Prompts 76-77

Prompt 76: When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter? Why did you do it? How did you feel afterwards?

I like sleep. Like, a lot of sleep. I was definitely a cat in a previous life. The hours from 12am-6am are sacred to me. “But Sara,” you cry, “that’s only six hours!” Yes, dear reader, you are perceptive. Just because I love to sleep like a cat does not mean I do. I can function (and actually do function best) on six hours of sleep, provided my sleep comes during those particular hours.

So all-nighters aren’t really a thing for me. Not since college anyway, and I did not make that a habit (see: I’m definitely a cat masquerading as a human). There was only one project I can remember staying up til 4 or 5am to finish and that was a research paper for a history class I had in my junior year. I don’t remember what the paper topic was but I do remember I was reading several books about about Imperial Russia. I also remember putting on Pirates of the Caribbean as background noise and eating at least 3 bowls of ramen over the course of the evening. I think I got a B on that paper.

A more recent example would be when I tried to stay up late to get caught up on my NaNoWriMo word count early in November. It was a Friday night and I’d had a nice dinner with my husband and we swung through Dunkin so I could get a latte to give me some energy to power through the night while he played video games (in solidarity of course, not because he’s a total night owl who would have been up that late playing games anyway). It backfired and I crashed around 2am.

I have a very tricky relationship with caffeine. One cup of coffee in the morning and I’m good to go for the rest of the day. The 3 o’clock slump hits and I need a snack and/or a diet soda. Anything more than that later than that will just make my brain crazy while my body continues its normal evening slowdown. I’m sleepy but wired. Can’t stay awake but my mind won’t let me sleep. And if I do manage to get into restful slumber, my dreams are wild.

The same is true of nights before big events (read: my wedding/honeymoon). My wedding night was probably the closest I’ve come to “all-nighter” in years. It was close to 11 by the time we got to the hotel after the reception and we were just so excited we couldn’t get to sleep. So we opened our cards and talked about everyone who came and tried to remember all the moments of the day (it’s true, it really does fly by and you don’t remember 80% of it). We had an early flight so we had to check out by 5am and I don’t think we got to sleep until close to 2. I wasn’t up through all of my sacred hours, but it was damn near close enough.

As for how I felt after my all-nighters? Pretty obvious: tired. Naps were necessary to recover. At the very least, a much earlier-than-normal bedtime the following night. I’m prone to migraines as well, and lack of sleep is one of my triggers. Even if I’m not awake all night, if I haven’t had enough sleep, I can guarantee you I have a headache the next day that won’t go away, even if it’s not a full-blown migraine.

What about you? Do you stay up late often? Maybe you work 3rd shift. How do you feel after? Write it down. There might be some inspiration in there.

Prompt 77: What is your favorite holiday ornament or decoration? What makes it so special to you?

When my husband and I had our first place together while he was in grad school, we got a fake tree and some colorful baubles from Big Lots. I strung some popcorn and cherries. We had both white and colored lights. It was very festive. We split the holidays between our families but we still wanted our own little bit of festivity in the house even if we weren’t going to be in it day of. Of course we put pictures up on Facebook, shared them with our family, as you do.

We came back from visiting our families laden with gifts and ornaments from our respective childhoods. The following year, our tree had a far more eclectic mix of ornaments that blended our lives together even more. We also bought a unique ornament that year. I’m sentimental about most of the ornaments my mother let me take for myself, but that one is special.

We’re both fans of Firefly and he had seen an ornament online that was a miniature version of Jayne’s knitted hat from the episode “The Message.” So of course he bought it. It’s no bigger than the palm of my hand, and it’s such a silly little thing, but it’s my favorite because it’s the first ornament that was “ours.”

Ok, your turn. Think about your holiday decorations. They don’t necessarily have to be Christmas. What one is you favorite? Why? Think about your characters. What holidays do they celebrate? How would they decorate? What would they feel drawn to? Write it down!

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