Celebrating quality

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life53 Comments

My dad, Murray MacDonald, spent most of his career working for a company called GTE. You remember GTE, right? (Gee. No, GTE!) It was a telephone company (that later turned into Verizon), back when telephones were hard-wired into a physical location, we liked it that way!

On a recent visit, my parents brought me an assortment of fun things as they will do, including this little gem:


Just a simple golden paper weight from a bygone corporate era, when apparently, Quality meant something.

I have dubbed it "The Quality Award" and decided, in our home, to give it to the person who demonstrates superior quality in their particular efforts. For example:

I have given it for the time being to Coleman, who is writing a play called "Aliens are Eating Our Cornflakes" and preparing scripts for all of the cast members. Now THAT is some Quality of the creative kind.


And I should also pass it along to my friend, Lisa, who sewed up Cole’s alien costume, for said play (and Halloween) because that is a Quality effort, and one skill I do not possess!


And I should also share the award with myself, because last night I made pretty Quality version of apple crisp for the second time in two days, and… I did a Quality job of polishing it off, too.


But why stop there? Why not give Cole’s dentist the award, for some truly Quality dental care?


Then, give it right back to me for making some Quality mini sandwiches, designed for kids with fewer teeth?


And what about passing it along to the makers of the new "Rainbow House" (as Dan and I have christened it); the new neighborhood grocery store that just opened a few weeks ago. Everytime I’ve been in there, I’ve had nothing short of a spectacular and wholly Quality experience.


Yes, when you really stop to think about it, Quality awards are deserved everywhere you go. So much for a culture of complaint, right?

Even Dan has gotten into the spirit, offering me the possibility of earning the Quality Award for things that I can’t really write about on my PG-13 web blog. Isn’t he sweet that way? If that little golden award isn’t a prime motivating aphrodisiac, then I’m hard pressed to say what is!

Come on, i KNOW you have quality experiences every day. What would get the Quality Award in your world?

Cathy ZielskeCelebrating quality

53 Comments on “Celebrating quality”

  1. #1

    Yesterday I baked a quadruple batch of pumpkin muffins with cherries and mini chocolate chips! Quality because they are healthy, too, with whole wheat flour, and they are disappearing rapidly! Following your apple crisp lead, we have been enjoying pumpkin muffins for after school snack, dessert, bedtime snack, breakfast, and now in a bag lunch for school…hence the quadruple batch! πŸ™‚

  2. #2
    Jeanne Pellerin

    I would definitely get the Quality award if I would: 1) quit, or at least taper down, the amount of money I spend on photography/scrapbooking/computer stuff, b) stop playing with the aforementioned long enough to do a load of laundry and/or c) stop whining about how hungry I am (literally starving my ass off) on Jenny Craig.

  3. #3

    Gosh I would LOVE to read that alien script. That boy is destined for great things.

    Dentist chair photo? Does Coleman have a black eye???!!!! Tell me it’s just bad lighting. Bless his heart. Hate the dentist.

  4. #5

    who dotted cole’s eye?

    i could give the quality award to my husband, who brought me a chai latte “happyccino” this morning. mmm…

  5. #7
    Stacy B

    I actually work in quality. I test software. I am CERTIFIED in quality. And yet it evades me daily! lol.

    Even more ironic, we just bought a new Toyota yesterday. Toyota, the company whose production system is a model of superior quality. Their system is modeled on the principals of Deming, the “father of quality” in business.

    So I guess we would be getting the quality award for our new car. πŸ™‚

  6. #8

    Are you certain that Dan doesn’t have a long lost twin . . . my husband?? Their personalities seem so similar!!

    I still think that Cole and my daughter Meg are a perfect match. While she didn’t write an alien screenplay (wow, is he your kid or what???) she did spend all of last night composing a very compelling pop ballad. Drama much??

  7. #9

    I would have to say…the quality award from me would go to US Air for getting me back from Europe safely yesterday! I too work in the quality arena and find myself constantly finding everything that is wrong with everything!


  8. #10

    you know, they get a bad rap, but I would give my Quality award today to McDonald’s, for providing me a not so nutritious, but DELICIOUS breakfast and coke, on a day like today when i have no groceries nor motivation.

  9. #11

    Wow. Cole is something special. I get the feeling that one day, when he’s famous, I’ll say, “I knew that Zielske kid would grow up to do amazing things!” (Tell Aidan that I have the same expectations for her!)

    I will give a quality award to my boss for being perfectly fine with me leaving work to go read to my son’s class today (dressed as a witch – it’s gonna be fun!).

  10. #12

    My husband gets the not only quality award, but purple star for wounds recieved while cleaning up our extremely hairy (or should I say fluffy) cat who is nicknamed princess stinkybutt. I don’t think you need any more details other than she definitely lived up to her name yesterday.

  11. #13
    Emilie Ahern


    On Sunday I made 5 dozen sugar cookies in the shape of shields which I later frosted and piped CTR onto.

    Seriously, I rocked that OUT!

  12. #14
    jennifer Compton

    i’d like to give the award to emilie whom i’ve never met because she made 5 dozen sugar cookies in the shape of shields which she later frosted and piped CTR onto. that seriously deserves the Quality Award for not going insane. dude. i’d love to see a picture.

  13. #15
    jenn b

    Great post! Can you box Dan up and pass him along for the QUALITY of his jokes and lightheartedness. You should also give yourself a QUALITY award for always making people smile and laugh in a genuine way for just being yourself on your blog.
    Thanks again!

  14. #16
    Deborah P

    I’d like to give a quality award to Chic-Fil-A for their OUTSTANDING new sauce for their chicken strips (and for their improved strips as well).

  15. #17
    Cheryl Hinton

    WOW. I can’t think of a Quality award I should be given, though I’m sure there are many. I just wanted to reflect back on my days with GTE, well actually GTE COmmunications. I never earned a super duper golden paperweight.


  16. #18

    Ok, my Quality award would have to go straight back to you Cathy for the Quality class you’re giving at BPS at the moment (is that sucking up to the teacher??). Really enjoying it and I’ve probably done more scrapbooking in the past 4 weeks than in the past 4 years!! Great job!!

  17. #19

    Effectively supressing the desire to scream at my better-half to tell me what I did to put him into such a stinkin’ bad mood.
    Do all men pout when they get their feelings hurt or am I just extra-blessed?

  18. #21

    My Quality award would NOT be given to my dog who ate my son’s Black Forest ham sandwich while my son was helping me on the computer. πŸ™ It would go to my son for graciously eating a grilled cheese sandwich instead! πŸ™‚
    On another note…do you have the recipe for that apple crisp? It looks delicious. I made the chillicious recipe last week and it was a hit! So, I would have to give you a Quality award for that recipe as well!

  19. #22
    Carmen King, Avondale, AZ

    My husband would definately recieve the Quality award in our home for his always positive attitude (even though, it annoys me once in awhile because I am not an eternal optimist and sometimes I just need to be able to grovel and complain and look at the half empty cup in peace and without quilt, know what I mean?).

  20. #23

    Any day I get my three oldest boys to shower, dress, eat, brush their teeth and to the bus on time, is a QUALITY day for me πŸ™‚ The fourth boy, well, he’s good no matter what, right?

  21. #25
    kim strother

    First I love the name of Cole’s play. Sounds like a good read too, please post it when it’s finished. Second, you get my quality award for DYL! Especially for the tour of your scrap room yesterday. Loved it!!

  22. #26

    Ah, quality is kids moved out or off to college & 2 people working at home, and trying real hard to get work done before an extended lunch break!!! If you know what I mean…. Today I’m giving it to my husband, since he’s actually accomplishing things before lunch…

  23. #28

    I think the Quality award would have to go to my sweet husband who took our son Coleman to the dentist this week, yes we have a son named Coleman too… then that wonderful man put some fabulous blow-in insulation in the attic on Saturday and emptied all the groceries on Sunday. I would have to say he’s pretty Quality worthy.

  24. #29

    The Quality award today would have to go to my 16 year old son, who called me today to say I don’t know why I called you, I was just thinking about you. How’s your day going? It’s hard to beleive that in 1 short year he will be off to college. He’s a good kid – he keeps me sane when I just want to scream at the top of my lungs I’m mad as hell and I can’t take it any longer. Anyway, he gets the award today πŸ™‚

  25. #30

    The quality award in my house would have to go to my husband for working a 12 hour day today (and yesterday). Since I lost my job, he’s been working like a maniac. Certainly me and the little guy didn’t earn the award as we are still in our PJs at 4:39pm!!!

    How did Cole get the black eye?

    BTW, Cathy, you and your blog rock!!

  26. #31
    Katie Scott

    I should get an award for this: Not only did I get the family in matching outfits for the annual Christmas photo – but I got the photos printed up on Christmas cards & I’ve already got 1/2 of the 2000 of them in envelopes with address labels on them. AND its not even November yet. I’m feeling like this is going to be a super stress free holiday season for me πŸ™‚

  27. #33
    Lovebug Kat (Chatty Kathy)

    okay now I am craving apple crisp, thanks Cathy LOL

    I get Quality award today because as annoyed as I get at the school that my two younger children attend, today I took them in a whole slew of goodies to put in a penny auction to raise money for the school.
    And I promised to bring them more since I was only 1 of 2 who donated anything.

    Also, I actually updated by blog today which isn’t something I remember to do often so that should get an award of some kind.

    Good luck with the play Cole, good luck with your play too Dan.. *wink*

  28. #34

    the quality award at our house would have to go to my 1 year old, who was kind enough to take a 4 (!) hour nap today which allowed me 4 blissful hours of scrapbooking!!
    PS-will you please share the recipe for your apple crisp???? It looks YUMMY!

  29. #35

    Cathy, you make me smile. Seriously, I was smiling the whole time I was reading this post. Until the end… when the smile broke into a laugh. πŸ™‚

    Oh, to answer your question… today, I would have given the quality award to the guys and gals who work at the Kiddie Kobbler shoe store, where I bought winter boots for my kids just hours before the first major snow storm of the season is due to blow into town. Yikes! They were crazy busy at 3:00 pm, and I’m sure it only got busier after I left. *sigh* It’s MUCH too early for snow.

  30. #37

    I am giving MYSELF the Quality award today for having the (uneducated, I assure you) foresight to prepare beef stew on a 85* day in Florida three days ago. Tonight it’s due to be in the (relatively balmy, considering you’re in Minnesota) 40s and I am about to enjoy beef stew of the best kind – leftover!! (By the way, did you know that the US Postal Service has Minnesota stamps on it’s web site… a bit of trivial minutae, as if you had none in your life already, right??)

    Stay warm!!

  31. #39
    Beth T.

    Too funny! My Dad’s job for many years before retirement was being “Quality Guy” for Southwestern Bell (another midwestern phone co). – he preached Quality,taught Quality classes, even went around with a “Q” lapel pin every day(which really is um, interesting, now that I think about it)…thanks for the random memory! And as a student of your BPS class, I hereby award you the Quality “Q” Lapel Pin Award for a cool class!

  32. #40
    Maple Jenny

    I teach high school English and am currently writing a TON of college recommendations. The Quality award goes to the students who give me the self-stick envelopes to mail the letters in, thus saving me a horrendous amount of envelope licking.

  33. #42

    The picture of Cole at the dentist really looks like Mrs. Zielske. Normally, he is the quintessential Dan-Mini-Me, at least physically. But on this picture, his expression resembles his mama. You gonna share that apple crisp recipe?

  34. #43
    Susan C

    I’d like to give the quality award to my hubby but I can’t say why because as you say this is a PG-13 blog πŸ™‚

  35. #44

    my quality award today goes to Kerin, my pilates instructor for making me work harder than I want to and not laughing her arse off at how uncoordinated I am.

  36. #45
    Tonja Trump

    You would get the Quality award just for providing me with humor and giggles every single day and for answering my interview questions (THANK YOU again!).
    Beyond that, everyone deserves the Quality award just for trying. You can’t succeed if you don’t try!

  37. #46
    Dixie Lee

    My friend Laurie would get it for her melt in your mouth cinnamon bun recipe that rivals Cinnabon.

    And my mom would get it for shipping me a four inch stack of scrapbook paper!!

  38. #47
    Rachel Ellington

    Ah, I like the “Quality Award” idea!
    I think of randomly printing out some “Quality Award” stickers and taking them with me when I venture out into the world to deposit my money in various shopping establishments. I truly adore those few and far between people who work in said stores that still give a darn to help you out if you are looking for something or care truly whether your experience was pleasant enough to make you venture in again. Customer servie is so rare!
    (But I think I will have one for my hubby as well! That just makes me snort coffee out my nose! LOVE that idea! Gotta get crack-a-lackin on that one!)

  39. #48

    the firemen who led my daughter’s first grade field trip and graciously answered all of the extra questions asked by my 4 year old tag along son (who brought that kid?!).

  40. #49

    cathy, you just have that way about you! i think i’m off to find a quality award to pass around here. it might be a roll of toilet tissue. cuz i only buy the quality kind and it seems fitting for our family!

  41. #50

    My quality award would go to my son. He loves reading and was so excited to go to the library yesterday to get new books. Five to be exact. Then he spent 30 minutes reading one next to the pumpkin Yankee Candle at our breakfast bar. That’s a way to spend your time, I’ll say. Reading.

  42. #51

    The picture of Coleman at the dentist (poor guy) reminds me of what I really hate most about going to the dentist: the plastic wrap around the chair! All the protection on the equipment makes me feel so skeevy. I CAN’T be the source of all the uncleanliness the dentist fears, can I??? I must be a gigantic germ!

  43. #52

    I have some quality friends, that’s for sure. And, being a teacher, I could give this award to just about every one of my colleagues. They rock.

    But today… it’s my 11 year old. He had a Taekwondo tournament, and we couldn’t stay for all of it. There, without Mom and Dad, he sparred and lost first place after an illegal kick to the head that was not witnessed by the person refereeing (?). My baby held in his disappointment until he got in the car, and then he just sobbed. He actually didn’t sob in front of the whole crowd… which did not include us to console him. What a brave guy.

  44. #53
    Jenna Schrock

    The dentist in our area provides quality dental services. He’s a friend of my favorite college teacher so he’s familiar as a dentist. He’s one of the best Los Angeles cosmetic dentists that I’ve known. The best thing about him is that he received good reviews because of his Invisalign treatment for teenagers.

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