Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You with Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests pick five questions that reveal a little more about their personality and background. This week my guest is Miss Personality as far as I am concerned. You don’t have to be in the same room with Annette Rochelle Aben to know that she is funny, compassionate, empathetic and generous. That all shines through in her blog posts, social media comments and radio podcasts. And as you will find out… it also shines bright as day in her interview.

Annette is also a talented poet and her latest release Haiku Perspective 2018 has achieved the distinction of becoming a best seller.

Before we look at the questions that Annette has decided to answer, here is the official biography.

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a writer, an author, a wordsmith and perhaps find myself to be more interesting than is necessary. So I shall NOT go into grand detail as to what I have done in my 40 + career of writing and instead shall use various pages of this blog site to reveal this energy. As with most writing it may take some time, so please bear with me.

In addition to writing I am also a guide, a muse and a mentor and to that end I am available to work with YOU! So please reach out when you are in need of my services and allow me to use my talents, skills and above all compassion to help you in your personal or professional life.

For years I have enjoyed being part of the “traditional” broadcasting industry, you know, the kind where one simply turns on a radio or television and there you are! Many people I would interact with would tell me how much THEY wanted the chance to be a part of that world and yet there were only so many jobs, so many chances to work in their own home towns doing something they really wanted to do with their lives. So when I found the world of INTERNET RADIO I was thrilled because here was something people could DO to fulfill their dreams and do it in a way that allowed them to have CONTROL over the broadcasting process. Naturally I started doing my own internet radio program and fell in LOVE with the FREEDOM and EASE of it all and was eventually hired by a company to TRAIN others how to do their own shows and I did this for years with wonderful results. (I will add testimonials soon) and when that company and I parted ways, I decided to continue offering the TRAINING and SUPPORT to those who also wish to CREATE and HOST their own internet radio programs.


You can find out more about Annette’s radio programmes here:

It is now time to find out more about Annette’s most embarrassing moments,

Welcome Annette and can you share your most embarrassing experience?

When I was I my early twenties, I worked as a Release Clerk in the office of a Custom House Broker at the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan. We were the largest Custom House Broker in three States, so we were busy, very busy. What our office/company did, was to guarantee to the Federal Government, that we’d pay the duty or any import fees on behalf of the person/company doing the importing. We’d then bill the company for that money and our fees. Truck drivers would bring their paperwork to us and we’d prepare it for processing, then the drivers would submit the paperwork to U.S. Customs, who would release the freight for delivery, should everything be in order.

My co-workers and I sat I in a rather large room, at an L shaped counter. Our desks had counters at eye-level, where the drivers lined up to have one of the seven of us handle their paperwork. In addition to this, one of my roles was to answer the phones. I was placed at the very first desk, very first phone, which meant I got all the calls first and if my phone was in use, the call rolled down the line until someone else answered. Not all the calls were for our location, often calls needed to be directed to our Detroit/Windsor Tunnel office or our main office, which was a few blocks away.

One day, this was the case and the conversation went like this.

“John V. Carr, Bridge Office, this is Annette, how may I direct your call?”

“I need to speak with Dick.”

“Which Dick, sir? We have several Dicks who work for this company.”

“Well, I don’t know, is there a Dick in charge?”

“Yes, the owner is Dick L. Sr., I guess he’d be considered the Dick in charge.”

“That name doesn’t sound familiar. Can you name a someone else?”

“Certainly, there’s Dick L. Jr. Dick H. and Dick D., could one of them be the Dick you remember”

Yes, I believe it is H., let me speak with him please.”

“Right away sir, I’ll connect you.”

I put the call through, hung up the phone and realized that there was dead silence in a room with six other release clerks, a supervisor and probably 20 truck drivers. Out of nowhere, my Supervisor shouts, out, “We have several Dicks who work for this company.” It took only a second before gales of laughter rattled the windows and my face turned as red as my hair. I was the lone female in the place and the men were simply giddy while they repeated my conversation to each other in fake girly voices. It was then that I realized exactly what had happened. I burst into tears, sobbing as though my heart would break. Several of the drivers took pity on me, ruffling my hair from above the counter. A couple of my co-workers threw paper wads at me to get me to lighten up (geesh, men) and one driver dropped a ten- dollar bill on my desk. I looked up at him with tear stained cheeks and wordless, questioning eyes. He smiled and said. “Buy yourself a drink after work. In fact, have a few, on me.”

What would you do with a million dollars?

I am so practical where money is concerned, I have to say that I would make sure my immediate family was comfortable. Everyone out of debt. All health issues addressed and remedied. All vehicles in proper working order. All homes in proper repair (if necessary) and of course, all final expenses financed. That last one comes from my years working in the funeral industry and I could be the poster child for pre-arrangements, as I feel so strongly about the topic. See, much too practical.

I would also set up a Trust Fund for my brother’s eldest son. Shawn is in prison, serving 3 consecutive 25 years terms, which means he will be there for life. As he is 31 years of age right now and my brother and I are in our 60’s, it not likely we will out live him. Our sister is only 4 years behind us, so once again, Shawn could be left completely alone when we are gone. Due to the nature of his offense, his mother and brothers have disowned him.

He requires money for things that are so basic, such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. If he wants to write a letter, there needs to be money available for all the implements required as well as for the stamp. Even television needs to be paid for, much like cable or internet television in someone’s house. At this time, we keep his account filled with just enough for his needs, as the State takes anything above a certain amount to pay for expenses incurred during his trial. He can work to earn his pocket money, but he must behave to gain work rights; and that doesn’t always happen. He has the maturity of a tween.

My nephew was diagnosed as a Paranoid Schizophrenic with Homicidal and Suicidal Tendencies when he was 12 years of age. At the time, for the safety of his younger brothers, mother and step father, he was placed in an institution, where he lived for 6 years. Once he turned 18, he was released into a world, he knew nothing of and it simply was not a good fit.

See, there are no longer institutions for mentally ill adults in our State. There used to be, but they have long since closed. Because Shawn committed a very serious crime during a time when he was off his medicines, he was put in prison.

We don’t know what would happen to him if he were to be paroled. Living with us, is not an option, not without some serious help from those trained in dealing with people who have Shawn’s condition. Still, it is up to us to provide for him, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

He is our family and while we do not approve of his crime, we love him unconditionally. We write to him every week. He calls us when he can (if he acts up, they take his phone use away) and my brother visits him once a month.

A million dollars cannot bring us back the little boy who brought so much joy into our lives but perhaps it could help him live out the rest of his days somewhat happier.

Did you have a nickname as a child, and if so, what was it?

Yes, I was Pookie! In fact, my dad called me, Annette Rochelle “Pookie” Parent (no, Aben is not my family name, I picked it up from the Federal Marriage protection program).

When I was a very little girl, (mid-fifties) we had a local children’s television show called Lunch with Soupy. The host, Soupy Sales, did sketch comedy, much of which went over our heads, and at least once in every show, he’d end up with a pie in the face for his silliness.

He’d try to teach us manners, reminding us to be “Good Birdbaths” so our parents wouldn’t have to yell at us. And of course, he looked silly, what with this black top hat and crazy, checkerboard, over-sized bowtie he’ d wear. Yes sir, we always enjoyed lunch with Soupy!

There was a lion puppet character on the show, named Pookie. His personality, was that of a 50’s hipster and he Soupy would dialogue all the time. Because Soupy was a jazz enthusiast, he always made sure there was music on the show which included having Pookie “sing” a variety of novelty songs. This is the part of the show that would have me laughing hysterically.

One of the songs was about how Pookie was going to buy himself a Cadillac car by saving up Green Stamps.

*Sung to the tune of Camp Town Ladies

* I’m gonna buy me a Cadillac car, green stamps, green stamps. I’m gonna buy me a Cadillac car, fill up a green stamp book.”

Rumor has it, that as soon as that song would come on, I would try to sing along with him. I remember a photograph of my 2nd birthday cake, with Happy Birthday Pookie written on it.

And I can state, for the record, that I never quite saved up enough Green Stamps for the car. But I got to keep the name!

Sally here:  Just for you Annette  Pookie doing Motown….

What is my favorite vegetable and how do I like it prepared?

BEETS! Yes sir, I love me some beets. We’d have them when I was a kid, and they’d be pickled; sweet and sour flavored. They were okay, I enjoyed them but when we just had a can of them heated up with a bit of butter and salt, I liked them better.

Once I grew up and found them raw in the stores, I fell in love all over again. Now, I could cook them on my own and that was when I began putting them into salads. Oh yum! Didn’t matter to me what kind of salad it was, I added cooked beets. This caused many of my friends to look at me with a bit of curiosity for they were not fond of beets. Good! More for me.

Now, imagine what happened, when I found a juice bar tucked away in a coffee house. They made a drink called a Sunrise and it was filled with a variety of fruits and BEETS! So now, I was into raw beets. Believe it or not, for someone like me, who was born with coffee flowing through her veins, no one could believe I would turn down an espresso for a juiced beet drink.

These days, I have added roasting the whole beets to my weekly routine. Ah yes, whack off the greens, scrub up the root, rub some olive oil on that puppy, toss it on a baking sheet and in to a h-o-t oven long enough for them to become fork tender and I am in heaven. Of course, I peel them when they come out, add some salt and will stand there eating them at the kitchen sink. There is no shame in my beet game.

If animals could talk, which one would I want to talk to?

I think I would like to talk to bears. They have always held a fascination for me, ever since I was a child. We would go on vacation and when we’d stop at little souvenir stores, I would always buy a small, stuffed black bear. Mind you, other than at the zoo, I never saw a bear in person until I was I my twenties, but I knew I loved them.

It would be terrific to know all about their lives. Do they miss their cubs once the little ones grow up? Do they mate with the same partner season after season? What are they doing when they hibernate? I mean, we think they are sound asleep but people who know more than I do, tell us this is not true. So, I would love to hear it from a bear’s point of view. Why do they love salmon? What’s it like to have such a thick, fur coat all the time?

Of course, I would try to answer their questions too. I would think a bear might want to know why we hunt them or why we see them as enemies. Bears might be curious as to why we began to move into their neighborhoods to build not only our cities, but vacation get away spots. And I think they might want an explanation as to whose idea it was to put them into the circus. No fun for the bears at all!

Through the conversations, I would hope I could convince them that we are all NOT nuts. We are all NOT out to harm them. Most of us want to live in harmony with them and would love to be able to sit an enjoy a sunset, side by side. To go for a walk through the woods with each other and learn what the other knows of the terrain. To get to know their little ones and have fun watching them grow up, just as they might want to enjoy watching our little ones grow up.
I especially would love to be able to walk up to a bear, any bear and feel as though I were with a friend. I believe we could be friends with bears, if we could talk to each other.

Sally here:  I have found the perfect place for you to visit Annette…over 2000 bears ready to sit down with you for a one to one…. please take photos.

I think you will agree that Annette has pulled out all the stops for us today and I am sure you will have enjoyed as much as I have.

Books by Annette Rochelle Aben

One of the recent reviews for the collection

American Poet, Annette Rochelle Aben has created a dynamic collection of syllabic poetry and prose that shouts out her unique perspective on everyday life. Her poetry is filled with humor and pathos expressed through various forms of Haiku, Senryu, and Tanka formats covering a wide range of topics.

Aben’s talent lies in her deep understanding of the human psyche expressed through poetic bursts of emotion that reach out and grab the reader. One of the most powerful verses is called, Absolution:


If I let you see
Some parts of my history
Would they set me free
Wiping clean the deeds
See flowers disguised as weeds

Drink blood the soul bleeds

Blended by the shame
Memories screaming my name

Silence, play the game
Help me to save face
Vanquishing nightmares that chase

Seeking love’s pure grace

© 2018 Annette Rochelle Aben

I enjoy poetry that allows me to reflect on my own thoughts and feelings. At the same time, I appreciate the ability to laugh at one’s own foibles, somehow finding the strength to shrug it off and move on. Aben’s poetry gives the reader the inspiration to look within and like what they see.

This book was listed as a #1 New Release in Japanese Poetry & Haiku. I received a copy of the book as a gift. 

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5  Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Google +

Thank you for dropping in today and I know Annette would love to receive your comments and questions… it would also be great if you could share. Thanks Sally

If you would like to participate in this interview series then click this link:

132 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You with Annette Rochelle Aben

  1. Pingback: Getting to Know You; Ms Annette Rochelle Aben. – The Militant Negro™

  2. Annette, girlfriend, you blow my mind! Now I have 100 other reasons to love you. You speak so freely of things that many others would be loath to share. Your open heart is your strength, and your power lies in compassion. I’ll be sharing this love on my pages. Hugs to you and Sally for this most inspiring post ❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is so Annette, Sally. A most wonderful get to know. I am sorry to hear about your nephew, Annette. From my reading of various blogs it doesn’t seem as if the US has much support for people who suffer from mental illness which is a huge tragedy.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a fantastic interview, Annette and Sally! You are very inspiring and I hope you do get a million at some point. You’d use it very well. Having worked for years in forensic psychiatry, I feel especially sad reading your nephew’s story. I’ve looked after men (mostly) with similar mental health problems and you’re right. Some of them will never be well enough to live independently unless they are very well supervised and take their medication. Many families completely disown these men, even when they might have been mentally unwell when they committed their crimes. It’s very hard for everybody involved and there should be more resources available. All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know, Olga, back when he was first diagnosed, I was in total denial. I even said, that I wanted him to go to California to be treated by Dr. Judith Orloff and if SHE said he was ill, then I would believe it. However, my husband and I could not get custody of him and my brother and his wife would not allow me to intercede on the child’s behalf. That being said, I am not certain where to turn sometimes, so I simply turn to the power of LOVE. It’s all I have to give and I pray it is enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed getting to know Annette in this wonderful open and honest interview. I laughed at the embarrassing moment story, as I’m sure she can now, too. Sorry to read about Shawn’s tragic story. He must be very glad to such a warm and generous aunt in his life.
    Sally, the video of the bears in Alaska is amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – #Music, Nessie, #Thai Curry Pastes, New Books, #Reviews, #Health and #Humour | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  7. Thank you, Sally, for this terrific opportunity, I must say, it did take me out of my comfort zone but that is something I have been striving to achieve more and more. I was raised to be nothing but perfect in every situation and as I failed miserably at being perfect, I tended to hide from everyone, any way I could. No more of that. I look forward to reading the new interviews that come along, as much as I have enjoyed reading those that came before me.God Bless you, Sally, for your support and enthusiasm. I am so happy to have connected with you. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You with Annette Rochelle Aben | Annette Rochelle Aben

  9. Great interview! Sally is right, your kindness and sense of humour shines through your words, Annette. I’m sorry your nephew didn’t receive the care he needed. They closed a bunch of institutions in Canada as well, and it’s a mistake we all pay for in one way or another.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks, again…Sally (hope you have a ‘thanks’ book and are recording how many thanks you receive!!) Annette sounds like one specially talented character, and a giving one too. All power to her..

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a fabulous interview with Annette! The Dick story had me laughing out loud. 🙂 I love beets, too, Annette! Roasted is my fav. I loved learning more about Annette. My heart breaks for her nephew. The system is not designed for people like him. Hugs! Thanks, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I loved this interview, Sally. I also enjoyed Soupy Sales (I was a little older than Annette.) In addition to the kid’s noontime show, he had a late night show that was definitely for adults. He was the funniest. Well done Annette.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. HI Sally and Annette,
    I have to agree, this was a terrific interview and sharing of Annette’s great support system and mentoring. When I ventured into the WordPress family, Annette was one of my first followers and to support me. She even invited me to interview for her podcast show. I follow Annette’s writing but I’m not a fan of poetry. Probably because I don’t understand it and it is above my writing skills. Thank you Annette for sharing more of your personal life with us. HUGS

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Annette, what a wonderful interview. I thought I was the only person on the planet who loved Soupy Sales. Remember White Fang and Black Tooth? As to bears, my favorite, too. My children’s book collection has a huge number of bear books. Thanks so much, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I love reading this interview, Sally. Excellent pick of questions and answers. I understand what you talked about your nephew. There are so many tragic stories in southern CA. I know of one person’s father jumped off a bridge due to the complication of the institution, medication and so on and so forth. I can go on and on. I admire your compassion toward your nephew and set up a foundation for him to support him because you love him. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Miriam, it is so frustrating to hear that people take their lives because they cannot reconcile living in this world. God Bless us, everyone. And yes, we are seeking to set things up for Shawn. Not only because it’s necessary but because it is the very least we can do to show him that we are here for him. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • God bless you. I appreciate family members who are there supporting them knowing that some people don’t choose to have mental illness and that they are so helpless and not in control. I had bipolar clients forgot their appointments and made me driving to church and waiting and going back home. They couldn’t tell me the truth about missing the appointment, but eventually they did. Sometimes medication makes them cry, can get up from sleep, hallucination, suspicious… We just have to say that it their illness doing, or talking. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh my goodness, Annette (Pookie), the story about the Dicks was hysterical. Ha ha ha. I love it when life unwittingly throws one of those out there and everyone has such a laugh. So funny. Thanks for sharing that. 🙂 Great guest post, ladies. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow! There’s so much in this interview that’s new to me about Annette. That embarrassing moment is a hoot. I’m so pleased that Annette saw the funny side and laughed about it. Have you ever eaten beet in a sandwich, Annette? I can recommend it. 😋As for bears, they’re my favourite, too. I once saw one while driving through Yosemite Park. Only briefly, but it made our day.
    A great interview both.
    Hugs to you both

    Liked by 2 people

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.