of right. I am embracing fear for the professor that it is.

I am learning to let fear be my my cue. Any time I feel even a whisper of fear, I try recognize it as a teacher that shows up to instruct me in the areas where I am ready to grow the most.  Fear is energy that, when I allow it, can be harnessed and used to create powerful momentum to thrust my life forward into positive change (think of first learning to ride a bike!). So with my heart palpitating, my palms sweating and my eyes smiling, I welcome this new year.-Mindy Gledhill

Bottom line, I will chill as I learn not to focus on what I want to do but rather, focus on who I want to be.

And the rest will come.

Reflections from Job’s Wife After the Crash

“It so rarely rains in Colorado. Why can’t we just have normal rainstorms instead of these crazy hail storms?”

Jamie and I were watching the news last week and I commented upon the flood of hail that swept through the Denver metro area.

When it rains, it pours and we’ve had a deluge lately. On Friday morning, we awoke to a police officer’s card in our door informing us Jamie’s car had been involved in a hit and run. Despite neighbor’s attempts to pound on our door to wake us up at 11 p.m., we slept through the crash and aftermath thanks to our noise-blocking attic fan.

We’re waiting to hear back if it’s totaled. The perpetrator pummeled into the back of it, pushing it several feet, and eventually slammed Jamie’s car into a now-defunct street sign. Glass and metal littered the street and the noise of the crash caused several neighbors to race outside to see what happened. A lady walking her dog wrote down what she believed to be the license plate number and our neighbor across the street likely caught it all on their security camera.

Luckily the next morning, the guilty party’s brother and then dad stopped by to exchange insurance information. The 17-year-old doesn’t remember what happened and spent the night in the hospital after slamming his head through the windshield, biting his tongue in half and suffering a concussion.

We were one month from paying off Jamie’s car with plans to upgrade my 10-year-old vehicle next summer. That won’t be happening anytime soon and now we’re a one-car family as we battle it out with both insurance companies (an interim rental car doesn’t look likely).

But this was only the tip of the iceberg after a trying few weeks. Our extended family has been dealing with some major health crises and heartbreaks. Jamie losing his pumpkin this week was a bummer but, in the big picture, not a huge deal. But then he went to the doctor on Thursday for yet another health situation and they scheduled him for surgery in two weeks. It could be only minor but, depending upon what they find, it could be major.

I’ve started calling him Job from the Bible and so what does that make me? Job’s wife. To humor myself, I opened up the Old Testament to see just what it had to say about the woman. I mean, it’s written from a man’s perspective…that all these horrid trials and heartbreaks happened only to him.

But she’s seen her life collapse, too. She’s lost 10 children and seen the family fortune disappear and she stood by him through it all but when he contracts a rather nasty disease and halitosis to boot, “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9).

“But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).

I think Job is a rock star. Not because he called her a foolish woman (because sometimes we are!) but because he’d figured out that if we believe that God is smart enough to know when we need a blessing, then we must believe that he is smart enough to know when we need a trial. And that the people who grow most bitter are the ones who ask why does God permit us to suffer when they should be answering how should I respond?

Jamie is a lot like Job. He pretty much lives in chronic pain and has been through more at his age than most but his response has been to remain faithful, wise, loving, unwavering and accepting without complaint.

My friend Lisa posted a powerful video that really hit home for me this week. I think a lot of us mistakenly don’t reach out for answers until something really devastating happens. Some find them but too many don’t. From the video Mountains to Climb:

“If the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble.” -President Henry B. Eyring

I can’t say it will get better because it doesn’t always. But with faith, there is always  hope in something bigger.

Be Brave

I first saw Sara Bareilles’ video Brave over a month ago and started doing the big, ugly cry because I loved the message so, so much.  I see my kiddos being brave every day–from Hadley going to a week-long camp to Bode flying to Utah last week. Childhood is about exploration, self-discovery and pushing limits. But then something happens in adulthood: routines and complacency.

I was talking to a friend last week and she joked her life is boring…just how she likes it.  And she does. I’d personally want to whither and die if my life was boring but she’d have an ulcer if she walked a day in my shoes; what works for her definitely would not be for me. But bravery is something we all could need a lot more of, whether they’re big or little things. I can think of a dozen things I’d love to try but haven’t.

This song and video inspired me to be and try more. Do yourself a favor and watch it.

Click the link here if you can’t watch it.

And then pick just one thing you’ve going to BE BRAVE about today.

Copper Mountain: Mother-daughter bonding at its best

Mom: “Can you please unpack your lunchbox?”

Daughter: “Why should I do it? You’re the one who packed my lunch for me.”

Mom: “I did it to be nice. It’s your responsibility to make it and then unload it.”

Daughter: “Well, if you made it, you should be the one to clean it.”

Thus is a sampling of a conversation I had with H a few days before our trip to Copper Mountain. Mother-daughter relationships are complicated during the best of times but we’ve entered a new phase: The pre-teen years.

But parents everywhere, have faith because I have found a cure for tween moodiness: Take your child on a ski getaway with just the two of you and you’ll swear they’re a different person by the end. One you really, really like.

The scheduling was perfect. The Sunday evening before President’s Day, we drove to Copper Mountain in a separate car than my husband and son. We skied together as a family on Monday and early Tuesday morning, the boys left for work and school. My daughter did not have school until Thursday so we would spend Tuesday and Wednesday (my birthday) together in the mountains.

Here’s the catch: I got really sick. But even that couldn’t hold me back from the healing balm of a ski vacation with my firstborn. So behold: Your guide to having the ultimate getaway with your son or daughter.

1)      Leisurely wake up in your condo. While you’re fighting off your flu (or just need extra time), lounge by the fireplace, build a fort and eat breakfast in it.

2)      Ski together that morning. With over 150 trails across 2,465 acres, we fell in love with Copper Mountain’s varied terrain. My daughter enjoyed the runs off Timberline Express, a veritable intermediate-level Mecca.

3)      Go shopping that afternoon. Center, East and West Villages offer all kinds of restaurants, shopping and activities. Buy yourselves hats from Kelly’s Closet to commemorate the occasion and justify the expense as an early birthday present. Attempt to buy mini doughnuts from Sugar Lips Mini Donuts but upon realizing they’re closed, succor your sweet tooth with cake pops at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Tip: S’more kits are available for $5.95 per kit and firepits around Copper Mountain are plentiful.

4)      Rent skates for $10 from McCoy’s Mountain Market and skate to your heart’s content on West Lake in the heart of the Village at Copper (open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.) Point out the hockey-playing Canadian dude making slapshots in the net and give your little half-breed (half-American/Canadian) something to shoot for. Literally.

5)      Get a rush on the Alpine Rush Zip Line. For just $10, this zip line soars across West Lake daily from 1-5 p.m. Despite being petrified the day before, my daughter begged to do it again twice. Go to the middle of West Lake as she flies overhead, take a picture and entitle your shot, Conquering Fear. Tear up a little that your girl is growing up.

6)      Race over to nearby Pizza Carlo for Kids in the Kitchen. Served every Monday-Thursday at 4 p.m., your kid will go crazy over this interactive dining experience as they make their own chef hat, don an apron (that they get to keep), get a tour of the kitchen, learn how to toss a large 18” Kids Chef’s Pizza and prepare it with all their favorite fixins. Devour that, along with garlic cheese bread, family-style salad and soda. When you think you can’t eat another bite, bring on the dessert pizza where your child will go crazy decorating it with cookies, M&Ms, sprinkles, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Roll out of there, raving that you won’t eat ever again. Until your birthday breakfast the next morning at Belgian Bean Waffles & Coffee.7)      Go back to your condo and hit the hot tubs. Soak your weary bones as you download your favorite moments of the day while watching the steam rise in the frosty air and marveling at those crazy grooming machines prepping Copper Mountain for the next day.

8)      Bedtime. Relish as your daughter raves about how she’ll never forget your amazing mother-daughter day. Next time, vow to hit the Tubing Hill in East Village and the 9,000-square foot Woodward at Copper, a year-round snowboard, ski, digital media and skate program that features indoor artificial snow jumps, large foam pits, fly-bed Supertramps, terrain parks, a Superpipe and go-pro rentals.

Because the sometimes-moody tween/teen years last a long time. And I’m convinced mother-daughter trips are the best cure.

Thanks to Copper Mountain for hosting!


I have not been home in March since my final year of high school. With Mom’s deteriorating health, I knew I didn’t want to wait until our summertime visit to Calgary. Though she isn’t in the same critical condition that has landed her in the hospital most of the last two months (she had her eighth ER visit while I was here), her pain is unrelenting.

I caught a hint of the frustrations of socialized medicine (REALLY? The MS Clinic can’t see her until May?! We can’t find any meds that even touch the pain?!) and am so grateful for what champions my dad and brother’s family are for helping her. It’s a heartbreaking situation that is only going to get worse.

There were however, some silver linings, like being entertained for hours by her colorful childhood stories, which I typed up for her personal history. And being well enough to get her hair done by my niece Ashton.And the food. She has lost 30 pounds since December so I was on a mission to fatten her up and spent a lot of time in the kitchen making apple pies, apple crisp, macaroons, roast, Pao de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) and so much more.

I’m not sure if she gained a pound but Dad and I are now in a food coma.

But he and I stayed active with our favorite wintertime activities: cross-country skiing and skating. On my first day in Calgary, he showed up in his skiing garb.

“Are we going skiing?” I excitedly asked.
“Not exactly. Your skis got burned up in the garage fire.”

Balloon…deflated. I later took his cross-country gear out on the golf course and it’s a good thing we weren’t able to go together because I was dragging. Though the snow conditions were perfect, it was my first exercise since getting sick and all I had eaten that day was rice pudding and jelly bellies.I told you I ate (too) well on this trip.

Another case in point: My sister-in-law Jane’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G fondue, tempura and raclette cheese smorgasbord. We also skated at my favorite place on earth: 52-acre Lake Bonavista. It has been several years since I’ve been able to go because, despite the fact we’ve been home for Christmases, the lake hasn’t been frozen. The last time I went, Dad and I figured we’d initiate Jamie in The Canadian Way with an authentic skating experience.

But here’s the problem with Lake Bonavista: It’s private and you need to live in the community to use it. Fortunately, Dad found a way around it when, at a church activity eons ago, some friends from our ward told him he could cut through the yard of their lakefront house to go skating whenever he wanted.

Little did they know 25 years later, he’d still be doing it.

When we took Jamie, we snuck through the yard. Dad first, me next, Jamie last. Dad and I were almost down to the lake when someone came out of the house and accusingly shouted at Jamie,

“Just what do you think you’re doing?”
“I’m with the Borowskis,” he said, pointing to us.
“Who are the BOROWSKIS?” he retorted.

Turned out, Dad had accidentally cut through the neighbor’s property.

Fortunately, that was the only time he made that mistake and I have never had a better skating experience than I did lat week–the Zambonied trail cut around the perimeter of the lake was as smooth as glass and we floated on it for miles and miles. I thought my heart would burst from sheer joy.

Skating AND skiing on the lake.

Bonus: Dad and I whizzed past some hockey-playing 20-something whipper snappers.

At this point, we’ll take anything we can get.

Prayers for my Mom

I generally try to keep things light-hearted around here but we’ve been struggling with some serious issues the last couple of weeks. Namely: my mom’s health. MS is an unrelenting beast, a war my mom has waged for a few decades. The week before Christmas, she got an infection so severe she couldn’t keep anything down and was hospitalized. I almost changed our holiday plans and booked flights home but Dad assured me she was getting better.

She stabilized but then she got worse again. Now, she has been hospitalized for the third time in 10 days as they try to figure out if this is it or if this is the new normal.There are so many unanswered questions and I’m so grateful for my dad, family and doctors who are trying to help. It has been tough being so far away and I regret we didn’t go home for the holidays. Thanks to all those friends and family who’ve reached out to me these past weeks. She is beloved by many.

Last night as my own little family read Calvin and Hobbes (Jamie’s new nightly ritual), scriptures, prayed and wrestled, I snapped this shot, which perfectly captured the simple joys of being together.

Family is everything and right now, I’m praying for ours.




New Year’s Resolution Failure

2011 was a rough year medically for Jamie. If it wasn’t his heart problems, he had a constant barrage of rheumatism attacks, resulting in many sleepless and painful nights.

Between his unrelenting work schedule, bad health and The Great Pumpkin, I felt like a single mom for much of last year. Sunday (New Year’s Day), he went home from church early due to stomach pains. When the kids and I returned home and I saw him doubled over on the couch, I sympathetically proposed a solution.

“I’ll tell you what, Jamie. How about for 2012 you make the resolution to STOP BEING SICK?”

Pause…before I continued.

“Oh wait. It’s January 1 and you’ve already broken that resolution.”

Here’s for hoping (and praying) for a better year for him.

The broken boy’s family edict

For the first few days after Bode busted his wrist, he was pretty miserable. And who can blame him? He was in a lot of pain and sleep was minimal so he required a lot of extra TLC.

But then the kid started working it.

By nature, he’s very sweet and easy going but after a few days of getting doted on, we saw a new side to Bode.

Bode: “Hadley, get me some water.”
Hadley: “I don’t want to.”
Me: “Hadley, can you please get your brother some water?”
Hadley: “FINE.” (Empathy ain’t her thing but she reluctantly brings him water.)
Bode: “You did it wrong.”
Hadley: “EXCUSE ME?”
Bode: “You’re supposed to put the ice in first, then the water. Not the other way around.”

Hadley almost busted his other arm.

Bode’s little sabbatical has also confirmed what I’ve suspected: he can be lazy. If given the opportunity, he would sit around all day playing the Wii and watching TV. But because he has me as a mother, he’s constantly on the go.

But last week was the exception and I let him laze around as much as he wanted. Hadley got bored with the routine after a few hours (yep, she’s my kid). But 11 television shows later (Hadley counted), Bode was still going strong.

He also came to me with an announcement. “When we go upstairs I’m going to tell you the new rules.”

“What kind of rules?”

“For my arm.”

I grabbed a notebook after sensing his urgency. So here they are:

Bode’s Rules

1) I can’t run to keep up with you.
2) I can’t spent too much time watching TV or playing too much.
3) I can’t go fast on a bike. I have to go slow.
4) I can’t go too far in front of you on my bike.
5) I can’t cross my arms. (This was reemphasized when Jamie asked him to say family prayers that evening. He agreed but said NO ARM CROSSING.)
6) No fighting this week.
7) I can’t go in the shower. I can go in the bath but you have to put me in.

After listing off his regulations there was a long pause, after which I asked, “So what CAN you do, Bode?” Which prompted another list.

Things I Can Do

1) I can eat.
2) I can go down.
3) I can go up.
4) I can jump.
5) I can sit.
6) I can see.
7) I can walk.

“What about picking up your toys?” I asked. “Can you still do that?”

“Yes,” he said finally. “But only softly.”

It’s gonna be a long few weeks.