30 September 2011


Isn't she gorgeous? This one keeps us all on our toes--especially MK and DM. I see only wonderful things in her future. She's tenacious, determined, mechanical, confident, competitive, and beautiful.

She recently taught herself to swim underwater. She's just 3-1/2.

That's KF on the right with pink swimmies just visible.

29 September 2011


Sconces are new...

In process... Half the upholstered furniture is out for re-do.
Nice combo, huh?

Been home four days. It is fine! We're home for 4 weeks--just the right amount of time for me to center, focus, and accomplish. Back to exercising; yoga for the first time in weeks. Feels so good.

Each day has been about resettling--laundry, errands, appts., and phone calls. GG goes home from the hospital tomorrow with help from friends and Home Instead. I've been coordinating her care since LFW and CA are busy with their respective teaching jobs.

We're in the middle of a rainy season. I love rainy days and nights, so I'm happy and snug. I love wearing sweaters and jackets--cool mornings, midday sunshine, and crisp Fall nights.

We have three days to prepare for our floors to be refinished. Tomorrow I'll finish up some projects-- sewing a fleece throw for the master bedroom and cataloging and photographing the antiques I may sell. All that to rid our space of my clutter so we can pack up the great room, kitchen, entry, and back hall.

Next week will be chaos. There will be dust. KP assures me it will be minimal, but I'm a doubter... I'm planning to live in our bedroom-- even entering and exiting through a low window, if necessary. And, I'm guessing there will be long lunch dates, afternoon movies, and maybe even an overnight with RvH.
CA will adapt, and he's barely home these days anyway. No on will be cooking in our kitchen for at least a week.

On the bright side, when the floors are done the reupholstered furniture will be delivered and we'll be mostly done with the redecorating. It will be gorgeous.

I'm reading lots and enjoying the downtime. Life is good.


Perfect start this morning... A 40-minute power walk and 60 minutes of Yoga. I'd forgotten how a great Yoga workout can leave you feeling as good as a Swedish massage. Ah-h-h.

I'd also forgotten how a few errands after the gym can turn into 5 hours... Still, it's great having accomplished some tedious errands and a few fun ones. The trip to Caputo's means spinach quesadillas sometime this weekend.(Not to mention the chocolate-dipped cannoli I treated myself to!)

28 September 2011


I love Reese's Big Cup. It's one of my go-to's when I crave PBC. That, or Haagen Das PBC ice cream, or Ben and Jerry's PB Cup. It's a lethal combination--PBC that is.

So, while grocery shopping I'm tempted by the new Reese's Giant Bar. The verdict? Too much chocolate and not enough peanut butter. As I'm a recent convert to milk chocolate, I'm still sensitive to overly-sweet milk chocolate, and this is...

Lately, my go-to lunch favorite is PB and butter on Oat Nut bread with a side of salty potato chips. Preferably Ruffles, not Lay's. Ruffles are just the right combination of salt and crunch. Oh, and not just butter, but Plugra--French butter. Not as contradictory as it seems, at least in my opinion. Skippy Natural Super Chunk, to be specific. Others prefer Jif, but I've always been a Skippy girl. 1/2 a sandwich works, as the Oat Nut bread is rather large. Yum!

26 September 2011


I'm home with a pile of updates -- new posts, photos, and more. I'm staying home for almost a month. I love home.

24 September 2011


There's a wedding today! I'm really feeling sick, but caffeine helps!

CA and LFW have class reunion activities today in Eureka, and GG will be transferred from BroMenn in Bloomington to the small local hospital in Eureka by early afternoon.

I've volunteered to provide lunch for the wedding party today--they'll be having photos taken from 11:30am -1:30pm. Jimmy John's is preparing two sandwich trays and CA has done a grocery-run for soda and chips. So... I'm on the road by 11:30am for the 2:00pm wedding. CA will drive separately as he'll skip the reception to attend class reunion activities.

JJ has chosen shades of purple, and the bridesmaids are lovely in their strapless satin gowns. Mother-of-the-bride SJ has a gorgeous lavender dress, and my brother PJ looks great in his tux. PJ manages to keep his composure as he walks JJ down the aisle to her beaming groom.

It's always fun to see the whole family dressed up and enjoying each other. The little ones are always so happy to be together, and their jubilation is catching.

 It's a perfect Fall sunny afternoon, and everyone is ready to celebrate the newlyweds. Since we left last night, P+SJ have added large pots of purple mums at the entrance to the lodge--setting the tone for what's inside. The room is transformed and inviting.

The kids have prepared a sweet and sentimental slide show that plays in the theater end of the lodge. The food is fun and plentiful, and the huge three layer cake baked by a fried is spectacular--top layer is chocolate, middle is pumpkin spice, and the bottom is a very vanilla. Yum! It is always all about the cake for me!

Blessings to you, Joanne and Marcus Whitted!

23 September 2011


It's time for me to focus on the Jacobs’ family part of this visit, while LFW handles GG's needs. I'll keep in touch with GG by phone, but CA will arrive this evening to join his sister, and visit their mom.

JL and I have volunteered to help decorate for our niece's wedding reception.  After a stop by Starbucks (I've a full-blown head cold compliments of the little ones in Omaha.) for some caffeine-fueled energy, by 3:00pm we're driving up the river again.

The reception will be casual--at Peoria Park District's Camp Wokanda. It's a retro/vintage-look and so, so cute. The room is a lodge-like building with tons of cool panes windows, which we curtain. Yep! JL and I are mostly in charge of curtaining 35 or so windows. JJ has planned well and her twinkle lights and centerpieces mellow-put and transform the space.

We're still working at 6:30pm and trying desperately to chase our brother and sister-in-law out the door and toward the wedding rehearsal and dinner. P+MM are with us to the end doing techie and other decorating stuff.

We touch base with LFW and make arrangements to meet at Tequila's in Washington. There's a nail salon next door, so I push JL that way (for her "I'm Not Really a Waitress" manicure) and settle in with a Marguerita, guacamole, and chips to wait for LFW.

We have fun! The food is fine. Really fine. We laugh. We talk. JL and LFW both love to talk. The Margueritas fuel the fun and offset our frayed nerves and energy. I've ordered the Mucho Combo--chicken quesadilla, a beef burrito, and a tostado--and truly enjoy it, saving the quesadilla for later.

LFW reports that GG is recuperating on-schedule, and she's had the necessary conversations with the care givers. CA is driving straight from home to the hospital, so GG isn't alone tonight.

22 September 2011


My Wednesday starts abruptly... GiGi calls out just after 5:00am. She's stuck and in excruciating pain. Her hip has failed completely just hours before scheduled surgery. We consult with th hospital and before 6:00am she's transported by ambulance to BroMenn in Bloomington.

The nurse in Same Day Surgery (Yolanda) is superb! Turns out there's some cellulitis that no one expected, but at least GiGi is in the right place for appropriate care.

Surgery goes as expected-- no unknown issues. I grab a small pizza and salad at Monical's (a local family pizza chain) while GG is in Recovery. Can't believe how convenient this location is. Missed it during prior visits.I make a few phone calls to give family and friends the update, and GG settles in quite comfortably in a familiar environment--she's had three hip surgeries and a shoulder replacement here.

I've carried my iPad, magazines, and book into the hospital in a Cheesecake Factory bag, and create quite a stir. There's not a local outlet, but many nurses comment and drool. If I'd only known, I'd have brought along a cheesecake.

By the time I hit Eureka it's 8:00pm so I stop at Chanticleer for a small ribeye steak and salad. No sleep drugs required tonight. I'm exhausted.


I take time to get organized and caffeinated appropriately, arriving at the hospital just before noon--a quick stop at Jimmy John's provides a semi-healthy lunch alternative to hospital or fast food.

GG's doing well--we've been in phone contact a couple of times already this morning. She's always interested in which family members or friends have called--even asking me to check caller i.d. and return calls to those who didn't leave messages.

I've brought along GG's iPad, so we co-exist in harmony while keeping hands-on our individual techie tools. She's 83 years and loves her iPad.

GJ, JL, and Marielle c.December 1949

We're celebrating my Dad's 90th tonight, so I head out mid-afternoon to get ready, pick-up the b'day cake at Le Bakery in Peoria, and get myself upriver from Peoria to Kenyon's in Lacon. I totally enjoy the riverside, realizing how we never focused on the river during our growing-up years. Peoria is a river city. There are miles and miles of gorgeous river views. Wish I'd had an awareness of this beauty; water is nurturing and restorative to my soul.

Dad has a great time with all his kids, except NC is home in Seattle. We're joined by a few friends and several more family members for delicious fried chicken, ravioli, and spaghetti. WJ samples the frog legs and reserves 2 for CA to enjoy later this weekend. The cake from Le Bakery is beautiful and delicious as usual.

Sisters GJ and JL have compiled two photo collages--1) family 2) Dad's personal history. He actually seems to love it. We don't usually get the reaction we hope for from him. Gifts are difficult at this age, so in addition to some of his favorite peanut butter chocolate treats, we give him $90--a dollar for each year.

I volunteer to drive dad and his wife home in downtown Peoria since I'll be out and about for awhile yet tonight--picking my sister-in-law up at the Peoria airport at 10:30pm.

LFW and I are both exhausted. She's done her UNO professorial duties already today in New Orleans before flying through Denver to Peoria. Yawn! We've both had full days, so we fade fast after arriving at GG's cottage in Eureka. We've got  full schedules in the days to come.

20 September 2011


Are tu-tu can-cans tu-tu much?

Of course getting away is difficult. It's always hard to leave. I get organized, do a bit of laundry, feed the baby one more time, interact with the fun kids, mend a tear in the new baby sheet... Hard to leave. JL power packs and repacks her belongings in the cargo area. We've separated our stuff--mine's in the backseat. It just gets too confusing inter-mingled.

We check and re-check for left behind stuff, but I still manage to leave my rain jacket and scarf. JL leaves her camera flash drive and some foodstuffs...

I drive the whole trip to central Illinois. We stop along the way for lunch just west of Des Moines at The Cheesecake Factory. We're all about great food. I order Sheperd's Pie and JL orders the lunch portion of meatloaf. The bread is fantastic and we eat every crumb. We're hungry! So, so good! I've got leftovers for tonight, and JL orders a white chocolate-raspberry truffle cheesecake to take to the Nofsingers.

While our waiter sorts out some mis-communication regarding our cheesecake order, I succumb to the temptation for a slice of cheesecake to-go. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake Cheesecake. To-die-for. Worth ever calorie. Enough for 4. A layer of chocolate cake, a layer of caramel with peanuts, a layer of plain cheesecake--then repeat. Covered with chocolate butter creme; topped with rosettes of peanut butter butter creme;coated with chopped up milk chocolate pieces. Oh, and garnished with two huge s oops of whipped cream. Kill me now! I may never eat again.

We drive onward with little to distract us now, arriving just after 5:30pm in Washington, IL at GJ's. She invites me to dinner, and of course I accept. She's made meatloaf and planned cheesecake for dessert! We laugh. She hasn't made meatloaf in two years, and today we each had a version for lunch. Good news--we love meatloaf aand hers is delicious. I leave befor dessert. I mean, who can even consider dessert after what we ate this afternoon!

GiGi is patiently waiting for me when I arrive in Eureka. I'm frantically making phone calls to track down RvH. I haven't heard from her since Saturday morning and I've tried several times to reach her at various times of the day when she's usually home. I'm sure she's o.k., but just in case she's laying in a heap on her floor, I really need to find her.

Eventually she answers her phone before I've alarmed anyone with my search. Just a combination of appts. and activities have coincided to make her unavailable. I tell her we have to set up a system for her own safety. She lives alone and is easily susceptible to a fall or injury. Pondering a plan...

I fall into bed and a sound sleep just about 8:30pm.

19 September 2011

MONDAY, MONDAY: Omaha Version

Jones Brothers for lunch.
The Trifecta
an odd angle, I know...

JA and LE need an outing, so JA and I decide we'll go to Mangelsen's--a local version of Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

This is a big deal because they have free popcorn and balloons. We spend a bit of time deciding on what color of balloons--JA, of course needs blue and LE wants pink. But, there are decisions to make-- green for daddy, undecided on mommy's.

Halloween is big at Magelsen's. Very big and very scary. LE shrinks back from the flying bat, but wants to go into the monster room--admiring the Linda Blair Exorcist-like spinning head girl.

There are no free balloons because there's a shortage of helium. That's right, a shortage and hospitals get the current supply. We don't mind buying the balloons. Blue for JA, pink for LE, green for MA, purple for JE, and we remember baby LC needs one,too, so JA decides to get him a blue one, too. Just a darker shade than his own.

I negotiate with LE-- if she goes potty, I'll take them into the monster room. However, we're a bit too late for success, so we do some adjustments and head for the reward. Right inside the monster room door there's a red monster with blood dripping from his mouth eating life-sized rubber babies. We quickly departed before the two little ones saw.

It's time for lunch and I'm ready to take the kids home, but JL still wants to shop so I'll come back for her in about an hour.

Eventually we drive to Jones Brothers for lunch and cupcakes. The free cupcake today is pink and with a hint we're able to name it, bubble gum, so we each get a free one--which I eat immediately! Really good! Really. Better than you can imagine, it being bubble gum and all.

We have a wonderful lunch; JL has the trifecta--1/2 BLT, cup of soup, and a mini red velvet cupcake. I'm captivated by the Cobb salad. I'm craving veggies, and this is a great salad.

After a short spin through Wolner's (gourmet grocery goodies) for some cheeses and sour dough bread, we go across the street to check movie times for tonight and decide to stay for the 1:50pm viewing of I Don't Know How She Does It with Sarah Jessica Parker and Greg Kinnear. Far better than the critics claim. We really enjoy it. Predictable, but cute and entertaining. You gotta love SJP.

One more stop for groceries at HyVee--we're making salsa with D+HS's garden tomatoes. Nothing better! After cheese, bread, salsa, and chips we all decide we'll save the bacon-sirloin sliders for tomorrow. JL and I won't be around so there'll be more for the Smiths.

A very good day with the fun kids and the cuddly little guy. We need to hit the road first thing tomorrow as GJ is expecting JL for supper and my mother-in-law will be watching for me.

18 September 2011


My post self-destructed... Why does that happen? iPad blunder? JL and I are up early, since I want to be on the road to Omaha by 8:00am I told her 7:30 am... We have stops to make before we hit the open road via I-88 to I-80. I decide to skip Caputo's this time, but I want to return the bagel pan to Bentley's and JL wants to get some English muffin bread for our dad at Meijers on Randall Road.

They're just taking bagel dogs out of the oven at Bentley's so I buy some to take to Omaha. Before too long the fresh baked bagel smell mixed with Hebrew National hot dog entices us both to down one as breakfast. This Meijer's doesn't do English muffin bread, but I manages to find an adorable Grinch t-shirt and also a blue Spiderman t-shirt for JA. (JA refuses the Grinch t-shirt. He doesn't do costumes or anything he doesn't completely understand.)

 We're actually on the road over an hour and already 45 minutes behind when we leave the mall-sized Oasis in Belvidere. I needed a Diet Coke and also the restroom facilities. Drinking and driving Marielle-style (drinking caffeinated beverages, that is). Our 8 hour trip takes 9+, but it goes quickly and we're entertained by XM satellite radio and conversation. There was also a Taco Bell stop long the way, but who's keeping track. I did manage a Greek yogurt for some healthy eating somewhere before Omaha and after Taco Bell. JL had something with ice cream... Not to be telling tales.

Within 10 seconds of arrival LE asks, "Grandma, did you bring your iPad?" She's very quick for just 2-1/2. We need to see what Talking Tom is up to. Soon, I put together dinner from what I've brought along--pasta with bolognese sauce, French fried Parmesan eggplant (aubergine), and a wonderful baguette from Ambrosia. There is also some Skinny Girl Marguerite mixed in...

 By 8:30pm the Smiths are up the stairs and headed to bed. JL and I aren't far behind--faining a plan to read our books in our various bedrooms--with lights out before 10:00pm. Fast times in the big city. We're tired. 

I've volunteered the early shift with LE--she's gracious enough to not show up until after 6:00am. Soon her mommy has her settled with a video next to my couch, where she quietly resides until just after 7:00am when JL entices her into the living room with promises to read the new Happy Halloween, Stinky Face.  A delightful read. The illustrations are spell-binding. Just ask LE.) Last night LE and I were locked for 15 minutes or more onto the page where Lily Kate, dressed as a black cat for Halloween, gets her tail stuck in a door. "How did her tail get stuck?" "Why did her tail get stuck?" "How will she get her tail out?" "Whose door is her tail stuck in?" Over and over and over. This morning JL (forewarned) manages to cut that particular conversation a bit shorter.

 We're all going to church, but JL and I drive separately. This is the last Sunday for Core at the Omaha Arts Center. They're merging with Coram Deo and beginning next Sunday they'll meet at Westside Middle School (Center Street and 84th Street). Today Coram Deo's lead pastor speaks at Core and Ethan speaks at Coram Deo. Bob does a great job--biblical, inspiring, convicting, encouraging, directing.

 After church JL wants to view the neighborhoods of Dundee, and I need gasoline. It's raining when we finally spy a gas station, so we decide to park and have brunch at Dario's Brasserie. We ate dinner together here when we were in Omaha in March for LE's Pinkalicious 2nd birthday party. JL orders Belgian toast--a French toast version dipped in a Lindeman's Framboise batter, then topped with a ton of walnuts, maple syrup, and butter. The accompanying fruit salad is beautiful, too. I go for a classic Croque Madame and the standard green salad with a light vinaigrette. Superb! And, the coffee's great, too.

 By the time brunch is over Dundee Gallery is open, so we wander next door and spend some time (and money) on small pieces of art. Lovely variety. Unfortunately I drop my bag just as I get to the car and the pottery mug's bottom shatters. I'm going to try gluing tonight, and if it looks too bad I'm going o throw it out, forget it happened, and go back to replace it.

 I spend this rainy afternoon reading while LC naps, JA and MA watch sports, and the rest make a Target run. We've encourage JE and MA to go out tonight, so after the three bears are in bed they head to Dario's for dinner while we scarf down JA's vegetable soup, enjoying every slurp. I'm behind on blog posts, especially because draft posts keep disappearing.

16 September 2011


Chicken wrapped around asparagus, Teriyaki

Mango Seviche

Oysters on the half-shell

CA feels he's missing out, since I've been to The Golden Roll many more times than he has, so we decide to initiate JL tonight. We have a very good time, and the food is fantastic. This is a BYOB restaurant, and CA brings along his new favorite white wine.

15 September 2011


Bento Box Lunch--half eaten.

Caterpillar Roll

Today is less complicated than expected. LL had to cancel HB, so I have the morning to get ready for friends, RvH is coming at 10:30am, then we'll meet KT at The Golden Roll for lunch at noon. RvH has a doctor's appt. this afternoon and KT is working, so RvH will spend the morning with me at my house, and KT will spend the afternoon.

 RvH wants to see the redecorating updates. She approves and has a few suggestions, at this point she's living vicariously, but to tell the truth, her home is lovely.

Surprisingly, RvH loves TGR. She's a finicky eater--think Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. No cold cheese in salads. Absolutely no onions. Coffee scalding hot (I agree with this one.). No grape or cocktail tomatoes--too much skin. It goes on and on, and I love her in spite of and because of her finickiness.

Never having had sushi before our last visit together, she loved the Bento box lunch and bragged about her adventure for weeks. Turns out KT is an initiate to sushi today, so we lead her along the pathway. She's better than me, as she likes raw salmon and tuna.

We're all dazzled and satiated. A fun, fun lunch. The conversation never lags. KT works online a lot, so we're able to visit and work--well, she works while I make lists and play Solitare. I love retirement! KT and I decide we need to get together more often. Somewhere in there, I pull put some of LL and RvH's hand-me-downs and KT scores a brown leather jacket and two sweaters. RvH has lost 30 lbs. And doesn't plan to go looking for them ever again, so she's passed along a ton of clothing--some with price tags attached.

 CA has a soccer game tonight, and I'm happy to be home with a good book and some junk t.v. Tomorrow starts a very busy travel-entertainment schedule and I'm happy for time to relax.

14 September 2011


Today is my scheduled personal services day. No, I'm not referring to serving humanity, today I'm having a tune-up. Mani-pedi-haircut-touch-up, but my hair person's dad dies suddenly of a heart attack, so the hair stuff is postponed. Before the noon appt. I have a 9:45am doctor appt. and then a stop at Ambrosia for coffee. I hadn't been sure whether they were doing blood work this morning, so I fasted overnight. Ambrosia is the reward. Love their Ambrosia blend coffee, especially with the fresh whipped cream.

iPhone photos don't do it justice...

I'm a good girl this morning and manage to ignore all immediate temptation. I do buy two baguettes, muffins (zucchini, bran, blueberry, and cranberry) for the freezer at home. I realize time has gotten away from me but manage to get to Swanky Spa (can you believe the name?!) just on time. Having my hands and toes done is scrumptiously relaxing. By the time I'm finally home I'm starving and exhausted. Good thing there's time for a bit of relaxing reading and a little tiny nap before heading back to CL to meet BB at the new Three Oaks Park.

The walking paths don't link up in any circular pattern, but BB and I manage to get a workout. Lovely site. Three Oaks Recreation Area. This was a stone quarry and in exchange for allowing the access roads to be closed for several years, the owners turned over the site to the City for recreational purposes. I look forward to bringing grandchildren and friends here next summer.

13 September 2011


Can't believe that these two thought this one up on their own.

And then, this little guy just can't seem to smile big enough...

LC is 8 weeks tomorrow.


After a brisk walk at Health Bridge, LL comes to my house to admire the newly upholstered furniture (her sister DV is the decorator). Love, love, loves it. As do I.

After checking out all the changes and planned changes, we head up to Lake Geneva for LL's belated birthday lunch. Can't resist showing off Simple to her. Another gorgeous fall day and the perfect place to be on such a day.

LL observes an entree at the next table, which we both end up ordering. So beautiful, and so, so good.

*Quinoa Roasted Corn Fritters
Crispy quinoa roasted corn fritters, diced tomato, avocado, cilantro, egg over easy, chipotle cream sauce 8.95

After brunch we wander the shops of Lake Geneva, buying not much, but admiring tons. I've a mental list of what's here, and may be back before the week is out. There's a lovely blouse at Jones New York that would be perfect under my grey suit jacket should I decide to dress conservatively for the upcoming family wedding in Peoria.

I'm home for the day by 1:30pm, and enjoying the experience. Then, I read an email from the hardwood floor guy suggesting I stop by his shop to finalize the contract and pay the deposit. He plans to begin redoing the floors on Monday, October 3rd. I quickly review my time options for the remainder of the week and know that I need to get this taken care of today. I can use the trip to CL to take care of some outstanding errands--dry cleaner and library--and since I purchased a Groupon today for new eyeglasses (sunglasses) I decide to stop at Pearle Vision and check out the potential frames and pricing.

Pearle Vision

I've found the perfect pair of sunglasses and the price is right, but I decide to wait a bit before ordering--the Groupon is good for 5 months. I love the new frames, so I don't intend to wait long.

We've tons of leftovers from our dining out experiences over the past few days, so dinner is a breeze. It's a late night for CA--his team won again--a very good soccer season so far. I can always entertain myself with junk t.v. unless I get inspired to finish one of my projects--sanding a side table, sewing a fleece/fabric throw for our bedroom or felt kids toys, photographing and logging the antiques I intend to sell, etc. I've many half finished projects.

Not sure that da coach will actuallly be cooking for us...

I spend the remainder of the evening ironing out travel arrangements for CA and JL for our October visit to D+M in Orlando. The plan is that CA and I will drive down together, but after 4 days he'll fly home to work. During that time we'll use a different Groupon to stay at Mike Ditka's Runaway Beach Resorts in Kissimmee with the kids--taking that opportunity for two days at the Disney theme parks. CA will head home on a Wednesday morning, and then JL will fly down on Sunday for a few days and make the return road trip with me. She'll have a chance to visit her late husband's family, and together we can visit our aunt and uncle near Cocoa Beach. Being retired ladies, we can be very flexible about our return trip. Sounds good.

12 September 2011



Responsibility versus happiness. Jean Barnery is a young Protestant cleric in Barbazac in 1900 when he divorces his severe wife after falling in love with Pauline, the independent-minded niece of an upper-crust parishioner. Jean's also an heir to a high-end prcelain factory in Limoges. He gives his fortune to his wife to assuage his guilt over the divorce. He pursues Pauline; they marry and live idyllically in Switzerland. Then, duty calls: his family asks him to come to Limoges to run the business. He accepts, ignoring Pauline's wishes. His new responsibilities, as well as his fighting in the Great War, change him and his relationship with Pauline.
written by: jhailey@hotmail.com (from imbd.com)

Beautiful film. Very long: 180 minutes. Some might call the pace too slow, but I love it. Emmanuelle Beart is particularly lovely as Jean's second wife--the absolute love of his life. Her character is multi-layered and fascinating.

The tragic story line is of Jean's daughter, Aline, whom he abandons from a very young age, with much regret. The grown-up Aline is a gorgeous Mia Hansen-Love. Tragic, but take heart, she doesn't die... Her life takes a different turn as she grows up without her father--not know of her father's great love for her. His inability to express his adoration of her does frustrate.