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A Little Pride Salad!


(read in a sing-song voice) “I’m baaaack!”

I have finally had something fun to write about (wink, but seriously it’s true.  I’ve kept my thoughts to my journal and the wind) and today I have something to write about!!

Tonight the Lower Columbia Q Center’s Pride Committee hosted our kick off to Pride by having a social gathering at Kala to welcome sponsors and volunteers to help make this Pride even more magical and glorious than our Inaugural Pride last June.  It was called “Porter and Pasta” and Fulio’s was kind enough to donate the pasta, I made the salad, which I will share with you shortly, and we had performances by Dinah Urell, Dida DiAngeles and Walter Trumbull all accompanied by one of my personal favorites, Paul Brady; and my drag daughter, Ginger Vitus Cums gave us a great show too!!!!

What got me was the warm glow of love that filtered through the room and how it oozed into my heart and became one with my breath.  Visiting with old friends, new friends, family and family and hearing how they want to contribute to this celebration.  People not wanting to just donate money, but wanting to find ways to involve their businesses and their person.  I have always said that Astoria is the most magical and powerful place I have ever known, and the energy tonight brought that feeling to the forefront of my consciousness.

These feelings have been bubbling up fiercely this last week.  I had a revelation in the woods; I realized that I had felt this way before, that I am being given an opportunity to recognize the pattern and step beyond it and be free of the anguish and fear in my heart.  I remember the day I first had this revelation, back in 1995, on the streets of Manhattan, convincing myself that I could get over my fear of walking alone by myself.  Ever since I had been chased down and beaten up by a fellow high school student, I had not been able to walk or do anything by myself and I lived in a time where I had to be strong and I couldn’t let my family or friends know I had even been attacked (well, Sari and Dean knew), I did the next best thing and became very social; made sure to always have someone with me.  Worst feeling ( not being social but being afraid to be alone).

It wasn’t until I moved to Manhattan that I learned to be able to be alone.  I decided that since none of the people in this massive city knew me or my story, I didn’t have to live by the plot; I created my own me.  That was when I started going by Marco.  I started to learn who I was and what I wanted out of life and the one thing I wanted more than anything was freedom.


I promise I am about to get to making the salad, I just have one more thing to say.


Last week, while I was in the woods I was given a hint to that freedom, I have finally seen what all these years have been trying to teach and show me; freedom comes from letting go.  I realized that I had been being pulled down into the darkness of my issues with the thing we are calling gout, for now, and how I have, literally, given up everything I love in this life to try to make the life I am living less painful and more fulfilling.  I was also being pulled down by all the events happening in the world around me and witnessing so much fear and frustration and a billion other sensations.  And while being pulled down, I passed a window in my mind of the time when I recognized this very issue and I remembered I need to let go.  I have to let go of my fear and keep walking strong and loving big.

I had to learn how to not show my fear and weakness, I had to learn to hide the most favorite aspects and pieces of my being because I am gay, because I am larger than life, because I love to cross the line.  By letting go, I have found a joy that can’t be smothered out or dimmed and I intend to share it and spread it and give with open abandon.


Speaking of sharing, the Pride Salad, that is what I am going to call it, was amazing!!!!


What you’ll need:


1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow pepper

bulb of fennel

napa cabbage

container of arugula

1 bunch of radishes

2 purple radishes

1/3 cup quinoa

some olive oil and balsamic vinegar


    1. Put the 1/3 cup of quinoa and 2/3 cup of water in a pan on the stove, start on high, bring to boil, turn to low and cook until done, about 7 min.
    2. Chop up the bell pepper and fennel and sauté up in a frying pan of your choice. I added a bit of coconut amino acids and let them cook down nicely, soft, but not mushy.
    3. Slice the bunch of radishes and toss in for the last minute of cooking along with rosemary.
    4. I placed both pans out in the afternoon light to cool with the breeze and sounds of the birds in the trees
    5. Place pumpkin seeds in a sauté pan and toss around until they start to turn golden and maybe jump around a bit; remove from heat and allow to cool
    6. Once cooled (doesn’t have to be cold, because this would be a great warm salad too), combine the vegetables with the quinoa and toasted pumpkin seeds
    7. Peel the purple radishes and grate into mixture and stir

8. Chop the napa cabbage and add to the rest of the salad

9. Wash your hands and add the arugula, drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar across the top and mix with your hands making sure all the bits get to know each other.

It feels great to be sharing a recipe with you again!!!  I will continue to find food inspiration and share it with you!!!  Until that time, know you are alive in my thoughts and if you see me on the street say, ‘hi’ and let’s share a smile!


Always and forever,

Marco Davis


Marco Davis is an Astoria, Oregon native. He has grown up around food, service to the community and the stage. His passion for creating and sharing food had him cooking at the Columbian Cafe for a few decades, as well as teaching cooking classes with the Astoria Co-op Grocery and the Astoria hospital. He has organized cooking parties for the FoodWeb, 46 North Farms as well as his cooking episodes as his drag alter-ego, Daylight Cums. Sharing food and teaching others how to cook easily and healthily at home is his favorite thing to do.

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Event: Eat Local, Read Local!


What things go together on a winter night? Blue Scorcher goodies, coffee and books!

Come meet North Coast authors at the Blue Scorcher Bakery and Cafe

from 5:30 -8:30 p.m. on February 11, 2017 at 1493 Duane St. in Astoria.

Find a great new read by a local author and have it signed while you enjoy gourmet treats.

We have genres for everyone including fantasy, poetry, coloring books, historical fiction and more.

This is a FREE event for readers of all ages.

Featured author bios (more added soon):

Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, and a piranha. Her debut novel, Sign of the Throne, won a 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Her third book, The Sower Comes, won a 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award. Sunset Empire, a fantasy set in Astoria, debuted in the bestselling Secrets and Shadows young adult boxed set. Pitcher Plant, a mystery set in Seaside, will be released this spring. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine and The North Coast Squid. When she’s not writing, she can be found walking along the beach, poking dead things with a stick.

After her house burns down, Elyse Pthan is forced to move to Astoria, Oregon to live with the strict grandmother she never knew. Rebelling against her grandmother’s rigid rules, Elyse discovers the terrible heritage her mother kept hidden. Her family may be responsible for the 1922 fire that nearly destroyed Astoria, the death of a girl who longs for vengeance as she haunts the tunnels beneath the city, and mysterious disappearances spanning hundreds of years. 

Helping her uncover the truth is Phantom, an enigmatic and surprisingly attractive boy, considering his scars, his talent as a pickpocket, and his status as the local social outcast. A boy with a hidden weapon and a dark heritage of his own, that could turn him from friend to hunter.

Praise for Sunset Empire:

“Ousley’s talent for weaving a chilling story will keep readers enthralled as they struggle alongside Elyse to discover where the true monsters lie.”
– DelSheree Gladden, USA Today Bestselling Author of Invisible

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell the monsters from the heroes. Sunset Empire is a fun, creepy, Pacific Northwest fantasy to be enjoyed by young adults and adults alike.”
-Lisa Reid, Lucy’s Books

Angela Sidlo is coauthor of the new feel-good anthology book series The Silver Linings Storybook: Successful Leaders Share Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Stormy Days in Personal and Professional Life. The Silver Linings Storybook launched in June 2016 and published, landing on two #1 Paid Best Seller categories on

Sidlo coauthored in Volume 1 & 2 of the new storytelling series, to share her story of self acceptance through hormonal imbalances, depression and fibromyalgia. Through her experiences she has developed programs and products as a health coach and aromatherapist to assist women who want to lose weight, balance hormones and live the life they dream of.

Sidlo believes that “Healthy Individuals Create Healthy Communities.”



Andrea Larson Perez, 52, relocated to the lower Columbia region in 1994. She has lived in Astoria, Oregon since 1997. A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she is married and a mother of two sons, 26 and 23.  She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with degree in Public Relations and a minor in Journalism.

After nearly 30 years serving clients in communications capacities, Andrea decided to turn her attention to writing.  Her first book with Arcadia’s Images of America Series gave her an opportunity to dig into interesting local history at Camp Rilea where her husband, Col Dean Perez, was the Post Commander.  Her interest in history and keen research abilities helped immensely in compiling and editing  the first published history of Camp Rilea.  Many supported and encouraged the process, most notably the past and current staff at Camp Rilea and the Oregon Military Department.

Her second title is part of Arcadia’s Postcard History Series focuses on vintage postcards of Astoria, Oregon.  Having been a collector and postcard enthusiast for many years, her interest connected her to other local collectors and was a “natural” to become a book.  It has been very well received and is headed to a second printing!

Andrea is currently considering a third title with Arcadia.

When not enjoying time with family or traveling, Larson Perez spends a good deal of time researching her family tree looking for stories to tell about characters she meets.  Happy to be known as the “family historian,” she has uncovered many previously unknown facts about her ancestors who arrived in colonial America in 1630.

She enjoys membership in the Astoria Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and serves on the Board of Directors of the Astoria Co-Op Grocery and The Astoria Ferry.  She also participates in many community organizations, activities and events.



Matt Crichton has a degree in engineering, and has been a member of AmeriCorps and Peace Corps, worked at the YMCA teaching computer-based projects, and is currently pursuing a math teaching certification. He loves music, yoga, and cooking, and building fires on the beach. He says this about poetry: “Somewhere along the way, I picked up poetry. Or maybe I should say it picked me up. Many of the poems I write come unexpectedly and I had better have a scrap of paper nearby or it will be lost to eternity. I write to express feelings, in response to lived experiences, to get the words that bug me out of my head. I write when inspired. I do not have a specific day or time I write. I wait for the lightning. I believe everyone should write if they are inspired. You never know who or how your words will affect.”



Diana Kirk, author of Licking Flames: Tales of a Half-Assed Hussy has been published in Thought Catalog, Nailed, Literary Kitchen and is a regular contributor to The Psychology of It and Five 2 One Magazine. When not writing personal or feminist essays, she’s pretty busy wifing, mothering and running two investment firms from her super fancy basement office.







A recent transplant from Alaska, Deb Vanasse is the author of seventeen books.  “Vanasse is talented,” says Foreword Reviews. “She can turn ordinary words into the sublime.” When she’s not at the keyboard, you’ll find Deb walking the beach with her dog, tending her vegetable garden, or immersed in a book.





Cold Spell: Convinced her destiny is linked to a glacier, Ruth uproots her daughters to follow a man to Alaska, where under the specter of the ice, she and sixteen-year-old Sylvie grapple with secrets that test their love and determination. Enticing book club fare!

What Every Author Should Know: From a well-published author, a comprehensive, pull-no-punches guide to publishing and promoting your book—on your own, with a traditional publisher, or in a hybrid arrangement. Sound publishing advice both new and seasoned writers.

Write Your Best Book: No amount of marketing will make readers love a book that’s poorly conceived and badly written. If you want your book to get noticed—if you want to find readers—it needs to rise to the top. It needs to be your best book. A guide for writers who want to boost their work from good to great.

Out of the Wilderness: Survival. It makes for exciting TV, but all Josh wants a life that passes for normal. A real house, not a cabin in the woods. Hockey, not hunting to put food on the table. Girls. But his half-brother, Nathan, wants to prove himself in the wilderness, and their father won’t let him do it alone. Adventure for ages 10 and up.

No Returns: Pod says it began with the crow. Manny says it began with the rat. Flaco says it doesn’t matter—the boys in the band have to roll with the trouble that started in Pod’s barn, when their song summoned a strange little man. An enchanting read for ages 10 and up.











Heather Douglas is a writer, illustrator and educator and the author of two coloring books, That’s So Pacific Northwest Coloring Book, My Astoria Coloring Book and one book of poetry entitled Creosote and Rain. She was a Writer in Residence through Astoria Visual Arts in fall 2016 and also writes for Coast Weekend, ESL101, Medium and is creator of local blog Astoria Rain (dot) com. Writing, creativity and old growth forests keep her sane and grounded in this Kafkaesque world.

More of her work can be found on Oscar Astoria (dot) com.





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In The Assassins Nest: My Writing Residency


I am not an inherently violent person, nor do I have an obsession with guns. Regardless, the moment I stepped foot into my new studio space I knew it would be forevermore “The Assassin’s Nest.” Well, at least in my own head. And of course the metaphors were not lost on me, either.

I also knew that I would need a pair of binoculars, stat. Just as I enjoyed watching the occasional awkward flying dinosaur (a.k.a. great blue herons) lurch through the air, I equally loved the idea of watching tourists flock to our area without having to get too close to them.


A very satisfying place to people watch; close enough to see up close, while still invisible

What brought me to the nest?

At the very end of summer 2016, I was honored to be selected as the first writer to participate in a Writer in Residence (W-i-R) through Astoria Visual Arts (AVA).

The studio space was situated on top of Pier 11, a place that has special meaning to me. As a teenager growing up in Astoria, I got my first job (as a busser) at the old Pier 11 Restaurant. Astoria was obviously a bit different back then, and to explain this would be a whole other story . . .



One thing I will say is that I will forever associate Pier 11 with “Cecil”–the wooden dragon that graced the bar in the old Pier 11 Restaurant. Cecil also became an inspiration for one of my poems within the book of poetry I would later complete during my residency.

image courtesy of Sarah’s Old Photos

During the residency, along with guidance from AVA, I laid out plans to accomplish two goals:

  • create a poetry book
  • write a novel

I have had various poems floating around in my head (including a few that came from childhood diaries) and felt like this would finally be a chance for me to really get this done.

I spent much of my time creating poetry while mapping out a novel I wanted to write. What I quickly realized 2 months into the residency is that I had overloaded myself. Because I have a full time job outside of my art and writing, step back, reassess, revise my plan, so to speak. I still have the work I did mapping out the novel, but once I put that aside I was able to devote my entire brain to poetry. I decided to take the poetry a step further and self publish a physical book as well as create illustrations to accompany my poetry.

A sampling of some of the illustrations from my finished book:

The finished poetry book spanned sections of my life from my childhood growing up in Astoria to intense heartbreak. The contents of the book are deeply personal, and it was quite a stretch to read my poetry out loud to an audience! Here is a description:

Creosote and Rain is a deeply personal, sometimes irreverent and often painfully honest collection in which Heather explores everything from her childhood growing up in Astoria to body image, friendship, love and feminism.

It was fitting and perfect that the book launch/reading was held at The Blue Scorcher Bakery on December 10th, 2016. It’s like a second home to me.

The title of my finished poetry book:

Creosote and Rain





I worried about my shipment of books arriving from Createspace in time for the event. It was a nail biting few days because of the holidays and shipments being delayed. Serendipitously, my books arrived the same that I was invited to squeeze in last minute on Carol Newman’s Arts Live and Local on KMUN. Carol is a wonderful supporter of the arts and I was delighted to be on her show talking about my book. My interview starts at 42:00 on the 9/26/2016 archived show.

A photo I snapped while nervously awaiting my first ever poetry reading from my super deeply personal book. *sigh* I feel that I really stretched out of my comfort zone.

Do something scary, check!

Drinking tea and waiting . . .

In the end, GRATEFUL is the word I would use to describe my first ever poetry book launch:

  • grateful for all the people who came  THANK YOU!!! (about 10-12 people per reading!)
  • grateful for everyone’s patience with letting me be SUPER awkward at the first reading!
  • grateful for selling my books (I sold 30 books, counting some sales pre and post event)
  • grateful for my sister, who worked the event along with Karmen and others who stayed late
  • grateful for the love and my undying belief that poetry does MATTER, it’s absolutely RELEVANT always and forever and for goodness sake it’s NOT DEAD
  • grateful to AVA for all of their support
  • grateful for Jimbo’s generous support of the arts at Astoria Coffee House
  • grateful to my loving husband who supports me in everything creative and crazy
  • grateful for anyone–even one person to read my writing
  • grateful that I was able to turn my pain into art
  • grateful to art for saving my life many, many times


My books set up for sale at my book launch / poetry reading event


Looking back at the residency is bittersweet (heavy on the sweet, light on the bitter). There were tears of grief as old feelings resurfaced while writing my poetry, but there were more often days of deep inspiration and gratitude for my life that I have made a huge effort to restructure around writing, art and creativity.

What did I get to do over the course of my residency? It was dang cool.


I watched the seasons unfold over downtown Astoria and the mighty Columbia River.


A few distinct memories stand out:

nighttime in the studio

A random evening watching ships as I illustrated for my book, I heard a solo busker on his guitar playing a hauntingly beautiful Neil Young cover down on the docks.





A rainbow that stretched across the horizon, seemingly floating atop the Columbia.

A lone kayaker that I watched with growing concern as his tiny orange boat drifted out of sight. I hope that he reads this post and says “hey that was me!”

And the food at Astoria Coffee House. The FOOD, THE FOOD!

The coffee mornings . . .

This dog who looked into my soul as I ate dinner on sushi night one summer outside the cafe
The most amazingly delicious cocktail I’ve ever had at The Astoria Coffee House

The beautiful late summer evenings on sushi night watching the ships and sipping a cocktail

The afternoons turning to evening. . .
Early mornings at The Astoria Coffee House
Early mornings when I’m the first one at the cafe. . .

And watching Columbia River Bar Pilots (tiny people with binoculars) is addictive. . .


And last, my favorite days on the river (hint: ALL of them!)

The Cozy Dark and Dreary Days (a perfect day to try out the hygge life)

The Ship Watching Days. . . (to remind you to get to work)

The Golden Sunlit Afternoons (To remind you that the summer sun will be gone soon):

The Basic Rainy Days (Astoria’s Trademark) :

The Foggy Days (glad you’re inside kinda day):


And the supporters cheering me on . . .

Betsy, the owner at Coffee Girl posted my residency for everyone to see during my summer job there!




And my ever supportive husband. . . what can I say, I love him!!


I will miss my studio, but I feel satisfied and happy with the time I spent here.




Heather Douglas is a freelance educator, blogger and creative. She is the author of two coloring books: My Astoria East to West Coloring Book and That’s So Pacific Northwest Coloring Book. *She is most at peace under old growth trees and enjoys a perfectly made chai latte. To see more of her work, visit

*After this residency, also the author of a book of poetry entitled Creosote and Rain. It can be purchased directly from the author or on Amazon.

Please like my Facebook page for more blogs like these, updates and stuff about writing!

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Where River Flowers into Ocean


Where River Flowers into Ocean

do you ever get used to the sludge, the effluent sewage

   that heaves and flows

    with tides. green and crusty

always kinda there. sand filtered and rain soaked.

look past the watery lid, the grass and rocky bottom

moves and stays where it is. passing through tree roots

pulling them slowly and often violently into the muck.

becoming homes, the nest for oceans seeds. fish

 and mollusks giving their souls to the pool.

tangled bramble become rivers edge over and over,

reinventing itself with each push pull drag and swell

that surges with the tidal whim.

accepting wind and wave the little pools fill and drain.

stirring up the grit and settling temporarily

inventing a clearness. glint of sun, the spawn continues.

sludge lingers above a pasty brackish river.

determined to be created and fed, the little lifeforms

claw fiercely through the water, measuring their time with growth

flushing in and out and learning the tides.

at no where else but at this collision of river and ocean

can you see (do you see?) the perfect universe prosper

while the dregs of mankind are flushed out upon the surface.

eerie that we let this happen, created ourselves and littered

it out into their home. we just don’t always see it



   Growing up near the estuary, the symptom of being human is reflected in the ever-present ever-changing reflection of yourself upon the surface. The surface can be glassy or ravaged by winds. The surge and ebb of tidal forces bring a constantly repeated force four times a day.  High, then low, then higher, then lower. Remember how, when you were young, the estuary was new everyday. You approach it, smell it and eventually see it. Paradise. Your life beside a bigger life with a pulse and dimension you won’t understand completely forever but spend a lifetime collecting fragments of its existence. It is an evolving realm, complete and unfinished all at the same time.

My reflection against the brackish waters over the past two years has focused on the decay. Living near estuary for these past years has involved the loss of our parents. Slowly and too quickly, all at once. The low tide of losing my father was followed by the high tide of reinventing the family unit I had known all my life. Undoing the tangle of his seventy one years on this planet, a process which I may never fully finish.  A little time on this high tiding of our lives yielded ten months later the next big low: The loss of my mother. Our mother.

Panning through this last vestige of what was my lifelong family unit, I everyday marvel at what is exposed during this low. All of the collections of real and imagined possessions are exposed, treasured for a moment, then cast off into the approaching high tide, which is as certain to arrive as sure as the sun is to rise. I realize in this reflection how truly blessed we were to have a father whose creativity was expressed in all the hobbies and obsessive collecting of all things eclectic and antique. The house had been filled and filled with radios, lamps, lights tools and appliances of specific tasks. A one man’s museum of utterly practical and aesthetically appealing things that he had encountered during his life, and could not bear to be without. Like the consistency of the daily tides, the components and machinery he surrounded himself in sustained and enlightened him. I see his face now, when I ponder how things work, for in his gaze I now know he was constantly seeking to understand the inner working of all things.

There is very little control at this point. Careful to appease the approaching waves, I find myself walking too close to the shore. Wanting to be both warm and dry as well as cold and wet. The life force of this place binds family and determines the reflection. Reality is the reflection revealed. All of the challenges that presented themselves as my parents both gracefully and poetically passed from this realm are fading now. The agony of learning the short term prognosis of impending death to the chilling last meal I fed to my mom days before she passed all swirl in the eddies of in and out going memories. The memories, like tides, move in and out in all of these days after. And because after the storm is the best time to scavenge the estuary shore, I am all this time looking at what this wave of my time near this place has left here for me.

The reminder of the shifting tides is the level at where the waves reach onto dry sand. When you go out at high tide, reaching the waves, the chaos of surging foamy water takes less time.  I had started undoing my fathers lifetime of collecting in earnest while he was still around. It was all high water, lots of stuff, easy to reach, but difficult to approach. He was sure he would get to it soon, he was sure he did not want me meddling with his things. Now the tide is at its fullest low, days, months then a year and now more days have passed. Now he and her, the ones who led me to this place and laid it all out for me, have gone, so far away. Their possessions and the properties now left in an intangible pile at my feet. Looked through, why do I still look at these things I have known all my life? They, quite simply are a part of the web of my specific life. He was my Dad, She was my Mom, now we have this instead? Now we have this instead. Where one day this sandy beach had neatly stacked drift logs at the dunes edge, now it is the new morning, after the storm and wind and shifting tides, the beach is hardened, the logs have migrated and everything has changed.

Now everything is different.



Rodney Douglas II is a sometimes carpenter and former Building Mover with a degree in English from the University of Oregon who lives in Seaside. He has two grown kids who live in Eugene.

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Step by Step: Dia De Los Muertos Pumpkins!


editor’s note: This story was previously published by Astoria Rain in 2015, however, in a recent move to a new blog template, we unfortunately lost many old stories. We will be periodically re-posting old stories that were lost in the update.



You will need:


2 or 3 pipe cleaners (green or brown is best)

different colored tissue paper cut into squares

a set of cheap brushes

acrylic paint (all purpose)


(most of these things can be found cheaply at Dots ‘N Doodles or Fred Meyer.)


lay out all of your materials on newspaper



paint a white face using multiple coats; let this dry and then outline it in black



You can draw a template on wax paper, or just freehand draw in the eye sockets, nose (upside down heart) and the mouth

It will look ugly at first and sloppy, but just trust in the process 🙂 When you start adding in more more details, it starts to look fantastic!



Slowly add details and continue touching up the paint—the face will look better and better…


To make the flowers:

  1. gather together 10 squares of tissue paper and fold them in an accordion
  2. in the middle of the accordion, wind about 1/4 of the pipe cleaner around it, with the rest left extending down like a stem
  3. fan out the accordion and mold it with your hands into a flower shape
  4. pull the “leaves” out and make the flower fluffy
  5. wind the flowers around your pumpkin! (it really completes the look 😉



This is a really fun and cheap activity that allows you to be creative!

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Sunrise at Pier 39




Heather Douglas is a freelance educator, blogger and creative. She is the author of two coloring books: My Astoria East to West Coloring Book and That’s So Pacific Northwest Coloring Book. She is most at peace under old growth trees and enjoys a perfectly made chai latte. To see more of her work, visit

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A Twist To My Favorite Classic: The Caprese!!


This week has been incredible! Fall is upon us and the air feels so amazing and life seems so right. I had one of those weeks where I just let go of the plan and let my days unfold as they did; one day blending into 4 fabulous days full of adventure and wonder. One high moment was getting to go out on an unexpected sail with my friend, Graham!!! My soul did cartwheels up and down the mighty Columbia as we bobbed along taking in the beauty of this incredible place we live.


Almost as good as the taste of tomato in my mouth. This week, I began a new medication for gout, one that will allow me to have a more ‘normal’ diet than the one I have been doing these past 2 years. I am very excited and terrified. I am terrified because I live in fear of the beast I have quieted these past 2 years. I know I have the strength to resist my urges, I have proved that to myself. However, I also recognize the fact that, given the change, I can devour anything in my path that calls out to my cravings. That scared me.

Approaching the decision to try this medication, I have sat and had soul searching conversations with the beast I have tamed and myself. We have come to the conclusion that I can be trusted to take on the challenge and trust in the knowledge I have gleaned over the past few years and that I can make the right choices when introducing food back into my diet. I recognize that I have lived a pretty pure and clean life while battling the gout via diet. I don’t want to lose that quality, I just want to be able to feel like I am, actually, providing my body with the nutrients it needs to help carry me through, because, honestly, I have felt malnourished more than anything.

Seeing as how I am Italian, I gave myself the gift of tomato as my first food item to introduce back in. My first was with a little bright yellow cherry tomato. The flavor exploded across my mouth as my eyes widened and my tastebuds gave a wave of a standing ovation as the tomato traveled though the process of chewing and swallowing. I felt like my body had been given its first taste of nourishment after a very long spell, oh wait, that is what happened!!!! no like about it, my tastebuds did a wave standing ovation as I swallowed that yummy goodness. sigh.

Saturday, I attended a surprise birthday brunch for my dear friend, Robyn. Her husband, Rob, was making crab benedict, Robyn’s favorite, and we were to bring a brunch dish to share. I decided to make a caprese, because out of all my favorite meals, it has been one I have missed the most. The Coop had the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes, so I grabbed some of them and a basket of figs and some fresh mozzarella and strawberries. My mouth was drooling the whole walk home, just imagining how happy I would be in just a short while.

Slicing the tomatoes was such a pleasure, their juices running over my fingers as I quartered them up. I did the same with the figs and the strawberries and I cut the sweet little balls of mozzarella in half.

As I have stated many times before: I believe in the art of presentation, no matter what it is; seeing as how this dish was for a birthday party and for my taste sensations, I wanted to make the plate sing and vibrate in the excitement I felt. I always start at the edge of a plate and work my way in and allow the food to lead me with artistic inspiration. I finished it off with a drizzle of olive oil and cherrywood aged balsamic vinegar and some chopped basil and a few twists on the pepper mill. Simple perfection, just like my week, just like my quest for my life, simple perfection.

photo1 photo2

I hope you all have an incredible week. Remember, as we move into fall and winter, to keep our focus up and out as we turn in. We have the love and support of one another to help carry us through. I know I would never have made it as far in my life or been as brave as I have been without the constant love and support I get from you.

We are family, we are one.

much love,


p.s. tickets are on sale for the Farm to Fork on October 6. Go to Astoria Coop website or Facebook page to sign up. The meal is going to be all vegetarian and gluten free this time around!!


Marco Davis is an Astoria, Oregon native. He has grown up around food, service to the community and the stage. His passion for creating and sharing food had him cooking at the Columbian Cafe for a few decades, as well as teaching cooking classes with the Astoria Co-op Grocery and the Astoria hospital. He has organized cooking parties for the FoodWeb, 46 North Farms as well as his cooking episodes as his drag alter-ego, Daylight Cums. Sharing food and teaching others how to cook easily and healthily at home is his favorite thing to do.

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Humans Of Astoria, Oregon * Blankets and CB


I met “Blankets” on the corner of 14th and Commercial. I’d seen him around town and wanted to chat him up.

He is originally from Nebraska and is visiting his parents over in Long Beach. His dog’s name is CB.

He said he picked up his passion for crochet about 4 years ago and has been doing it ever since!

Thank you Blankets and CB for being the first ‘Humans of Astoria’ on Astoria Rain!




*”Humans of Astoria, Oregon” is an homage to Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York and was also inspired by the work of photographer Briana Cerezo “Humans of Portland.” “Humans of Astoria, Oregon” is an attempt to capture photos of interesting people in Astoria and strike up a small conversation whenever I have a chance and I’m brave enough. I’m shy, so this is a challenge. –Heather, writer for Astoria Rain (dot) com.

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The Food That Binds Us Together


It has been awhile, I know. I have taken a break to recharge after the whirlwind of a summer that just crossed my path. I keep thinking I have a great meal I want to share with you; and I realize I already shared that, or that isn’t what you want to be reading about, so I just keep my fingers off of the keys until inspiration strikes. And it has!!!

On Thursday, at the River People’s Farmers Market, I was doing flowers for Teresa, 46 North Farms, as I do every Thursday because it is that one thing in the week that brings me such joy, I just can’t help myself. Getting to play with all those flowers and have them inspire me to arrange them in a way that they wish to be expressed for your viewing pleasure. It is such a fun dance.

Anyway(sss), Zetty came by to take some photos for our upcoming Farm to Fork dinner hosted by the Astoria Coop and Columbia Memorial Hospital and provided by local farmers and served by volunteers helping on the floor and in the kitchen; making for one magical evening. We always have a blast doing these photo shoots!! Usually, they happen out on the farm, but this time, we hit up the market.

Photo courtesy of Zetty McKay Nemlowill


Volunteers and the whole beautiful world of volunteering has been a major part of my life since I can remember. I have always been in the service of others, something I learned from my parents and the community of people I was raised with at Star of the Sea. I love to volunteer, it is such an incredible way to get to be involved more deeply and intimately in our community. It always brings a variety of people together for a common purpose and we are able to see beyond our class situations or social ‘norms’ and just be ourselves and help make something happen.

This week is the Coast Community Radio Pledge Drive. I love KMUN! Always have and I have helped with fundraising events there since the early 1990’s when they used to do the big auction dinners. The scandal I brought the year I wore my mesh top, with glitter, platform shoes and tails (wink)! I had just moved back from NYC and the club music was still pulsing through my veins. Still does. And on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 8:30-10:30 you can hear me on the radio with my friend’s David Drafall and Chris Wright as we spin away the evening on our “Over the Rainbow Show” focusing on Q music and themes.

On this past Wednesday, I got to join Annie on her show, ‘Woman’s Music’ as we pitched for the pledge drive; such a great evening! Friday, I got to go to my other fun volunteer job, Skate Night at the Armory!!! Yay! Back to school and it was so fun to see all the kids back in and having fun and laughing and skating the night away! (if you are looking for a fun volunteer job, this is it!!!) And Saturday, I made a quinoa and vegetable salad to share with the volunteers at the station. I’m going to share that with you now:



red and yellow bell pepper

red cabbage



container of arugula



fresh ginger

serrano pepper

fresh rosemary


I made a large batch because it is the perfect salad to share for potlucks! Great warm or cold, with chicken or cheese or as I did for this time, vegan.


I started with a cup of quinoa to 2 parts water. Once it is boiling and I’ve turned it to low, I start the vegetables cooking.


I used my wok for this one. Place some oil in the pan. Skin and chop the ginger and add to pan with chopped serrano and bell peppers and carrots. Add a bit of salt and toss in pan, add a splash of water and put a lid on it for about a minute. (A hummingbird just fluttered by my ear, whispering about fall as I type this). Next, add the chopped cabbage, kale and zucchini and rosemary and toss in with the rest of the vegetables.


Cook to your desired crispness. I tend to keep them more firm for this salad.


Once quinoa is finished, place in a large mixing bowl and add the arugula and mix together allowing the warmth of the quinoa to soften the arugula. Add the cooked vegetables and stir together, gently taking the spoon and easing the stuff from the bottom to the top as you rotate the bowl. Taste it. I add a nice splash or two of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids would be really tasty too as well as some yummy nutritional yeast. But I didn’t use those things for this one.



There you have it! A yummy salad for a group of amazing volunteers all bringing their individual voices, talents and skills to our Coast Community Radio, to keep the good times and music rolling!! Thank you!!!!!

If you do not already volunteer, I recommend you find something to participate in! It really is the best way to discover the deeper and beautiful magic that we create in this amazing place we get to call home, Astoria!!!


If you are interested in the farm to fork dinner, book on line at the Astoria Coop website. The dinner is October 6.


See you around town,



Marco Davis is an Astoria, Oregon native. He has grown up around food, service to the community and the stage. His passion for creating and sharing food had him cooking at the Columbian Cafe for a few decades, as well as teaching cooking classes with the Astoria Co-op Grocery and the Astoria hospital. He has organized cooking parties for the FoodWeb, 46 North Farms as well as his cooking episodes as his drag alter-ego, Daylight Cums. Sharing food and teaching others how to cook easily and healthily at home is his favorite thing to do.

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Happy 50th Megler by Jeff Carden Photography




Jeff Carden has survived life as a woodworker in Astoria for 29 years. He has played in well-known bands like 4 on the Floor, The Swaggers, and so many awesome local bands from roots rock to rockabilly that he could almost lose track. When he’s not in demand on the local music scene, Jeff is a self-trained photographer with an eye for dramatic shots. He focuses on the local beauty that the area has to offer, and although he officially started photographing with an Instamatic as a teenager, it wasn’t until the convenience and ease of digital revealed his great talent to the world. To see more of his work, visit:

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