from the Marianas Trench

Biography & Stuff

The Contemplator

Is usually very busy contemplating - meditating - vegetating (whichever syntax you prefer to use) and can't believe anyone would really want to spend time reading a biography when there's so much more to do here... The best way to get an idea of who I am is really to read my Contemplations, but as those are philosophy (if you use the word loosely) more than fact, this will serve as the quick and dirty version of "who is the Contemplator?"

My name is Lesley. My family consists of a philosopher (that's me), my wonderful husband (YES!), three inspirations (aka children), one cat and a two black labs. Several (many really) years ago, when I started these pages, I was married to someone else (hence occasional references in the contemplations to the "King" - those references do not mean I had an active fantasy life with Elvis, or refer to my current husband!) After our divorce the children and I moved to a small hamlet close to where we used to live and then moved to Frederick County, Maryland. My life has changed so much I wrote about it in Fairy Tales.

I was born and raised a Navy Junior - so no where was home. I was fortunate enough to live in Vietnam and Japan as a child and traveled a good bit as a tourist - when Mom and Dad were paying the bills instead of me.

I was a stay-at-home mom for as long as I could possibly be. During that time I earned my M.A. (in History from Shippensburg University), worked occasionally as a part-time computer trainer and volunteered for a local women's shelter, giving speeches and teaching programs in middle and high schools. I was a tae kwon do student long enough to get my black belt and teach a women's class for a while. I also took pa kua for several years, something I have continued to practice, though no longer for the martial aspect. Financial necessity drove me to full-time work. I worked at a couple of sales jobs in the computer industry just long enough to decide that wasn't what I wanted to do.

Years ago I had looked into what it would take to get my teacher certification. With the experience of teaching computer courses, programs in schools, and martial arts, I felt teaching was the career for me. I decided to go back to complete the requirements for my teaching certificate at Wilson College (Secondary Social Studies). I had a terrific time taking classes with some great professors. I also had a fantastic student teaching experience (thank you, Ellen) and had a couple of long term substitute position for the school district I student taught at.

However, I didn't find a full-time position. So as much as I loved teaching, I was unemployed for too long to be able to continue to substitute. In the fall of 1999 I accepted a position with a company working as a document reviewer for a government agency. I was fortunate enough to have found a job I loved even more than I did teaching. I switched to a position in policy a few years later, which - yes - I like even more. I am now a Federal employee and figure I can retire when I'm 83. Guess I'll just have to enjoy my vacations because I might not live that long!

These pages were a very important part of my life for many years, but three years after my divorce, when I met my husband, he drew me out of the study and into the real world. Life hasn't been the same - which is surprisingly wonderful! He introduced me to fishing and boating. From there we got a canoe, then kayaks. And in 2003 I lost my mind and when he returned to motorcycling, I took some training. If you are in Frederick County, MD and see a woman with a pink helmet on a BMW - that's probably me.

This page started when I was a stay-at-home mom - and on a whim because I wanted to learn HTML. For the first few weeks it was Contemplations. Then I discovered background music - and midis. Then I discovered Barry Taylor's music...

I've always enjoyed folk music. Mom used to play the piano and Dad used to sing songs like Abdul Abulbul Amir and Maid of Amsterdam when I was a child. Although I took guitar lessons in the early 70s and learned some folk tunes then, I'd never developed much talent or learned anything of music theory. So I wrote Barry for permission to use his files and for a couple of months (with permission) just copied music from his and Brian Hick's ReelMusic site.

Barry persuaded me that I could enter single line melodies on a computer - and amazingly, I could. I sent him melody lines and he'd magically make it into something incredible. I became bold and began to do full arrangements. They didn't turn out very well at first, but they improved. I have purchased a lot of public domain sources over the years and base most of my arrangements on them.

My love of history meant I was curious about the history behind the music. I thought other people might be curious too - and if they weren't it didn't much matter - *I* would at least learn something! So I started researching the origin of the songs and the historical background. I couldn't always find the history I was looking for on the Web, so I started my History Pages. The history of a couple of ballads led me to Child Ballads (which aren't ballads for children)... The result has been that I've been able to make the site into something unique and special (at least to me)!

My pages are now less about contemplating than about music and history. I've enjoyed the transition and love the music and history. I keep the title and I keep the Contemplations (though I don't update them any more) because those were my roots and evidently a lot of people enjoy them.

All that's left to say is Welcome to Contemplations of the Marianas Trench - my sojourn into the web, music, history and myself!

For those who are REALLY curious ......
Here's a picture of the Contemplator and the Inspirations:

What did you expect?
Cindy Crawford?

The Inspirations

Inspiration One

Inspiration Two

Inspiration Three