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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


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Kristin, What a lovely story! I am having one of those mornings where nothing is in order or as I thought it should be. Then, along came your story to remind me that life is crooked, and it should be. I will try to enjoy my day and not focus on what is out of order. Thanks!

Kerry Ann

Bonjour Kristin! Another wonderful story! Is une regle also used to suggest one is on a diet? Merci et Bonne journee. Kerry Ann


We lived near the ocean in Manhattan Beach, CA, and our family rules were: NO bathroom towels were to be used as beach towels!!!! And wash off the sand and tar in the shower spigot in the backyard BEFORE coming into the house!!!! DON'T leave your bike in the driveway!!!!!

Those are the ones that were pounded into us daily.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Kerry Ann, and I wonder if you're thinking of "régime"? Though there are many "règles" to follow when following a régime!

Jules Greer

WOW !!! This should be a little picture book, a series, I know you have a 'GREAT'
childrens book illustrator out there as a fan-I wonder what she sees as she read your wonderful story.

Debbie from Baltimore

Salut Kristin!

The regles at our house included: "Don't leave your shoes lying around" (important since there were six of us living in a very small house), "No reading at the dinner table," and "Don't call your sister 'stupid'." That one was a biggie. Upon reflection, I now realize what a wonderful, "crooked," childhood I had! I'm sure your own children will feel the same way. Thanks for the wonderful blog and Happy Holidays!


Your fabulous story reminded me of another, much older one:

There was a crooked man,
and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence
upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat,
which caught a crooked mouse,
and they all lived together in a crooked little house.


la règle d'or pretty much takes care of everything n'est-ce pas?


Our rules were...never say 'shut up' to anyone, never sit on the edge of the bed (it would make the mattress saggy) and always ask if you could be excused from the table. They seem a bit quaint in today's world of 4-letter words, out of control kids and lack of manners everywhere, not just at home!


Dear Kristin:
I enjoy your letters and the one that struck home to me was the household dilemma of Christmas tree selection. I smiled because I concluded that folks are the same throughout the world. There are many fond memories of selecting a leaning and"deformed" tree. Joyeaux Noel.


Our rules en enfance were; "No elbows on the table", "No leaving the table before everyone was finshed" and then asking permission to do so, "No whistling on a Sunday". I never did understand the last one and it puzzles me even more now. I think I am going to have to have a chat with my mum.


I would never let my kids wear their caps at the table or restaurant. Funny what bothers us, huh?

Fred Caswell

Your "slice of life" cuts straight to the core of humanity and is still another of your charming, delightful, revealing, humorous insights into our imperfections. Merci for still another wonderful gift.

Here in the USA, reminders of our crooked lives is a bit more than humorous as the news is flooded with details of still another very crooked politician with a very crooked name (to we older Americans), Illinois governor Blagojevich. Add to that the ongoing accounts concerning Bernard Madoff, a once famed investor, who has given new meaning to the word "fraud" by scamming investors (including the rich, famous, charity foundations and more) of 50 billion dollars; yes, that's billion!

May as well add continuing reports of greed and incompetence of too many of our capitalist shakers and movers telling how they have done their part in putting us in a depression. A crooked life, indeed, and regretfully -- Cest la vie!

Probably most have seen or heard the crooked vervion of Le Regle D'or -- Do unto others before they do it unto you.

There is hope, not only because there are so many "crooked" humans decidedly bent on loving and giving, but we will soon have a new president with intelligence, vision, wisdom, and a caring character -- thank God!


Regle...Brings an expression to mind... Regulated like clockwork = C'est réglé comme du papier a musique.
Il y aussi les régles que je dois respecter a la maison:
1) Regle #1 : ma femme a toujours raison
2) Regle #2 : Au cas ou elle est a tord, se referer a la Regle # 1

La Rêveuse

No Singing At The Dinner Table.

A big one for me, because I had to resist the urge A LOT.

My dad no longer remembers making this rule, but I sure do. It's ingrained. Huh, should have called my blog that. I wonder if is open?


This story about rules is...well "golden"! One of my favorites; merci!


This story about rules is...well..."golden"! One of my favorites; merci!

Kerry in Oklahoma from Tucson

Terrific, Kristin!

One of my children's favorites was:

"No talking with your mouth open!",
and another, "Stop chewing with food in your mouth!"

It doesn't pay for well-regimented rule-makers to get distracted at their posts!

I grew up with the usual, and quite a few indigenous, like . . . "Shake out your shoes before you put your foot inside!" (Scorpions love the cool inside of the toes of Keds.)

I would love to hear . . . do you mind, Kristin? . . . some of those rules others have had to adopt as crooked GROWN-UPS! I have a few:

1) Dishes are part of the meal
2) Bible before breakfast
3) "Maneuvers" (when military husbands are gone for weeks on end) doesn't translate, "Fiesta!"
4) NO TEASING! (once, in prayer, the Lord told me to cut it out . . . that I wasn't good at it! Ouch!)

Loved the photo! What is it about some of us that we are enchanted by the
"crookedness" of others' crooked little homes and cats, and straighten our own soap dishes every time we pass them?

Buenos dias, Jules; de verdad, ella es una hija tan simpatica y talentosa!

Merry Christmas, my d.l.f.

Roxanne in California :)

Some wonderful family rules:
Always remember the camera.
Bring a sketch pad, or easel or both!
Don't buy cheap paint brushes.
But the main rules, LIVE LOVE LAUGH.


Hi Kristin!

Symmetry and pleasing harmony are beautifully reassuring. They seem to follow some unwritten “rules” of balance and order. However, a certain disorder can have its attraction, its uniqueness, and be ... “artistic” - which seems to explain, on one hand, your attraction to rules and order, (expected) lines of perfection, and on the other hand, your disappointment, mixed with admiration, for what is off-center, unruly, out-of-line, unexpected and ... crooked!

“Un beau désordre est un effet de l'art”. Nicolas Boileau (L'Art poétique)

I love the way you told us about the rules you'd like everyone to follow in your house! Thanks for the colours and details of your photo too!
At home, when we were children, we had a few rules.

1 -> "On ne parle pas la bouche pleine!"
- Don't speak with your mouth full.

2 -> "Tout le monde a droit à la parole, mais ne parlez pas tous en même temps".
- You've all got the right to speak, but don't all speak at the same time.

3 -> "On se tient droit sur sa chaise!"
- Sit up straight!
This was combined with a rule like yours about "ne pas se balancer sur sa chaise". When the rule wasn't followed, mum or dad would say with insistance:
"Ta chaise a QUATRE pieds"!
"Your chair has got FOUR legs"! ... as if the whole fuss was about the safety and well-being of our chairs, but there was more to it. See below ***
When dad would reduce his remark to two loud words, "Quatre pieds!", followed by half of my Christian name, I felt he was really annoyed with me and I would quickly re-adjust ma position.

4 -> I must mention a general rule I heard over and over again: “Faire et défaire c'est apprendre à faire!”. Doing, undoing... (and re-doing!) teaches you how to do things by yourself! We happily tried, tried, and tried again, with patience, hard work and perseverance, always praised by our parents for the result of our efforts.

*** About ---> "Ta chaise a QUATRE pieds!"
I understood later on my parents might have been concerned with the chairs, and our good manners, but in fact, they were much more concerned with our "colonne vertébrale" (spine). Children born during WWII didn't get enough calcium in their diet, so my parents were worried about my elder brother's bones and mine! They wanted us to keep our back "bien droit" (quite straight) when sitting, to avoid bad habits while our bones were still growing. In 1948, in my primary school, we had our first "visite médicale" -> we got our first jabs, height and weight were recorded, and a doctor checked our shoulders and back (!) to make sure we didn't develop a "déformation de la colonne vertébrale" (scoliose)!

Nancy LoBalbo

Bonjour Kristin--My interest is piqued. I think we need to see a photo of the crooked tree. Will you oblige?
As for house rules...the BIG one I can remember is "No sitting on the beds!" This is probably why, as an adult, I allow the use of my bed as office, couch, chair,dog/cat bed and recline there any chance that I get. All those years of prohibition as a child & teen seem to have had an opposite effect.
BTW, Love the photo of drying laundry. On our last visit, my husband must have taken over 20 photos of this sort of scene all over Provence. What do you think it is that makes it so attractive?

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