December 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I plan on enjoying the perks of working in the Willis Tower as much as I can, while I can.  For instance, today I got a free massage and manicure!

Why yes, I’ll treat myself!

Some fancy schmancy people from Elizabeth Arden have set themselves up in the lobby to provide complimentary services to the staff in the building all week long.  Never one to pass up something free, I took my lunch and enjoyed a nice back rub while listening to some holiday music.  Then I got my nails filed and painted, which is something I VERY rarely have done.  They look so nice, even if it is strange to see nail polish on myself.

Supposedly we all get 20% off any purchases made as well and I’m sure they’re trying to lure everyone in with the freebies in order to sell us tons of make-up, perfume, hair and skin products.  But wait!  If you buy so much you get a super tacky plastic bag for free!  Yeah sorry Ms. Arden but that’s not going to work on me.  I came for the free goods and left with nothing else.  I’m about to be unemployed, can you blame me?

Fingers (gingerly) crossed that I can keep my nails from chipping at least until I get home!

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All in a Day’s Work

September 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This was the scene outside my office window yesterday:

Not for the faint of heart.

Not for the faint of heart.

In case you can’t exactly tell, there are four men standing on the roof.  On the 50th floor.  The two to the left were wearing body harnesses while, from what I could tell, the other two just stood there.  To be fair I think the guy in the suit was building security.  Anyway, the one guy you probably can’t see that well is actually laying down and holding a video camera over the side of the building.  My palms broke out into a cold sweat just watching these dudes.

They were obviously taking footage for something and I’m pretty sure it was for the new Transformers movie that’s been filming in and around the city over the last few weeks.  I’ve never watched any of those movies but if there’s a scene from halfway up our building I kind of want to see it, especially if I was standing 50 feet away from the cameraman at the time it was shot.  I stood at the window and watched these guys for a while and at one point a huge military looking helicopter flew by so I sort of figured that was the shot they wanted.  They actually all came back later in the day (though with a different security person in a suit) and took some more footage…perhaps for different angles in waning daylight?  Who knows.  Since no one told me a thing, I’m free to let my imagination run wild!  Which means I imagined what would happen if the guy wearing the harness jumped off the roof and tried to bungee to the street.  It probably would have been pretty freaky for the people below us when he smacked into their office windows, that’s for sure.

I seriously doubt I could have stood out there myself.  My office might drive me crazy sometimes but this chair is nice and safe so my happy ass will gladly sit around and watch the madness going on outside.



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Blue Jean Flower Queen

August 28, 2013 at 10:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I’m still here!  the BMW mob bosses didn’t get me!  I know everyone is relieved.

So, the Tower Formerly Known as Sears always seems to have some sort of artistic display going on, whether it’s inside the lobby ou out facing the street.  The most recent installation was a little creepy the first time I saw it and while I’m pretty much used to it by now, I still have no idea why it’s there:

What does it MEAN?

If there’s a message or specific point behind this, I don’t know what it is.

Is it some sort of social commentary on virginity and holding onto one’s “sacred flower”?  Maybe it’s a subtle advertisement for Summer’s Eve.  Or it could be a standing testament to how nature will one day overtake everything and anything that humans once created.  There’s no plaque or explanation anywhere so I’m forced to use my imagination, which I obviously have done.  Also, I can’t help but wonder if there’s been any homeless people who have tried to take the pants away when it’s late and no one is looking.  It’s not like these jeans are in horrible condition and if I were homeless, I’d probably be checking sizes as soon as I could.

I guess I shouldn’t spend too much time over-thinking “art” but when I walk past it twice a day it’s hard not to let my thoughts wander.  I wonder what everyone else thinks?



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O Christmas Tree

November 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Yesterday, as I was reading at a table near the lobby in The Tower Formerly Known as Sears during my lunch break, I began to hear singing.  After determining I wasn’t having a stroke of some kind, I realized there were a group of carolers in the lobby near a giant Christmas tree and a crowd was gathering.  Apparently there was a Chicago Cubs player (don’t ask me who) and he was helping turn the lights on in an annual celebration.  So of course I walked down to check it out.

Fa la la la la

Kind of puts my tree at home to shame.

I didn’t stick around for the actual lighting but I did listen to a few songs and it warmed my heart, which was nice because when I left the building it was roughly 20 degrees and all exposed body parts immediately began to freeze.  The tree is a lovely sight and yet I’m still able to appreciate the one in my living room so I’ll continue to bask in the holiday spirit wherever I go.  At least until I have to navigate icy sidewalks and mounds of gray, frozen snow each morning on my walk to the train.



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Going Up

April 25, 2012 at 11:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

One would think that working in a well-known building such as the one formerly known as Sears Tower would mean that everything would run a little more smoothly than your average small office.  I mean, it is probably one of the most recognizable buildings in Chicago, if not the United States, right?  And with that comes a certain amount of prestige?

Yeah, not really.

What a nightmare.

One day I’ll write a whole list of the pros and cons of working in this building (and the weird Easter rabbit yarn balls may or may not be on it) but for now, I’d just like to vent about the fact that we haven’t had fully functional elevators/escalators all year.  There are six elevators on the ground floor and one escalator that takes you to the second floor, where six more elevators await.  All of these elevators only go to specific floors (none go all the way to the top) so you must transfer somewhere along the way to a second set of elevators if you want to go beyond the 31st floor.  The escalator on the lobby level was broken for roughly two months and it seemed like there were just dudes who hung out in the demolished stair pit with wrenches chatting this entire time.  It wasn’t a huge deal as a broken escalator just turns into stairs (thanks, Mitch Hedberg) but it was still a bit of a pain.  I have no idea how many people work in this building but I bet it’s a lot, and most of us begin at 8am.

So finally the escalator was fixed but now elevators are down.  Specifically, there are two down on different floors that I pass every day on my way in and out of the office.  It causes a general mess at 5pm when everyone is trying to squeeze into the remaining elevators and it’s not a fun way to end your day.  On top of that, I can’t help but feel slightly apprehensive at all of the maintenance being done on these modes of transportation.  I tell myself that it’s just a routine check-up but the giant plastic dividers they have up to hide their work beg to differ.  My own personal hell involves being trapped in this building in an elevator 50 floors above the ground with a bunch of suits and all of the stuff being “fixed” doesn’t exactly alleviate my concerns.

What’s a girl to do when stairs are simply not an option?  Close my eyes and hope for the best, I guess!

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…

September 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

…it’s a movie being shot in my building!

Apparently, parts of the new Superman movie are being shot here in the Tower Formerly Known as Sears.  To be specific, The Daily Planet headquarters that Clark Kent works at will be filmed within these walls although they’ll be using the Chicago Board of Trade building as the exterior.

Do phone booths even exist in this city for him to change in?

I figured something was going on last week when a few huge semi trailers stationed themselves in the alley I take every day between the office and the train.  The trailers have all sorts of electrical looking equipment inside and there are also now a few bored looking men standing around with security hats and bright yellow vests, presumably to make sure no one hijacks the semis.  Which would probably be pretty difficult to do, in all honesty.  Anyway filming officially started on Wednesday and I’ve already seen cameramen working with the Tower security guards on locations and lighting and this morning I saw a large wardrobe rack on the lower level, which I can only assume was full of costumes.  I tried to spy the Superman suit but they shut the door before I could get a good look.  Sneaky bastards.

I guess it’s pretty cool that this is going on but I’d probably be more excited if it was a movie I was really into or featured actors that got me excited.  Where’s Joseph Gordon Levitt when I need him?  I’m not huge into the comic book movies but this might be one I have to see, if for no other reason than to say “Hey I work there!” or “Hey I once sneezed on that wall!”.  This isn’t the first movie to be filmed here in recent years (The Dark Knight, Transformers) but it is the first one to be filmed while I myself am working in the downtown area.  So it’s a little out of the norm and it’s a little exciting but unless it somehow causes me to earn a little extra money (which it won’t), I’m not too impressed.  And if they completely shut down the alley that I save myself precious minutes by walking through, I’ll be pissed.

Of course if JGL makes a special cameo appearance in my office all will be forgiven.  You hear that, Superman?

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Tourist Season

August 23, 2011 at 10:24 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

As I walked through the alley from Sears Tower to the train station yesterday after work, reflecting on how happy I was that the Monday work-day was over, I noticed a group of maybe 7 or 8 girls roughly my age huddled around the large train map on the platform.  It briefly registered that they were probably tourists and then I started thinking about the amazing pizza smells coming from the nearby restaurants.  Unfortunately those smells often mix with the cigarette smoke and garbage smells of the alley and form a truly nasty concoction that I only put up with because it walking through there prevents me from dealing with the crowds of people in the loop.  That was also on my mind.  But I digress.

Wait, I don't see it...

As I climbed the stairs to catch my train, I again saw these girls and I could plainly see they were very confused.  I heard one whisper to another “Just ask someone” and before they could say anything else, I asked them if they needed any help.  One girl said “Willis Tower” while the other said “Sears” and I had to laugh.  I took a step to the left and simply pointed, as we were directly across from one of the main entrances with huge lettering reading WILLIS TOWER above the revolving doors.  That’s when the girls looked up and I was treated to all of the surprised exclamations I’ve heard before (yup, it’s tall).  They thanked me (with their British accents, which made the whole experience just a tad more understandable) and after I gave them specific instructions on how to enter the building for the tours and not the offices, they went on their merry way.

Part of me wanted to roll my eyes but the other part remembers how turned around I would get (ahem…still do) in this city and I had to cut them some slack.  I was once a tourist here too and it wasn’t that long ago.  But as nice as I am, I still laughed all the way to the train.

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Observations from the Top

November 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Just a few things I’ve noticed from my one full week of working in the Sears Willis Tower:


The view from my new place of employment - please excuse the blur but I think it's highly appropriate as it's directly over my true love, the Field Museum

  • It’s big.  Really, really big
  • My ears pop every single time I use the elevators (so like 6 times a day, minimum)
  • It’s weird working in a cubicle.  I think the girl next to me is talking to me all of the time but she’s really hooked up to a head set and could probably care less about what I’m doing
  • All I really want to do is look out the window at Lake Michigan and Field Museum
  • There are more places within walking distance to eat than I ever thought possible and I will never, ever get to even a fraction of them.  Especially since I usually bring my lunch
  • My new office place gives me free coffee, tea and hot chocolate.  I really like hot chocolate
  • I’ve seen many rooftop gardens from the windows I peer out of.  That makes me happy
  • I have to use a photo ID badge to get to the elevators.  It makes me feel important
  • It takes almost a full five minutes to get to my desk after I walk in the front door.  And that’s with those super fast elevators
  • Speaking of elevators, they’re all mirrored and so they force eye contact with pretty much anyone else who happens to be sharing the shuttle with you.  However, there’s a small television screen in every elevator that displays weather, time and news, so there’s always something to divert your attention
  • The elevators in this place take up a large part of my life in the building
  • People look right sexy when they’re dressed up in business wear

Of course, these are just a few of my observations in the new workplace.  Since I’m still acclimating and all I’ll keep the majority of my thoughts to myself, but I can tell you right now that it’s nice waking up later in the mornings and coming home earlier at night.

Even if it does get dark before I clock out for the day.

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May 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I love living in a city that is a popular destination point for tourists.

It makes me happy to walk by the Willis Sears Tower on my way to the chiropractor and see groups milling around outside, staring up and pointing.  I still stare up too, so I get it.  There’s just something about living in a place that people vacation to that makes me feel…well, lucky is a good word.  Nothing beats knowing that I can do all the fun stuff in the city anytime I want, and not just once a year.

Tourists are also funny.  They express amazement over the fact that someone can live in the city year-round and they seem bewildered when you tell them how you get around using public transit.  They can also get really drunk, which is funny too.  Case in point: plastered guy in bar Saturday night.

I went barhopping with a lady friend of mine Saturday evening and we wound up at Nicks Beer Garden in Wicker Park (this place had some killer live music, by the way).  We were there early enough that the place wasn’t packed and we grabbed a table in a corner.  As we sat, conversing and drinking, this wasted guy walked up and sat down with us.  He was so drunk that it took us a minute to realize he was speaking English.  He told us he was from Alabama (he did have the accent to prove it) and went on and on about how much he loved Chicago and all the people in it.  He asked if we lived here and when we said we did, his eyes got real big and he looked amazed.  He then asked if we liked it, and of course we said we did again.  At that point, he mentioned (again) that he was from Alabama and my friend told him that she was from Atlanta herself.  He got so excited and his face lit up upon hearing this.  He then proudly told us that he knows where Atlanta is.  He must have been valedictorian in his senior class, with that kind of geographical knowledge.  After sitting with us for a few more awkward minutes, he thanked us for our time and stumbled over to another table.

You can see why I love the tourists.  I also love that I still sometimes feel like one myself, even though I’ve lived in Chicago for over a year now.  Sunday was a nice, warm day and I wanted to take advantage of it so I decided to pick a direction I hadn’t walked in before and set out.  I walked about 2.5 miles towards downtown before turning around and walking back, and I found some great spots along the way.  One in particular is the Dragonlady Lounge, which is a Korean/American Vegan/Vegetarian place.  Yelp gives it some great reviews and I’m excited to actually know where it’s at (and even more excited that it’s only a 15 minute walk from home).  I also found a Target, a bowling alley, a thrift store where everything was $3, two delicious looking bakeries, an indie theater and countless other little restaurants and dive type bars.

There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own city, and I plan on touring as much as I can while the weather is warm.  If you want to go tourist with me, just let me know!  We can get drunk and tell people we’re familiar with their hometowns, or we can just check out cool new places all summer long.  And if you’re nice, I won’t make you wear a fanny-pack.

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