The Daily Blend

Writing to make connections

Book review: Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them

Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. ThemDeep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them by Shakil Choudhury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to read this book. Assuming everyone wants to live a life full of rewarding and healthy relationships with everyone they meet.  The author makes a convincing case for changing ourselves to spark systemic change. He shows how searching our own attitudes and assumptions helps us see systemic biases. Biases that disadvantage ourselves and others. He provides specific exercises and action each of us can take to do two things. He believes we can overcome our innate negative bias. He believes we can teach ourselves to welcome the differences in others. The differences that enrich us and our communities.

One of the most striking points Choudhury makes is the following:

” In the Deep Diversity framework, personal power and the potential for change it represents can serve as a catalyst for system-wide change. There is always a dialogue, a creative tension, between recognizing the influence of institutions on the individual and of the individual on the system. The trick is holding this tension and not getting caught in the either/or polarity. This is the balance point, both emotionally and intellectually.”

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Cloth Gift Bags for Christmas Wrapping

Cloth gift bags make wrapping easyLet’s face it, lots of the things we do for fun entail consuming for pleasure. But many of us are genuinely concerned about the waste involved in some of our traditions. One way to reduce (the highest “R”) the resources you consume over the holidays is to buy or make cloth gift bags that you can re-use (the middle “R”).

Yes, I know, it seems like more fun to rip open wrapping paper. And, yes, you can recycle (the lowest “R”) wrapping paper in many Canadian municipalities. But I urge you to just try using cloth gift bags just once and see how people respond. Untying a ribbon and peeking inside a festive gift bag can be just as satisfying.

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Vietnamese Beef Pho and Asian Food at Home

Vietnamese beef pho made at homeNow that the chilly winds have started to blow I’m thinking more and more about making hot and hearty soup. Soup, for me, is the original comfort food. Put a steaming bowl and a spoon in front of me, and suddenly the world is a brighter place. You, of course, have your own comfort food. You may get that warm homey feeling when you dig into a creamy mac and cheese or aromatic lamb stew, a deep-dish apple pie or luscious tiramisu. For me, it’s soup.

Delightful surprise

So when my daughter introduced me to Vietnamese beef pho

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Reduce Shedding with the Furminator

When my daughters were eight and ten, they and my husband started talking (again) about adopting a dog. I agreed that some day we might have a dog but it would have to be a non-shedding breed. There are few things that cause me to say the “h” word, but I hate dog hair. Eventually, the dog we adopted was a mixed German shepherd and husky. Not exactly what I’d been hoping for.

Mixed Husky German Shepherd holding comb

photo by Chris Shearly

Soon there was dog fur everywhere. Yuck! Most of it was the fine undercoat fur. It’s almost impossible to get out of fleece clothing and off smooth wool jackets and trousers. We even coined the word “dust-puppies” for the clumps of fur that we found under and behind the furniture. I was desperate for a way to reduce shedding in our beloved pet.

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Sisters and Whether to Have Children

In our culture, it’s assumed that each of us will find a partner and have children.

It starts among friends and family. You know, the questions from friends like “Now that you’re married, when are you going to start a family?” or the jolly “So, when am I going to get some grandchildren?” from parents.

The questions themselves are mostly innocent but indicate that having children is expected. There is really no choice in the matter. For most people, the answer “We’re (or I’m) planning not to have children” is inconceivable.

The same goes for mass media. Advertising, television shows, movies and popular books all make the assumption that

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Sewing Resources

In a list of self-sufficiency skills, being able to sew ranksThese vintage silk threads on wooden spools are useful sewing resources right up there with cooking and keeping your living space clean enough to stay healthy. Imagine being able to shorten your jeans as soon as you get them home, or make a reasonable facsimile of those chic panels for your dining room window.

Much of my sewing career happened when I was under 20. My sewing resources then were Home Ec class, my mother and the local fabric store. Mending, altering and sewing were just a part of teenage life. Since then I’ve been glad know enough of the basics of sewing to hem pants and skirts, mend clothing, and make a few things for myself, the house and the kids. (I even taught myself to darn from a magazine article. Kind of weird, but so useful when most of a woollen sock is like new and the cheap rubber boots have worn a hole right through the heel.)

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