This blog has moved to a better place.

September 17, 2010

A MUCH better place. Filled with koi ponds and laughing children.

A mixer and more!

August 26, 2010

I’ve never met a middle-aged man at a BP in Grantsburg and given him money for a Kitchen-Aid mixer — until now! The ZP intern was the recipient of the gift. She cried and looked like she was just crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

It was beautiful.

I spent the last 56 hours holed up in my room (cell) uploading content for the new Zeichen Press website. And just to make it interesting, I didn’t shower or change my clothes. I DID leave once to get a new iPhone because my old one decided it would rather be a hot plate than a phone.

So be it/good riddance.

Alright, back to work

August 20, 2010

Fran Shea’s résumé


1988-1988 (Nov. 1-Dec 23) Lyndale Garden Center

My first job. Silly me, I heard “making Christmas wreaths” and thought I’d be “making Christmas wreaths.” Pre-made wreaths were heaped onto a lunch table – my job was to choose the sprigs for the wreaths. Sprigs was an industry term for cheap Christmassy crap.

1989-1989 (Sept. 1-Sept 15) Pearson’s Family Restaurant

I bussed tables and was told to clear as much of the table as would fit in the gray bin. It would have been very satisfying if I were training to be a power-lifter. Two weeks was too long.

1989-1990 (Oct. 1-March 1) Leeann Chin, Richfield

As a server, I wore a little white hat and jacket. Like a chef. A disgruntled, panicked, 17-year-old chef.

1990-1990 (June 1-Aug. 15) GJ’s SuperValu

A block walk from my apartment above Ribizza – this job required speed and superhuman strength. Bagging groceries during a “rush” filled me with doubt and indecision – eggs before bread or bread before eggs?? Should I take my smoke break now??

1990-1990 (Sept. 1-Nov. 1) Telemarketing for the Special Olympics

I don’t even know how I found this job – it was in a bland office in a bland office building on University Avenue.  The script we were handed was written in the 1950’s and we were supposed to offer lots of garbage bags in exchange for donating to the Special Olympics. Our boss was, I think, Bob Saget.

1990-1991 (Nov. 15-Jan 15) Meyer’s Bakery

A job that required cash register skills. I’d rather wash old peoples bottoms than use a cash register – I’d try to push customers into buying things that would result in even dollar amounts so I wouldn’t have to make difficult change. Three cookies? Why not four?… Two loaves of bread? Why not two loaves of bread AND a cookie??

Fast Forward—>

1993-1996 : Carney Studio

The interview went something like this:

“So, you want to be a graphic designer?”

“A what?”

“You’re hired.”

1996-1997 : Odney Advertising

This is where I learned about advertising. And stealing office supplies.

1997-present : Stay At Home Mom/Perfect Wife

This is where I learned about cleaning up poop.

2006-present : Owner of Zeichen Press

The culmination of a life-long set of painfully acquired skills.

A Special Weekend

August 17, 2010

Jen and I share many things: Type wash, paper towels, dirty looks… But nothing… nothing even comes close to this weekend…

Whew! That was a tear-jerker! Um… there is no easy way to segue from a cat eating a placenta…

Well, other things happened this weekend, too… I biked 8 million miles to Hopkins to take some pictures of the new Pizza Lucé…  I wrote about that on the Tanek blog… And, well I guess nothing can really compare to the moment when Jen and Susie the Cat locked eyes and Jen stated firmly (but tenderly) “I love you.”


Overdue Cat, a new letterpress greeting card and a little bit about the weather

August 12, 2010

Well, Susie hasn’t had her kittens yet – and like every other overdue/expecting mother – she is watching Oprah and eating tubs of Ben & Jerry’s.

Meanwhile, I biked through the Heat™

to bring Fred a card so he could photograph it. It isn’t any ordinary card – it is the card to introduce our new website.

Aren’t you intrigued?? It must say something sweet – just look at that cute little bellhop! I’ve been waiting to use him for a long time – thank’s cute little bellhop!

Yesterday and Today

August 4, 2010

Our transition from the Cape included a stay in Boston.

Boston is best experienced on-foot and with a tour guide dressed as Dorothy Quincy Hancock.

The next picture is for Andrea. (Edmund loved the Westin).

Okay, fun’s over. Back to the muggy wall of heat – we walked out of the Minneapolis airport and I felt like someone wrapped me in 100 electric blankets.

… remember when I told you about this?? I don’t know  a lot but I do know that this belly is full of kittens. They are due in a few days – and I swear to God, if any of you take one home – I will repay you in strange and creative ways.

One more thing: The pile of mail, collected by Jen, contained this:

It might be the best piece of mail I have ever received.


August 2, 2010
The morning coffee brought big news:
Swimmers spotted four Great White Sharks on the beach in Chatham. Wait, let me be clear: Not ON the beach – in the water. Swimming around … and around … and around. Some would call that circling – orbiting their prey, slowly moving in for the flesh-ripping, limb-tearing, feeding-frenzy. But I’m not here to give sharks bad press – that’s already been done – I’m just trying to help you, the reader, understand the everyday danger that is my life. I risk it all to bring you, the reader, a good story.
So, off we went up the coast. Past Chatham, to Wellfleet. Wellfleet, where there is no swimming ban. God forbid we miss a beach day because the “Coast Guard” spotted some 14′ sharks. The Atlantic called us and it would be rude to ignore the call – we had to dive right into the water like good-natured guests.
A seal joined us – not more than 15 feet from shore. If he were walking on land he’d be limping… I don’t know what that’s called in the water. Drowning?
Oh, Seal! Do you remember our meeting last year? I do. It was magical. Last year, I had to swim ever so far – my legs dangled 100 feet above the ocean floor – they were like little noodles hanging off the end of a fork, ready to be swallowed up by the sharks. This year, you bob seductively near shore… it would be effortless to get to you. But I won’t do it because I am sensible and also I saw this
hovering overhead. A sure sign that somebody is looking for sharks. I said, LOOKING FOR SHARKS. We decided that building sand castles is pretty fun.

Airplane Safety Card (continued)

July 29, 2010

After a harrowing day at the beach, I had to stop into the Brewster General Store

to check out their card selection – one thing is clear: they might have enough rubber lobsters but they do need some letterpress from Minnesota. I will see what I can do about that.

A day at the beach always includes:

That poor thing has been around for such a long time.

Airplane Safety Card

July 26, 2010
The trip to the Cape always begins with studying the airplane safety card.
When we land alive, I kiss the filthy airport carpeting and raise my fists in the air in triumph.
The drive from Boston to the Cape included a pit-stop for newborn-sized burritos and an impromptu visit to a little stationery store in Hingham called social graces – adorable! This just proves my theory that Hingham has newborn-sized burritos and little stationery stores.
The Cape is paradise, as usual – except for the E. coli outbreak – that’s Electronic coli. We had to boil our water – it reminded me of Mexico – without the drug mules. And everything else.
To be continued…

Lord of the Letterpress Flies

July 22, 2010

I remember some sort of  Mexican-standoff In an early apartment that involved my roommate, dirty dishes and refried beans. Neither of us wanted to do the dishes and so they were stacked, teetering on the counter – pots and plates on top of other pots and plates – the bottom of the pile forgotten like a lost tribe. My roommate, a vegetarian, had a particular pot that she favored for heating her refried beans – she used this day after day until one day it was forgotten – and the pot joined the pile. But not before she filled it with water, she believed in the pre-soak method. I’m not sure how much time passed – a forensic scientist would be able to determine that based on the evidence in the kitchen.

One morning (or was it afternoon?) I discovered something disturbing: the kitchen windows alive with hundreds of flies. I don’t remember either of us being overly surprised. I do remember having to do the dishes in the bathtub.
There are no dirty dishes in the shop and certainly no vegetarians – and yet, I awoke to the same disturbing scene: windows alive with flies. The only conclusion that makes any sense has something to do with the devil. I’d like to believe that our printing projects aren’t evil but I guess I can’t be the judge of that.
Oh, by the way: Before the flies, I finished those prints for Room & Board: