Newport Manners & Etiquette: Newport Flower Show + The Art of Listening + Grandchildren
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Newport Flower Show
Q. We girls are taking a day trip to the Newport Flower Show and want to be prepared by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Like, how do we dress? Julia, Cohasset, MA
A. You girls will have a delightful experience! However, expect to do a lot of walking. Even though there is a free of charge trolly ride of several blocks from Chateau-sur-Mer, where you'll be parking, to Rosecliff, you will spend a fair bit of time on foot. Wear sensible shoes and I don't mean flip-flops. Gladiator sandals, ballerina flats, and espadrilles are fine, but stiletto heels will sink into the grass and possibly catch the wearer off guard with a tumble.
Outdoor flower shows are all about hats. You all will definitely need to wear a hat or, at the very least, a pretty visor. One of the first booths you'll see on the back lawn of Rosecliff that faces the sea is LILO. Where the renowned milliner Lisa Stubbs sells her fabulous hats. For thirty years Lisa's designs of headpieces, boaters, chapeaus, fascinators (decorative headbands), and visors, have been the status quo of Newport's summer season.
After an hour of browsing the many vendors, how about a lovely refreshment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean seated under a luncheon tent. Great for people watching. Oh, yes, there are flowers to admire on display or buy, but that's not what you were asking about. Ahead of time go online to look for the starting times of special events and lectures with a floral motif. No Newport Flower Show is the same. This June the French garden theme prevails.
Even though you'll be wearing a hat, bring sunscreen and reapply, reapply. And don't forget to take plenty of selfies.
The Newport Flower Show is set to run from June 23 to June 25.
The art of listening
Q. My fiancée complains that I am not a good listener. When she talks, I stare into her eyes and listen to every word. Even if I'm really thinking about work or wondering when I'm going to get a chance to check for messages. I try very hard not to interrupt. Then when she's through I feed her back what she just said so she know's I've been listening. Isn't that enough?
JR, Orlando, FL
A. Be the energy giver not the energy taker. Forget about not speaking when others are talking. Forget about not interrupting. Forget about making strange sounds acknowledging that you are listening such as, yeah, oh, ah, mmm, to make her think you're following her train of thought.
What you really want to do is to engage in a conversation by asking questions. Be curious as to what she's thinking, feeling and trying to communicate to you. Find out what role she expects you to play, what plans she wants you to be part of, what advice she might need. Turn what your fiancée is saying into a two-way conversation. That doesn't mean mirroring back what she just said to prove that you were listening.
Real listening is interactive conversation that fosters curiosity. Listening is not about sitting passively feigning interest.
The third wife
Q. As the third wife, even after ten years of marriage, I feel like the outsider. My husband had three children with his first wife, who unexpectedly died too young. As a widower with three children, he may have married his second wife out of loneliness, but his now adult children remain close to their first stepmother -- to the extent that she might just as well be their mother. I can't seem to break through into the family circle. When we get together for holidays, birthdays and graduations, it seems as though there are three people in my marriage. Even though I know my husband favors me, his children favor her. Any suggestions? GB, Seattle, WA
If you really want to make it into the inner circle, create your own relationships with the adult children, their spouses/partners and your husband's grandchildren. Make your and your husband's own memories with them.
Think of yourself as a memory maker. Everything you do should generate a happy lasting remembrance. It is not about how much money you spend, but about the quality of the time you exert remembering birthdays and anniversaries and celebrating graduations and other milestones.
Encourage your husband to experience time with his adult children and their children alone by going fishing, sailing or taking a camping trip -- adventures that he does without you or his second wife.
Offer to help out with the grandchildren. Go to their soccer or baseball games, dance and musical recitals and attend plays. With your husband invite the grandchildren to spend the weekend or stay with you for a week during their vacation so that the parents are freed up to be alone together.
- During that time, teach your step grandchildren how to muck out a stall, plant carrots, bake cupcakes, scramble eggs, wash a car, ride a bike, play chess or checkers, pingpong or croquet, draw or watercolor. You get the picture.
- During these times have each child keep an album of photos, drawings, and well-wishing messages that they can return to the next time they visit. A memory book.
- Display their artwork and be sure to have photos of each grandchild visible and laid out in frames around your home. It will make them feel welcome.
- Keep file cards of each child's likes, dislikes, and allergies. If one child doesn't like hot dogs, don't serve them; when a child is allergic to peanuts, don't even have a jar of peanut butter in the fridge.
- Find activities you can do together and have craft supplies and games in a bin that they can access easily filled with such items as: play dough, construction paper, watercolors and brushes, crayons, children's scissors, puzzles, board games, cards.
- Take out books from your public library ahead of time, so you'll always have stories to read aloud to them, and eventually they'll read to you.
Related Slideshow: 25 Things to Look Forward to in New England This Summer - 2017
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
The Burlington Discover Jazz Festival takes place from June 2 to June 11 in downtown Burlington, Vermont.
This 10 day celebration features four stages with free live music from Arrested Development and more. The festival also will feature local food and much more.
For more information, click here.
Taking a Cruise on a Windjammer
Head to Maine and sleep aboard a National Landmark, the Maine Windjammer Fleet.
Go on a three, four or six-day cruise and get closer than ever before to wildlife like whales, eagles, and porpoises while you see some of the best coastal scenery that North America has to offer.
After a successful first festival, the PVDFest returns to Providence for the third year and will take place from June 1-4.
The festival will bring in art, music, performances and more from all over the United States and the world for the free outdoor festival.
Catching a Worcester Bravehearts Game
Year after year, the Worcester Bravehearts are one of the best baseball teams in New England.
They bring in some of the best college talent from across the region to compete for the Futures League Championship.
Don't miss a game.
Visiting Cape Playhouse Theatre
Taking a ride to Cape Cod and visit the oldest summer theatre in the country, Cape Playhouse. Cape Playhouse was first opened in 1927 by Raymond Moore.
The theatre has been home to some of the biggest stars to ever grace a stage like Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart amongst others.
Enjoying the South County Hot Air Balloon Fest
There is nothing quite like the Hot Air Ballon Fest. This is the place to enjoy glowing hot air balloons, crafts, music, food, fishing, carnival rides, fireworks, and more.
The festival will be held from July 21-23 on the URI athletic fields.
Participating in the Worcester World Cup 2017
The 2017 Worcester World Cup is set to take place from Friday, August 11 to Sunday, August 13.
The Worcester World Cup is more than a soccer tournament. It's a celebration of Worcester and a safe, friendly family event that people look forward to all year.
Newport Jazz Festival
The 2017 festival is set to take place from Friday, August 4 to Sunday, August 6.
The festival will show off over 50 individual jazz ensembles on four stages including performances at the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Fort Adams State Park.
Seeing a Movie at the Rustic Drive-In
Look forward to Calling up your friends, pack a picnic, and sit in your car as feature films are projected on giant outdoor screens.
The audio plays right through your radio, so be sure to turn the volume up high as you snack on your candy and popcorn.
Zip Lining in the Berkshires
Looking for something new and exciting? Head to the Berkshires and get yourself on a zip line, maybe even do a canopy tour.
There are three different tour options, starting with the base area tour which lasts an hour or the Moutain Top or Valley Jump tour which takes three hours. Both of those are sure to shoot some adrenaline into your day.
The Little League World Series
While the Little League World Series does not take place in New England, the series is arguably the marquee sporting event of the summer.
There will be a New England team in it this year and therefore, the Little League World Series is always something to look forward to
Catching a PawSox Game at McCoy
Nothing says summer time like sitting at McCoy Stadium and watching a Pawtucket Red Sox game.
While the PawSox are already in action, the weather is getting warmer and it will be much more comfortable to go out to a game.
Billy Joel at Fenway Park
For the fourth consecutive year, rock and roll legend Billy Joel will play Fenway Park.
Billy Joel released his first hit song, arguably still his biggest hit, Piano Man in 1973 and since then has become the 6th best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States.
Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992 and then the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.
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