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Straight Outta Summerland

Lee Heller started life as a wannabe academic, earning a Ph.D. in literature at Brandeis University and teaching for several years before relocating (fleeing) to Santa Barbara. Here she studied law (although she is not in legal practice), got deeply drawn in to animal rescue, and revived a youthful passion for politics as a means to effect social and environmental justice. She lives in Summerland with a fluctuating population of dogs and cats, and finds sanity in twice yearly retreats to her other home, in New Zealand.

Life in the Unincorporated Zone

All in all, I’m pretty happy to be in a little town/community/whatever that is both independent and without governance. Read story.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ay! Chihuahuas?

Ten years ago our animal shelters weren’t hip deep in Chihuahuas – in fact, when people called looking to adopt one, we’d say, “Sorry, we don’t get them here.” Read story.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Vegan Among the Deerstalkers

When I was a kid, I had this fantasy of farm life, where I’d have a barnyard composed of a happy harmony of pigs, chickens, cows, horses, and other suitably agricultural animals. Read story.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Possums, Hippies, and Politics

Here are some more dispatches from the down under side of Summerland. Read story.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Well-Lived Life

Here’s what my dad and Selma had in common: They were both "unreasonable" people, the kind upon whom all progress depends. Read story.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Politics in the Age of Infotainment

So is it just me, or is everyone heartily sick of hearing about the Republican presidential candidates? Read story.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

M.D. versus D.V.M.

Given a choice between dealing with M.D.s or with veterinarians, I’m thinking, when my time comes, that I’ll be calling my vet for end-of-life care. Read story.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fundraising Is Like Housework

I like to go to fundraisers. It’s a nice way to socialize with like-minded friends while supporting a cause. But my God I hate planning and putting them on! Read story.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

When the New Year Is Your Last

What must it be like, to sit at a restaurant surrounded by people celebrating the arrival of the New Year, knowing that it is almost certainly your last one? Read story.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

’Tis the Season to Spend Frivolously

I am from a Jewish family so profoundly secular that we didn’t even bother to call our Christmas tree a Hanukkah bush. Read story.

Friday, December 23, 2011

In Praise of Local Heroism

The essence of community is that everyone looks out for each other as best we can. That’s what makes it a community, not just a bunch of people living in the same zip code. Read story.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Of Parliaments and Hobbits

I’ve been in New Zealand for two weeks this time out, in that weird in-between space where you’re outside the U.S. and yet still feeling attached — looking in as an alien at both your own society and the one you’re visiting. Read story.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ban the Bloody Bag Already!

Plastic bags have been banned in our columnist's second home in New Zealand. Read story.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Slow vs. Smart

To me, Santa Barbara is the Big City — I moved here 15 years ago from wooded, sprawling rural western Massachusetts, and knew I was getting good climate in exchange for a more uncomfortably urban life. Read story.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pondering Pit Bulls

Half of the dogs at the county shelter are pits or pit mixes. Read story.

Sunday, October 9, 2011
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