declutter

Talking to myself

Finally. I have channeled the inner YouTuber that exists in the depths of my soul but was too busy or afraid to summon until now. I started a personal blog as a hobby two summers ago. I created an unlisted YouTube channel out of necessity about two weeks ago.

“Hey Guys!”, as the elite YouTubers and vloggers would say with such enthusiasm. Welcome to the world of remote learning. This place is strange. On Friday, March 13th, I was not so cordially invited to the world of distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Other educators across the nation, around the world, and in my own living room, because my husband is also a teacher, have had no choice but to deliver instruction and learning guidance to our students using online platforms.

 The college course for teaching elementary students remotely during a pandemic was never offered in the credential programs. Strangely, I have a distant memory of sitting in a Saturday Seminar teacher course at Saint Mary’s College in 2005. One of the keynote speakers mentioned something called YouTube. It was described as some form of online communication. I jotted it down somewhere but didn’t spell it right. I think I scribbled down, “You Too”.  I was half listening at the time.

It is now April, 2020. I made the official decision to upload some of my teaching content on YouTube as a supplement to the other components of my remote learning model. The virtual audience for this new platform is the most important following I’ve ever had. They are the 8 and 9 year olds whose physical classroom setting and teacher were suddenly taken from them this year and they won’t be getting them back as a third grader. It’s been life-changing and heartbreaking. I wanted to give each of the kids an opportunity to still see and hear their teacher somehow.

It felt awkward at first, filming and essentially talking to myself, but it has evolved into a fun and creative outlet for me as well. I purchased a cheap ring light and a microphone. I taught myself how to edit video clips and add music and some cheesy time-lapse effects and transitions. In these trying times, I’ve actually found something that’s motivating and fun, and I thank my “followers” for this.

Imagine my delight when I found out that one of my students watched my writing videos and in turn, wrote a beautiful personal narrative based on the strategies and tips that I had demonstrated. Someone was listening! If not the student, their sweet and helpful parent who may have learned something too. I remember what that felt like within the four walls of the classroom and I’m still mourning the loss of those powerful teacher-student moments when information clicked for all parties involved.

This is a challenging period in everyone’s lives, but as I try to convey to my students often, we should keep learning, keep creating, keep documenting this historical time, and try our best to keep having fun. I’m not sure how many of my students realize it, but they’re all motivating me to do the same.

The face of someone who talks to herself and still needs to use a teacher bag while working from home.

In case you would like to read my 3rd grade level writing.
declutter, family, favorite things

The Great Grandma Collection

My grandma on my Dad’s side lived in San Francisco during my early childhood. For many years, she was a hairdresser at Emporium Capwell who enjoyed recreational shopping trips that were powered by a generous employee discount. She was a saver and a  shopper and a collector of many things. I loved visiting her house in the city because it was a unique and visually interesting experience. She lived on the second floor flat of a 3 unit building on Duboce Street. It was filled with an eclectic and colorful archive of items that she proudly displayed. I distinctly remember a large piece of wall art that had two blue peacocks adorned in rhinestones standing face to face in front of some ornate building. It was funky and fuzzy and very fun to stare at. In the living room she had mannequin heads that wore wigs of various styles. I assumed that they served as references to her in-home haircut and styling appointments. No table was left without a cloth or doily, many of which were of the crochet and bright-colored nature. She had other things stacked and organized according to systems that only she could understand. 

When I was about 11 years old, a little while after she officially retired from Emporium, she moved out of the city and moved in with my parents and me. She became an official member of suburbia. I was excited to welcome her into our home. She was warm, funny, and kind. I learned more about her quirky collecting nature and witnessed how she managed her belongings within a living space that was definitely more limiting than her place in San Francisco. She scaled back, but she still utilized various types of containers to store her many beloved treasures. She took the city bus around Vallejo so that she could bargain-hunt while everyone else in the house was at school or work. She tucked things away into the compact spaces in her little bedroom (formerly my childhood bedroom), and catalogued scraps of paper mementos into envelopes and perfume boxes.      

An envelope that was packed away. Glad she saved them for another day.

Grandma was also a social butterfly in her close knit circle of friends within the Filipino community. She regularly attended many gatherings and events and I loved seeing her get dressed up for dances and celebrations. She owned traditional formal Filipino dresses, ternos with high butterfly sleeves, and Maria Clara gowns with beautiful coordinating skirts and shawls. She also had other endless outfit options for whatever the specific occasion called for, whether it was a big outdoor picnic luncheon at a park, or a formal holiday party fundraiser event. 

The costume jewelry and accessories that went with all of her looks were truly something special too. She owned hundreds of necklaces and earrings. Bracelets and watches were endless. A couple years after Grandma passed away, my husband and I held a garage sale and we sold a good amount of her accessories (after I hand-picked and held on to my favorites). Yet, I’m STILL currently discovering MORE hidden collections today in and around my childhood home. 

Uncovering the Great Grandma Collection has recharged my motivation and goals of buying less fast fashion or mass-produced clothing and accessories. It’s much more interesting to imagine the stories behind someone’s previously loved items. It’s also fun to know that I can sustain the life of that object for at least a little while longer and add another bit of history to it. If I could meet Grandma again, our shopping philosophies and ideas of home decor and organization wouldn’t match up. But I’m glad that I can enjoy the outcomes of some of her past shopping trips (at the most thrifty price; $Free.99). I’m thankful and honored that I can unlock a new layer of excitement for some of the items that sparked her interest and self-expression decades ago.

She was quirky. She was chic. She wanted to archive the small moments and big milestones of her life, so she labeled the envelopes of her mementos with short descriptions that were scrawled in grandma cursive. What better way to learn even more about her and honor her by incorporating some grandma flair into my own life, and document it the way that she would have wanted to? Thank you for shopping and saving, Grandma. Your style and your stories will come back again, and they will live beyond the collection of envelopes, bags, and containers that I love to rediscover.

balance, declutter, family, gratitude, health and wellness, live in the now

Keep the Original

December brought on a big wave of house reorganization and another much needed reminder of the People Not Things philosophy. The story remains pretty much the same since I started this blog. 

I still have too much stuff. 

I have more than enough. I went “shopping” in cabinets, closets, and the garage. I rearranged and recreated new living spaces all around the house. I transformed my living room with less than 3 simple furniture moves and now I have a new and noticeably better open space that also sometimes doubles as a behind-the-scenes home gym. 

The inventory is constant. I just hadn’t stopped and evaluated it since the summer. My kids discovered new old toys; awkward additions to their brand new Christmas gifts. I was reminded of how much blank paper I have in the house. Unopened printer ink cartridges that I forgot about sweetened the deal.

I still believe that I have enough craft supplies to entertain the most bored child who ever walks through the front door. I came up ahead and “made money” with gift cards that were freed from the junk drawer. Free crafts and caffeine might make for an epic rainy day experience. If it happens to be a high UV day, the family and I will be thoroughly protected from the sun AND from germs for many years with the amount of sunblock and hand sanitizer that I found.

The rediscovery of all this great stuff came with a price, even though I didn’t make any new purchases. I easily spent hours sorting through piles, bags, and papers. My kids had their share of screen time sessions (when they weren’t playing with their old new toys)  as I wrangled clothing, shoes, and USB charging cords. 

I learned the same lesson all over again. Every item or group of items in my house requires varying amounts of time and attention. Reusable grocery bags sometimes delay the departure to the store by about two minutes due to the trip back inside the house or to the other car to get them. On a cold day, three to four warm winter coat options are nice to have, but storage and maintenance, along with the decision-making process could easily add up to the equivalent of total coat-wearing minutes altogether. 

The one item that holds the most value after this recent decluttering session is one of the new board games that my daughter got for Christmas. She asked me to learn and play the game with her at the height of the “stuff shuffle”, and I was a bit stressed. Initially, I didn’t have enough patience to focus because I was devoting my time and my thoughts to the things that needed to be put away. It was a poor showing of being present.

Luckily, my board gamer husband and YouTube stepped in, and we all learned to play and enjoy it around the family table. I then realized that the neatly stacked pile of other board games (new and vintage), that are rarely played deserve time and attention. Playing Plastic Bin Tetris for an hour in the garage to either put something away or apprehend an item isn’t as fun. 

A reminder.

I’m once again trying to slow down the stream of incoming items that arrive here. I am aware of the inventory. I have a lot of stuff. I have the people. The amount of time and energy however, are unknown and limited. Some of the clutter will outlive some of the people. It’s a morbid thought, but it’s real. 

So instead of cleaning the cleaning supplies tomorrow, I’m going to enjoy all the things that will never fit into a basket or a box on a shelf in the cabinet: Eye contact. Hugs. Holding tight and laughing. Sending a genuine text to say thank you. Tastes and smells, and certain sounds that keep me grounded. Letting go and breathing.

I’ll never be able to store these things away and rediscover them later in their original form. But there’s time for all of it now. I’m sure of it.

I’ve cleared the space.       

declutter, family, favorite things, travel

Temporary Treasures: Midwest Thrifty Wardrobe Challenge

 I will be traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan soon. It’s time for our annual summer trip to visit my husband’s side of the family. 

Packing for this trip used to be a bit stressful. However, I’ve figured out a different approach that allows for packing light (aside from the kids’ items).

Two summers ago, my husband and I took on the challenge of traveling with just the essentials (underwear, swimwear, footwear), and the outfit that we wore on the first day of travel. Then we purchased all  of the rest of our clothing at St. Vincent’s De Paul and Goodwill. To make it even more fun and interesting, we set a budget of $20 each. 

We did pretty well. I found some fun items that I thought were cute and fit my style. Some were worthy enough to keep and bring back home to California. Other pieces were stored at the in-law’s house for the next summer, and the rest of it was donated back to the thrift stores before leaving town.  

This year I would like to level up the challenge. I plan on sticking to the $20 budget. However, at the end of the trip, I intend on donating all of the items back to the thrift stores before we leave, passing on my temporary treasures to someone else who may enjoy them next. This is also a preventative effort to not add new items to my closet back home.

The fabulous new (and temporary) wardrobe for my Midwest vacation is waiting for me in the thrift shops of Menominee, Michigan, and Marinette, Wisconsin. I’m beyond excited.

I must choose wisely. I have to feel comfortable enough to wear the clothing, but not get too attached. I will let go of my personal style expectations, and perhaps take on a new style for a week or so.

As stated in my previous post, anything is possible within nine or ten days. Photo gallery to follow. Obviously.

Until Then,

Enjoy some photos of the last two rounds of my Midwest Thrift Challenge



declutter

The Discomfort of Home

I was brave today. I went back to my childhood home, all by myself. I returned to the place where my father passed away unexpectedly in his sleep on Memorial Day, 23 days ago. Since that Monday, the meaning of mom and dad’s house has evolved. Daily life has also definitely changed into what supportive friends of mine have referred to as a “new normal”.

Before May 27th, I treasured the routine of seeing him every morning, Monday through Friday, for a small amount of time before work. It was half an hour at most. The ritual would include a morning hug, a check-in, a chuckle or two as we observed my daughter and son playing, a debrief of the latest family events or our favorite TV series, and of course, the hug goodbye along with, “Have a good day”. This was all part of the transition time when I would hand off my toddler son to him and my mom for the day. He would be under their loving care while I was at work. My daughter would also be with them after school twice a week. I was grateful for all of it.

Today I found the courage to be sad. Going back to the only house my parents and  I ever knew throughout my entire childhood, and the place where my own children knew as Grandma and Grandpa’s House brought me into strange new depths of sorrow.  My most recent and raw memory of walking through the front door is when I saw my father in the same room where we sat and talked every morning, shockingly lifeless, but peacefully gone. This heartbreaking memory is important for my journey of grieving, but I know it’s also somewhat unproductive.

My actions today however, if I do say so myself, were productive. I was ready to go back. My mom was out of town with my aunt and uncle, so I knew it would be helpful to check on the house, and do a few light chores. I mentally geared up. I took deep breaths and went about life in the new routine.

Months ago, a random stray chicken from the neighborhood found himself in my parents’ front yard and they started feeding him. My dad would have wanted to make sure I gave him some food. So I fed the chicken. It had been waiting for me based on his sporadic and somewhat aggressive clucking and ruffling of feathers. I found odd comfort in this moment. It helped me continue on. It reminded me about how my dad would always find ways to lighten up the mood.

I went inside and powered up the CD player that took me a few minutes to figure out. I played a mixed CD that my dad had burned (compiled) years ago. I blasted the early 2000 jams. I fed the fish and watered the plants in the backyard.

Then, as anticipated, I sat down at the table where my dad and I used to sit, and I cried. My latest strategy for crying is to just take a few deep cleansing breaths, tilt my head back, stare at the ceiling or sky, and just let it out. Amidst the deep sadness, I accessed a feeling that was reminiscent of what I would feel when I sat in that very spot, with him sitting across from me in the mornings. I felt relief. It wasn’t the same kind that I may have felt a month or so ago when he was still here. However, the emotion reminded me that somehow, I can still find peace with any situation, deep, dark, sadness included, as long as I have just a teeny bit of courage.   


How have you mourned the loss of a loved one?       

balance, declutter, health, health and wellness, mindful, working mom

I Remembered. I forgot.

I Remembered:

to schedule the county health dental presentation

8:15 morning yard duty

to clean the house for the birthday party

to eat breakfast (in the car)

to turn in the time sheet

to make the copies

to buy the milk

the day my daughter was born 8 years ago

to drink water at recess

to say, “Thank You”


I Forgot:

to wash the swimsuits for swim team day

to sign the reading log

to throw away the pee pee diaper

to say,  “Happy Birthday” to a colleague

to go to the bathroom at recess

to gas up the car

to send the email

to speak up

the laptop charger

deodorant for the weekend getaway

to stop and take a breath



I’ll remember more things this week, and I’ll forget a lot too. I’ll receive kudos, and I’ll receive naughty note reminders.

 

Until then,

All that matters is right now. Sometimes that is the hardest thing for me to remember.

declutter

Sunnies California

In the late 1980’s, my mom had a beautiful pair of authentic Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They were definitely an upgrade from the half dozen pairs of  fashion sunglasses that were stored in a re purposed plastic McDonald’s Happy Meal bucket. The Ray-Bans obviously didn’t live in the Happy Meal bucket. These were special. They were stored in their designated case while my mom wasn’t wearing them, and she used neon Croakies during outdoor activities and sports to keep them secure and increase the chic factor. My dad made a big deal out of them, and said they were sharp. The photos of my mother wearing them during our family camping trips and ski trips really solidified her “cool mom” status.

When I was 32ish, I decided that it was finally time to own a pair of classy, high quality sunglasses. I wanted those Wayfarers. I wanted the exact pair that belonged to my mom. I thought that it would be so retro and cool, and it was also the most eco-responsible thing to do. I knew that she kept them, so I asked if she could pass them down to me. My mom made a face and frowned. “Really?” she said without any ounce of enthusiasm. “They’re really big and I think they’re pretty scratched up.” (Then why did you keep them, mom?!)

Bummer. It was all true. I learned that they didn’t really fit my mom all that well in the first place, and they weren’t really her favorite pair of glasses. Maybe that’s why she had to rock the Croakies? I was disappointed, but I was still going to own a pair of Ray-Bans even if it meant I had to purchase them myself. This was going to be a big milestone for me. Up to that point, all I knew in the world of sunglasses was the fast fashion type that you could pick up at any local Target, cheap mall store, or gas station.

So I finally did it. I purchased my first and only pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They fit really well. I felt like my eyes were getting legit UV protection. I solemnly swore to take care of them because they were expensive according to my budget. I was excited too because of how classic and versatile they were, and I knew they would last me a long time.

Womp Womp. Our time together was brief. We enjoyed a year and a half at most. There were a few trips to Lake Tahoe, and The Napa Valley Wine Country. I believe I had them for a wedding or two that I attended. I definitely wore them to a Giants game and a 4th of July celebration. Before I lost them for good, Instagram captured the memories.  

Sunnies
It’s about the people, not the Wayfarers. Well, this collage is about the Wayfarers.

After I realized that they were gone for good, I never allowed myself to buy expensive sunglasses again. I don’t trust myself to give them enough care and attention, especially nowadays when I’m trying to invest more time into people and not things. But I’m in a tricky place right now. I own the metaphorical  McDonald’s Happy Meal bucket full of fast fashion sunnies. I like having the style options, but they’re everywhere. They’re in my house and in my car, in purses, and in my classroom. I even have a slip-on pair that I got from the optometry department that go over my prescription glasses when I’m not wearing my contacts. They look pretty “cutting edge”.

Now it’s time for me to choose again. Do I purge every pair of cheap shades that I own and invest in one quality pair? This is a silly problem to have. Perhaps I should consult the Instagram poll feature.

Fast suns (1)
I spy with my many eyes…a broken pair of shades.

 

Until then,

I’m thankful that I have a pair of eyes that help me to see, enjoy, and learn about the world. Choice of eye wear for sun protection shouldn’t be this dramatic. It’s time for me to get over it.  

declutter

You Are Allowed One Personal Item

I had one of the dreaded teacher dreams last night. Thanks a lot teacher brain, there are still 16 days of summer left before I begin year 14. At least I got an idea for a post. The following however, is not the scary dream I had. It’s reality. Enjoy.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my arrival to work in the morning on a typical school day. My teacher bag rests uncomfortably on my shoulder. The straps get all twisted and dig into my skin. The bag itself is overloaded. I have my plan book in there. I like the really cute, thick spiral notebook kind that has all the bells and whistles and stickers and pockets. There’s a pencil bag full of writing tools too. A stack of papers that need to be graded is stuffed along the sides. They might go on an extended ride in the bag for a few days before I can finally sit down to grade them at home. The current novel or picture book that I’m planning on reading to my class is wedged somewhere in between papers and other items.

Of course, in addition, I need my personal purse with my wallet, phone, sunglasses, and other necessities. So now we are talking about some bag inside another bag action happening. Sometimes there’s even an additional shopping bag in the mix that is full of classroom items that I just couldn’t help but buy because they were a good deal.

All of these items hang on my shoulders, forearms, wrists. The collection also includes my lunch bag and the drinking vessel that contains my caffeinated beverage of the day. Sometimes my laptop bag is hanging on for dear life on the tip of one of my fingers. The all important 40 oz Hydro Flask is also either crammed in the teacher bag or hanging on to a different finger, testing the limits of strength and flexibility. Heaven forbid I should become dehydrated during this awkward, imbalanced walk across the parking lot.

Teacher bags2
It’s not as fun as it looks.

If I planned ahead properly, my teacher keys are already around my neck on a lanyard. If they’re not, I have to stop, drop, and dig. Walking up to the entrance of school is quite the production on most days. I’m lucky enough to have my daughter with me because she goes to school here too. Sometimes there’s a mini set of helping hands available for the small fee of a tiny sip of mommy’s iced coffee or energy drink. Oops.    

Once again, a collection of stuff has added an extra challenge, and literally extra weight to one of my daily routines. It hardly seems fair to feel this flustered, as well as experience an ever so slight degree of physical pain before the school day officially begins.

When things get really out of hand, I bust out my rickety old plastic fold-up rolling cart. It’s hideous. My back and shoulders find some temporary relief. Then I have to end up spending additional morning minutes unloading the thing before the bell rings. My back is strained again. No carts or wagons for me, I just won’t do it. Driving up to my classroom to unload stuff and re-parking the car isn’t happening either.

So the big question is, what is actually really necessary to haul to school everyday? I’m not getting any younger, and 40 (*gasp) is around the corner in a couple of years. It would be nice to have a functioning neck and shoulders throughout the remainder of my career, and somewhat healthy posture. It’s not a goal of mine to end up naturally standing lopsided without even realizing it because my body is growing accustomed to being weighed down by bags. Can I possibly lighten the load and eliminate some items?

This school year, I’ll be exploring some new options and routines in an effort to be kind to my body, while also cutting down on the amount of stuff that I cart back and forth to school. Ideas that I’d like to explore:

  • Ditch the actual physical plan book and do the work digitally (scary!!)
  • Be more mindful when buying supplies or items for the classroom. Keep an updated inventory of what I already have.
  • Manage time efficiently during contracted hours and take less work home (I hear the scoffs already)
  • Spy on other teachers in the parking lot and find the ones who don’t carry much at all. Interrogate them and find out how they are able to roll up to school and not look like they’re about to take a week long trip somewhere.

Feel free to comment with some ideas or suggestions on how I can still work efficiently and carry less. Extra points if you’re a teacher! 

Until then, I’m going to enjoy the next  16 days because it’s STILL SUMMER. Many props to my teacher friends and all the kiddos who have already started their year. 

declutter

Things Always Come Back

Things

I purchased this wall decoration while my husband and I were in the process of selling our first home. We worked hard to stage the house for potential buyers. That meant decluttering and shoving all of our possessions behind closed doors. Our realtor and the internet highly suggested to “depersonalize” our house. We did our best, but we were still living in it at the same time, so it was stressful. We stripped the walls of any photos or items that would show evidence that we had jobs, a kid, a life. I put a framed wedding photo away and replaced it with this “thing”.

I knew that I was on the verge of a huge transition that would involve dealing with ALL THE THINGS. All the things in our little house that would have to be sorted, trashed, recycled, shredded, given away, packed up, (burned?). Buying this knick-knack was a joke. I was entertained by the irony of it. I also thought that maybe it would help me put the message into action, and it would magically help me with the craziness that was ahead of us. Did it give me the strength to just get rid of everything and start fresh in a new house? No. Obviously it came back to prank me again as I’m purging away in our current home.

I had time for Bed Bath and Beyond on that fateful day. Looking back, I probably should have just taken my daughter to the park down the street instead. I was stress shopping and wanted some retail therapy. When I swiped my card, I was fully aware that I was actually spending money on this thing that encourages people not to have things. I fully believe in the message that this tchotchke promotes, especially now, as I try to shift some habits. I don’t need it written on the wall. Or shoved in a cabinet. Or on the floor where it currently is now because my daughter took my picture with it and then we moved on. I better make final arrangements for this thing.

Until then…

If there’s ever time for Bed Bath and Beyond, I will make alternative plans.   

declutter

Starting a Blog Led Me to $48.51

It’s Thursday, so I will start this post with a #TBT story.

I kept working as long as I could before going out on maternity leave when I had my daughter in 2010. I did the same when I had my son almost seven years later. During both pregnancies, I felt good and I didn’t feel that I needed the extra time beforehand to relax or get organized for a new baby. I felt that I was as prepared as I could be. I also didn’t want to wait around folding baby laundry until the roller coaster of the most intense physical pain and crazy hormonal time of my life would begin. I really like my job and even back then, as super pregnant as I was, I didn’t mind passing the time by going to work.

The two weeks leading up to my son’s birth were filled with loving baby showers, barre classes (to gear up my pelvic floor and hips), gradebooks, sub plans, and quality time with my daughter before she would become a big sister. Therefore, the piles formed. A pile of baby clothes needed to be de-tagged and washed. A pile of 4th grade persuasive writing needed to be graded. A pile of thank you cards were only half-finished, and the greeting cards that accompanied the gifts were too cute to recycle at the moment. I built very neat and organized stacks that acted as a concrete to do list. They were all ready to be put away or sent away to their designated spaces in an orderly fashion should something eventful happen.


 

*Insert newborn baby photo of son here* (Just visualize how terribly cute he looks, all fresh and new, and terrified of the world outside the womb)


He arrived, and nothing else mattered but us. The piles got pushed away and sent away and replaced with new piles. More important things were happening, like trying to keep him nourished and alive, as well as take care of myself and the other two members of the family.

I still do not know how I survived the early weeks of newborn mode with either of my children, but I know that I did, and I wouldn’t have traded those times for anything. I miss those days. Nowadays, I push myself to stay in the moment, especially knowing how fast they’re both growing up, but I give myself permission to want those early days back again, only for a little bit, to remember how we all got through it together and progressed to where we are now.

Some things remained hidden and stagnant, however. Those sneaky little piles. I found one the other day. It was tucked away in the corner of a filing cabinet drawer.  This pile was formed about 17.5 months ago. It contained greeting cards, thank you cards, two old library cards, and $48.00 in cash. What in the world?! Jackpot. I can add this to the 51 cents I found in my bag-bin thingy from a few posts ago. 

Cash
My Instagram story saw this first

I started this blog as a way to organize my thoughts, simplify my life, and learn whatever I can along the way. It seems that the same teaching point keeps coming up: STOP MAKING PILES OF THINGS THAT I WILL GET TO “LATER”! I will literally lose money if I keep piling. Did I mention that I also found a water bill that is past due? No worries, I paid it. I came up even during this little purging adventure. Time to start shifting my habits.


Until then,

Acknowledgment: Important paperwork and money are easily lost in a piles. Take care of it immediately. 

Goal for the future: See bold print (yelling text) above.

Now: It’s time for a big glass of water. Simultaneous coffee is also great.