We love getting the annual newsletters updating us on the lives of so many friends. This year I thought I’d take a crack at it myself, especially since this newsletter format makes it so easy. Here’s the 2021 Steve Larsen Holiday Newsletter:
I know you need to start by talking about kids. So, our two girls (Christie and Ginger) are doing fabulously and have been generous with their visits to Phoenix. Maggie convinced me to transform my office back into a guest room with her suggestions growing less and less subtle in the past few years. Well, it’s finally done and now we have rooms for both girls, spouse, partner, and grandkids at the same time in the same house with everyone having enough room. I have to admit, Maggie was right. But then, when hasn’t that been true?
Speaking of Maggie, she continues with her painting, which is not only filling our walls but is getting some critical recognition. She’s created a website to show it off, and you can see some of her pieces there.
The Arizona Commerce Authority helps me scratch my business itch and I play a couple of roles. The first is as a judge in their annual innovation challenge where I help determine the winners and where the money should go. Secondly, as an entrepreneur-in-residence, I periodically mentor companies, seeking ways to help accelerate their growth.
We’ve had some deaths on my mother’s side of the family (Herem) in 2021. These were relatives in the Midwest, ones we’ve not seen for a while and they succumbed to a combination of COVID, age, and general health deterioration. Apparently, our bodies are not designed to last forever. That said, the health issues sidelining me in 2016–18 are gone. I’m stronger and in better shape, than I’ve been in years, perhaps partly due to quitting alcohol in 2016 and going mostly vegan in 2018. My sticking to plant-based foods isn’t absolute as I hate being the picky food snob I always hated. Maggie makes sticking to plant-based food easy as her extraordinary cooking skills seem to extend to non-meat dishes. I spent a couple of weeks at a fasting retreat in Santa Rosa in August, mostly to learn long water-only fasts are no longer advisable given one of my medications. From a health perspective, Maggie is in the same boat, taking up Pilates about five years ago, becoming nearly religious in her 3-time-a-week workouts. She’s probably close to being in the best shape she’s ever been in.
COVID’s put a dent in our travel, especially international. Our 2020 motorcycle trip to Spain was canceled, rescheduled for 2021, and then was postponed again. Desperate, in April we escaped to Costa Rica for a week and met up with old friend Rob Kost and his friend, Lori. I managed to squeeze in trips to Dubai and Mexico in September and October through force of will and a perhaps too optimistic appraisal of the health hurdles to be faced. It’s worth clicking on either of the two links below to learn about my visit to the World’s Fair in Dubai and then a motorcycle trip in November, immersing myself in Mexico’s Day of the Dead events. The links go into far more details and also have some cool pictures.
Instead of travel, we’ve loved having family and friends visit. Christen Phaneuf spent a few weeks here early in the year, Christie and the girls visited in March and again for ten days in July – exhibiting the definition of “true love” – traveling to Phoenix in the summertime. Ginger flew over from SF to make it a complete family affair.
Alex Moore, one of our motorcycle friends, and his family stayed for a few days in February and we loved his kids. This ended in a big dinner that saw two motorcycle legends, Arizona’s Frank Del Monte and the globetrotting Skip Mascorro of MotoDiscovery meet face-to-face for the first time. Judi Clark and her friend Marta left the kitties in California and spent a few terrific days with us in early May. No sooner had they left when we left for the 25th Anniversary AFMC ride in south Utah, a trip postponed from May of 2020 and reuniting a group that has been riding together for many years. We stayed at The Lodge at Red River in Teasdale, UT, one of the most wonderful and iconic spots in that state. In October Sarah Gravley and her partner, Kendra spent a week with us, and Sarah’s dad, my cousin John Gravley, joined them. It was a great visit.
We’ve been making efforts at downsizing. Most significant is getting on the waiting list at a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) here in Arizona. We thought the move might occur as early as Q1 or Q2 of 2022, but upon reflection, we’ve decided to delay for another year or two.
2021 marked my Lotus Elan’s departure. This car, which I bought in Rochester, MN in 1971 and owned for nearly 50 years, was sold and now resides with a car collector in the UK, its original home. It seems fitting. Those who know me will recall I’m an absolute pushover for fast cars and couldn’t resist ordering (once again) a car billed (apparently truthfully) as “THE FASTEST PRODUCTION CAR IN THE WORLD.” A new Tesla Plaid now sits in the garage, eating up 48 amps at 220V every few days, then hitting the streets to eviscerate every other car on the road, no matter if they’re Corvettes, Ferraris, McLarens, Lamborghinis, etc. However, unlike my McLaren which can do the same, it now happens in total silence. It’s freaky. The link above is to Doug DeMuro’s review of essentially my exact car, even the color, interior and wheels are the same.
In December of this year (2021) Maggie and I look back with affection and wonder at 40 years of married life. Three children, 2 grandkids, 8 cats, 1 dog, 11 houses, 5 supercars, 2 open heart surgeries, an irreconcilable count of motorcycles, 9 start-up companies and 1 exceptional coffee machine. We’re still together and wish you – our dear family and friends – a peaceful end to 2021 and a wonderful 2022.