Howard Buford Recreation Area, Eugene

Oregon has a lot going for it, including long stretches of cool, gray rain followed by one spectacular warm day of blue sky in the middle of January. This balance of weather creates an abundance of gratitude in local residents, including dogs, who eagerly flock to the trails and views. Jones was happy to let E. hold his leash, she being his rehabilitation guide these last eight years as she has shown him that kids aren’t so menacing, so long as they ooze delicious fluids, drop food on the floor, and show him off to their new friend C.

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Holly Ave., Cottage Grove

Sleep is a well-known prophylactic against illness. Jones has stayed perfectly well all winter so far, no doubt due to his robust sleep regimen. Want some armor against the flu plague cutting a swath through your community? Get more sleep. Also, exercise. In the ongoing combat against seasonal crabbiness and the forces of despair, you really want both of them on a regular basis. But riddle me this, pilgrim: when the alarm goes off at 5:15 which one will you choose?

Sunrise Estates, Cottage Grove

After a keto-friendly breakfast of last night’s pork roast bits, slow-cooker juice, and congealed fat, Jones was ready for a pre-dawn walk through the neighborhood. Although he loves bacon as much as the next person, and really who doesn’t want a taco bowl made on a bed of pork rinds instead of corn chips? But he doesn’t go in much for your fad diets. Weight loss, meh. It’s a young dog’s game. Dry kibble of uncertain origin? Sure. If it appeared in his bowl or was left on the floor, he would be willing to eat most anything. Grapefruit and hardboiled eggs. Raw food. Juice fasts. Cabbage soup. Low-carb, low-fat, low-sodium. Flexibility is the key.

Sunrise Estates, Cottage Grove

As we climbed the hill up N. M St. into the mist, I couldn’t help but wonder. We have the fog of war, the fog of love, the fog of memory, the fog of menopause, a fog map of San Francisco, Foghorn Leghorn. But has anyone ever considered the fog of amateur theatricals? You get a crowd of citizens in a room, with stars in their eyes and butts on plastic chairs, eager to show Confidence, Range, Physical Presence, and an Ability to Make Choices. All very Chorus Line: the hope, the anxiety, the confusion. Is that all I get to read? Should I get Mama Rose in here to insist? Watch me tap dance! Groove on my Shakespearean oratory! Behold my juggling! Look, I’m a mime stuck in an invisible box!

Anthony Ave., Cottage Grove

Marianne Dashwood obviously had no trouble with long walks in pursuit of Sublime Vistas and Felicitous Landscapes (or mournful hillsides overlooking the sprawling estates of unobtainable, cruel men), however wet and cold they might be. But the Dashwood sisters’ cottage (“Oh, a cottage! A cottage is always very snug.”) was only half a mile from the much grander manor house of their benefactor, cousin Sir John, and yet it was portrayed as a considerable distance that required one to ride in a carriage. Perhaps if one is dressed is something fancier than business casual one would appreciate a ride, even if it only amounts to a walk around the block.