Dearest loved ones,
If you’re reading this, it means you’ve solved the not-so-tricky riddle of the QR code. Well done! And now, as your pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow, here’s the 2022 version of the Hall winterletter in all its online glory!
2022 started off in a rather pedestrian way, fresh off the engagement of our son Daniel (who had just turned 30) to Kayla – more on that developing romance later! – as the daily routines of shoveling snow, walking dogs, working on work stuff, and vacuuming dog hair slowly morphed into a beautiful spring up here in the Idaho panhandle. Beneath the snow we found grass to mow and weeds to whack; alas, the dog stuff and work stuff remained unchanged.
Our youngest, Peja (who turned 20 in June), handles the bulk of the dog responsibilities, and for good reason. She has the bulk of the dogs! This fall she picked up a brand-new German Shepherd named Beretta from a trainer/breeder in South Carolina. On her own, she flew to SC and spent two weeks there, chose the pick of the litter, and gained quite a few training skills to boot. Now Beretta is learning to excel in PSA (the competition that rewards canine obedience and controlled protection – i.e. dogs detecting and chomping on bad guys in padded suits and responding to their owners’ commands), and she’s proving to be quite intelligent and keyed into her mama’s orders. Meanwhile, the resident prince, Ollie (another German Shepherd), loves to park himself on a living room chair and watch The Mandalorian when he’s not working on training himself.
When not consumed with doggie duties, Peja puts in 25+ hours a week at Mountain Paw Pet Supply, an upscale healthy pet food shop, from which she often brings home such delicacies as pig snouts, duck heads, bully sticks, and raw, bloody stuff we don’t ask about. The dogs eat most of them. Peja also is working in a marketing program online through Maryville University, and she’s officially halfway through her junior year! The future is bright for this one, as she’ll be able to go anywhere (or nowhere, if she chooses to work virtually) whenever she’s ready. If she chooses the latter, that’s okay, too, because this year we converted the single-stall horse barn into living quarters for young Peja. Yup, she’s got 284 square feet of space, including a lofted bedroom, all to herself – a full 100 feet away from the house. Mindy and I weren’t ready to be empty-nesters just yet, so this was a nice segue toward that end.
The middle child, Indy Anna (who recently turned 24), is also in school – hers being in-person in Denver. She’s wrapping up her second and final year as a grad student at the University of Denver, where she’ll earn an MSW in June. With a big heart and tons and tons of patience, she’s eager to embark upon a career providing therapy to youngsters, in particular those who have experienced trauma and/or significantly difficult circumstances. Unfortunately for society and fortunately for her, such clients seem to present themselves in abundance these days, which all but guarantees her future of a caseload full of lucky kids who get to benefit from Indy’s shine and influence, not to mention her incredible sense of fashion.
Will she stay in Denver? Will she return to Seattle? Will she choose a move to a mysterious third market? Tune into “ESPN-P,” the Psychology Sports Channel, for her decision, expected 1Q 2023. We’re secretly hoping she comes a little farther west, as we enjoy our Indy time and that means more snuggles with her Aussie Doodle, Finley, too. Evidently “dog stuff” extends beyond the boundaries of our little property up here, and that’s just fine with us! We’re thrilled for Indy’s future, too – she’ll be making a difference and offering support to kids who desperately need it, wherever she goes.
Both girls were home for The Event in early December. Remember that business about Daniel and Kayla getting engaged? Well, it worked out exactly as we all hoped! Yes, indeed, as you can see from the photos, it was a gorgeous affair on a snowy evening in Idaho, and the theme that emerged: each of them is happier than ever before, and together they form one unbreakable maelstrom of happiness that exudes joy everywhere they go! Seriously, it warms our hearts as parents to see the tenderness, happiness, and awesomeness these two share with each other. They went on the first of their two honeymoons right after the ceremony, a weeklong expedition to Mexico that included quite a bit of fine dining on sushi, beach time, and exploring.
Back in the real world, they both work as chefs (he a sous and she a pastry) at Gozzer Ranch here in Coeur d’Alene, which involves a thoroughly hectic and demanding pace for about 8 months and a short respite between “seasons.” They’ve developed incredible culinary skills, and we all benefit from them occasionally, with scrumptious desserts Kayla prepares – and Daniel even got Pete to enjoy salmon a couple times! In fact, they catered their own wedding reception, and the taco bar and dessert medley were gigantic hits. We’re thrilled for them both, and we cannot wait to see what their bright future together holds.
After all that exciting stuff with the kids, who’s got time to read about the elder Halls, Mindy and Pete? If you do brave it, here we go, starting with Mindy: It’s none of your business how old she is, just know she’ll be celebrating her 50th birthday in April with Pete in Panama. Was that cryptic enough? And besides running our house and operating two businesses, she carves out time to serve as a CASA volunteer, advocating for children in precarious settings (foster care, legal battles, and other rather messy situations) and doing a bang-up job of it. Again, we have our fair share (and then some) of kids and families in rough spots, and thank goodness we’ve got folks like Mindy whose hearts are generous enough to share skills, advice, resources, and the occasional tub of toys with them!
Pete, meanwhile, is often traveling hither and yon, working with education systems and businesses to grow leaders and develop organizational strength. He finished up his 12th book this year, the one he calls his “legacy project,” and the one Mindy calls “the project that just keeps going and going and going.” Well, it all began in 2017, so that makes sense – and the final product is called Always Strive to Be a Better You: How ordinary people can live extraordinary lives, and he’s terribly proud of it, maybe even moreso than all the previous 11 combined. Or maybe he just thinks that in his heavily-medicated haze, because he blew out his knee twice this year and had hernia surgery – one more knee surgery on tap for 2023! Yay!
When the two of us aren’t running our little businesses, we like to travel to various warm spots (a necessity for anyone living in Idaho, if you ask us) and just plain celebrate life every day, in as many ways as possible, with as many of our friends and loved ones as we can. In that vein, are y’all interested in a little getaway to the Idaho panhandle? Hit us up – let’s have a little fire pit, Mindy will pour the wine and Pete’ll make Old Fashioneds, and we can all pick up after the dogs together!
Here’s to a wonderful 2023, no matter where you are, what you’re doing, or with whom you’re doing it. We love you and wish you two things: love and happiness.
Pete, Mindy, Daniel, Kayla, Indy, and Peja