Archive for April, 2013

Our Clan Had A Medicine Man

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

I hate working weekends. It makes me crabby. And I have to do it on a regular basis. This weekend in particular was guaranteed to be a rough one. The week began with the Boston Marathon and tragedy and stress and heartache and loss that will be ongoing. Then the horrific explosion in Texas that wiped a whole town off the map, crushed a nursing home and killed scores of people. Add in tornadoes, an earthquake in China and here in Chicago flooding. If ever a Friday night called for hard cider and gluten free pizza, this was the one. And Saturday would be best spent with multiple pots of coffee and  the newspaper in the a.m. and restorative yard work in the p.m.

Granted, the Duggan Sisters fared better than many with the flooding. When I bought this old house seven years ago, I had 11 foundation cracks sealed immediately. The guy did a great job and the basement has been bone dry. Then last year we found one more crack. But it’s small and rarely a problem and always seems to move from the to-do list to the maybe next time list. But this time the rain was different: powerful, relentless and exhausting.

Annie heard the sound of water in the basement below very early on Thursday. She and Clare had clocked in hours of moving furniture, removing rugs, protecting stock, emptying 25+ industrial-sized buckets of water, and sandbagging with towels (which were then relayed for washing and drying) before I even woke up.  When I did wake up, I didn’t recognize the sound of the industrial bucket on wheels being dragged across the basement floor. I thought we were being robbed and was tip-toeing around carefully upstairs, trying to get my bearings, and stifling a scream when I realized Clare’s bed was empty. OMG! They’ve taken Clare. (more…)


Noah, get the ark. It’s Springtime in Chicago.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

It is raining torrents. The back yard is flooded and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the rhododendron and astillbe the girls transplanted on Sunday does not float away. It’s praying time again: Lord, please keep the roof intact for one last Spring and I promise you we will find a way to replace it. Yep, it’s April in Chicago, the sky is dark green and threatening, temps are dropping fast, and I want cooked food. Here ‘s what Annie served instead.

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Spinach Strawberry Salad pairs perfectly with a hearty and heart healthy Walnut Pate. Chow down

Walnut Pate from a Jenny Cornbleet recipe that tasted, I swear, like meat. I kept taking small bites and saying, wait, WHAT is the taste here? (more…)


EXPOsé: Conclusion – Lean, Learn, Leave

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Mary DugganEXPOsé: part 4 of 4

By Mary Duggan


There is an energy particular to the final day of any large fair or expo. In some ways it is a little slower, as some attendees have already left town. But the wrapping up loose ends, making trades, swapping wares energy required to bring it on home is actually it’s own kind of stress. At EXPO it involved talking with people who had spent big bucks and traveled far to be there and needed to maximize their investment. Kind of like us. So the last day continued with the intensity of the first two right down to the very last minute, when the lights are promptly and decisively shut off to encourage registrants to vacate the premises.

Expo_from Australia

From Australia to Anaheim, Ashton is seeking the NEXT big thing. No worries mate. The Duggan Sisters are ready to rock the globe!

The last day is also about (more…)


EXPOsé: Part Three “How sweet it is!”

Saturday, April 6th, 2013


Mary DugganBy Mary Duggan

Leaving Chicago I was aware of the publication of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In; but I never imagined the kerfluffle that would ensue. I missed most of it as EXPO held my full attention the week of the book’s launch. Steadily working my way through the week-tall stack of newspapers that awaited my return I got a sense of the debate. That and seeing the author when I turned on the TV to see what Katie and Piers were up to. My favorite moment in the debate was reading a guest writer for the Chicago Tribune who identified herself as someone who had not read the book but wanted to criticize it anyways. Okay. She seemed to find more value in watching the HBO series GIRLS. Really? If you can’t Lean In enough to actually read the book in question, then maybe get out, right?

I am taken with the synchronicity popping up here between the COO of Facebook and the Duggan Sisters – please don’t laugh. As I struggled (more…)


EXPOsé: Part Two – 5 Years In

Friday, April 5th, 2013

The glam shot that started it all.

By Mary Duggan

When I look back 5 years to the beginning of this deodorant adventure, I am astounded at what I did not know, did not know I would need to know, did not know I would come to know, did not know what I would want to know, and can not believe I now know. Got it? I turn sixty this summer. I know I am supposed to say 60 – the new 40. But actually I think I would have to say 60 – the new exhausted.


Five years ago I was firm in my resistance that we should not spend the extra money to have our photographs on our business cards. Annie won that round and set the date. That appointment led not only to photos on our business cards, but also (more…)