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"Tan Lines" by Mandy Miles

O’ Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree looks like Elaine dancing in that old “Seinfeld” episode. My observation the other night made Stan’s drink come out his nose as he nodded, laughing, over the kitchen sink, before joining me in the living room. “Oh my God, you’re right,” he said. “What’s up with those three near the top? Why are[…]

White Christmas

Wow, that could have been a disaster. An innocent conversation, if overheard and then misinterpreted, could have destroyed me personally and professionally. I was either planning our Christmas decor — or inciting a race war. It was a matter of “White Christmas” or white supremacy. So thank God for Christmas trees, and for providing the only possible context[…]

Behind the scenes

Life may not come with guarantees, but having grown up about 15 miles from Atlantic City, I’d bet heavily on some of my family’s “sure things,” I mean, holiday traditions. We all have them. Some are pretty universal among American households, while others are quite specific to individual families, which, in our case, is probably[…]


None taken

Thank God some people have taken it upon themselves to decide what’s offensive to whom and why. Without them and their Facebook directives, I may have laughed accidentally at a blonde joke, a media joke or a New Jersey joke. Humor is just too risky. But I won’t apologize for laughing the other night. Have[…]

‘This is Jeopardy!’

Two nights in a row, I couldn’t believe it – and neither would anyone else. I was calling out more correct answers, or rather, questions because of the show’s silly format, than ever before, but there were no witnesses to my two-night Jeopardy! triumph. I don’t, however, hold myself or any other living-room contestants to[…]

We’re glad you’re here

Welcome, everyone, welcome back. We’re so glad you’re here. So glad. And thanks for coming. Honestly, you have no idea. Without you, there’s no one here to “separate the children,” (the way our moms did in church, glaring with pursed lips, then stepping firmly between bickering siblings). Without 7,000 to 10,000 tourists here on any[…]

Before and after…

Ok, so clearly it had been awhile. We jaded veterans, much like our accordion-style storm shutters, were a bit rusty. It had, after all, been 12 years since we’d hung plywood, bought more than two bottles of water, checked our battery supply and wrestled the cat into a harness. (He’s not a fan, by the way.)[…]