Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wedding Accessories

I'm one of those girls. I didn't think I would be one of those girls, but I totally am.

I never thought I’d be someone who was into the cheesy wedding-logo crap and all of the various wedding accessories.
I don’t know why I didn’t think I would be this type of person. The signs were all there—I went to Australia and bought six or seven Australia tee shirts and a boomerang, I went to USC and now own one of pretty much everything they sell with USC stamped on it. I’ve actually had to hold myself back from buying a USC trailer hitch cover, and my car does not even have a trailer hitch. Evidently I am someone who likes having the THING and also all of the accessories with it.

But for some reason I got up on my high horse about silly weddingy stuff. I used to think, "Oh, I'm superior to all of that nonsense. I don't need a big flowy dress and a tiara and who wears those stupid "bride" tee shirts anyhow?"
ME that's who. Because I’m EXACTLY the person for whom they market this crap.

I DO need a big flowy dress AND a tiara.

And this bedazzled BRIDE hoodie.

And these white flip fliops, for pre-wedding pedicures.

And some of these tee shirts for my bridesmaids (have I mentioned that my bridesmaids are my 4 oldest nieces? NIECEMAIDS.)
And this honeymoon tee shirt.

And this super awesome USC garter which is, like, a magical compilation of my current interests.
And these forks, for the wedding cake.

I also think I need these cups.

This might be getting out of hand.

My name is Superjules and I have an accessory-buying problem.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I’m engaged!
I’m getting married!
Can you believe it? It happened in September and I sort of still can’t.

Niall and I had gone on a couple of fancyish vacation-type trips, but he picked a regular old go-to-LA-and-watch-a-USC-football-game weekend to propose. It was perfect.
It was also a complete surprise.
I wondered why he was acting so weird and kind of hurrying me along in the bookstore when he KNEW I wanted to try on a tee shirt. I didn't clue in when he asked me what my favorite spot on campus was (I answered “Right here in the center, where everything is going on!” So then he asked me where my favorite place on campus was that I hadn’t shown him before-- I thought he was interested in learning my favorite haunts, but apparently he was trying to subtly get me to lead him to a less crowded area. (It worked.)). We wandered over to the alumni house and apparently while I reveled in the thought of standing in the very room where the first USC students lived and learned, Niall was gathering the courage to ask me a Very Important Question.
We walked outside to admire the statue of Joseph Widney and his dapper pocket watch, and Niall turned to me and told me that he loves me and he wants to spend his life with me. "Will you marry me?" He asked.
And then I gaped at him and said "Really?" for about two solid minutes before I came to my senses and said YES.
We’re getting married in June, which, I have learned, is not six months away.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

full of beans

Age zero to 29- I hate coffee. Coffee is the worst. It is gross and yucky. It SMELLS delicious which is a BOLD FACED LIE because it tastes like sadness and damp washrags. If I need to drink something caffeinated I will have a Coke or a Pepsi or tea with lots of milk and sugar or I’ll just have snacks instead.
Everyone who likes coffee has already tried to convince me that coffee is great or that I just haven’t tried this PARTICULAR drink or that I’ll grow into it and no. NO I SAY! Coffee is Satan’s preparation H and it can go right to hell.

Age 29- my sister buys me an “Ice Cap” from the little drive through coffee place in her tiny godforsaken Oregon town. It is some sort of ice creamy milkshakey caramelly orgasm in a cup that is now the drink yardstick against which all future tasty beverages shall be measured. The next time I visit my sister she buys me the horrendous CEARLY ALL WRONG abomination “equivalent” from Starbucks which I take one sip of and say YLECH. Ice Caps! I don’t like coffee, I like ICE CAPS.

Age 30- I’m stranded in Oregon after driving up with my sister and her kids. There was a plane crash at SFO and now nobody can fly into or out of SFO and every tiny airport on the Oregon coast has turned into a shit show. Planes are grounded, but I have to get home to go to work. I manage to rent a car at one of the aforementioned tiny airports, so I stop at the little coffee place and buy the BIGGEST ICE CAP I can get my hands on and then hit the road. YES I’ll take that extra shot and whipped cream etc etc all of the sugar please and thank you. Half an hour later I have to pull over because I’m too tired to drive. I reassess the situation and trade in my rental car for a Greyhound ticket and spend the rest of the day pondering how the Ice Cap failed me. (As a bonus, I get off the bus in Oakland to use the bathroom and my bus leaves without me, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Age 31- I cautiously try a caramel mocha frappuccino at the local coffee shop. It’s okay, I guess. I try the regular mocha frap. Gross. I try the regular caramel frap. Gross. I try the caramel mocha frap with extra caramel drizzle on top. It’s okay, I guess. And by that I mean okay enough to have one about 3-5 days per week for a year.

Age 32- Frappuccinos are hard to spell and they’re expensive and I’m kind of tired of them. I’ll try this iced coffee. Ylech. Iced coffee is gross, but maybe if I add some whole milk and a drizzle of caramel it will be tolerable. Yes, I’m sure I wouldn’t like to try a HOT beverage, thankyouverymuch.
When I'm home for Christmas my brother in law brings me the same hot coffee drink as my sister- something marked “CM” on the cup. I go to Starbucks and deduce that it must have been a Caramel Macchiato. I try one. I like it.

Today- I ordered a caramel macchiato and it is delicious. WHO AM I. WHAT IS THIS LIFE. THE SUN IS SHINING THE TANK IS CLEAN.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Silent Night

I bought a nativity set a couple months ago. I got it because it reminded me a little of the set my parents had when I was a kid and also I like nativity sets for Christmas decorations and also I like playing with little figurines, and unfortunately as an adult lady with no children, playing with little figurines doesn't come up as often as I'd like. Anyhow, I hauled out the Christmas stuff last weekend (because December started and so yay CHRISTMAS!!!!) and today I unwrapped the nativity set. I have some questions.

Okay, there are Mary and Jesus. And that's for sure an angel with the wings. And the little shepherd boy with some sheepies and cows. So far, so good.

And then, uh. Who... are all these people?
I thought... Wait. Aren't there supposed to be the three wise men and Joseph? If that's Joseph on the far right with the halo, why does he also have a shepherd's crook? I know what you're thinking, but it's too short to be the walking stick from his journey, it's clearly a tool for shepherding. Also he's an old man, basically far left side wise man's long lost twin bro. And speaking of the wise folk, if those are the three wise persons with hats and bundles, who is that fourth lady person? Does somebody have a carrot on their head? What is going on here?

Oh, wait. I think figured out how it's supposed to look.
Okay, so in the center we've got Mary and Jesus and Mary's partner. And then on the right there is the angel and the shepherd and his apprentice boy and their animals. Over to the left side are the two wise men and one wise woman who decided to go a little more stylish with her wise hat. I like this. Whoever designed this nativity scene gave it a nice modern twist (which still allows for immaculate conception!).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

15. go backpacking

When I wrote this list item, I think I meant that I wanted to go on one of those trips where you hike out to where you are camping and wear a big backpack with all of your supplies.
Well, screw that, me of the past.
On my trip to Ireland (yes, evidently you’ll be hearing a lot about this. Sorryish), I knew I would want to carry around a… bag of some sort. I bought this purse at Ross because I thought it would be big enough and was also cute. But then I hemmed and hawed over it for ages until I finally realized I couldn’t convince myself to like it and I should just return it. So I did. And in a stroke of sheer brilliance I searched for “day pack” on Amazon, and lo! I found a whole world of lightweight, durable, folduppable backpacks! I ordered myself a hot pink one and used it the whole time I was in Ireland, exclaiming to Niall at least daily “Have I mentioned how much I love my backpack?” and he would wearily nod his head.
See what I did there?
I still use it on the weekends now that I’m home. It’s excellent for shopping or errands because I can have my hands free, and it’s great for bringing an extra layer or several since I tend to get cold. It was also oddly comforting to have the other day when I went to my trauma survivors speakers’ board meeting; putting it on felt like I was getting a little hug. Or perhaps I really have gone insane. Whatever. We’re all just going to have to accept that Julia? Comes with a bag!
I’ve affectionately nicknamed it my pa-pack because that’s what my 2 year old niece called it. It’s… probably cuter when she says it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

4. milk a cow

I thought I had an idyllic childhood of excessive romping about the yard and swimming from dawn till dusk, until I saw where Niall grew up.

That’s his family’s dairy farm in Ireland. It's... pretty awesome.

When we went to Ireland in May for my vacation and his visit home-and-show-everybody-his-American-girlfriend trip, we managed to have a nice balance of spending time with his family and friends interspersed with doing touristy/travelly things for me since I’d never been there before.
We saw the Cliffs of Moher, dined and walked around at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, I kissed the Blarney Stone, we saw the Book of Kells, and drank a pint at the Guinness Storehouse. We also spent five days staying in holiday homes in Kenmare with his parents, sisters, and their kids and visited his extended family at the dairy farm. They are spread out in several houses on the farm property and we visited them all. I’ve never had so much tea in my life.
I embarrassed Niall by taking photos of the gorgeous scenery and we got to see his uncle’s fancy new milking machine. The lads were intermittently in and out doing chores and cutting silage. We visited the little calves and walked down to the lake.
In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I... um... did not actually physically milk a cow, BUT I had a good long visit with Niall’s grandmother, aunties, uncles, and cousins on the Irish dairy farm. And I’d much rather do that than announce hey it’s been nice talking to you all but I’ve got an item to cross off a list so can somebody point me in the direction of the nearest cow teat. It’s a scavenger hunt, not a checklist. There’s no prize crossing off each item; the fun part is the experience.
Especially if the experience includes getting Niall to stand awkwardly in front of things while I take his photo.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Story Time

My sister told me a story about her friend who lives down the street from a cemetery:
Her friend bought a house down the street from the cemetery and a couple years later she and her husband started noticing bubbles forming in the epoxy floor of their garage. They had builders out who discovered that under their house is a natural spring and the water had caused damage (and epoxy bubbles). So they had the floor dug up and the garage, basement, and foundation redone.
And under the foundation they found miscellaneous horseshoes, pottery, tombstones, and, oh oh, not to mention several BODIES. Evidently their property was part of the cemetery back in the 1900s. The bodies were supposed to be moved when the land was re-zoned, but evidently someone fell down on that job.
So, what would you do in this situation? (Move, right? You’d have to move.)
Apparently the land/remains/odds and ends were deemed as not historically significant, so the builders diverted the spring water to the neighbor’s yard for their garden, and then DUG THE FOUNDATION DEEPER, TOSSED IN THE BODIES AND CEMENTED OVER EVERYTHING. And then told my sister's friend afterward.
Sis: “Right? I couldn’t make this up. It’s like the legless man who robbed the bank in Crescent City.”
Sis: Oh, there was a legless man who robbed the bank in Crescent City. I don’t know why he didn’t just pay someone to drive him away because he got away with 35,000 dollars but then he waited for the bus and they had to lower the handicap lift for him since he was in a wheelchair.
Me: …. O_o

This is what conversations with my sister are like, you guys.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


The problem with July is that the end of it always runs into the beginning of August.
My birthday is in the end of July.
The anniversary of when I was violently sexually assaulted is in the beginning of August.
It’s basically a recipe for disaster.

I tend to get a little sad around my birthday, which I HATE admitting. Before this year I thought I was just sad around my birthday because of crappy things happening, but I’m realizing that perhaps I’m just one of those people who gets Birthday Blues. Which is LAME and STUPID, because I can try to logic myself out of feeling sad but the FEELINGS don’t go away.
Anyway, I’m generally a little sad around my birthday.

Two years ago, I turned 30 and then a few days later I went on a trip for a conference/vacation combo and came home a rape victim/survivor.
The conference I went to is an annual event, in late July/early August.
This year, the conference just happened to perfectly coincide with my birthday.

I didn’t realize how much that would affect me until I collapsed into a puddle and had a good long cry, after leaving the bar early where I had met up with a few friends for my birthday.

People I know went to the conference this year. They schmoozed and gossiped and had a grand time at the conference that I was attending when I was raped, that also happened to be on my birthday. And that’s fine. Nobody owes me anything (except for my rapist who owes me a new pair of underpants and ALSO THE LAST TWO YEARS OF MY LIFE).

It’s LAME and STUPID that I would be sad that people I knew went to the conference. It’s LAME and STUPID that I would be offended at the very existence of the conference. The conference didn’t hurt me. But trying to logic myself out of them doesn’t make the feelings go away.

So apparently the end of July and the beginning of August are just going to suck for… who knows how long? And it’s nobody’s responsibility to make it suck less, except mine. The world didn’t change when I was raped, just my world.
But that doesn’t stop me from irrationally wanting apology letters from the conference and perhaps a burning effigy or SOMETHING that makes my pain and feelings real and tangible to somebody else because sometimes I feel like I’m still going crazy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Labyrinth Epiphany

I was hanging out with my nieces the other night and we decided to watch my favorite movie, Labyrinth, because they had never seen it and also because I bribed them with popcorn and sodies.

Upon this watching I realized:
1.       I really love this movie.
2.       I REALLY love this movie.
3.       I really LOVE this movie JUST AS IT IS.

Spoilers ahead!

I used to love this movie with an asterisk because I always got annoyed with Sarah for not falling instantly in love with Goblin King Jareth and his riding crop.
In my imagination version of the movie, Jareth would successfully seduce Sarah and they would return the baby to her dad and stepmom or maybe they would keep the baby and raise him together in the Goblin Kingdom, but either way they would run off together and Sarah would be a magical queen of David Bowie's tight pants.

But instead! Sarah holds her ground against Jareth and gets the baby back and then returns to her regular life as a more worldly and mature young lady (with a little bit of magic on the side).
This used to frustrate me to no end, but now I realize that homegirl was right on! She picked up on Jareth's shady behavior and made it clear she didn't want what he was selling.

Sarah asked that the Goblin King take the baby away. He took him.
But then she changed her mind (which a lady is allowed to do at any point if a situation makes her uncomfortable AHEM) and realized it's a mistake and she wants him back.
And then Jareth goes all date-rapey creeper vibe on her. Oh what? You’ve changed your mind? You don’t mean that, LOOK AT THE PRETTY CRYSTALS. You still want the baby back? Okay, come and get him. But first, allow me to introduce you to this impossible situation in which I will set you up for failure, turn your friends against you, and manipulate your emotions! I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MAKING ME DO THIS TO YOU.

And Sarah’s all: Nope. Give me my brother back. You have no power over me.
You go girl.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

43. refinish my grandmother's cedar chest

A few years back my sister gave me an assortment of furniture she had in her garage, including our grandmother's cedar chest. Driving it from her house to my apartment in LA made me feel like I was hauling my own coffin, but once I got it into my place I loved it. It's a very nice, very solid cedar chest that faithfully holds sweaters and blankies.
In our new place, Niall set it up in living room bay window nook and we popped a new cushion on top of it.
It looks great, and does not seem to need any actual tools or sanding, so I'm calling it done! (This is one of the benefits of having a Life Scavenger Hunt-- I don't feel hemmed in by the rules.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


The important part of this story is that we have a couch. I guess that means you can stop reading now. You’re welcome.

From the beginning: Niall (boyfriend) and I moved in together. Which is a big step! But it doesn’t so much feel like a Big Step because we like each other and he was already spending most nights at my place anyhow, and I was very very ready to not live in my too-close-to-baseball-traffic apartment anymore (side note: everyone told me that baseball traffic only matters during baseball season. DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG BASEBALL SEASON IS?).

Anyhow. We told my Catholic parents and then we told his Catholic parents and then we found a place and moved in together. I love our new apartment, for several reasons:
1.       We both live there.

2.       Bowie lives there, too.
3.       Two bedrooms (one is ours and one is spare, but Bowie seems to think one is his).
4.       Two bathrooms (one is ours and one is mine).
5.       Both sets of our Catholic parents are happy for us that both of us live there.
6.       It’s like a mini HOUSE. Well, technically it’s a townhouse. Bottom floor is a little garage, and then you go upstairs and there’s the kitchen and living area, and then you go upstairs again and there’s the bedrooms and bathrooms.
7.       The bay windows.
8.       It has a little patio. With a screen door so Bowie can sit and look out at it.
Or stand and look out at it.


We're still getting settled, but we did make some grand strides this past weekend. Up until last week, this was how our living room looked: one million boxes of my crap everywhere, my old TV, and two chairs.
You'll notice that Niall had no problem claiming BOTH CHAIRS.
I sent the above photo to my family which had the beneficial effect of my sister piping up to offer us one or two of her spare couches, and then the not quite so beneficial effect of everyone else offering us the contents of their garages.

So on Sunday we reserved a Uhaul. Our rental started at 10AM, so naturally the Uhaul place didn’t even open until 10:30, and then when the place did open another couple cut in front of us but instead of saying anything I just passive aggressively tweeted about it. ANYHOW. We finally got on the road, and by that I mean that we stopped at my sister’s house to pick up the couch, and then back to my parents’ house to pick up some bookshelves (and Bowie)
and then stopped again in San Jose (storage) to pick up some chairs and a coffee table that was my grandmother's.
and then drove to our apartment in San Francisco. We carried the two bookshelves and the coffee table and the chairs upstairs. Then we yanked off the blocks from the couch to make it into a couch with no under before attempting to carry it up the stairs
and around the corner.
And we learned that no matter how much we tried, the couch would not PIVOT.

So we went to plan B which was to set it on fire heave the couch over the back fence and through the kitchen into the living room. We carried the couch back down the stairs, loaded it up into the Uhaul again, and drove around to the back of the house. (We had to drive to the back of the house because, as I mentioned, it is a little townhouse. It’s connected on both sides to our neighbors and ours is in middle of something like 20 townhouses in a row, each with their own little wee patio/yard but only access to said yards if you go THROUGH the houses. The yards all back up to the next street over, which is where we drove. Everybody with me?)
Okay, so. Then we unloaded the couch from the Uhaul and heaved it UP ONTO the fence. I held the couch balanced on the fence for a few very precarious minutes while Niall ran down the street, back around to our street and the front of the house, up the stairs and out through the kitchen into the garden, climbed up on a ladder, and pulled the couch over the fence and down to the other side.
This, by the way, is the fence:
Chair for scale.
Then I ran down the street, back around to our street to the front of the house, up the stairs and out through the kitchen into the garden, and picked up the other end of the couch and we brought it into the living room where it will now stay, presumably, forever.
This week Niall is full of energy and I’ve spontaneously burst into tears three times.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

93. kiss the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle

The stone is allll the way up there?

 To the top...


It was a bit rainy that day, but a few lads I had met told me that the locals sometimes like to go and pee on the stone, so I was happy for the weather (even though I did fall down a flight of the slippery castle stairs).

Friday, April 18, 2014


If you had told me five years ago that I would be eating quinoa with avocado and calling it an acceptable lunch, I would have…. Well. I would have asked you what the hell quinoa was.


Today I had the unexpected pleasure of learning how many people in my office pronounce it “vayse” and how many people pronounce it “vahse.” I’m in the vahse camp.


In my continuing efforts to maintain my position as Favorite Aunt I have had my niece and nephew come and stay with me for overnights, separately, for Fun Times with Auntie. When my 9 year old niece came to stay I bought her a cupcake and a bag of cookies and took her to a movie (Muppets Most Wanted). Then in the morning we got donuts for breakfast and went to the flea market where she bought a bunch of little glass animal figurines (a girl after my own heart). And THEN we went to the trampoline park. When my 11 year old nephew came to visit I took him to a baseball game and then we went out to dinner at this kind of cheesey arcade gamey place (where, for about $40 worth of tickets, he got a pair of wind up chattery teeth). Then in the morning we got donuts for breakfast and went to the flea market where he bought a crossbow and a Samurai sword and a lighter and I think I just figured out why my sister said she doesn’t want me to take him to the flea market anymore.

Speaking of Muppets Most Wanted, how awesome was that A Chorus Line reference? I wonder how many people got it.


Last Friday night I went out to see my friend Lisa perform in Foreverland, which was just spectacular. And this is going to sound like a backhanded compliment but I usually hate live music. If I’m going to a bar and I hear there will be live music, I’ll pick a new bar. I don’t go to shows because I get tired of standing and bored of watching music. But anyhow I USUALLY hate live music, but I LOVE Foreverland. Enough to have seen them FOUR TIMES. This last time was 80s night, so the boy and I got dressed up in our 80s finest. I bought him some 80s finest at the Salvation Army, but he gets full credit for making a trip to Old Navy for the sole purpose of purchasing a purple headband. And I wore… stuff I just had lying around, which basically justifies every impulse buy EVER. And I grew up watching my sisters do their hair so I knew how to attain some killer 80s bangs.
I’m pretty excited to have a boyfriend (BOYFRIEND) who will dress up with me.


Ugh. I actually wrote this post yesterday when words like quinoa and donuts didn't make me feel queasy and then today I had to leave work after an hour and a half because I felt so sick. Waves of nausea and cold sweats and having to call a lyft to take me home since I couldn't drive. The worst part was that I was in the middle of seeing a patient and had to excuse myself, ask one of the docs to take over my appointment, and cancel the rest of my day. Every once in awhile I get annoying nonspecific symptoms and abdominal pain so bad that I cannot function and it's super embarrassing and inconvenient. Especially when I'm IN THE MIDST OF A WORKDAY. Ugh. I'm cranky.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shopping Trip

I knew traffic was going to be terrible so I stopped at Ross on my way home from work tonight. Oh darn.

Question: Do I need this extremely practical travel purse? Hear me out. I'm going on a trip to Ireland in May and I'm thinking maybe I do. I like that it has a shoulder strap and a zipper. My regular purse is of the over-one-shoulder variety and I'm thinking perhaps I'll need my hands free to hold my beer and pet the sheepies. Anyway I bought it. It was $40, which is a bit steep at Ross, but it's The Sak and seems to be leatherish and sturdy and I dunno I just like it. For traveling! See the handy passport pocket?
Quarter for scale
I also bought a dress for my sister. I had sent her an orangey-pink dress for her baby and she was really excited when she first pulled it out of the box, "Oooh, it's just my color! I lo- oh, wait." So anyhow I saw this dress today and I thought maybe she'd like it.
I also got her this little floofy sweatery thing.
Not to wear together, but knowing my sister she actually might. I usually don't buy clothes for people that they wouldn't be able to return, but my sister kind of lives in the middle of nowhere and I want to send her a dress. I realized that I like the picking out and sending enough to justify the fact that it might not work out every time. I'm sending my sister these things and maybe it'll fit and she'll love it, or maybe not. And if not she can give them away to somebody else or cut them up to make new playclothes for the Von Trapps or whatever.
Even if I bought her a dress from Macy's where they have a great return policy she still wouldn't be able to return it for months since she lives nowhere near a Macy's of any sort. The point is that I thought of her and sent her something I thought she'd like and that makes me feel good, so yay. (It's this logic that led me to buy my other sister a purple dress from Belk when I was in Carolina.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

dolla dolla bills y'all

I recently took my car in for its 245,000 mile service. It was a minor service, which cost me $62 last time. But this time I had a surprise need for new brakes. The mechanic called me “You need new brakes, is that okay?” Me: Um. YES. Yes please. BRAKES. Give me the newest brakes that you have. BRAKES ARE IMPORTANT.
Anyhow, my “minor” service now consisted of new brakes and fixing a valve to the tune of just over seven hundred bucks. Which, that was fine.  I cheerfully slapped down my credit card, because BRAKES. My 1997 Honda is still chugging along (I hope I didn’t just jinx her), but this unexpected major expense got me thinking about money and how I manage it, which, incidentally, is not very well.

I tend to go in cycles. For awhile I’ll put everything on my credit card and studiously pay if off every month. And then I’ll start feeling like that is a Bad Idea because technically I’m spending imaginary FUTURE money when I use my credit card which can be dangerous and spin out of control. So then I’ll start paying cash and using my debit card, but then an unexpected expense will pop up and I’ll start getting nervous about the payments I have on auto debit so I’ll ‘borrow’ some money from my savings to pad my checking account a little bit and then I’ll start putting a few things here and there on my credit card and then I’ll go fully back to credit carding but I never feel like I’m completely settled in a successful way of budgeting.

This just won’t do. As of today I am implementing a new system.

Setting aside lofty financial goals (retirement) and other expenses (student loans), I came up with a couple lists of things I have observed about myself. My financial strengths and weaknesses, if you will.

Things I cannot do:
1.       Save money in my checking account- Can’t do it. I don’t know where it all goes but it’s like my account is a leaky bathtub. If it the money’s in my checking account it won’t be there for long.
2.       Save money in my savings account if it is easy to get to- Transfer money to checking, you say? Don’t mind if I do! And then: leaky bathtub phenomenon.
3.       Trust myself to keep an accurate calculation of all of my spending- I have my student loan payments and a couple other expenses on auto debit and I’m forever nervous that I’ll spend too much from my checking account and end up being overdrawn.
4.       Accurately calculate- Because let’s be honest.
5.       Pay for everything with cash or debit- See items 4 and 5.

And, to make myself feel a smidgen better. Here are some things I CAN do:
1.       Maintain a small ‘buffer’ of money in my checking account- I do an embarrassing amount of math every month to MAKE SURE I have more money in my checking account than I have things it is slated to cover.
2.       Save money in a savings account that is difficult to get to- I do save money. I do!  It is safer if it is difficult to access (It is safEST if I don’t even know it is there. Which explains why I've put cash in milk bottles and squirrel them away in hiding places so that I eventually forget about them (or have I?)), so now I have an account that isn’t affiliated with the bank where my main checking account is and I also don’t have a card for it or mobile access on my phone. I have weekly automatic debits set up that transfer money from my checking account to my savings. To access that money I would have to transfer it BACK to my checking account and THEN use it. For some reason that extra step helps the money actually stay in the savings account and not get bathtubbed away.
3.       Pay off my credit cards on time and in full- My mom taught me to always always ALWAYS pay off my credit card ON TIME and IN FULL. Always. Thus far there has only been one instance wherein I did not do this. It was during the time in my life when my crazy ex was being a human suckerfish and siphoning away all of my money/energy/self-esteem and I was trying to keep my whole situation from unraveling completely so I got a tad behind on some things. I couldn’t QUITE pay off my credit card bill one month and so I had to let the balance sit there and the fees start accumulating until I was moving and starting school again and trying to get things back in some semblance of order. So I womanned up and …  uh. Asked my mommy for help. She looked over my bank statement and SIGHED AND SHOOK HER HEAD (if you knew my mom you’d understand that this is actually quite terrifying and an awful punishment in and of itself). Now I always pay off my credit cards on time and in full. Always.

Okay, so I know you are waiting on bated breath to hear about my NEW SYSTEM. Taking into account what I am able to do and what history has learned me that I am definitely unable to do, here is my new system:

1.       Pay for most things with my credit cards- and obviously pay off my credit cards on time and in full
2.       Maintain only a small buffer of money in my checking account to make sure I’m never overdrawn when my auto debits and other payments go through- any extra money in checking gets transferred into savings
3.       Always have enough money in savings to cover the amount of my credit card spending at the time it is credit carded

In that way it’s like I’m using my savings account as a SUB-checking account, if you will. Pay for stuff with my credit card, pay my credit card off with my checking account, but have enough money overall so that I’m not actually going into debt when I use my credit card.
I’ll keep only enough money in my checking account so as not to ever be overdrawn because any extra money in there will just disappear. So instead of keeping it there and fighting against its natural tendency to disappear, I’ll transfer any extra dollars to the external savings account.
Technically I suppose AM spending future money that I haven’t earned yet because I pay my credit card off with the money from my checking account which I earn each payday. But I DO have the money, it’s in savings, it exists. And if I needed to I could take it out and apply it to my credit card payment, but I'd rather keep it in savings and apply my new money from payday to my credit card. If this makes any sense at all.

I was talking about this with Sunny and she told me that she has a system of three accounts: checking, savings, and spending. On payday the money goes into her checking account. Then she transfers a certain amount into her spending account to, uh, spend. And then if there is leftover money at the end of the month in her checking or spending, it goes into savings. Maybe I should have talked to her first and I wouldn't have come up with my system of buffers and credit carding, but we all deal with our leaky bathtubs in different ways. What's yours?