Archive for June, 2012

Swinging Doors

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Memories of a first job, a senior prom and a big, yellow convertible collide in this simple story that both touches the heart and tickles the funny bone.  A look back to her earliest encounter with golf, the good life and a summer when everything changed. This summer coming of age story might trigger some memories of your own.

Return with Mary to 1971 — a time of tentative beginnings and equally uncertain endings.


By Mary Duggan

I grew up in a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago called Beverly Hills. Everyone calls it Beverly, to not confuse it with the sunshine, movie stars, and glamour of Beverly Hills, California. There are two country clubs in Beverly. One built for Protestants called Beverly Country Club. And one built for Catholics called Ridge Country Club. I have ten siblings and lots of us worked at the Club. I’m sure you can imagine which one. I joined the team at Ridge as a waitress. I started the day after my senior prom in June of 1971.



Chester Strolls the Street of Death

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

By Mary Duggan

When my beloved dog Ceiliedgh died at age 15 she had a soccer ball sized tumor hanging from the side of her body. She had carried this expanding growth for five years, a constant and terrifying source of concern for me and visible to one and all. At the time of her death it weighed in at about 20 pounds and required constant care. Ceiliedgh had adapted bravely to its growth, her spine twisting and distorting in an ongoing effort to maintain balance and mobility as she adapted to being a 60-pound border collie on a 40-pound frame. It broke my heart that I had unwittingly contributed to her suffering and ultimate death.

Lots of happy memories.

Annie with Ceiliedgh.

A Walk on the Beach

Our first 10 years were really healthy, with few if any visits to the vet. (more…)


Meatloaf for Muggers

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

By Mary Duggan

When I say I am a worrier, I mean if my 16-year-old cat is curled up, blissfully enjoying a sunbeam, I stare long and hard to make sure he is still breathing. I take the very ingredients of a peaceful existence and wrap worry around them. When I say good-bye as you head out the door, I mean don’t die in transit. When I say good night, I mean please wake up in the morning. When I say have fun, I mean come home from the carnival in one piece. When I say worry, I am talking layered.

Layer one: never let someone’s age or maturity deter you.

My nephew is 24-years-old. On Tuesdays he works 9-5 for us, followed by an hours long editorial meeting at his other job. I worry about him having enough nourishment to sustain him on such long days. So, I try on Tuesdays to get our dinner ready early so I can pack some for him to take to his evening meeting.

Layer two: inspire others to worry as well.

I have gotten Annie invested in this if we don’t feed him he’ll keel over on the El tracks program. She now syncs up with me in the kitchen on Tuesdays. Our nephew is a good sport about our largely raw lifestyle, but we really enjoy auntie-spoiling him on occasion too. He is a true foodie, a super conscious eater and (more…)


My Summer of Molting

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

by Mary Duggan

I identify with birds. I am captivated and inspired by birds. I heart birds. When I purchased The Rose Cottage, some 6 years ago, I went in way over budget. I had to have it. The yard is filled with birds due in great measure to the bird sanctuary developed by my next door neighbor. Inside of our home, as well, bird imagery abounds. This past winter and spring brought lots of bad news about my health. So, of necessity, this summer begins a period of change, hopefully transformation. My summer molt, if you will.


I have decided to get my molt on. As we are spending very little time in public this summer, I think it’s a good time to take this on. It’s a necessary and natural ritual every now and again to shed ones skin, make some changes and see what returns in the Fall. A molt is triggered by crisis or angst or the not so simple need to regain or reestablish what is authentic in one’s life. Deeply experiencing each category lately, I figure it’s high time and highly important. My sisters think it’s hysterical, but they are learning to accept its meaning in my life.


I stood before the mirror, trying to get my mousy brown paper flat molt hair to pouf. I was racing to get out of the house for our standard Wednesday night at the movies. Clare poked her head in the door. Are we ready yet? This is Clare’s way of saying you are making us late. “My hair looks awful! I look like Margaret Mead!” I offered in explanation for making us late. I was not used to my hair being a problem. (more…)


Natural Shampoo Regimen

Friday, June 15th, 2012

In this post: A series of health problems, disappointments, and outright crises forced Mary to take a look at her health to see if there wasn’t more she could be doing. It was time to shed her skin and build some healthy new habits in the process. Here she shares her new hair care program. Click here to read  the first installment of Mary’s Summer of Molt. 

by Mary Duggan:

Shampoo and Conditioner Recipe:

Put about a 1/2 inch of borax in the bottom of an old shampoo bottle. Add warm water and shake. Then you just squirt a bit on your hair. It doesn’t lather but feels kind of slippery so you know where it is. Rinse it out with 1\8 tsp -1\4 tsp citric acid in 16 oz of warm water – we use an old cream rinse container. Then rinse out the citric acid. It smells fresh and wonderful.

More on the Borax Shampoo:

While the borax shampoo does not lather it nonetheless goes right to work removing sweat and soil without stripping your color or natural oils. It inhibits scalp bacteria and stops flaking and itching. Hair gets squeaky clean so quickly (just a few squirts does it) that you might think nothing has happened! You will soon be accustomed to non-lathery soap. Clare has super oily hair and she has found a few techniques to help with this. (more…)


Lifestinks in the Blogosphere: Fit Bottomed Girls

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Jenn, we can’t wait to hear what you think about lifestinks®! We’re sure you’ll love it. Thanks for your write-up on Fit Bottomed Girls. We agree that lifestinks® is a great eco-friendly find for the summer and it’s cost-effective too. Our refillable stainless steel decanter comes with about nine months of deodorant. That means lifestinks® only costs about $3 a month to get started and goes down to about $1.50 once you start refilling as a part of our green refill program.

We recommend that you start with the lavender regular strength and only step it up to extra strength if you consistently apply the stinkstick booster. We have some great YouTube videos to answer any questions that you might have and get you started. Keep us updated on your eco-friendly summer. Lifestinks® puts you in control — even on the hottest days — to keep you dry and odor-free. While your readers are waiting to hear your thoughts, check out our video testimonials to hear from members of the lifestinks family talking about their experience with a natural deodorant that actually works.