My Nephew the Pirate!

Categories: About Diane
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Published on: May 21, 2009

My nephew Andy is a pirate. Ok, he’s not a pirate in the sense of most pirates, but he is a pirate of sorts. You see, his initials are ARG (of piraty “Aaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggg!” fame).

Andy has a wonderful creative streak (he gets that from his Aunt!). He loves cars and travel, and has an airplane as an imaginary friend. One day, while discussing the poem “Change is Hard,” which I’d just written, Andy announced that he wanted a poem too. I don’t write on demand very well, but Andy was insistant. I wrote “Andy Goes to Florida” for him.

On another occassion, I decided that I hadn’t written a short story for awhile. I wanted to write something fun for ARG. I came up with the idea for “Andy Goes on a Trip” based on his love of cars. I figured he’d enjoy reading about himself as a car. I asked him to draw some illustrations for the story. We’re still waiting on his illustrations (life is busy when you travel and visit theme parks as much as my family does), but until then I figured I’d post the story as it is.

Grandmother wrote many poems and short stories for her kids, and later for us grandkids growing up. I hope I can carry on her tradition!

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Andy Goes on a Trip

Categories: Short Stories
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Published on: May 21, 2009

Andy Goes on a Trip

by Diane Graebner

Once upon a time, there was a little car named Andy. Andy was a beautiful little car. He was bright orange, with a pretty blue racing stripe down his side. Inside, Andy had all sorts of dials that lit up with a beautiful blue glow, and bells that dinged and chimed. Andy liked to travel. He loved to take long drives to see what he could see. He enjoyed driving fast on the highway, feeling the wind blow across his windshield. He loved driving slowly in the country, smelling the country air and watching the scenery go by.

One day, Andy decided to take a long trip. He put on his best tires, filled up his tank with gas, and loaded up his engine with plenty of oil. Then, he drove off to see what he could see.

The first thing Andy saw on his trip was a field filled with cows and horses. They were running through the field, stopping every so often to eat the green grass.

“I wonder if they’ll talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

The cow answered, “MOO!”

Since Andy wasn’t sure what “moo” meant, he flashed his headlights at the cow to say goodbye and drove off down the road.

A few miles more, and Andy came across a big tractor working in a corn field. The tractor was huffing and puffing as it dug up big piles of dirt.

“I wonder if he’ll talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

The tractor answered, “VROOM!”

Since Andy wasn’t sure what “vroom” meant, he flashed his headlights at the tractor to say goodbye and drove off down the road.

Soon, Andy came to a set of train tracks. A giant steam engine was sitting on the tracks, puffing smoke out of his smokestack.

“I wonder if he’ll talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

The train engine answered, “CHOO, CHOO!”

Since Andy wasn’t sure what “choo, choo” meant, he flashed his headlights at the train to say goodbye and drove off down the road.

After driving for a bit, Andy came to a small, white boat in a pond. She was quietly blowing bubbles in the water for the ducks to chase.

“I wonder if she’ll talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

The boat answered, “GLUB, GLUB!”

Since Andy wasn’t sure what “glub, glub” meant, he flashed his headlights at the boat to say goodbye and drove off down the road.

Next, Andy came to a place where a house was being built. A huge crane was busy lifting pieces of metal onto the roof of the house.

“I wonder if he’ll talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

The crane answered, “CRONK!” Since Andy wasn’t sure what “cronk” meant, he flashed his headlights at the crane to say goodbye and drove off down the road.

Finally, Andy came to a big parking lot. Lots of cars were sitting around, waiting for their people to come back. There were blue cars, and red cars, and silver cars, and green cars, and white cars, and black cars. There were big cars, and little cars, and trucks, and SUVs.

“I wonder if they will talk to me,” Andy thought to himself.

“Honk, honk!” said Andy.

All of the other cars answered, “HONK, HONK!”

Andy smiled as he drove into the parking lot. He couldn’t wait to share the stories of all the things he had seen on his drive. He was sure the other cars would have wonderful stories to tell to him too. He was tired from his long trip, but he was very happy!

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Andy Goes to Florida

Categories: Children's Poems, Poems
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Published on: May 21, 2009

Andy Goes to Florida

by Diane Graebner

Andy goes to Florida,

He rides upon a plane,

He stays for almost two whole weeks,

And then goes home again.


Andy visits Grandma’s house,

He peeks in every space,

And eats some homemade brownies,

With a great big smile on his face.


Andy rides in Grandpa’s car,

He sits in the backseat,

The car makes lots of funny sounds,

As it drives along the street.


Andy visits Aunt Diane,

He sees her office too,

And on her desk he sees displayed

All the pictures that he drew.


Andy goes to Florida,

He goes most every year,

And his family is glad he does,

At least that’s what I hear!

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About Change

Categories: About Diane
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Published on: May 20, 2009

I watched the 2008 Presidential election with much interest – perhaps more so than usual. The candidates were both dynamic speakers, and both were intellegent men with very strong personal ideals. I admit, I was exceptionally glad when our 44th President, Barack Obama, took office. I believe his message of change was right for this country right now. We have done things the same way for many years, and as is the case with doing things because they’ve always been done that way, we’ve missed out on some marvelous opportunities as a nation to grow and mature.

After Obama took office, his critics began to ridicule his notion of change. “Where’s the change, now?” they asked mockingly, merely a day or two into his Presidency. Others began expressing concern about change. “We’ve always done it this way!” seems to be the national motto when it comes to setting policy. There is still, even 100+ days into the Obama Presidency, a fear of change. Will change be better than the status quo, or lead us into more trouble? Will change hurt? Are we stepping out of the frying pan, only to burn our feet in the fire?

All of these random thoughts circled my brain as I was watching endless news commentaries and reading endless blogs and discussion groups, discussing what change really means, and whether it really is a good thing. My conclusion? Not only is change a good thing, but it’s a necessary thing. We cannot survive without it. That doesn’t make change easy. That doesn’t make change hurt less.

It also doesn’t make change a guaranteed proposition. Yes, we may be leaving one problem only to discover even bigger challenges around the corner. But staying with one problem forever, afraid to leave it because the alternative might be worse, is stagnation, not growth. It’s complacency rather than courage.  As a nation, we HAVE to be willing to try new ideas and search for new solutions to old problems. That’s the principle on which our country was founded. Change. If you don’t approve of the king’s decree, defy it. If you don’t have religious freedom, seek it. If you don’t like the way things are going, change it.

Change is good. It’s hard, but it’s necessary. Those thoughts compiled themselves into my election-adled brain, forming the poem “Change is Hard.” I hope you enjoy it.

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Change is Hard

Categories: Poems
Tags: , , ,
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Published on: May 19, 2009

Change is Hard

by Diane Graebner

Change is hard.

Change feels simple, but simplicity is misleading.
Like wearing a new pair of shoes when the old ones wear out,
Our aching feet and blisters reveal the truth.
We struggle to walk, to climb, to run,
Until our feet eventually become used to the difference.

Change is hard.

Change can be unexpected, sneaking up on us when our backs are turned.
Losing a cherished friend or beloved family member to illness or death,
Brings pain and sorrow for those who remain behind,
The loss growing ever dimmer
Until finally all that remains is a memory, fading and distant,
But still there, a part of our soul.

Change is hard.

Change can be painful, a blade that cuts deeply and leaves us bleeding.
Love, unrequited, brings sorrow and distraction to our lives,
As we give our hearts to someone, only to find we get nothing in return.
Finding love only to lose it to the sands of time,
As affection fades and adoration turns to spite,
And we find we have to struggle to allow ourselves to love again.

Change is hard.

Change is necessary, a part of life that cannot be avoided.
We grow and learn, discovering new vistas,
Casting off old ideas and thoughts, like an artist pulls back a sheet
To reveal the sculpture beneath, refreshing our minds and souls;
Growing from the simplicity of childhood into the complexity of maturity,
Becoming more fulfilled and more complete in the process.

Change is hard.

Change takes time.
Like that pair of shoes, change requires “breaking in.”
Soon our stride strengthens and the joy returns to our step,
As changes become comfortable and familiar.
Soon we are running again; free to feel the breeze on our face,
As life suddenly has new bliss and new meaning.

Change is hard.

Change is part of life.
But change is hard.

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