Posts in Tortured Soul

Gang of Bees Attack Woman Straightening Trellis

published by Fran Shea

The swarm of bees came at me like a swarm of bees and stuck their stingers efficiently into my face and left arm. 

The disfigurement that followed was sideshow-worthy and while I’m as eager as the next gal to take the show on the road, I knew this hideousness was only (sadly) temporary.

My forearm doubled in size and I considered tattooing an anchor on it a la Popeye (the sailor man).

Don’t worry, a can of Raid was emptied into their home/my trellis/the doorway to the shop. I’ll be getting back to work as soon as this Benedryl wears off.

This just in: American Woman Discovers Toronto, Plants U.S. Flag in Every Starbucks

published by Fran Shea

The customs official demanded we tell him our plans while in Toronto. I told him it was none of his business, and as I reached for the silver cigarette case in my coat pocket, I was wrestled to the ground. The tasers saved me a trip to the bathroom.

Thank God my husband speaks Canadian or we’d still be in the interrogation room.

I should have told that official that my plans were to watch t.v. in my bathroom mirror while soaking in the tub. I think that’s what I did? My head still hurts pretty bad from being banged on the terrazzo.

Like Dora the Explorer, I packed a map and a monkey in my backpack, finished my screwdriver, and headed out.

Using the handy Where To Buy page as a guide, I was able to track down three local stores that carry Zeichen Press goods. Needless to say, my reception was overwhelming – being hoisted up on shoulders and paraded down Queen Street was too much. Do you hear me, shopkeepers??

°°°

First shop: Outer Layer, a cheerful boutique. Full of fun and, dare I say, whimsy? No. I’ll never say that again.

But how else could I describe a doll that is also a cheese grater?

Or the Ann Taintor magnet collection on the antique bank safe?

Or a manager named Jett Black???

°°°

On to Shop #2: Valhalla Cards & Gifts:

This shop felt like everything in it was curated by a man named Chadwick. Wait, it was! From the Dumpling Dynasty Bunny Kit:

To the Unicorn Wishes action figure:

This shop wouldn’t let me leave – Chadwick finally had to throw me out. But not before he placed an order for more cards.

°°°

Okay, onto #3: The Paper Place:

Because paper is my bread & butter, I felt extra reverent crossing the threshold. As I knelt before the card rack, something inside me said, “hey! I wonder if this place has erasers shaped like peanuts.”

And it did! I bought the whole bowl.

I hugged the sock zebra before I left. It was time to go. I knew this because I saw the policeman walking through the door.

Until we meet again, Toronto. Until we meet again.

Motherhood: A Chronic Condition Unless Young Are Eaten

published by Fran Shea

On the back of the Atari 2600 there was a difficulty switch. “A” was normal but “B” made dragons move impossibly fast

and shrunk trampolines.

 

Flipping the switch meant a game had been mastered. Mastered.

Those were simpler times.

I opened the door to the shop last night and was greeted by an avalanche of bicycles. Two of them had no kickstands and were tangled with the lawn mower. I would have moved the mower and bikes easily but I was blocked by a giant roll of bubble-wrap.

I wonder if the interns that emailed looking for work have any idea my days contain such physical obstacles.

I almost forgot why I even went into the shop… It wasn’t to get bruises and swear – was it? No! I needed to lay out some new Mother’s Day cards!

I had to set my type by candlelight because the lightbulb burned out over the big cabinet and I couldn’t replace it without using the ladder that was wedged between the weed-wacker and the card-carousel.

Sooo…

 

Sweetness

published by Fran Shea

I could tell Winter was over when my gutter broke and rain poured into the basement, soaking the carpet.  Thank goodness we love damp and smelly rooms or we’d be super mad. Another sign of Spring: I found Classic Pam (the kitten) under the tree in the backyard trying to act adorable. When will she realize that we only kept her because we felt sorry for her?

So sad.

These events inspired a new card. Perfect for a birthday?

METRO home found us!

published by Fran Shea

It was only a matter of time because we were standing outside their office.

METRO home is a new special section in METRO. The cover of this months issue is intriguing and frightening. It might be a photograph of a bedroom/torture chamber. What’s behind those curtains?metro-home-cover-grabYikes! This room comes with shackles and nightmares.

Urban Living Manifesto sounds really serious. Do people really take themselves that seriously?? Two words for them: settle. down.

Oh, but here’s something cheerful – it’s about Zeichen Press:metro-crop-full-page-spread-grab
Those Room & Board prints were sure worth all of the sweat I dripped on them last Summer!

fran-in-the-sweat-shop

Country-Time

published by Fran Shea

Had to drive down to Russell, MN the other day. And when I say “had to drive” I mean “I” drove. Me. Fran. For those of you that don’t know me: Driving on the highway makes me feel like mackerel-chum in shark-infested waters.

I drove most of the way, anyway. I think my fancy shoes made me courageous. There I was, driving down 212 like some kind of commuter – the kids were barely terrified and I was barely crying.

The farm inspired me enough to recycle a line from another card and pair it with this image:

I showed it to my husband and he said, “Oh, that’s really sweet.” and I said, “She’s talking to a pig.” and he said, “Oh. Am I the pig?”

And it’s these little questions that can be left unanswered – that’s how we keep the marriage fresh and mysterious.

Burn. Stuff. Give.

published by Fran Shea

Making a mix-tape was a commitment – a good one could take the entire weekend and if there was real dedication, homework would have to be set aside.  

The dual-cassette boombox was essential unless you wanted to wait for your song to randomly play on the radio.

I hated that. …Waiting, hour after hour, both the Play and Record buttons beneath my exhausted, trembling fingers… the tape ready for the next musical masterpiece.

The artwork for the tape case was just as important as its contents. More than just a list of song titles, it was an opportunity for creative expression using a good ball-point pen.

I’ll never make another mix-tape but I don’t even care because I can waste my weekends making mix cd’s.

We all can!

And of course stuff them in a Zeichen Press mixpak!

I wish someone would make me a mix cd… (PLEASE!!)

 

 

Not Hiring Kittens

published by Fran Shea

And yet, they keep applying.

They have no skills and they’re not even helpful.

They actually make more work for me plus I don’t even know whose idea it was to let Susie get pregnant again.

The only break I get from this mayhem is when I lock myself in the bathroom to cry. (Once a day.)

But I must carry on.

SO, Fred photographed the new cards and I added them to the shop – here’s a sample:

Give this card to someone with a flying phobia, they will think you’re really funny.

It Had to Happen

published by Fran Shea

I thought and thought about a Father’s Day card … This was a toughy. I don’t know why.

I’m kidding, I totally know why.

 Do I write a card about estrangement? About mistresses? No! This is a holiday to celebrate fathers! The fathers that hang in there and make their kids proud! I battled my demons and the result was:

The Best Father’s Day Card Ever:

PS: Jen said, “I was surprised. It was sappier than I thought you would do.”

Wee-whined (rewind)

published by Fran Shea

Jen and I often look back on the birth of Zeichen Press the same way any mother looks back on any birth. Sure, there was blood and, yes, there were tears but there was another realization: there is a latex glove filled with crushed ice in my mesh underpants.

The first days of Zeichen Press were spent huddled around our Poco no. 0.

The Poco has a patent date of 1910 and weighs in at a mere 210#. That makes it the oldest and also the lightest press in the shop. It is, to date, the only press that has caused me (bodily) harm.

Ouch! That’s a doozy!

Never trip over, and land on, a cast iron press on the floor. I documented the injury because of the lawsuit that I’m going to file against the makers of that monster. I just have to build a time-machine and drive my Model-T to Chicago.

The first thing ever printed on the Poco was this:

I’ve seen better prints made with a potato. 

We outgrew that little baby pretty quickly and moved on to something I’m hoping to one day never catch my hand in.

Or if I do, I hope to have something sharp in my pocket that I can use to cut my mangled hand free.