Tag Archives: hobbies

Hobbies in Adulthood: West End Here I Come!

The writing was on the wall when I found myself lingering in Tesco (a major British supermarket chain) just so that I could sing along to the soundtrack playing in its aisles. I mean, c’mon folks. How often do you get to listen to Men At Work’s Land Down Under and Celine Dion’s  My Heart Will Go On in one 10 minute interval?

Then, last Friday night, I found myself squirreled away in a recording studio in the seedy end of Camden Town. About eight of us middle-aged parents decided to forsake shame and concoct a mums and dad’s band to perform at the upcoming school summer fair. We called ourselves The NERMADS, which was short for New End Rock Mums And Dads (Our children attend New End Primary School in London. I personally preferred the moniker “Nermaids” but it didn’t fly…or swim). Some of us played guitar; others the saxophone; most of us sang.

The studio had all the requisite features if you wanted to fancy yourself a rock chick for  – oh, about three hours or so:  the nearly invisible entrance hidden beneath the railroad tracks…the chipped paint and dark lighting…heck, I half expected someone to be shooting heroin when I walked in. (Only the bathrooms disappointed. As one friend noticed, they were unfailingly clean. Sigh).

And it was a blast. We sang that old favorite Stand By Me, that folk lover’s dream Put a Little Love in Your Heart, as well as assorted rock tunes. (Check out some of us at the actual fair here and here.)

I’ve always loved to sing. I was in a women’s a capella group – The Ursa Minors – back when I was an undergraduate. And I briefly sang with a group at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago when I first moved there. But that was like 15 years ago and since then, I haven’t really sung with anyone (well, outside of those poor souls haunting the cereal aisle at Tesco).

I’m a big fan of pursuing hobbies in adulthood. I think that – as adults – we sometimes feel that hobbies are for kids: you learn to shoot a bow and arrow. Maybe you take some piano lessons or do an art class here and there. And you have fun. But once you grow up, that’s when the serious stuff kicks in: work,  family, LIFE.

But I think that’s a huge mistake. Because there’s something exhilarating about taking up something entirely new – or perhaps returning to an earlier interest – when you’re grown up. Perhaps you even take a class and discovered other like-minded souls. I did this with an acting class last fall.

It’s just…fun. And it keeps you feeling alive.

Which is why I’m incredibly psyched that – right after said performance at the school fair and after running the school raffle for a mere three years – I finally won a raffle prize. And guess what it was? A half-price coupon at London’s adult learning centre, City Lit.

When I got home, I sped through the course listings and happened upon this gem: a *brand new* course offering next year called – wait for it – Actors Singing From West End to Broadway.

An entire six weeks of show tunes? And you don’t have to have any formal training?

Bring it on baby. And Give My Regards to Broadway, because I’m bound for the West End…


Speaking of show tunes, I came across this internet-age tribute to West Side Story – Web Side Story – courtesy of Middle Aged Women Blogging.

Image: Singers by Mr Mo-Fo via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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Tips for Adulthood: Five Signs Your Partner is Being Unfaithful

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Yesterday, I posted about the sad state of infidelity in America (and Europe). In today’s post, I list five signs that your partner is being unfaithful:

1. They suddenly develop a rash of new hobbies. I had one friend who –  in explaining her husband’s busy schedule and why she barely saw him anymore – said: “Well, you know, Paul’s got a lot of hobbies. He does banjo and judo and race car driving. He’s also taking classes to learn how to cook. And then every other Thursday he goes to the symphony…” Um, honey, I think Paul’s having an affair.

2. Their appearance changes dramatically. The tell-tale sign of infidelity is the abrupt change in look. Watch out for the here-to-fore button-downed male executive suddenly sporting loafers, designer jeans and  “party shirts.” With ladies, it’s all about the accessories:  a new found zeal for exotic handbags, scarves and showy jewelry. Be really wary when someone starts parting their hair on the other side.

3. They use payphones. Ok, this was back before the advent of the cell phone/mobile. But we had one neighbor when I was growing up who could always be seen making calls from the pay phone on the corner. Which was really curious because she had a landline in her home. I remember my father saying matter-of-factly: “She’s having an affair.” I suppose the modern day equivalent would be someone who spends all their time texting and never uses email. Much less of an e-paper trail.

4. They claim to have a “penetration phobia.” My friends, you can’t make this sh&% up. This is literally what one friend’s husband said to her by way of explaining his sudden loss of interest round’ about bedtime. Ah yes, that’s a good one. Three children later and you’re only now discovering this problem?

5. They tell you they need to “get away” to do some writing. Along the Appalachian trail. Without the kids. I’m afraid Mark Sanford has forever ruined the notion of the writer’s retreat for the rest of us. Darn him…

Image: Pay Phone NYC by Gonzalo Fernandez via Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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