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Grandma Moses, the Artist

A German proverb says, “The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit.” Besides my own Grandmother Anderson, an amazing self-taught artist, Grandma Moses, truly inspires me. Anna Mary Robertson, a painter known as Grandma Moses, lived until she was 101 years old. She only started painting when she was 76 years old. Her paintings hang in nine museums in the United States, Paris, and Vienna.

The reason she took up painting so late in life is because arthritis had made it impossible for her to hold her needle to embroider, her favorite hobby. However, she could hold a brush just fine, and not wanting to be idle, she began painting. Today, she is one of the best-known American artists in Europe.

Grandma Moses’ Quotes

  • “If I didn’t start painting, I would have raised chickens.”
  • “I paint from the top down. From the sky, then the mountains, then the hill, then the houses, then the cattle, and then the people.”
  • “I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented; I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

Grandma Moses had her own unique style, which proved to be very popular. Well known for nostalgic scenes in gay colors, she illustrated farm life and the countryside. She had a knack for bringing a simple scene to life.

An art collector saw some of her paintings in a drug store priced from $3 to $5 each. He purchased all of her available art, and the following year she ended up having an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Her art was reproduced on Hallmark Christmas cards, on tiles and fabrics throughout the world.

Grandma Moses had her own unique style, which proved to be very popular. Well known for nostalgic scenes in gay colors, she illustrated farm life and the countryside. She had a knack for bringing a simple scene to life.

A Beautiful World by Grandma Moses

A German fan said of her art:

There emanates from her paintings a light-hearted optimism; the world she shows us is beautiful and it is good. You feel at home in all these pictures, and you know their meaning. The unrest and the neurotic insecurity of the present day make us inclined to enjoy the simple and affirmative outlook of Grandma Moses.

Grandma Moses painted only from her memory. She wanted to share how she lived when she was young with everyone. In her 25 years of painting, she produced more than 1,000 pictures, 25 of which she painted after she turned 100 years old. The price of her paintings $3 to $5 each to $8,000 to $10,000 each. One of her paintings, Sugaring Off (1943), was her highest selling work, bought for $1.2 million USD in November of 2006.

Her work has been compared to that of Henri Rousseau. The particular style they share designates those artists who live in a developed and sophisticated society, but are not trained in artistic perception and lighting. In Grandma Moses’ words, “we make amateur art that sells.”

Shenandoah Valley (1938)

Alas, the story of Grandma Moses would not be complete without the other part of her biography, which is that she had given birth to ten children, half of which died in infancy. She started working as a hired girl at age 12, and continued until she was 27 when she met and married Thomas Salmon Moses. As an adult, she lived in Virginia and made butter and potato chips, selling them to her neighbors. She continued to run the farm with her son after her husband passed.

One of Grandma Moses’ paintings, Fourth of July, hangs in the White House, and was painted in honor of President Eisenhower.

I would be happy to have a tenth of the fame Grandma Moses did with her art. She is truly inspirational and she was not worried about technique or criticism. She just loved painting.

Some of my art instructors told me that I paint in a simplistic manner – much like Grandma Moses. I suppose I am in good company then!

Some of my artwork – Elayne Kongaika
I paint because I love to!

Tips for Healthy Knees

The Amazing Knee
Did you know that when your knees are well they can carry four times your body weight?

Not only that, they can gyroscope in three dimensions. They can bend, twist and pivot.

The knee joints actually can outlast you, as long as you do not abuse them, and give them regular preventive maintenance. I suppose it sounds like I am talking about a car rather than a knee joint. Too bad you can not turn in your old knees in for a new pair when they get hurt.

To maintain your knees and keep them agile and free of pain, the following tips are recommended:

Stretch regularly – The hamstrings and quadriceps need to be kept loose. If they become too tight, they can pull the knee out of alignment. Especialy before any strenuous exercise, it is very important. Act like your animal and stretch when you first get up to keep your knees flexible.
Keep your thigh muscles strong – This is very important. Doing weight strengthening exercises will help with this. Be careful not to put too much stress on the knee joint. Just enough and increase slowly.
Lose extra weight – Just losing a few pounds can dramatically reduce your chance of having knee problems. Carrying extra weight is the most common cause of knee pain.
Be active – A knee that is kept still too long will become stiff. Your muscles will atrophy and be unable to absorb the normal shock that comes with each step. Your knee will have to take on more of your body weight, so walk, run, garden, dance – do something.
Take glucosamine/chondroitin daily – Aging cartilage can use a boost of chondroitin each day. It is recommended that you take 1500 mg and 1200 mg of chondroitin daily. This is somewhat controversial, but no studies have proven this to be harmful, but more evidence shows that it does help.
Have your physicals – You should have your physical each year and if you have any swelling, grinding, rattling, or weakness, see the doctor immediately. Pain killers just mask the problem, but you should start with physical therapy to improve the joint before it gets worse.
Seek a second opinion – If you have been told you need surgery, try other therapies first. You may need to take anti-inflammatory medications and give it a little time to heal. I had a friend whose knee cap would just not stay in the grove and she had to have surgery. Nothing else could have helped her.
Be Wise – If you play tennis, make sure the surface is not hard. Do not exercise longer than you should.
Wear Knee Braces – If you are involved in an activity that may injure your knee, wear a knee brace or knee guard.

Your knees are the largest joints in your body. They include the following parts carefully woven together:

Tendons which attach bone to muscle
Ligaments which attach bone to bone
Bones – the thighbone (femur) and kneecap (patella) and shin bone (tibia)
Cartilage which provides cushioning
Actually, you have two kinds of cartilage in your knee. One is the articular cartilage which covers the ends of the bones to keep them safe and smooth. Then there is the meniscus which is a crescent-shaped small soft cushion that is located between the tibia and femur. It acts as a shock absorber. Actually you have two in each knee, one on either side of your knee.

Knees are the most often injured joints, and the ones most likely to get arthritis with age. They can have pain, swelling , have clicking noises or twinges as well as totally lock up.

When I was a young girl, I was trying to do a high jump and landed awkwardly on my knee. My kneecap (patella) was knocked out of the groove and went to the outside of my leg. This began a long life of difficulties with my knees.

I have been told that I need to have my knee replaced. Others advise me to wait until I cannot walk to do it. Right now it is just a nuisance. If I am on my legs for a long time, this knee will swell up and makes it difficult to go up and down stairs. I have had a few more injuries to that same knee so it can be knocked out of alignment quiet easily.

Currently I have cortisone shots periodically to relieve the pain and calm it down which works quiet well, but eventually it comes back.

Statistics indicate that six million men and women 62 years of age and older and another five million between 40 and 60 see a doctor for knee problems in a year.


Health Aids for Weak Hands

You may suffer from weak hands due to age, disease or an injury. Every day tasks can be very difficult, especially cooking, cleaning, and dressing.

You can live a fairly normal life despite the lack of strength in your hands with the help of a few home health aids.

Dressing Aids

Buttons, zippers and other fasteners can pose a threat to you if you have weak hands. Fortunately, you can find many aids to help you dress and undress yourself. There are zipper pulls and rings, button hooks, leg lifts, long shoe horns, and stocking aids that can make getting dressed less of a nightmare for you.


Medication bottles and jars may also be a challenge to you. Many variations of gripping aids have been invented to help you along. Some are very simple and others can be quite sophisticated. There are grips for helping you to pick up your utensils, hold your mug or cup, hold a razor or toothbrush as well as opening that difficult jar lid.

Kitchen Aids

If making food for yourself seems impossible with your condition, you will find that there are several specially made tools for the kitchen. Spring-loaded scissors can assist you in opening packages. They decrease the pressure on your hands when closing them. There are also peelers that have large grips as well as ladles and knives. You can find cutting boards with suction cups which keep them from slipping or moving.

You might have heard about titanium jewelry and the health benefits you can derive from wearing it.

Titanium is a beautiful, strong, and light-weight metal which has become popular in recent years.

It is well known for the magnetic therapy qualities as a part of a alternative medical care program.

Because titanium will not rust or cause allergic reactions, it is very compatible with the human skin.

You can wear titanium jewelry in the shower, bath, during sports and while swimming.

Magnets have been used for centuries to relieve pain from arthritis and other causes. Your pain results from an accumulation of toxins. Testimonials and clinical studies regarding titanium has contributed to the popularity of titanium jewelry.

The inherent magnetic energy can stimulate your body to increase the flow of oxygen and blood. This action relieves your pain and also reduces inflammation. Energy created from the magnets helps to flush away the lactic acid which causes the pain.

Many who suffer from arthritis of injuries find titanium jewelry to be very effective.

If you suffer from a carpal tunnel malady, titanium can stimulate the nerves in the affected area and help to promote healing. It attracts the iron in your red blood cells toward the pain and can increase your blood flow up to 300 percent so you can heal faster.

Athletes who use titanium jewelry constantly attest to increased energy and stamina. Studies have shown that wearing titanium helps the body achieve balance which helps the nervous system to function better.