Orenda Ayashe


Exploring Life Through
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MI GENTE!                                                                                                        6.12.21

Although I'm Mixed (Native American/Black/Hungarian) I consider myself an "Honorary Puerto Rican" Here's why: My family moved from the South Bronx when I was 8. Inwood/Washington Heights (in the northern tip of Manhattan) runs along the west / Hudson River side of the island. In 1972 the area was a mix of ethnicities but primarily Irish, Jewish, Black and Italian. Over the years and up until 1985 when I left Manhattan, an influx of Caribbean immigrants arrived to become part of the beautiful fabric of The Heights. Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican and Haitian friends, food, music, dances, stores and cultures mixed into the fabric of who I am today. A majority of the people I grew up with and still call family are MI HENTE. My People. And yes, this is how I learned to dance Merengue and Salsa, understand/ speak & write some Spanish, and why I STILL fry "plantano con huevos" in the morning!  

When I lived in Washington STATE, a dear friend took me to the Issaquah Theater where she and I enjoyed this PLAY. An ad for it's opening appeared in a paper I browsed while visiting NYC years earlier. It was a dream come true to see that someone developed a whole PLAY about the 'hood I grew up in, and even a fantasy come true to see it on the Live Stage! Can it get any better than now - that it is on the Big Screen? To come full circle is amazing. I lounged in a reclining leather seat at Scottsdale's Fashion Square Harkins Camelview Theater watching THE event of the summer. A movie filmed in the broken, tight-fitting, noisy, lively, lovely, colorful, flavorful, 5-story building-filled streets that I called home for 13 of my formative years. THIS film rekindles my own memoir project and shows the world what life was like for me and MI GENTE. If I ever get published I want Lin Manuel and Spike Lee to team up & knock my story out of the ball  park on the Big Screen too! 😀 🗽 This reminds me: The movie "Fame" was based on (& filmed at) the High School of Music & Art and released the same summer that I graduated from there.

FLORAL COLLAGE                                                                    4.17.21

Who knew how green and semi-lush a desert could be? At least here in the Valley area of Arizona surrounding Phoenix and neighboring towns. I have always been a Spring and Summer Girl, whether I was living in New York City, Seattle Washington or here in Arizona. I take walks and enjoy the warmth, sunsets, crickets, birds, bunnies and an occasional baby lizard. It's marvelous how diverse Nature is (and one type of flower doesn't pick on another type of flower based on it's species, size or color...yay!) On one half-hour walk, I took all of these fun photos and decided to create a collage. There are several cacti blooming around town as well. I sometimes forget how many plants, flowers, trees and shrubs do great here, even under super hot conditions if well cared-for...(translation: well-WATERED).

I hope to add some colorful plants to my outdoor spaces, but until then I'm enjoying what I see around the neighborhood. Flowers and plants are plentiful, beautiful and inspiring to see.


CBGB & OMFUG                                                                                              3.6.21

“Country, BlueGrass / Blues & Other Music for Uplifting Gormandizers”. (Gormandizer as defined by the owner Hilly Kristal: “a ravenous music eater”.) Manhattan’s East Village venue specifically promoted Country and Blues music, then morphed in the 1970’s and 80’s to include New Wave and Punk Bands some of whom were already famous or were about to be. It’s now coined “The Birthplace of Punk.” Some of my favorite artists played CBGB and their music became backdrops during my teen years in New York City streets. Unlike its contemporary Studio 54, CBGB welcomed everyone…black, white, rich, poor, old and old enough. It was an exciting honor to have frequented such an iconic hang out. A temp band called The Wheels circa 1982-4 were a group of my childhood friends who played here on local band nights. Otherwise, it was big upcoming names like Blondie, The Ramones, The Police, Joan Jett, (The Talking Heads-

“This ain’t no Mudd Club, or CBGB, I ain’t got time for that now.”) Later the likes of Green Day and Guns N Roses found musical homes in this small but powerful jumping off point in the Big Apple.

HAPPY ROOT                                                                                  3.3.21

Grandma always kept plants and tended each one with so much care. She especially loved ferns but my favorite "Grandma" plant was the infamous avocado which she cultivated for many years. There’s a photo of my brothers and I when I was aged 6 or 7. The plant and I were almost the same height. By the time I left Manhattan at 21, the Old Avocado plant had grown past the ceiling and back down again! This is my 1st avocado and was amazed at its will to live and root. On the glass (-as in Dr. Imoto’s water experiments) I wrote in red, “True Love Roots”. This seed has since been potted and the plant is already 2’ tall.

DESERT TRAILS PARK                                                              2.14.21

One of many parks in East Mesa, Desert Trails was designed for dirt bike jumps and maneuvers. Youngsters challenge themselves on half-pipes, hills and ramps which vary by terrain height and skill level! It’s a fun and active park, yet also hiker-friendly. The west side of the park spans many acres  and it offers dips, ramps and hills for bikes. Trekking to the top of the highest hill earns you this beautiful 360-degree view of Mesa. Apache Junction is viewed east and Scottsdale can be seen to the west. The park’s east side becomes a natural desert valley for hiking and it meets right up to the next street. Interesting place!

PEACH & BLUE                                                                             2.11.21

In Art and Nature, orange and blue are complimentary colors. Here in Arizona, New Mexico and the Southwest in general- there’s an abundance of red, rust and peach shades of earth, stones, rocks, cliffs and mesas. I think that part of what makes the terrain here so dynamic is the attraction of earth and sky at the very horizon line between the two. These vistas feel really alive! In fact it’s the “rust & blue” that attract people the world over to come visit the "Red Rock Country" of Sedona and the sprawling orange-colored formations in Utah and Nevada. I'm never weary of the tawny shades of earth, it's part of why I call it home.

BIRTHDAY SUNSET                                                                     2.3.21

For my birthday after work, I treated myself to a particular store at the mall 5 minutes from home by car. Henna Shoppe is where I purchase my candles and incense. Upon leaving I marveled at this sunset while getting ready to head home. One of the beautiful things I appreciate is sunset time in Arizona. This was my special birthday sunset, a happy way to end the evening.

KOREAN CORNDOGS?                                                               1.12.21

Two Hands Seoul in downtown Mesa is five-star naughty eats! This isn’t on our healthy diet by any means but oh so yummy. Their menu includes a choice of sausage, potato or cheese center with six different coatings to choose from and various sauce toppers. It’s a bit west of my drive home from work but the curious “Foody” in me needed to experience this after having read a news article about the place. I wasn’t disappointed. The food is tasty and made to order. The restaurant was clean, fast, friendly and many patrons were in and out. Will be back when in the area and crave a corn dog!

KICKS RETIRED                                                                                                  1.2.21

OK, the new gen call them “kicks”. We called them sneakers (NYC circa 1970s-80s). This particular style dubbed “high tops” were originally designed by Chuck Taylor / Converse in the 1920’s for basketball players. These silver leather/grey suede sneaks ranked 2nd only to the studded black ankle boots I still own and a pair of purple Dr. Martin’s I no longer own. I purchased the “Docs” during my Grunge years living on Broadway in the Seattle Community College district. Miss those too, but my favorite grey high tops (by Guess), always got second looks, compliments and sang in harmony with my Semi-Rocker outfits. They’ve been replaced by (UGGs) black leather high tops with zipper accents. My new favorite sneakers...uh “kicks”, but I really did enjoy my life with these silver and grey ones.

PEACE PLACE                                                                             12.23.20

Sometimes we just need space that allows us peace. Ultimately that space is Inside but it helps to have a physical spot to be quiet. Even if we’re busy, or forget to sit still- it’s comforting to know that our safe spot is there when we want it. This is a corner of my AZ room and the pic was taken shortly before a candlelight ceremony on “Zoom” with my Unity Church of New Thought in December 2020.

PUPPY WEAR                                                                             12.21.20

My client and I love her cool Chihuahua-Weenie furry son, Sunny. Each holiday she likes Sunny to wear festive scarves. He didn’t have one for Christmas so we found cloth napkins and I sewed it for his perfect fit, adorning it with red trim and several buttons. He was SO Holiday!

MONSTER CAKE                                                                       12.9.20

No, you’ll probably never see a cake like this again. Yes, it’s lop-sided and nearly 8 inches high. This was 2 golden and 2 chocolate square cakes layered with blueberries on the 1st, strawberries on the 2nd, peaches on the 3rd and a bit of each on top, smothered with hand-made cream cheese / Mascarpone filling and icing. This crazy cake was shared among a handful of people, 2 of which had birthdays and for whom I created this Culinary Monster Masterpiece.

DINING DECOR                                                                         12.5.20

The AZ room became the living room and the living room became this large dining area which gets lots of lovely light during the day. Decorating is one of my passions and pulling the room together happened by a combination of luck, stages and preplanning. The main palette is neutral (light wood and white with touches of pale grey). A rose-colored wall, fish tanks, lights, candles and artwork all tie the room together to give it a cozy, welcoming warmth.

CHAGA TEA                                                                               10.11.20

Buddha Teas brand (sold at "Sprouts") makes wonderful Chaga Tea. It was the first time I'd heard of this mushroom and took to the earthy taste immediately upon first sip. While sharing teabags with a neighbor-pal, she introduced me to the real thing and explained that Chaga grows on Birch trees and how to brew it. I also learned about its many medicinal properties! Another neighbor-pal introduced both of us to Moringa leaf, which she shared off a recently felled 30' tree in her back yard. These are tiny leaves which have been used medicinally world wide for centuries. 

DEJA WHAT?                                                              7.16.20

Have you ever heard of Deja Reve?

Nor did I, until finding an article after typing in a question that I thought would go unanswered. The question was: 

Why do I have moments that I remember dreaming about weeks or months ago? It's not saying-

"I did this before"......it's...... "I know when I dreamt this before." 

One of several Deja Reve incidents hit me as I drove south towards Mt. Shasta on my way through California.

Click below & learn what scientists are discovering!

https://www.inverse.com/article/42129-what-is-deje-revephenomena#:~:text=D%C3%A9j%C3%A0%20vu%20is%20the%20phenomenon,an%20event%20in%20their%20past.&text=A%20new%20study%20in%20the,while%20awake%20called%20d%C3%A9j%C3%A0%20r%C3%AAv%C3%A9.


SO HERE                                                                                 7.16.20

...is my first blog post, yay! 😃

I'm excited to have this space for updating friends and family on what I'm doing, finding, loving, researching or just...thinking. I may also be adding short videos. The 'Gallery' page in the Art section also has new additions. I thought that not painting in a while, meant I wasn't being creative since preparing for, and finally moving last year. 


Yet, creativity manifested itself in other ways, including in a kitchen counter-top I refinished last year in preparation for selling my first home. I'll find / post the video here at some point, and share how it was all done.


When I'm not creating art, I'm dreaming up decorating schemes or rearranging furniture. This project on the left is a combination of drawing and designing. Currently my land has 3 palm trees, 4 Oliander bushes and river rock. Whether this garden plan ever becomes real is truly of no consequence because in any case, it's amusing to dream, dream big and imagine the possibilities!