Right. So, that last post was . . . probably an ill-advised use of the Publish button, amplifying an ugly little online situation and ultimately spreading the yuck around. I definitely did not mean for Gillian to receive personal attacks in return, and I am very sorry for that. All I can say is that I was feeling angry and hurt and this is where I tend to go when I feel that way. It always helps, sometimes just by the process of writing something out and thus banishing it from my head to the screen, but more often because of the kindness and sanity so many of you send in my direction.

Still, it would have been smarter to just let it go: not worth my attention, not worth wasting your time by bringing it to your attention. Especially when we have other things to discuss, like playgrounds.

I found the Best Playground Ever this weekend. I never thought I’d be the sort of person who would be all, “OH MY GOD, STOP THE CAR! DID YOU SEE THAT? THAT AWESOME-LOOKING PLAYGROUND?!” — but hey, I never thought I’d find myself using my pinky finger to more accurately remove a booger from a nostril that is not my own.

My criteria for Best Playground Ever includes the following:

The entire place should be deserted. I know, that sounds really anti-social and kind of greedy, but an empty playground means you can just completely dork out with your kid and dangle upside down from the monkeybars without worrying about a stranger being privy to the unflattering sight (or sounds) of you heaving yourself back upright.


There should be plenty of things for a little kid to safely play on. I know, sounds like a no-shitter, right? But I can’t count the number of playgrounds that have, say, metal slides that heat to approximately 3958301 degrees on a sunny day. Have fun, kids! See you at the burn center!


There should be several structures for an adult male to try and jump over.


I don’t know, I guess it’s like how I can’t pass a shoe store without pressing my forehead to the window and snorfling like a truffle-pig: JB can’t pass a leapable object without giving it a go.


There should be a soft surface for cushioning the painful fall when a small child drops from where he was cruelly forced to dangle, Survivor-style, with no assistance.


(I kid, I kid. He was jumping off that step.) (OR WAS HE PUSHED OMG CALL CPS.)

There should be a (non-metal) slide that is barely big enough for a grownup’s ass to fit into, so as you go down you make that humiliating eeeeeeeeeee sound.


The Best Playground Ever should make your kid shout, “HEY! THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA, MOMMY!” afterwards.

Also, the act of screeching your way down the aforementioned slide should build up, like, a LOT of static electricity, so your husband can laugh so hard at your expense he accidentally rips a gunshot-loud fart while pointing the camera at you.



92 Responses to “Happier places”

  1. Theresa on October 28th, 2008 7:59 am

    What great photos! As always, love your writing, love your honesty. I have a one-year old baby and I sincerely could not have survived the last 12 months without the support of other mothers. I naively thought that those who disagree with you would maybe keep it to themselves in following the unwritten “parents don’t criticize parents” rule but wow, was I wrong! Parenting is by far the hardest job EVER (even when you’re not being crapped on by random naysayers) so I hope that you will keep sharing your story with us and find comfort in the many readers who are… not crazy. You go girl!

  2. elizabeth on October 28th, 2008 8:05 am

    Oh, that was funny! That is also one of my criteria for a good playground: being deserted. Other kids just get in the way. And there is inevitably going to be fighting, which I don’t want to deal with.

  3. paige on October 28th, 2008 8:16 am

    Is it wrong that I am jealous of the totally awesome playgrounds the children of today get to play on? When I was in grade school (back in the 80’s) my elementary school’s playground was more like a death trap…giant metal climbing structures (some of the bars were bent, making a sharp pointy metal corner), teeter-totters made from wood (ouch, splinters), swings that hung from metal chains that little fingers were constantly getting pinched by…the list goes on. I remember one day in 2nd grade one of the chains on a swing snapped while a friend was swinging. He ended up with 3 stitches on his head and a concussion from where it fell on him. And yet everyone’s most favorite thing about our playground? The giant piles of dirt left over from building the new junior high. Seriously, they were so popular the teachers had to make the rule that during morning recess the girls got to play on the piles, and afternoon recess the boys got their turn. Ah, only in Arkansas, right?

    As for the mudslinging that was going on yesterday, I personally think Gillian got what she was asking for. She could’ve just as easily stopped reading your blog WITHOUT making a huge fuss about it and encouraging her readers to flame you in her comments section. What she did was juvenile and uncalled for.

  4. Sarah on October 28th, 2008 8:58 am

    Somehow I knew that static electricity would come into play when I saw the first slide shot!! *lol* That does look like an AWESOME playground, though!!!

  5. tash on October 28th, 2008 9:15 am

    What a great playground! Great idea mum!!!

  6. telegirl on October 28th, 2008 9:17 am

    I can’t answer with 100% authority, but I used to have a Simple shoe fettish so I’m pretty sure those are their Old School sneakers. I believe they are Men’s only, but I got them several years ago and thought, “Why should the boys have all the cool shoes?!”

    Linda, I know the ugliness from that other blog wasn’t fun but it’s probably comforting to know that there are lots of people that would step up to defend your honor. It’s obvious how much you love your kids; I don’t understand why some people need to be so caustic. One thing I truly admire about you is how accepting you are of other parenting styles, even if they don’t fit with your views. Keep up the good work! I love your blog, sarcasm and all!

  7. Anais on October 28th, 2008 9:35 am

    Love your sunglasses and the fun pictures.

  8. Shawna on October 28th, 2008 9:48 am

    Man, I ELECTROCUTE MYSELF on slides like that. There’s an extra-long one in the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology and I thought it would be fun to slide down. Not so much. Every 5 feet or so I’d zap myself on one of the metal bolts supporting the sides. It was torture, TORTURE I tell you.

  9. Anais on October 28th, 2008 9:58 am

    Oh and I forgot to post this is in my last comment: It’s a link to a hilarious website. Maybe you can submit a fun one of Dog.


  10. Maggie on October 28th, 2008 10:02 am

    I don’t think you need to apologize for yesterday’s post in any way, shape, or form! SHE attacked YOU in “public” with a blog post…true, two wrongs don’t make a right, but you’re allowed to vent here if you need to. Isn’t that part of what makes a blog…a blog?

    I’m a fairly new reader (brought to you by Amalah), and ohmygod your kids are adorable. Someday…way down the road (waiting for the ring as of late…)…when it’s my turn, I can only hope that my kids will be 1/2 as cute!

  11. Lori O on October 28th, 2008 10:14 am

    I’m sure you only took your kids to that playground b/c it was the most dangerous place for them to play because you don’t love them. You probably DID push Riley off that platform so you could ignore him and let him CIO over his injuries. You evil, abusive parent. =)

    You go, Linda. That park looks amazing, and as always, I love your great family photos. You all have so much fun!

  12. Sharon on October 28th, 2008 10:31 am

    I can totally see why the negative comments would bother you! OMG,the nerve!

  13. JennyM on October 28th, 2008 10:44 am

    Heh. I often wonder how we ever managed to grow up alive — bench seats with no seat belts, no bike helmets, sizzly-hot metal slides, concrete and packed dirt under the swings and monkey bars instead of mulch…

  14. Christina on October 28th, 2008 10:46 am

    That looks like an awesome park.

    I agree I thought about posting on that woman’s site then thought hmm that is kind of what she wants. She got a crap load of traffic from you and people who do not like you found her and will likely keep reading her and people who like you commented on her post. Why, if she did not want traffic did she even mention it? Why not just STOP reading your blog? Isn’t that a normal human would do?

    Any who, I digress and you totally rock – I like that you are honest and funny about parenting and life and seriously do not change for ANYONE! Cheers!

  15. Cait on October 28th, 2008 11:11 am


    First time I’ve read your blog. You are hilarious. I’ve seen Gillian torment people online for years. She is a very sad sole who gets off on writing venomous lies about other people. You should see the malicious things she has done to so many people all while grandstanding about how great her life is.

    I feel sorry for her “husband” who was forced to stay with her once she became pregnant. She is definitely the type of mother who does everything she can to put others down to make herself feel better.

    You are definitely the better mom/person in this scenario. Bravo for accepting her hateful attacks for what they are and moving on.

  16. Pete on October 28th, 2008 11:20 am

    I always loved the tubes at McDonalds. When my kids were younger I had to climb with them to ‘make sure they were alright’. Can’t do that anymore.

  17. becca on October 28th, 2008 11:45 am

    That is the description of the Best. Playground. Evah.

  18. Maria on October 28th, 2008 12:06 pm

    I have to stop reading your blog at work, because people are starting to inquire why I cackle with laughter on a realtively daily basis.

    Nice work! And yes, way cool playground. Wish we had one of those around my town!

  19. H on October 28th, 2008 1:04 pm

    My take on the Gillian situation is that most or all of your readers seem to be of the “you do your thing, I’ll do mine” persuasion. Those people wouldn’t have cared if she’d handled it that way as well, if she played by The Golden Rule. But she opened the door to criticism when she said what she did – and most people seem to be negative about her because of that, not because of how she is raising her family. While “fair” might not always be “right”, it probably is “fair” for people to knock her for what she did. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it. I don’t know if she’s the kind of person who will learn from something like this, but maybe she will and then maybe you helped her in the long run.

  20. Jennie C. on October 28th, 2008 1:22 pm

    JB looks like a traceur in those jump shots.

  21. Kathryn on October 28th, 2008 1:56 pm

    Linda, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have say goodbye to you.

    I simply can’t support you anymore knowing your preference for using your pinky finger for booger foraging. Especially given my unapologetic commitment to using the index finger. Using your pinky is practically child abuse.

    I’m sure I’ll get over it soon. Mwaaaahahahaha

  22. Katie on October 28th, 2008 2:39 pm

    Great shoes.

  23. Joan on October 28th, 2008 3:09 pm

    What kind of person would say something so disgusting? If you do not like or agree with something said by one party act like an adult and either ignore it or offer support to the party you choose to, but to say such ugly things only shows your true colours.
    It is extremely hypocritical of you to accuse someone of spreading ” venomous lies” about someone then you go on to create your own commentary, writing “I feel sorry for her “husband” who was forced to stay with her once she became pregnant”
    Support who you want, but to sink so low to decry someone elses actions makes you look foolish and juvenile. Try to rise above

  24. Carrot Cake on October 28th, 2008 3:47 pm

    Love the playground.
    Love the pics.
    Love your cute outfit. (I have the same shoes in beige, but now I want them in navy!)

  25. Leslie on October 28th, 2008 4:11 pm

    First of all – that does look like a bitchin playground. If my boys had discovered it we would have probably had to move there. Second – sweet kicks!

    And by the way – I did read the post where you talked about letting Dylan cry it out- which in my opinion is not child abuse or neglect. (I have seen child abuse/neglect up close and personal and letting a little one figure out how to go to sleep ON HIS OWN, even with tears invloved, is no where near child abuse -but arrgh- don’t get me started) I stopped by Gillian’s site and wow- some really mean,corn-on-the-cobb-up the-keester folks wrote some really spiteful, judgemental stuff. Gheez – why can’t we all get along? What happened to the “until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ bit? Anyway, I love your site – your honesty and your genuine nature has recharged me many a days when I when needed it most. Go Team Linda!

  26. Corinne on October 28th, 2008 5:00 pm

    We know what JB looks like jumping over things. I want to see what he looks like when he doesn’t make it.

  27. Asheo on October 28th, 2008 5:23 pm

    Cait – I’m not taking sides in the Linda vs. Gillian thing, I enjoy reading both blogs. But seriously, why say those things about Gillian when they aren’t true? They had been trying for a baby, Ash wasn’t an accident, so Clive wasn’t “forced” to do anything.

  28. Kym on October 28th, 2008 6:56 pm

    That playground equipment was made by Kompan. They have their US headquarters in Tacoma, WA so their playgrounds have been popping up all over here! I have several within walking distance here in Tacoma and I imagine they are working their way up into the Seattle area. Really cool stuff–my daughter loves their stuff and so do we!

  29. Heather-in-Australia on October 28th, 2008 7:39 pm

    I don’t know, as I said over yonder at her post, if she didn’t want a shit storm she shouldn’t have shit on the rug. It’s not like she hasn’t been putting it out there (further linked-to-here snottiness regarding living green back in August) in a manner that doesn’t beg reply. Good for you that you replied with dignity and balance. It’s admirable that you can after such uncalled for tunnel-visioned wet turding.

    What a kick arse playground, boy that there neglect just stands out a mile in those pictures ;).

  30. StephanyW on October 28th, 2008 8:17 pm

    That’s totally my criteria for an awesome playgound! Especially about the kiddie-saute-pan slides… FAIL! My hubby just dresses like a skater-punk, rather than do the actual jumps, so I’d have to switch that out with climbing things since I apparently married monkey-boy.

  31. mo from ne on October 28th, 2008 10:06 pm

    I have to say however that playground got paid for it looks like fun!
    I just caught up on all of the weirdness of the last entry and I have to say this….

    Everyone has a different communication style. You are funny, dry, a bit cynical about parenting. You are trying your best to deal with all of the situations that are thrown at you by a world that isn’t really designed for the working parent with humor and grace. Some people have a different communication style as well as sense of humor and parenting management system. Just because you are a parent doesn’t mean you stop being yourself. You can love your kids and husband but a non-sleeping kid, farting husband, or poopy diaper is well….still a non sleeping kid, farting husband, and a poopy diaper. You just coping with laughter cause what would you do if you didn’t? Cry? There’s no crying in parenting or blogging for that matter.

    Love your blog, photos and the kids….miss dog and cat but the yummy pics of the boys make up for it.

  32. Lori on October 29th, 2008 1:48 am

    I have to imagine that Gillian must have expected some sort of backlash. If you post something like that, you better have your big girl panties on. I don’t think you should feel bad about your response at all. You have the right to defend yourself.

    And for what it’s worth, I think you are doing a great job. I love your writing. Thank you for being brave and sharing your life with us. I firmly believe that it’s our job as parents to work to find what is right for our particular children, ourselves, and our families as a whole. What works for some would be terrible for others. You know your kids and it is totally evident that they are 100% loved and well-cared for. Thanks, Linda.

  33. Half Assed Kitchen on October 29th, 2008 6:09 am

    Wow. I just went and read that whole drama, all the comments, etc. I hope you didn’t take her post too much to heart. It sounds like one extreme mother spewing her extreme ideas and vitriol. Definitely Yuck.

  34. Stella on October 29th, 2008 8:02 am

    Cannot even express my love for the abandoned playground!!

  35. sdg on October 29th, 2008 8:07 am

    Yah… originally I had a fantastically pointed, well written comment here, unfortunately, that is just not my style, so …. Good on ya! is about all I got. Mean People Suck.

  36. Shelly on October 29th, 2008 9:10 am

    Oh shit-diggity (ha!)…I LOVE your blog!!! I laugh so hard every time, thanks!

  37. telegirl on October 29th, 2008 11:57 am

    Thanks, Linda. Due to your Daily Piffle, I just Googled “MILF” at work.

  38. biscuit on October 29th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Since I was unable to comment on the previous blog:

    Those bitches on typealice need to shut up + shave their armpits.

    Love you, Linda.

  39. crazylovescompany on October 29th, 2008 12:23 pm

    Sometimes it’s easier said than done to let it go. Beauty of the internet: millions of blogs.

    Your standards for the Best Playground are perfect. I will start scouting our area now for our unborn child in preparation.

    FYI, I think you have a great combination of humor, sarcasm and snarky in your writing.

  40. Frema on October 31st, 2008 8:44 am

    I was catching up on my blog reading, found the entry in question, clicked on the link to Gillian’s blog, and went on to read that I am one of the bloggers she no longer reads due to CIO. Except that I don’t let Kara CIO. I can guess which parenting choices of mine she doesn’t agree with, and I also guessed that she had stopped reading, but jeez, some accuracy would have been nice.

    Anyway, I can understand why you posted about the whole thing, because it sucks when you’re put down in public, whether in person or online. I’m tempted to write an entry about it myself, even though no good would come of it and it shouldn’t matter what she/anyone thinks of my parenting. But when you’re used to seeing the Internet as a place of community and sharing, dealing with this kind of stuff is even more off-putting.

    Good on you for letting it go.

  41. Jack Rubinger on November 4th, 2008 1:12 pm

    As the parent of a kindergartener in Portland, Oregon, I have been concerned about traffic safety – particularly around schools and playgrounds.

    I’ve noticed that these places are often the scene of accidents because they are where parents are dropping off and picking up kids – oftentimes in a hectic rush.

    They are also where newly licensed drivers en mass are navigating through sites heavy with pedestrians and other distractions.

    I did a bit of research on the subject and want to share a website I found. It offers really useful information on what we as parents can do to increase neighborhood traffic safety.

    They have lots of information on the effectiveness of various methods used to slow traffic and even a section on getting federal, state and private grants for these kinds of neighborhood safety projects. If you’re interested, I strongly suggest you check out http://www.stopspeeders.org.

  42. Shirley on March 8th, 2015 1:37 am

    در 4:20 pmelaheh میگوید:salam miahastkm bedunam ke agar khanevadeyi barkhordeshun ba bachehashun gheire manteghie va dar kol kheili baham dg msohkel daran ba anjame in testha mishe moshkel ro hal kard?

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