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Starshine Roshell Posts

My Social Distancing Diary

Reporting from Weeks of Isolation with my Quaranteens

Day One

Inventoried all Lysol wipes on premises, trimmed nails short for maximum tidiness, and gathered as family to create daily germ-blasting household wipe-down regimen.

Gobbled up kale salad, popped an Airborne gummy, and added home workouts to my calendar four times/week. Health is a priority!

Pulled out old recipe books, dusted off a 1,000-piece puzzle, and upgraded video streaming services now that we finally have time to explore all those award-winning series.

Brought in logs for cozy fires, ordered cute desk lamp for work-at-home station, and dug out tub of pore-purifying facial mud mask from the bathroom cupboard. Bring on the staycation!

Surprises of Suffrage

Susan B. Anthony’s Santa Barbara Sojourn Was Just One Stop on Rough Road to Get the Vote

In the month leading up to this week’s election, I spent an unhealthy amount of time debating with girlfriends on Facebook about political candidates. Some of these women denounced attack ads, others bristled at the mess of campaign financing, and still others upbraided me for insisting that Bloomberg is just another tantrum-prone manbaby. Sometimes our arguments got heated — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is what we do — the informed, opinionated, engaged women of our town. Of our county and state. Of our nation. We think about issues and develop viewpoints around them: Race-based policing. Cannabis growth. The housing crisis. 

In all of our weighty pondering, though, there’s one important thing that we rarely think about: the onerous work it took to earn us the right to vote exactly 100 years ago. Putting our opinions into action by means of the ballot is a privilege we take for granted now. It’s so assumed, so obviously just, and so second nature that it’s almost offensive to have to be grateful for it, isn’t it? 

In the last two presidential elections, women have outvoted men by 10 million ballots. Yet this right was never given to us — not by anyone, not for a hot minute. It was fought for and hard won over 70 relentless years by courageous women and some principled men who flat-out refused to give up.

The Optimism of Anita Hill

Anita Hill | Credit: Courtesy UCSB Arts & Lectures

Talking Biden, Kavanaugh & willfull ignorance with #metoo’s OG hero

Before there was a Weinstein trial, before there was a Kavanaugh hearing, and before there were fed-up females shouting #MeToo in chilling harmony from rooftops ’round the nation, there was Anita Hill. Stoic, young, and starkly alone, she sat in an unforgettable teal dress before a pride of powerful white men and revealed the sordid details of her boss’s sexual harassment.

It was 1991, and her story might not have gotten any attention at all ​— ​except that this particular boss was about to succeed Thurgood Marshall on the United States Supreme Court.

Is Porn the New Sex Ed?

The Conversation You Need to Have With Your Kids. Now.

Arizona and Washington are debating this month whether to provide sex education in schools. Colorado’s deciding if parents can opt their kids out of the curriculum. And North Carolina parents are protesting their high schoolers’ sex ed, saying it “encourages promiscuity” and “destroys childhood innocence.”

What none of them seem to realize is this: Sex education is happening. It’s happening. The only question is whether you want it to be accurate, or you’re comfortable with your kids getting their titillating tutelage from Alexis Texas and Kendra Lust on

Period Parties

Parents painting town red for daughters’ first menstrual moment

Biologically speaking, it’s never good news to discover blood exiting one’s body — and few girls would argue that getting their first period was a serendipitous splash o’ sunshine. In fact, reactions tend to range from embarrassed to freaked out to horrified.

But some moms are attempting to give the un-fun female phenomenon, um, a rosy glow by throwing their daughters “period parties.” Chronicled everywhere from the Washington Post to Parents magazine recently, the celebrations include crimson-hued treats like red velvet cake and occasionally, according to the BBC, a pin-the-tampon-on-the-vagina game. Comedian Bert Kreischer insists that his daughter’s Los Angeles friends all named their menstrual cycles at period parties; his progeny named hers “Jason” since it arrived on Friday the 13th.

I asked my friends if they’d ever thrown or attended such a fête. You know, like a bat mitzvah or quinceañera … but bodily fluid specific.

‘Divorce Coach’ in Your Corner?

Pro Guides Aim to Pave Rough Road to Splitsville

If you’ve seen the new Golden Globe–nominated movie Marriage Story on Netflix, then you likely came away from it knowing three things for certain:

(1) The movie, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, should have been called Divorce Story. (2) Divorce can be brutal, even for couples who aim to do it amicably. (3) Lawyers make everything worse. 

Of course, the film offers just one perspective. Not all uncoupling couples will find their well-intentioned plans of a congenial split dragged down into the mud by ruthless attorneys happy to see them skewering one another’s characters in court.

But amid all the existential upheaval that comes from a marriage cracking apart, it does seem like handing over one’s precarious financial and emotional fates to a professional who benefits personally from litigation is an even worse idea than … well, than marrying that douche in the first place.

And that’s where the Divorce Coach comes in. The latest addition to the booming Coaching oeuvre, divorce coaches have sprung up to support individuals (not couples) who are running the long, painful, and often quite complicated marriage-dissolution gauntlet. They serve as sounding boards and strategizers to help overwhelmed clients navigate the process of divorce from deciding whether to even get one all the way through building a new post-divorce relationship with their exes.

Ford v Ferrari v Female

The Dude Porn of Gleaming Roadsters and White Men Behaving Badly

It’s the final lap of the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. The drizzling day has eked into night and back again as the remaining drivers — those who haven’t burst into flames or crumpled into smoldering metal knots — close in on the last of their 3,000+ miles of looping track. Behind the wheel of a Ford GT40, the apex of American automotive ingenuity up to that exact moment, our hero impels the machine past any reasonable expectations, her 7.0-liter V8 howling. But he’s bleary-eyed. The brakes are shot. And a cockamamie order from corporate has frayed his focus. As he guns the final straightaway, set to break his own speed record, only one thought roars through my head:

Ford v Ferrari is everything that’s wrong with men, packed into two very loud hours and 32 minutes.

No one asked my opinion of this movie. But since I was dragged to see it on a rare date night, and because (much to my husband’s relief) the Downton Abbey movie had already left theaters, I’m going to afflict you with my thoughts just the same.

Best Husband So Far, Hands Down

An Ode to Mr. Roshell on Our 25th Anniversary

Before you, I never paid much attention to a boy’s hands. They just weren’t on my radar the way those other, more typical physical fixations were.

And yet, I noticed your manos right away. Soft, smooth skin stretched taut over long, elegant fingers. Just like a magician’s hands: nimble, busy, mesmerizing.

An artist, musician, and tinkerer, your hooks always seemed to be reaching for something to create, to play, to build. As both an extension of your industrious character and the pliant means of scratching your ardent itch to improve the world around you, your hands were ever grasping for a problem to solve, a brokenness to fix.

And just like a magician’s, they turned everything you touched into something better. Something beautiful. Something bewitching.

Surviving the Sierras

Stone Roshell, Starshine’s son

Dragged Backpacking with Outdoorsy Old Men

By Guest Columnist Stone Roshell

The trees disappear above 11,000 feet. The bugs stop buzzing, birds stop chirping, and the day hikers — those normal folks out for a nice stroll, jean-clad and accompanied by a toddler or dog — vanish. All I hear is the wind blowing, stirring the rough gravel that replaces dirt at that elevation. That, and the deafening sound of the voice in my head: Why, Stone? Just … why?

This was my experience backpacking through the Sierras with my relentlessly outdoorsy grandpa, my dad, and their friends. They’ve been backpacking annually for four decades, but this was my first time venturing into the wilderness with only my sleeping bag, tent, and however much trail mix I could stuff in my pockets.

This backpacking brigade certainly had a few characters. First: my grandpa. A stark traditionalist and the second coming of John Muir, he loves the outdoors almost as much as he loves eating wheat bran for breakfast and talking stocks. Next: my father. He had just dyed his hair purple for one of his band’s rock shows and looked like he was climbing up the mountain to sell someone crack. Then there was Bill. A 75-year-old backpacking cyborg, Bill would only stop to eat a cashew or two before returning to his blistering pace.

Now, I’m an active person. I coach group classes at Innate Fitness and spend hours weekly at the gym lifting weights and challenging myself. But as I quickly learned, bench pressing and squatting does just about jack all to prepare for a six-hour trek up a mountain at 12,000 ft. These old dudes were right on my tail the whole way. My heart rate spiking, my breath panting, I would look back, expecting to see them either dead or way behind. Instead, Iron Man Bill would race past me.

Fishing itself is great: the excitement of feeling the bite and reeling it in. What people skip over when they gush about fishing, though, is sticking pliers down the poor trout’s throat and ripping the hook out before it suffocates. Once, we took too long, and after we threw the thing back, it lay there in the water on its side, thinking about if it really wanted to continue being a fish. As I scratched the dozens of mosquito bites covering every inch of my exposed skin, I related to that little guy.

Wrapped up in my enjoyment of catching the little swimmers, I forgot about cleaning them. I saw a side of my grandpa I didn’t know existed: the bloodthirsty, savage side. He calmly demonstrated sawing off the head, ripping out the innards, and scraping out the poop tract — blood and excrement coating his hands — before offering me the next trout and his dull pocketknife. I barely managed to do one before he agreed to handle the gut-cleaning if I did all the poop-scraping. You know it’s bad when poop-scraping sounds like the better job.

On the hike out, I was a man with a purpose. Every step was one foot closer to a shower and a bed twice as big as the tent my dad and I had shared. When I finally made it back to the comfort of civilization, I knew for sure: Backpacking isn’t for me.

But a few days later, to my surprise, I began to remember some parts of the trip fondly: the vastness of the starry sky at night, the satisfaction of carrying everything I truly needed on my back and drinking out of clear snowmelt streams. Even though backpacking will never be my go-to activity, I think I finally get it. After the initial relief of hitting the down pillow of my clean queen bed, I couldn’t deny that I was different than before I went: more adventuring grandpa, and less floundering fish.

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