My routine is blown up for today. I did some yard work this morning. I had been noticing how the grass and weeds were getting a little high on the back fence, so I took the weed-eater out today. Pop came out, obviously overjoyed by my initiative. I mentioned how we no longer really have an off-season when it comes to the lawn as we did only a few years ago. The grass grows much slower during these winter months, but it doesn't really fall dormant anymore. The grass can also stand a mowing, but it can grow a while yet. ... ... I'll keep a few lines from David Brooks's column: "Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media. ... It seems that the Trump administration is less a government than a small clique of bloggers and tweeters ... it is hard to think of any administration in recent memory, on any level, whose identity is so tainted by cruelty. ... Sooner or later, the Republican Fausts will face a binary choice. As they did under Nixon, Republican leaders will have to either oppose Trump and risk his tweets, or sidle along with him and live with his stain. ... With most administrations you can agree sometimes and disagree other times. But this one is a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the choice." [NYT] ... A couple of lines From Roger Cohen make a nice addition to Brooks's coments: 'For well over a decade Trump hosted a successful TV show that hinged on a spectacle of controlled cruelty — his summary dismissal of a contestant with the words “You’re fired!” All the action built toward the tantalizing moment when Trump brought down the guillotine. No doubt the experience offered him insights into the human fascination with power, as well as the human capacity for pleasure in others’ suffering. Certainly, in just 10 tumultuous days as president of the United States, Trump has demonstrated a streak of gratuitous cruelty.' [NYT] ... ... "Where is your Forest puzzle?" Pi asks coyly. In the closet. "Defective pieces?" Nope. Just gave up. It was feeling too much like a chore, a dreary piece of drudgery, like cleaning the toilet. I wasn't having fun. "Oh, it's just cold feet. The beginning of a thousand-mile journey always looks intimidating. You experienced that with your Halloween puzzle too. But remember how fun it became as it started coming together!" I remember. I just don't think it's worth it. When I began the Halloween puzzle, I didn't have Solitaire in my routine, and I was desperate to have something to fidget my excess nervous energy on in between dips into my books. But now I do have Solitaire, and I find myself aching to get back to the cards and to have the puzzle banished from my sight. And since I am the captain of my soul, I banished it. "So, you now have two puzzles collecting dust and cobwebs in the closet." Yup. What hurts me most: I just threw another twenty dollars into the wind just to watch it blow away. I've been doing that a lot lately. However, I am relieved to think that I might be settling down again. I know what I want. I no longer feel like I am questing for something new and exciting to perk up my life.