Remembering Beth Brett: A Conversation between Beth's Sister and Daughter

March 16 is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of Beth Brett, my sister, and mother to Pippa. On the eighth anniversary of her death, Pippa (who lives in Scotland) and I held a conversation about Beth and the influences she had on each of us. Like me, Pippa is also a writer. The conversation took place at the Franconia Inn in Franconia, New Hampshire, where the family spent Christmas of 2000, the year before Beth was diagnosed with cancer. We all remember it as a happy time. I am reprinting this conversation, which I first published on March 15, 2011, in my blog “Musings from the Third Half” to commemorate my talented fashion designer sister (1945-2003). Which of Beth's qualities do you

The Writer and Home Renovation Envy

On the cold, dark days of winter, with snow and ice on the ground, I achieve my daily 10,000 Fitbit steps by jogging (slowly) in front of the TV. For a while, I would watch the news, and although informative, it heightened my stress and began to feel repetitious, as the same issues were picked over in minute detail. So, I switched to HGTV, the channel that specializes in home buying and renovations. Interestingly, after five years of pouring money into the house we’ve owned for 23 years, we have concluded we are finished with the big stuff. It’s time to settle in and enjoy a period without the disruptions and endless decision-making that renovation requires. But I enjoy watching others go th

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