DIY parrot toy built with lollipop sticks, dowel rods and pine wood.

Controlling Nothing to Live in the Now

Controlling Nothing to Live in the Now

Calified. A word minted in 1998ish. Calified has nothing to do with calcification, California, or calisthenics. Calified is the act of my husband, Cali, finding a way to improve something by applying Calification Techniques.

Case in point: The Super Bird Creations Chewable Paper Bird Toy.

Super Bird Creations Chewable Paper Bird Toy
Super Bird Creations Chewable Paper Bird Toy

It is also Snickers’, the indefatigable scarlet macaw, favorite toy. Without exception. We bought half a dozen. He enjoyed them thoroughly. With each fresh Lollipop Stick Toy installed, while removing the dead Lollipop Stick Toy, calification took place.

You can’t see calification at first. You can hear it sometimes. An intelligent creative guy talking to himself and his bird. “This isn’t very sturdy. This edge is sharp, I’d have rounded those. A better pine wood would stand up to this abuse.” Calification is smooth, consistent, and inevitable. Because there are minds that inventory constantly looking for a better way. That same mind is talented enough to create it, too. Between toys 4 and 5 he’d come up with what needed to happen. I ordered lollipop sticks. He ordered hardware and borrowed my little hobby glue gun. (Which was later calified into a professional level badass cordless glue gun that could, if necessary, be used as a weapon in any level of HALO.)

The photos in this essay show brilliance and success. Snickers proved calified is better. Snickers trims these. He doesn’t snap off a stick as he did before. He trims teeny bits, unrolls the stick bits into confetti lengths, and drops them. To continue on into the Calified Lollipop Bouquet. (I just made that up. Cali needs to calify that.) Snickers is extremely happy. So is Butters. She’s joined in as dad made multiple options placing them in multiple locations califying their cages.

The DIY Calified Lollipop Bouquet in four and two barrel version builds.

But, this isn’t an essay about bird toys. It’s a reminder than every person has a gift to give to themselves, others, and if fevered enough to try, to the world. Our gifts come wrapped inside a crunchy coating called “human”.

There was a time in my brain that I would rather fight against things being better than accept the lead and work of the talented guy inventorying honestly without malice or judgement. Things could be better. Simple to him. Not simple to a person who is a generalist in life. Who feels everything. And fears one additional thing beyond everything. I was so very insecure, and so very unhappy with myself I couldn’t tolerate all that calification. I took it personal. Which to a califier makes no sense. Neither of us could be our best for ourselves, or each other. Which is that crunchy coating called “human”. We are all coated in a crunchy layer of human emotions, memories, and experiences. Nobody has the same flavored coating.

This isn’t an essay about what others are trying to do with or for us. It’s a reminder that you, only you, can change everything by first being the best you. Find your strengths. Admit your weaknesses. Acknowledge that past, then kick it out the back door. We have now. That’s it.

This isn’t an essay about time space. It’s a reminder that you control nothing, except you and your reactions. You can’t control the past. And you can’t remember it correctly anyway. Today is it. And today isn’t real until you’re in it. NOW is it. Do the best you can with the now you have, and then do the best you can to love the nows you share. Then make sure after you’ve done that to tell the person you love that he makes the best damn toys, and fences, and breakfasts, and jokes, and furniture, and surprises, and moments.

That last bit is from me to you, Cali. I love you, Caliman.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Leave a comment

* Required fields