It has been my honor to volunteer as the Communications Team Lead for the Committee to Elect Mindy Domb. A champion fighting for the basic needs and human rights for all members of our community, Mindy has served as the Executive Director of the Amherst Survival Center for the past five years.
When Mindy and I met at a local coffee shop to discuss working on the campaign, during our marathon conversation I mentioned that I had recently listened to an interview with Jennifer Palmieri about her recent book, Dear Madame President. The book gives a snapshot of the 2016 election from her perspective as Hilary Clinton’s Communications Director as she navigates personal challenges and imparts advice to the future first female POTUS.
Two days later the book appeared in my mailbox – a gift from Mindy. That’s the kind of person she is. Needless to say, I was delighted to join a passionate and committed group of volunteers to coordinate the communications strategy for the campaign.
Despite lacking the name recognition of her opponent, Mindy swept all precincts in the Hampshire 3rd District and earned over 60% of the vote to become the Democratic Nominee. Come November 6th, I hope to call her our new State Representative!
Here’s a selection of some of the graphic design work I did for the campaign.
I’ve been a political junkie since junior high school. I’ll never forget meeting President Clinton when I was 12 years old as one of the winners of a letter-writing contest sponsored by The 21st Century (now Teen Ink magazine). Then, they chose me to attend the John Kerry/William Weld debates and write about the experience as a high school student. I caught the political bug early and have continued to volunteer in various capacities on political campaigns since college.
In high school, I attended the John Kerry and William Weld senatorial debate to write about it for The 21st Century (now Teen Ink magazine). That was my first taste of covering politics and I was hooked. In high school, I was elected to be the Student Representative on my city’s School Committee, where I learned all about dockets and budgets. I felt very important when the big binder was hand-delivered to my doorstep in advance of meetings. A binder 16 year-old me could barely skim in time for meetings.
So, when I was asked to be the Campaign Manager for a local School Committee race, I jumped at the chance to use my design and communications skills to support an excellent candidate: Kerry Spitzer.
Kerry won the March election as the top vote getter across all of the races. She now sits on the Amherst Regional School Committee.
Here’s a selection of materials I made to support her successful campaign!
Enjoy this lyric video I created for my brother’s amazing song, “Son Down.” He teamed up with Keith Dozier and Allen Shervelle to create this inspirational song for Neon Publishing. Glad I can share this amazing collaboration on Memorial Day. We’re thinking of all of the sons and daughters our there and feeling lucky for being together.
Every year the Peace Corps has a video challenge. I’ve never gotten my act together to enter but I was curious to see who won this year. Below is the winning video by Jamieson Cox. It’s a celebration of joy and happiness in Paraguay.
Here are some of the biggest lessons we learned when doing our bathroom renovation. Enjoy, Mari & Paul
Demo & Planning
- Turn off the water to the bathroom and be careful not to nick the pipes when demolishing
- Invest in a reciprocating saw (aka Sawzall), especially if you have a fiberglass tub/surround to cut up
- Wear long sleeves, a mask, and eye protection during demo, again, especially if you are dealing with fiberglass and/or popcorn texture
- Enlist the help of friends!
- You don’t need to use that much thin set/mortar under your backerboard/cementboard
- Mix small batches of thin set/mortar at a time so you don’t waste it (that goes for grout, too) and use warm water to make it easier
- You don’t necessarily need thick board – opt for a 1/4 inch if you can to make install easier
- Predrill the holes in your board if you’re having trouble installing it
- If you are not using a waterproof barrier underneath the board then you should paint a waterproof membrane on top of it (the green stuff)
Tiling the Surround
- Plan out your tile pattern before starting and determine the best placement for your shower niche if you are including one
- If installing a niche – consider buying a plastic one instead of building it yourself and screw it directly into the studs
- Invest in a GOOD tile saw (ours was not and it caused many headaches)
- Keep your area clean and wipe down tiles as you install – don’t wait until later when the mortar hardens
- Wear gloves! I didn’t and my hands suffered for it
Grouting the Surround
- Wear gloves for this part, too!
- Sponge down the tiles as you are grouting, again, don’t wait until later when it will be much more difficult (we know from experience on this one)
- Cure the grout by spraying it with water twice a day for a few days
- Seal after curing – it might take a few passes with the sealer
Tiling the Floor
- Plan our your design and start with the most important/visible area – in our case we wanted to control the look of the tiles abutting the tub
- Clean as you go
- You can reuse spacers as each area dries
- Use knee pads – they really do help!
- Cure and seal as you see fit
Installing the Vanity & Fixtures
- Enlist the help of a professional – in our case we hired a plumber to install the tub and fixtures
- Make sure your vanity and toilet and tub are the correct distance from one another according to code in your area
Installing the Toilet
- Read the manual for installing your toilet ahead of time
- If you opt for an apron type toilet (see above) know that it will be a more challenging install
- Invest in a GOOD diamond bit to drill through your tile – we broke several economy diamond bits and would have been better served with buying the expensive one off the bat
We’re finally done with renovating the bathroom! We did everything but the plumbing ourselves (and even then Paul and his dad had to pitch in). That included ALL of the tiling – the new shower/tub surround in addition to the floor.
I have a newfound appreciation for any person who has ever tiled anything – who knew a shower niche would take so much time and energy and that I would literally lose the skin on my hands while laying tile.
Some of my favorite parts of the new bathroom are:
- The hex floors
- The Delta shower and tub faucets (partially obscured by the blue whale in the photos)
- The metal bead on the shower niche (that was the easy part)
- The beautiful handmade wooden stool gifted to us from our realtor
- The Joe Hill poster and the Jane Mount Ideal Bookshelf 364 print
Enjoy & Happy Renovating!