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.

TMH

You can find out more about Annette’s radio programmes here: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/the-magic-happens/

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:

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: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/YouAreTheExpert
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetterochelle.aben
Google + https://plus.google.com/117587381760910538120/posts

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: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/getting-to-know-you-sunday-interview-2018/

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Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Ukuleles and Children’s books by Annette Rochelle Aben


Welcome to this week’s Sunday Interview and this week it is author and poet Annette Rochelle Aben who is going to share her top two Ultimate Bucket list items.

I never thought much about having a bucket list. Yet, I recall, a couple years ago, I spent the better part of New Year’s Eve writing down things I wanted to achieve over the coming year.

Feeling rather accomplished, I put the list away and didn’t see it again until I found it quite by accident and was most surprised to realize that there were 3 items I could cross off with flourish and fanfare. So, yeah, I guess I can share a couple of the items that have yet to come to fruition.

Ultimate Bucket List One -Learn to Play the Ukulele

Not that I want to be famous for this ability (I’m no Grace Vanderwaal wannabe)I just find the instrument fascinating. Of course, I find harps fascinating, however ukuleles have captured my heart. I love the sounds they make (when strummed properly) and I believe it might be easy to write songs using a ukulele. Now, I can sing, so I also think it would be fun to learn songs I enjoy singing while being my own accompaniment. Wouldn’t it be great to visit shut ins and play music with my little ukulele?

Yes, there is the fact that they really can’t up and leave… #CaptiveAudience

So first, I need a ukulele and I was gifted one recently. A friend of my sister’s, decided to offer me the use of her son’s ukulele, as he hadn’t touched it in years. I was given the Cinderella admonishment that I would have limited time with it because once he discovered it was missing, I would have to give it back. Oh, and it is missing a string. Still, I would have it to use until I got one of my own.

News Flash!

The son is glad the ukulele found a new home, and I have asked for a new string for my birthday. Considering my birthday is exactly 2 months before Christmas, it is totally possible that by Christmas, I will be serenading kith and kin (and cats) with my stellar ukulele skills! I shall keep you in the loop.

Here you go Annette… my favourite Ukulele artists Jake Shimabukuro – with While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Perhaps now I need a Go Fund Me campaign to get the dough to record a CD…

Ultimate Bucket List Two – Get My Children’s Book Illustrated

Ages ago, I wrote a short story about an elephant named Ellis, who was bullied and a cat named Claudius who was a bully. Because the story had so much personal meaning, I found it difficult to let anyone else read it, then they might know my personal shame. So, my little rhyming tale, was tucked away in my “I’ll get to it one day” files.

That was until I was coaxed, by another blogger, to share the story, privately, with him and he would offer critique. I swallowed hard, submitted the story, and was met with the offer to post it on his blog. I thought, well, it can’t be illustrated if I never let anyone see it, so why not. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. (doing my best Sally Field) People liked it, they really, really liked it!

Next, I shared it with some close friends and my sister. I mention my sister, specifically, because she is an artist of remarkable talent and yet, only creates when the muse strikes. Within minutes of walking away with my story, she came to me with eyes on fire and stated that she wanted to illustrate the tale of Ellis and Claudius. I was thunderstruck and kept shaking my head YES!

Of course, as I said, she works when the muse strikes. It has been over a year since that moment of excitement. Casually, I have brought the topic up again and have been summarily dismissed. I have even attempted to draw the characters myself (no one needs to see that).

Yes, I have considered having other illustrators take a whack at it but I would LOVE to have my sister do the artwork. Believe me, you would enjoy it as well.

Thank you, Sally, for offering this opportunity to share some of my dreams. I believe that before you know it, I’ll be writing a song about Ellis and Claudius and playing it for captive audiences everywhere on my little ukulele!

My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top Ultimate Bucket list wishes and I do hope that both come true. It would be lovely to see Annette’s children’s books join her others on the shelves.

Annette has been receiving great reviews for her book Perspective including one by Colleen Chesebro this week.

About the book

Everything in this book is designed to lighten the load, uplift the spirit or otherwise aid in shifting one’s perspective on life. Because the only thing we have going for us sometimes is our outlook. May you always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and that something good will come out of every situation you are experiencing. It really IS all about replacing one thought with another!

The most recent review from Colleen Chesebro  https://colleenchesebro.com/2017/10/25/colleens-book-reviews-perspective-by-author-annette-rochelle-aben/

Perspective is an uplifting collection of poems, meditations, stream of consciousness prayers, daily affirmations, and photos compiled by an author who possesses the soul of a true spiritualist.

Each selection is loving written, encouraging readers to get in touch with their feelings and to embrace the positive. The message is clear, we define our own reality by the thoughts we choose. When we shift our perceptions our vision clears and we find truth and wisdom.

I’ve read this book twice as it is a short read. Yet, each reading has given me insight into something I didn’t catch the first time around. At times, I felt the author’s words were written primarily for me. What a fantastic connection to experience.

Annette is a prolific author and has published many books of poetry and inspirational books. If you are looking for a bit of magic to help you through some tough days, this book will wrap you in a warm glow.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Perspective-about-replacing-thought-another-ebook/dp/B00S9TC44E

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Perspective-about-replacing-thought-another-ebook/dp/B00S9TC44E

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/YouAreTheExpert
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetterochelle.aben

My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top wishes and please help put it out there and perhaps pave the way for them to come true.

If you would like to participate in this series or any other of the book promotions, you will find everything in this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/