Archive for the ‘Our Precious Animals’ Category

Dinner at the Dunes

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Mary Duggan

By Mary Duggan

Hobbling away from the Indiana Dunes on Sunday I worried that I was losing my beach mojo. It felt just a little too hard: too much prep, too much dragging, too much driving – and that scared me. Summer beaching is an important part of my personal identity and my family heritage. It’s also on my list of okay, I’m ready to die now markers. I can no longer get to the beach. Along with, I can no longer take long hot baths or read long complicated books. That sort of bucket list. (more…)


Having Choices Was My Greatest Gift

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

MaryDuggan_hands on hip

By Mary Duggan

It’s days before my big birthday and I would rather be otherwise occupied than explaining a recent blog. But okay, let’s try this again. And I will leave out the elegant metaphor or was it an analogy? Whatever it was, I still think it was spot on (as everyone seems to be saying lately) if we are ever going to figure out what keeps people from reclaiming their precious health.

The point I was trying to make is this: did anyone involved in your medical care make clear to you that you have choices? Did anyone say there are two ways to look at your __________? Here you have to insert the type of auto-immune disease you have been diagnosed with because there are so many. A big part of the conversation is why so many and a big part of the answer is the inflammation that links these conditions. But first, about choices.

I know in my case the docs made clear there were no real options or choices. I have found in years of discussions with other folks suffering from these myriad disorders that they were not presented choices either. And there’s the rub. Okay? Sorry but I will not allow you to take away my English Literature degree altogether. And I will argue with you that having a choice in the manner of your medical care is such a gift. Many medical maladies are permanent and irreversible and tragic – autoimmune disease isn’t. (more…)



Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

By Mary Duggan


Wednesday, 10 AM: Annie and our friend Ron unload the “Duggan Sister Experience” onto the dock at the Merchandise Mart and then head to the 8th floor to find our booth and get our badges for the Beckman’s Handcrafted section within the Chicago Market. All Annie wants to do is race home to her Joey. She has been up all night encouraging Joey to breathe, please breathe, and eat, please eat.



Thursday, 12 noon: Annie and Mary and Clare stand around a metal examining table at LaPar Animal Hospital, watching and weeping as the vet puts our enchanting little Ragdoll cat and guardian of almost 15 years to sleep. Joey gone – from sickness to death in less than 10 days. Some three weeks after losing our beloved Tabby, Seamus, Joey’s best friend and champion of many years. We ache with grief.



Thursday, 1 PM: We go home, clean Joey’s litter box for the last time, throw all of Annie’s urine-stained bedding in the washer (I think Joey must have done this when I was loading her into the carrier) and then stare at the phone numb and waiting for the vet to call with the autopsy results. A physician, stunned and saddened, wondering what went wrong, has offered a free autopsy and biopsies. An autopsy: unthinkable and unimaginable just a few days ago, but now somehow necessary for all of us to heal.


Thursday, 2 PM: Joey has been gone from our lives for 2 hours and we are discussing the shocking results of her autopsy. We have survived part one, the information from the autopsy, and now we begin the ten day wait for the biopsies to provide I don’t know what. There are new images that we do not want to think about. Is this all part of that concept everyone calls closure?


Thursday, 3 PM: Annie sets down the phone, looks across the table at me and says I have to work or I will lose my mind. So we go to the Merchandise Mart and set up our booth and never stop working until today, some six days later.


Beckman’s: Post-Mortem

We are so tired that we’re nauseous. That is what a show, wholesale or retail, does to every single artist every single time. You assemble a singular and stunning booth showcasing your wares. You stand and explain and educate and sell and endure insults and ignorance and accolades. You do it indoors under lights too bright with unforgiving concrete beneath you. You do it outdoors in wind that sometimes becomes a microburst or a tornado and you stand shivering in snow in early October and you get rained on until you are soaked to your kneecaps. You sometimes sell big and sometimes hardly get noticed in the crowd. And then you disassemble your perfect booth and pack it into a van and drive to your home which might be across town or across many state lines. You are an artist. These shows are absolute bread and butter essential and they kill you every time.


They also do something else; especially when you are hurting so badly that your breath is very shallow from the pain in your chest. Artists create beauty and wonderful ragtag community. Community and beauty are the one two punch that heals if you can keep your broken heart open just enough to let the light in. (more…)