Stephen
Washburn

9/11 Memorial

Engine 154

Its hard to believe its been 15 years. In 2012 I was fortunate enough to be able to take a vacation to NYC. Amongst the fun things about that trip were getting to watch UK win the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship from the official UK Alum bar, hanging out with my younger brothers Matthew and Daniel (Matthew lived there while attending college at the time), but definitely one of the most special and important parts of the trip was getting to visit the 9/11 Memorial.

These are a few of the photos from that experience. It was beautiful, touching, and difficult at the same time. There are more photos, some even including me and Lindsey, but I can’t share any of them because I look like I’m about to throw up. Because I was.

Earlier that day we had taken a ferry to Ellis Island, and on the ferry I ate a hot dog. That would be the last thing I could keep down for the entire day. Rather than doing any additional exploring we just hung out in Matthew’s dorm room and I was miserable. But that evening, when it came time to catch the subway and go to the memorial - our tickets were reservations for a specific time, I’m not sure if thats still how its done or not - there was no way I was going to miss out on the opportunity.

We walked to the subway station, and I managed to hold it together - barely - until our train arrived. However, as passengers streamed off the train, and I moved towards it to board… I have a vivid memory of a number of different shoes as I lost the Sprite and crackers, which was all I’d been brave enough to eat, all over those shoes. It was bad enough that a nurse getting off the train came over to check on me and suggested I go to the hospital (I’m pretty sure she thought I was drunk and had alcohol poisoning), but nothing was going to stop me from visiting the memorial.

Even with all the construction going on around the memorial, including the museum which wouldn’t be open for another two years, it was a beautiful place of remembrance. I’m glad that as sick as I was, I had the opportunity to visit, honor, and remember the sacrifices made and the innocent lost.

The Next Chapter

Friday August 5th, 2016 marked the end of a chapter in my life. A chapter that had lasted over 10 years, roughly one third of my life, and one that I frankly didn’t expect to come to an end any time soon. To say that I’m excited for the next chapter would be… disingenous at best. Confused, frustrated, terrified, and uncertain would all be more accurate.

The truth is I have no idea what’s next, but I do know that God has a plan for me. When I need to be reminded (which seems to happen all too often lately) all I have to do is look over my shoulder at the path I’ve taken to even get where I am now:

From Stockton, CA -> Alexandria, VA -> Louisville, KY -> Georgetown, IN -> Elk Grove, CA -> Capital Christian HS -> FBC Elk Grove -> Hume Lake -> Laguna Creek HS -> Franklin Public Library -> Sac State -> Best Buy -> Apple

All of those steps across the country and back again, some that I had a direct say in, some that I didn’t, and all of those changes to and from different schools and jobs, led and contributed to me being where and who I am today. And where I am today is good:

  • I have a beautiful, confident, strong wife
  • I have two beautiful daughters
  • I have a home where my family can feel safe and secure
  • I have a mom and dad who love me, support me, and who are a regular part of my daughters’ lives
  • I have an extra, BONUS mom and dad who ALSO love me, support me, and who are a regular part of my daughters’ lives
  • I have friends, family, and a church that love me and have been there for me and my family in some of the toughest, darkest times we’ve faced

Clearly God’s plan so far has been a good one, one meant to protect me and give me more than I could ever deserve of the things that truly matter. So even though I have no idea what the next chapter of that plan looks like, I know that it will ultimately be a good one.

Cool

The big 3-0

Today I turned 30. In the last 10 years I have:

  • started my career at Apple
  • turned 21
  • got married
  • bought a house
  • became a dad

I have friends who have been there to share in the triumphant times, as well as to provide support in the terrifying times.

I have siblings, by birth and by law, who are willing to go through life laughing with me.

I have parents, by birth and by law, who love me and (seem) to enjoy spending time with me.

I don’t know exactly what the next 10 years will hold, but I know that I’m blessed to spend them with an amazing wife I don’t deserve and a beautiful daughter who is more cute, precious, precocious, and intelligent than I could ever have imagined.

I also did one more thing before I turned thirty:

Far Away on iTunes

iTunes Artist Page

Its just my voice and acoustic guitar, its not the final version of the song as I envision it; I’m working on putting together the other pieces of a band as I FAR prefer playing with others to playing by myself. Its a matter of the energy - when I’m playing with other people their creativity inspires and drives me.

But it IS published in iTunes, and while it may not be the best sound quality, or best playing, or chord progression, or lyrics, I’m proud of it and the fact that it shows a commitment to actually MAKING music, not just playing it in my bedroom by myself. Its also about a very tough time after Kaitlyn was born/Lindsey almost died, where I realized I was much angrier in general than I had ever been and it wasn’t healthy. Writing these words helped me work through some of that anger.

So my plan is for the next 10 years to DEFINITELY include some additional songs.

As a side note, its available now in iTunes and should be rolling out to all the major music stores and streaming services over the next few days/week, and its also available on my bandcamp page:

http://stephenwashburn.bandcamp.com/

I hope you like it.

King George, the Third

King George the Third

It’s been rumored for about a week, and as an avid Sacramento Kings fan I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Come this Friday, when the Kings take the court to start the second half of their season, they will do so with George Karl as their third coach this year. Karl replaces interim head coach Tyrone Corbin, who replaced Michael Malone - the returning coach from last season. Personally I felt like it was a mistake to fire Michael Malone in the first place - until DeMarcus Cousins missed 10 games with viral meningitis the team was 9-6, certainly not a record that inspires confidence, but they WERE above .500 and having watched all those games I can attest to the fact that they were close in several of the losses, and most importantly were improving. Predictably the team did terrible without DeMarcus (2-8) and after 9 games, BEFORE DeMarcus even came back, Malone was fired. The terrible play that took place while Cousins was sick only got worse, and that led to where we are now.

For me, considering my relative youth, the memory I have of George Karl is as the coach of the Denver Nuggets, whose teams could score lots of points, also gave UP lots of points, and never get over the hump in the playoffs. According to nba.com George Karl is:

  • 7th all time in Regular Season wins (986)
  • 8th all time in Regular Season games coached (1,657)
  • 10th all time in Regular Season winning percentage (.595)
  • 0th in championships1

So it turns out the limited impression I had of Coach Karl was relatively accurate: he’s won a LOT of games but unfortunately hasn’t won any championships despite making the playoffs an impressive amount of the time.

So what does it mean? Well, as a Kings fan I’m hoping that at the very least it means stability at the coaching position. I’ve read multiple articles which indicate Malone and GM Pete D’Alessandro weren’t on the same page2. Additionally when Malone was fired, I read that part of the goal of management was for the Kings to become a much more fast paced offense. Malone was a defensive oriented coach, and Karl seems by all accounts to be the very epitome of a fast tempo coach (see as evidence those Denver Nuggets teams he coached). So this new stability (and this coach in particular) should hopefully translate into regular season wins, but after that…

While I think there are valid concerns as to whether Karl can deliver a championship, considering the Kings record is currently 18-34… they have a long way to go before championships are the issue.

  1. Obviously I made this measurement up, but its true, he hasn’t won any championships…

  2. Since Malone was hired by the new Kings ownership BEFORE D’Alessandro was, thats not necessarily surprising.

8 Years

Time is a strange thing1.

Eight years ago I successfully completed phase one of the biggest con I’ll likely ever attempt. Somehow I was able to convince a woman who I definitely didn’t (and don’t) deserve to say “I Do”.

Thinking back over that time while it feels like only yesterday, its amazing how much has been packed into the time. We’ve had more adventures than I probably have a right to in a lifetime: we explored Ireland, we rode trains aross Europe, we wandered the streets of Pompeii, we stood on the balcony of the Eiffel tower, we explored frozen creeks in Yosemite National Park, we’ve also bought a house, got a cat, a dog, and now had our first child. As I recall these amazing experiences I can’t imagine them with anyone else by my side.

Those of you who know us both, know that I am most definitely luckier to have her.

I’m hoping I can keep the con going for many more years, so please don’t let her know that I don’t deserve someone as amazing as her.

Wedding Day

  1. I know thats not a particularly original concept, but I’m struck by how much of a truism it is.