Returning to Where it All Began

Last week was busy: some last minute requests at work, family visits, car breakdown in Maine, a 20-mile run, and on and on. In the midst of these activities, I learned that the Maine Government Oversight Committee was holding a public comment session about two tragic child abuse deaths in Maine - Kendell Chick and Marissa Kennedy. Both girls and their families were known to the state's child protective services.

This is where I come in. One of my main areas of expertise is children who die from abuse or neglect and the child welfare workforce. What a thing to specialize in, right? I know. Trust me. It's not something that you want to open with at a dinner party. It's best to be vague and say that I study "family violence" or the "child welfare system." That said, I once did have someone on an airplane offer to illustrate the book that I was writing on child maltreatment deaths. He was joking. And, I thought that I made dark jokes. 

Anyway, enough digres…

A Second Year to Pay Tribute to Murray

Today is the two-year anniversary of Murray's death. It's the official day to pay tribute to him, to remember all the good that he did in the world. To remember how many children and adults live without or with less violence in their lives because Murray was curious and he followed the story that the data that he collected had to tell. It's the day to pay tribute to this wonderful human being: mentor, colleague, friend, social scientist, teacher, supporter, innovator, and endless optimist. A man who saw the silver lining when many others couldn't see any lining at all. A scientist who took endless risks with his career. A man of morals and high standards. As I penned in my 2016 tribute to Murray, a man who "was engaged, enthusiastic, and totally committed to life every day, even at the end."

Today's the day that the world lost Murray; that his family, friends, and colleagues lost him. Today's the day that I lost Murray: mentor and colleague, turned tr…

Can't Comment

I haven't blogged in a long time. Actually, a very long time. Last year when I was in Washington, I managed to pretty much blog every week about all of the new experiences that I was having in the U.S. Senate, being a Congressional fellow, living in Washington, D.C., and living away from home. I even blogged when I was on the fence about my blogging, slightly worried that someone in my Congressional office would find out and tell me to stop, even though I used a lot of discretion. It's true that I had to be careful, but somehow, I managed to walk that line. 
I'm having a similar experience this year. I returned to academia, but in a new role, at a new school. Everything is new. Sure, I've been an academic in one form or another for 15 years, so I'm pretty comfortable with that identity and I know what goes on in academia, unlike when I entered Congress. Still, a lot of stuff is pretty new. Like I said to a colleague this week, "It's the same, but totally d…

Dr. Douglas Went to Washington

About 11 months ago I went to Washington, D.C. to be a Congressional fellow. And, about one week ago I had my last day working in the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill. Then, after I finished packing all of my belongings into my car, I drove back home to Massachusetts. So far, I have been readjusting to life on the Powwow River, doing some much needed weeding, unpacking, sorting, purging, and reorganizing, visiting friends and family, and settling into my new work office. Oh...and I have made no fewer than three trips to Hodgie's Ice Cream since I returned.

So, what does a year in Washington look like as a Congressional fellow?

Over a hundred hours spent in "training" sessions. Our first two weeks consisted of sitting in a hotel ballroom for 8-9.5 hours a day, with 170 other people, freezing our fanny off, and having different speakers hourly who educated us about Congress, Washington life, the three branches of government, the federal budget, careers post-fellowship, and more…

My Last Drive From Bridgewater

On Monday night I made my last trip home from Bridgewater State University. Oh, sure. I assume that I’ll be back at some point. But, this was my final drive home as a member of the faculty. And now, I’m a former member of the faculty.
It was about this time of year in 2006 that Neil and I rented a U-Haul and drove my belongings down to Bridgewater, where I started as a new assistant professor on the tenure-track. Since we still lived in southern Maine, 120 miles from Bridgewater, I had rented a cottage in the area so that I would have somewhere to stay overnight near campus. Thus, the U-Haul had my office belongings, as well as items for the garage-converted cottage. It was incredibly hot that day, as I recall – about 100°. My step-daughter, Dorothy, was a teenager and she was home sick from her job at Funtown, with a fever. This was in the days before we had cell phones, so we didn’t know she was sick until we arrived home late that night.
Our tenants and neighbors at that time had a …


Five years ago this week I penned a blog post called "Blink," in which I wrote about the fact that at that time, I had been married for 15 years. Fast forward five years to this week. On June 7, Neil and I will have been married for 20 years. In case it's not clear, that's two decades. So, this blog post title captures a bit more drama than the one before. Two decades? Blink. Blink. PAUSE. More Blinking!!

I recently wrote a blog post about noticing that I'm in my mid-40s, so I'll just say what everyone says at these times: Twenty years?How does this happen?

When I was young I once overheard my mother talking to a high school classmate. They were marveling at the passage of time since they had finished high school. I remember my mother saying, "It's only the days that are long." Indeed, that seems to be the case.

So, what does 20 years of matrimony look like? Three dwellings in two towns and two different states. Hundreds of thousands of miles dr…

A Love Letter to Drake

Washington, D.C. May 26, 2017
Dear Drake:
You didn’t know it, but last summer you were about to face the hardest year of your life, because I went away to Washington. You didn’t know that I would leave, but I did. I left you in the very capable hands of Neil, who even though he would never choose to have a dog, is perfectly capable of caring for you and is only willing to do so, because he would probably do almost anything within his power for his wife.
We have been so lucky to have so much help with you this year. Nora, who, as you know, we met in puppy class in April of 2009, has taken care of you on and off since that time. This year has been no exception…well, there has been no “off” time for her. I know how much you love her and her sweet-natured golden retriever, Baxter. And, even though you routinely bully him and push him around, he is your best buddy. (But, Baxter does have his limits. Remember that time that you pushed the limit with him over and over when we were at Batti…