Bonnie Challenges: March Journal Prompts and Pescatarianism

Dear Readers,

I’m almost done with a full list of 365 Journal Prompts, but for now (again…) I just have March for your enjoyment. This month is one of stream of consciousness, which simply means writing whatever comes to mind and letting that develop into whatever it wants, from thought to thought, as organically as possible.

Each day is assigned a word, and that should be where you start: a story related to it, feelings about it, a description of it. Then let your mind run as it will.


March: Stream-of-Consciousness Based on the Word Provided

  1. Sky
  2. Plane
  3. Ground
  4. Ceiling
  5. Boat
  6. Clothes
  7. Food
  8. Drink
  9. Party
  10. Bed
  11. Chicken
  12. Trip
  13. Journey
  14. Vacation
  15. Pet
  16. TV
  17. Book
  18. Pen
  19. Bottle
  20. Treadmill
  21. Shoes
  22. Phone
  23. Door
  24. Window
  25. Table
  26. Chair
  27. Basement
  28. Diary
  29. Robot
  30. Paper
  31. Oven

My March challenge, in addition to the journal, is to go Pescatarian, which is like vegetarian but allows fish. I also want to spend less time on Facebook, but that’s not an official monthly challenge…it’s just a general life goal.

Are you doing any monthly challenges? If so, what are they?

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

5 Ways to Stay Motivated During Self-Challenges

Dear Readers,

Doing these Bonnie Challenges is a lot of effort. It wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t, but that also means it can get really difficult to keep it up if motivation stays down too long. I know I find it hard to look at my challenges every day and actually want to do them.

Some days I’m psyched. I do them right away, pat myself on the back, and start my day confident.

Other days I wake up, ignore them until I want to go to sleep, then groan my way through them before falling into bed.

The tough days were the ones that took a lot of mental reminding, yelling, threatening, and pleading, but as days keep passing, I figure out more and more ways to stay motivated or create motivation when I was uninterested and apathetic about the whole ‘challenge’ thing.

There are a lot of ideas online, but I find learning my own patterns and what works for me goes better than trying to follow someone else’s idea of motivation, mostly because those just seem like another thing to tick off.

So, here are five things that keep me going during my 2017 Bonnie Challenges:

1- Stickers!

Gold star stickers were one of the greatest things I received for completing things as a child. Even in my high school chemistry class, we got star stickers for grades within certain ranges, although those were better because they were different colors (!!!) and we got to use them to ‘buy’ either a handmade hat or a baked good from our teacher.

Yes, people paid more attention to her on average than they did other teachers.

A couple days into the year, I decided to start putting a sticker on my Outlander calendar for every day I completed my challenges…ALL of them. And in the spirit of Scotland, I chose to use unicorns.

At first, there were only a few, and I didn’t mind if I missed one. Other things kept me on task.

After a week, though, I began to feel obligated to keep putting the little unicorns with their friends, and there were some days that I only did my challenges so I could put little Marsali with her pals.

Now I have almost two months of unicorns/horses trotting their way across my calendar, and it’s so satisfying.

2- Make it Easy

For my 365-Day Journal Challenge, I had to start doing something very simple but effective: I now throw my journal onto my pillow at some point during the day. That way, when I want to go to bed, I have to pick it up in order to do so…and at that point I might as well just write in it.

Plus, if I want to go to bed when I’m ready to fall into it, I have to write in my journal earlier to get it off my pillow.

Finding a way to put the challenge right in front of you can simply create automatic responses, and that’s exactly what you want. Then, if you want to keep the challenge going as part of life, you’ve already got the habit.

3- Attach the Challenge to an Existing Habit

Besides putting my journal on my pillow, the way I’ve managed to make writing in it every day a full habit as opposed to having to remind myself is that I made it part of my bedtime routine.

After 4-5 weeks of being consistent, I now feel the urge to write about my day every night before bed. It’s wonderful and a great way to clear my mind so I can actually sleep.

Now I just need to attach my other challenges to existing habits and I’ll be good to go.

4-Put Your Challenge Where You’ll See it Every Day

I kept my January Handstand Challenge on the bulletin board in my room. Besides that, I have the calendar with my stickers on it on my wall, which is easy to see. I now have a journal dedicated to this blog, and I’ll leave that sitting on my desk (sometimes on top of the stacks of other stuff on my desk….).

Seeing it all the time means that if I don’t do it, I’m simply ignoring it, and my own sense of pride won’t let that happen.

5-No Mental Negotiations/Don’t Leave Room for Choice

The willpower to stick to your challenges/goals is really difficult when there’s room for choice. The times I think “Well, it wouldn’t be so bad if I skip it just this once, and do I really need to do this? It’s an arbitrary goal, and I’d feel much better right now if I just didn’t do it” and mentally reply “well, maybe…” are the times I have to fight myself to keep going.

Doing that all the time is exhausting, so it should be an exception, not the rule.

When the question of if you really need to keep going or should keep going or want to keep going comes up, immediately think “YES!” No room for argument. Unless it’s actually life-threatening or will lead to injury, there cannot be a question.

That said, if you’re constantly in a mental argument with yourself (as well as hungry, or tired, or sore, or whatever), you might just need to ease back on your goals and work up from there.

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Do you have any challenges/goals set for you life? If so, how do you like to stay motivated? Do you think any of the above methods will work for you?

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani

Glengoyne Distillery Chocolate and Whisky Tour

img_0038Dearest Friends,

Last Wednesday, my flatmate and I went to Glengoyne Distillery for a Chocolate and Whisky Tour. This wasn’t difficult to do. We caught the B10 bus to Balfron and hopped off at the distillery (…not literally, of course. The bus stopped at the stop right outside the distillery).


img_0027We were there early enough to grab a few pictures of the surrounding landscape before getting our tickets for the first tour of the day. The distillery itself had the exact atmosphere you want with whisky: lots of old wood and white paint with architecture that makes you (okay,
me) think of sheep.

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The tours run every hour on the hour, but I recommend going early in the off season. There were four people in our tour, and it allowed us to do this lovely thing called see everything and get near stuff and not be squished. I wouldn’t want to be in the distillery with a much larger group, and they apparently can get relatively large during peak season.

It’s still worth it, though, if you’re interested in some whisky and some history.

For the tour, I armed myself with a notebook, a pen, and my camera…although I didn’t take pictures of inside. I was too intent on what our tour guide, Janet, was telling me. She was very kind and started to make sure I was able to take accurate notes. She went so far as to spell the questionable words.

That means I have many pages of scribbles, but I’m going to pull out the things that I find the neatest.

  • Glengoyne has copper stills instead of stainless steel ones. Stainless steel ones cause the alcohol to come of tasteless, meaning it needs to be blended to make a whisky, but it can also be used for vodka. Using copper means it’s a whisky straight away and mostly just needs to be weakened to an acceptable level of alcohol before bottling.
  • The first person to make whisky there was a farmer in 1833, although Janet pointed out that he probably practiced first because his 1833 whisky was really good.
  • Most distilleries, including Glengoyne, but their grain prepared instead of going through the malting process themselves. Glengoyne can store 100 tons at any one time.
  • A coup is something the grain goes in that tips over when it fills. 95 of those makes 1 mash, and 1 mash is 3.25 tons.
  • Glengoyne doesn’t use peat at any point, so their whisky doesn’t have the smokey flavour of some others. I don’t actually know entirely what this means in terms of taste, but I’m assured it does, in fact, matter.
  • 22,000 liters of water go through 1 mash over 7 hours to get out the husks of the grain and create the wort, which is then mixed with yeast…60 kilos of yeast with 19,000 liters of wort. The room with the big tubs for this part smells like baking bread and it’s glorious. The tubs are made of Oregon Pine (she thought us Americans would enjoy that), and when the mixture inside stops bubbling, it’s done.
  • The fermenting with the yeast sparkles a bit because of all the bubbles. Sparkly, bread-dough-smelling, alcoholic mix.
  • After going through the whole distilling process, the liquid is from 75-78% alcohol/volume. They mix in water until it’s weakened to 63.5%, at which point they put it in casks. The whisky comes out in 10-25 years at a lower %, and then they sell at 40% for the 10-year, 43% for the 15-year, 18-year, and 21-year, and then 58% for the 25-year.
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This is a wall in which they show the stages of maturation for the whiskies. From left to right is the 10-year, 15-year (could also be the 12-year…my notes aren’t clear on that), 18-year, and 21-year. On top, it shows the types of wood used for the cask, and the casks on the bottom have the name of the type of cask on them.
  • They have two different warehouses. The older one is still stacked like they did originally: three high with the ends of the casks facing. The newer one has more shelves of casks and rolls them in, so if there’s a leak at the back you won’t know for a while.

    Types of wood they use.
    Types of wood they use.
  • They use lots of different wood, including casks once used for bourbon since bourbon only uses casks once. They only use Spanish sherry for the older whiskies, and they don’t use a refill cask for the 21-year.
  • Only the casks made from American wood are called barrels.
  • The 15-year we had is 30% bourbon.
  • The 21-year was 100% a first filled cask.

This little trip was also the debut of Boudicca, my Valentine’s gift to myself and my new companion hedgehog. She had a good time.

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Overall, if you like whisky or are curious about distilling, this is a good place to go to. We didn’t have many questions, but our guide looked really interested in answering some. She might have welcomed the chance to get off-script a little bit. My flatmate and I got the chocolate tour, which was amazing and a little strange mixing the sweetness with the whisky, and the other two people with us got the Gold Medal tour, which was slightly older whisky. They seemed to enjoy it.

They let you takimg_0081e your whisky home from the tour, too, if you’re driving or just want to. They have cute little jars to put it in.

 

However, if you don’t really like whisky, stick to one of the shorter tours that only has one tasting. You’ll save some money and still get lots of information.

What do you think? Have you been? Did you enjoy it? Would you go? Let me know!

Your Bonnie Celtophile,

Dani