We're into the kinky stuff John. cheezy grin She often comments on how much she enjoys helping on the music and how she never thought she'd ever think that, from her initial forays... she's a happy frog.
@holster Bryan, great points! One of the main things Andrew gets across in his "Cloth Ears" article is to be listening attentively to everything, not just music but the ambient sound characteristics of spaces one find oneself in (hey, cool acoustics in here, if I were playing/recording here it'd be like xyz...). It's a form of training and engaging in the hobby, as you say.
And plus a jillion for having my wife as my reality check on mixes and songs. In this sense it's a significant advantage that she is not involved in the actual mixing process. She will give me her unvarnished view as a "normal listener" and make very good suggestions. These range from things that do pertain to mixing ("your voice needs to be louder" etc) to notes on the compositions themselves ("you're repeating that section at least once too often in the chorus" etc). I never put anything up on BTR until she's listened and given it a thumbs up.
Great thread! I realize I never answered the "hours per week" topic question! For me it varies wildly. Sometimes I go a month or more without sitting down at the music computer. This particular past month, I've had some renewed energy and come up with some new songs, so have been spending several hours almost every day working on them. Likely to recede soon, given other constraints on my time and the fact that I'm now out of originals again til the next burst of creativity strikes...!