When I get my hands on Santa

published by Fran Shea

Nothing says Christmas like sitting on a boozed up strangers lap. Especially if that stranger promises you all sorts of “goodies.”

The 1970’s were a rich time for the Shea family. 5 of 8 kids had already come through the hatch, (what did she say?) Mr. had a job, Mrs. kept house. Santa Clause sat at Dayton’s just waiting to kick off Christmas-Time. I do remember wondering how he could waste precious toy-making time just SITTING THERE on that throne. That wondering turned into anxiety which turned into paralyzing fear.

That might be why I’m not in this picture.

santa-with-nat-em-zak-web

Nat, Em, and Zak are in it.

Andy and I are noticeably absent. There might have been a pants-wetting episode, or a throwing-up episode. Or a poopy-pants episode. Andy was always trying to get attention.

With the help of photoshop, I’ll be revising history. Soon, Nat and his BUSINESS partner, Ken, will be sitting on Santa’s lap… together. Ken needs to scrape up some childhood memory and get it over to me. I will remove Em and Zak (Zak clearly wants to be removed) and replace them with a little Ken. THEN, I will create a 4-color process halftone – OF COURSE it will be 50 lines per inch.

Duh.

It will be the new holiday card for Tanek. The finest architectural firm in the land.

I’ve heard it’s tricky to print a 4-color halftone using the letterpress printing method. But you know what I say to that??

DO YOU?!

I say, “you’re not so tricky!”

So, here’s what that image looks like when it’s all pulled apart and put back together as a 4 color separation. Isn’t it delicious?santa-em-nat-zak-screen-grab-for-web1-450x353

Happy Monday!

published by Fran Shea

I wonder if schools are more selective about their teachers these days.

I had a high-school teacher that greeted us with such giddy enthusiasm when we entered the classroom – I might say he “pranced” around the room, his little toesies all dressed up for the day in black, dress socks. I could see the socks because those feet weren’t stuffed into a smelly old shoe – no! They were free as you and me in a classic Birkenstock sandal.

Seven Paula Figurines lined the front of his desk.

paula-figurine

Six of them kept their backs to us, the seventh would be turned to let us know what day of the week it was,”Happy Monday!” and so on. So much better than a calender.

We were told that we should address him as “Doctor” – that title was later disputed. And revoked. Turns out it was all just a fantasy… oh, such a fantasy… I imagine myself getting a doctorate degree in religion…

He described one of his teaching methods as “accelerated learning.” All students were required to put their heads on their desk – or grab one of his strange-smelling pillows from his “cubby-hole.” Classical music blaring, he read aloud – synchronizing the inflection of his voice to the swells and ebbs of the music.

I wish I could remember what he read. Maybe it was the multiplication-tables. Or Jim Jones’ manifesto.

Life is really going to change

published by Fran Shea

No more casual afternoons at Starbucks. No more sidewalk cafes. No more days at the park with the kids. No more walking down the sidewalk with a kid on my shoulders while sipping a Starbucks Latte while going to the sidewalk cafe from the park.

Not any more. Because we’re celebrities. I know, I know – don’t worry – I’ll still make me-time.

If you are living in a well, you might not have heard that Zeichen Press was proclaimed Best of Show by -my new favorite- magazine: Do It Yourself 

do-it-yourself-cover-winter

With the magazine in her hands and a cart full of groceries, Jen called me. She called me over the loudspeaker. I was in the frozen foods section and she ordered me to get myself to Lane 7. I did as I was told and Thank God because Jen was being dragged away by security – I got there in the nick of time, explaining that we were on a “living on your own” outing and I’d be taking her right back to the group home as soon as we bagged her groceries.

Phew!

Okay, here’s a sneak peak into the magazine – go and get your very own copy and don’t forget to buy some of our goddamn holiday cards.

printed-and-pressed-diy-art

Will I win the Nobel Peace Prize?

published by Fran Shea

Maybe. Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t broker peace between nations. I’m no Dalai Lama. I’m no Barack Obama. I’m just kidding about that second one  –  I just wanted something to rhyme with Dalai Lama. Wait, what? Barack Obama really did win the Nobel Peace Prize? Oops. My bad. It’s hard, toiling away, day after day – trying to make this crazy planet just a little bit cheerier. Ghandi knows how I feel.

*alfred-nobel

Alfred “Alfie” Nobel

What would Fran do?

 •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

 ANYWAY. I wrote some new cards. Perhaps, one day, they will bring peace to war-torn countries…

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••  *two-old-men-talking

PSST, is this my birthday party or my funeral

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• *gifts-dont-count

The gifts don’t count       themselves.
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*of-course-be-eaten

The strong would survive the winter. The weak would, of course, be eaten.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*im-christmas-stalking-you

I’m Christmas Stalking you.
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*piano-lesson
The Christmas concert would be her chance for revenge.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*lounging-women

I’ll celebrate Christmas however I damn well please.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*man_wrapping-package-18_lg

I hope she likes thoughts that count.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*bra-ad2

Thank you for your support.
•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

*lovebirds_14525

Great. My parents just got home.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Wishes DO come true!

published by Fran Shea

It’s no secret that I have always wanted 300 feet of bubble wrap.

Somebody (Jen) had it delivered to our headquarters – it’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen on my doorstep. Although… the Sunday paper is nice to see when I open the door…or girl scouts selling cookies. Hmm, one of my stalkers once left a skinned, boiled squirrel on my doorstep… that was strange – and I still don’t get the  message – was it: “Love me back, or I’ll boil and skin you” or was it “I am capable of providing small game for your meals.”

Oh, I guess I’ll never know.

bubble-wrap-delivery

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

published by Fran Shea

Done.

a-z-type-room-and-board

Do not worry. IF you can’t get your sad self to the Room and Board nearest you, you can shop online!

 It’s true. But not yet. NOT YET. The ink isn’t even dry.

Did I mention that I will be the lunchmeat between the bread named Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol? What a strange, virtual sandwich. Speaking of sandwiches: I decided to take a break from printing to do some printing and I made this:

does-this-sandwich-make-me-450x337

 

Freak Show

published by Fran Shea

There were two parts to the Freak Show – two tents – one contained The Fat Lady and the other was filled with the usual freakish-fare. I didn’t really want to pay to see the Fat Lady so I poked my head under the tent – it seemed silly to pay to see a fat lady but this was before the days of google searches and voyeuristic television masquerading as health and human interest stories. Before the days of shows actually called, World’s Fattest Woman.

So I poked my head under the tent. A pit had been dug in the dirt in the center of the tent – she, all 600 pounds of her, sat in the pit in a teeny weeny bikini. The paying public stared and stared while she thumbed through the pages of a paperback.

The other tent promised a variety of oddities and I handed my tickets to the dusty man guarding the flap-door. In this tent there was a stage and on the stage there was a sign and on the sign were the words, “World’s Fattest Man”

The crowd – and I was in the crowd now – stared at the sign and waited for the man. He hobbled out using two canes – those canes that have the four baby canes on the bottom. He reached the center of the stage and lowered himself into a reinforced chair, spoke to the crowd about his thyroid disorder, and asked if we wanted to see him attach a bucket of bolts to his tongue.

Ugh. I wanted my tickets back.

Why can’t things be the way they’re supposed to be? And why can’t freaks just enjoy their exploitation? If I were a freak (if) I’d love it. I’d use my freakish power for the good of mankind.

I’d love to have one super long arm. A Super Arm. I could take seemingly candid pictures of myself even more easily!fran-working

Do you see that?

It’s like someone else is taking the picture. But what a struggle! 

If I had Super Arm my whole life would change!

fran-super-arm

Cary Grant’s Tie, A Pile of Rocks, Dandelions

published by Fran Shea

Cary Grant’s tie is the perfect shade of gray.cary-grant-nxnw-450x327

It’s not like I’m obsessed with shades of gray because of this project I’m working on. I don’t get obsessed. I wasn’t obsessed with pulling out (and counting) all of the dandelions in my front yard (689). I wasn’t. I also wasn’t obsessed with collecting and transporting rocks halfway across the country to surround my little tree.rock-star-450x337

I’m not obsessed with letterpress.

And I don’t just sit around waiting for the sun to be in the perfect spot.sun-perfectly-behind-lampos

Doesn’t this gray look just like Cary Grant’s tie? :room-and-board-fresh-print

WELL?! It does, doesn’t it. Won’t it look lovely decking the halls of Room and Board?

Sigh.

1/3 of the project done.

Swine Flu and the Fish Pond

published by Fran Shea

We had a special guest for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! : The Swine Flu aka:H1N1 That’s just what we needed to shake things up around here! Oh, and nothing brings a family together like contagious disease. I mean it. I barely notice my kids unless their eyes get glassy and they vomit on my bedroom floor. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, a nosebleed will get my attention -and so will a 2 am phone call from the Edina Police. Oh, kids!quarantine-sign-450x293

I heard that “scientists” are working on some sort of “immunization” for this particular version of the flu. They can just inject themselves with their magic potion. I’m not standing in line at the Walgreens with a bunch of clammy people. Anyway, I discovered the cure: 100 episodes of Malcom in the Middle and lots of popsicles. When The Plague finally, and politely, exited our home – I felt that I needed another challenge:

The Fish Pond at St. Helena’s:

dylan-at-the-fish-pond

Of course! Everyone knows what a daredevil I am – I just couldn’t say no to Jen’s (repeated) requests to “volunteer.”  I don’t regret a moment. In fact, I’m pretty sure that my time in Purgatory is reduced by exactly the same amount of hours that I spent in that claustrophobic booth. That’s five hours, God. Should I go on and on about the ROOM & BOARD project I’m working on? 21 down, only 279 to go! I love you, grayish-brownish-not-quite-taupe-ish-sort-of-smog-ish ink.