I never have enough pictures of music “in action.” I’m one of those weird people who doesn’t like taking pictures during a concert. I’ll take some before the concert starts, and sometimes one or two in the middle.

I’m so worried I might disturb someone’s concert experience, I do as little as possible.  So …  mostly … it’s all about concert hall architecture.



It was one of the first churches in town and it has been abandoned. I don’t know how many years it has been empty, but it’s been awhile. Probably at least ten years, now. The church has no heat and no parking. The amount of work it would need to make it suitable for a modern community is enough to build a new church … and this one is small.

I love it. It’s a jewel box of a church, a perfect representation of the white clapboard churches which are the symbol of New England. I hoped someone would buy it, but as the years pass, I think it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball gets to it.


I used to be worried but I wore out. Now, I’m waiting for the post-apocalyptic world I have been reading about for years.

I have been worried about everything. The environment. Health care. Social security. War, guns, and bombs, and any number of other catastrophes. Yet, here I am, in a world I thought impossible.

This piece of real estate that might solve all our problems.


The above-ground home is 2,000 square feet. But if you use the keypad entry to the basement, you’ll find 2,300 more square feet that was a former launch control center and has been converted with dining and entertainment space and two bedroom suites – complete with marble bathrooms. It has 10-foot tall ceilings, simulated daylight — and what we all need in our post-apocalyptic home — an open floor plan.

Another view of the house.

Aerial shot of the property.

Views from the property.

Your own personal runway.

Great media room!

Basement entrance. Good solid construction.

Inside the basement house. it’s a whole new world!

Comfy bathroom.

Stairway to the silo.

Tunnel to the silo. This could use a little work. Maybe some paneling?

Inside the missile silo is a 9-story structure, currently empty. Consider it would be perfect for underground condos. Bring your friends on board and recycle that air!

It used to be selling for a mere $1.7 million. If it hasn’t sold by now, maybe we could make a deal?


My true love and I went to the doctor and the grocery store. On the way between those spots, I took a few pictures.

There are places nearby which are beautiful and where I’ve been trying to take a few nice pictures for years. I usually can’t. There is no place to park.

Forge House

It isn’t the city. We don’t suffer from having too many cars. No parking meters. Just a narrow winding road with many swampy sections. Pulling off to the side of the road can prove perilous. It is a kind of quick mud, but it’s not going to swallow the car. Not exactly. It will suck the car (and me) into the muck and make quite a mess. It can appear normal, but you step on what looks like grass and find yourself in black mud to your knees. Stinky black mud. Yuck.

So we made a deal, Garry and I, that he would look for anyplace he could pull off the road — safely — and I’d leap out (well, not exactly leap, but move quickly) and take some pictures. Then jump back in the car.

One of the places is the Forge House. Built in 1788 as a cobbler’s shop, it later was turned into a forge house where people with metal to be melted could come.

We got to the corner and Garry pulled into the base of someone’s driveway. I clambered out and went to take some pictures. While I was shooting, half a dozen cars wouldn’t drive through my piece of road. I was taking pictures. They didn’t want to ruin my shots. I had no idea what was going on because, like most photographers, I was paying no attention to anything but the pictures. I looked up and everyone waved to me and drove on.

I shouted thank you and they waved back.

That’s why we live here. Not in the city. Out here, people are nice. No special reason, but because they are like that. Isn’t that lovely? With all the awful stuff going on … something charming happens.


WordPress Weekly PHOTO CHALLENGE | Graceful

A graceful reflecting window in a modern building ... It doesn't have to be old to be elegant, balanced ... graceful

A graceful reflecting window in a modern building … It doesn’t have to be historic or ancient to be elegant, balanced … and graceful.

The Pond - April 2016

The Pond – April 2016

The flock of birds at dawn on Ogunquit beach

The flock of birds at dawn on Ogunquit beach

Where do the swans go? Photo: Marilyn Armstrong

Three swans, one immature (with the black beak) on the pond

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017


STOOP, Etymology

Originally brought to the Hudson Valley of New York by settlers from the Netherlands, this word is among the Dutch vocabulary that has survived there from colonial times until the present. Stoop, “a small porch”, comes from Dutch stoep (meaning: step, pronounced the same). The word is now in general use in the Northeastern United States and is spreading. 

Not a stoop. This would qualify as a portico

Not a stoop. This would qualify as a portico. Only one step and it’s recessed

Stoops are important. They offer opportunities for creative play, such as “stoop ball” which is a kind of handball, but you need a stoop. With steps. We used to use them as a kind of grandstand where guests could sit while we gave performances. We thought we were almost ready for Broadway. Not all reviewers agreed.

A stoop is a front porch for urbanites. You sit on the stoop to watch the street, meet and greet your neighbors, get some fresh (?) air. Catch up on the local news. Stoop sitting was an important thing when I was growing up and I’m betting it still is, if you live in a neighborhood in the city that’s not too snooty.

Rich people don’t sit on the stoop. More’s the pity. They’d understand the world a lot better if they did.

As the word “stoop” spreads, we will all be able to recognize one when we see it. It’s one of the first architectural features I look for when I’m trying to figure when a structure was built. In cities, most buildings originally had a stoop. When you see a door that is at or below street level, it usually means the original stoop has been buried by erosion, time, remodeling, sidewalk and street repairs, and so on.

It's a stoop, but it leads to a porch

It’s a stoop, but it leads to a porch

Urban streets tend to rise over the years. In older cities, sometimes the level of the street will actually be slightly higher than the door, requiring a dry well and/or drains to keep from flooding.

Stoops on Beacon Hill, Boston

Stoops on Beacon Hill, Boston

A stoop from the 1700s is still a stoop ... even though it's in Upton, Massachusetts rather than New York

A stoop from the 1700s is still a stoop … even though it’s in Upton, Massachusetts rather than New York

A perfect suburban stoop

A perfect suburban stoop

A stoop leading to the tiny post office in Manchaug

A stoop leading to the tiny post office in Manchaug

I can attest to the spread of the word stoop meaning the steps and landing between the sidewalk (or front walk) and the door. Because when i first came to Boston, only former New Yorkers (which comprise about 50% of everyone in Massachusetts) knew the word, but now everyone does. Probably because of that invasive pest species, refugees from New York.

To qualify as a stoop, it has to lead to the front or another main door. It doesn’t have to have a landing to be a stoop. The steps alone are enough.

The stoop should have from two to six steps. More than six steps is a whole flight of steps and a single step can’t be a stoop. If there’s more than a landing at the top, it also isn’t a stoop. If it’s bigger than a landing, the area is a porch, a veranda, a balcony … maybe even a deck. A proper stoop is just big enough to put down your bag of groceries while you dig around in your bag to find your keys.



There were probably stoops on these doorways 100 years ago, but the city rose. You can also see how many times the building has been remodeled, brickwork changed, and so on. Buildings hold a lot of history

I would call this a stoop, but some would not because it leads to a side door, not the front

I would call this a stoop, but some would not because it leads to a side door, not the front

You now hold a graduate degree in stoopology. Congratulations!