What NWPB Staff Are Up To While Staying At Home

“There’s work at work, and work at home.” That rings true during this time of staying home and staying healthy, doesn’t it? NWPB staff are managing to get as much work done as possible, but have also found time for at-home projects, hobbies, cooking and creative writing. Here are some things we’ve been up to.

Cats and Poetry

No pandemic can stop cats from trending on the internet, or stop them from disrupting video conferencing meetings. Sandi Billings, NWPB’s major gifts officer, has a cat named Stella. This catastic creature decided to make herself comfortable on Sandi’s head, which prompted this poem titled “Cat Upon my Head.”

Paper craft displaying a cat on a women's head

Cat Upon my Head by Sandi Billings

I’m so warm and cozy
Snuggled deep inside my sheet.
I wake up slow and sleepy
With my doggy at my feet.
My arms and legs are limp
In this waking, dreamy state,
And all I plan to do
Today is meet my friends and skate
Out on the frozen pond
And we’ll race downhill on sleds.
But. . .
I can’t get out of bed
There’s a cat upon my head.

An Award-Winning Hobby

Kerry Swanson is NWPB’s radio station manager. He’s been working on his 1981 Porsche 928 to prepare it for a car show this summer. During a normal winter, he’d be prepping for summer car shows. However, while this summer’s activities are still up in the air and car shows are on hold (for now), he’s keeping himself busy by keeping it shiny. 

“I’ve always been interested in cars. I’ve been mechanically inclined since I was a kid and learned a lot from working on my grandfather’s orchard and farm in Yakima,” he says.

Kerry’s been working and restoring this cherry red Porsche for more than 15 years and won his first national award in 2017.

He preps in the winter so they are ready for spring and summer shows.


Walking The Dog, Cooking With Memories

NWPB regional correspondent Anna King lives in Richland. She’s spending her time outdoors with her dog Poa while social distancing. 

“Poa is my constant work-from-home companion. She’s an Aussie, very quiet, loves long walks by the Columbia River,” she says.

Anna has been taking longer and longer walks on the Columbia River trails. “I try to go at dawn when there are fewer people. Spring rain or wind doesn’t stop me.”

Off the trail, she spends time cooking and baking with her grandma’s recipes. “My great-grandma and grandma survived both World Wars, the flu pandemic, and the Great Depression. I’ve been thinking of their strength a lot of these past weeks.” Anna shared this family recipe. 

Columbia River at Sunset
The Columbia River in Richland gives a sense of peace and relaxation for Anna King.

Grammie Pizza Dough Recipe: 

  • 1-2 packets rapid rise yeast
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 ½ teaspoons salt
A fully cooked example of King's Grandma's Pizza Doug Recipe with half black olives and ham and half black olives and cheese.
King testing her Grammie's Pizza Dough Recipe.


  1. Mix, sugar, yeast and 1 cup of water together in a bowl, let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Combine salt and flour. Make a nest in the flour and pour in the water mixture, add the other cup of water. Slowly combine with a fork, then knead with your hands until the dough is tacky and well combined. Pour a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the bowl, swirl dough to coat. Make the sign of the cross on top or bless the bread in your own way. Put plastic wrap over the bowl, then a dish towel to keep it warm.
  3. Fill a pot with warm tap water, put bread bowl on top of this pot. This helps keep the bread dough warm. After about 1 hour, punch down the bread. Then return the towel and wrap and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Roll out and put in an insulated cookie pan. You can patch the pieces together to fill the entire pan. Put pan on a pan of hot water. Let it rise for a bit. Put homemade pizza sauce on, then any topping you want. Key is to keep toppings minimal, so the pizza isn’t too doughy or undone when baked. Bake at 375 degrees for 28 minutes. Then check, you may need a bit more time. Mangia [eat]!!

New Puppy And Plants

Sueann training her black-lab mixed puppy Duke

Sueann Ramella trains her “pandemic pet” Duke

Among the many people fostering or adopting pets during the coronavirus outbreak is NWPB’s Morning Edition host and producer, Sueann Ramella.

Sueann says of her “pandemic pet”: “We figured it was good timing to adopt since we are mostly at home and can train him. Duke is a black-lab mixed puppy who loves to play, has high-energy and is working on correcting some bad habits. But he’s a good boy, especially after being neutered.” 

Ramella holding a row of green plants

Sueann Ramella with plants for her garden

Sueann and her family are also busy starting and planting vegetables. “Even before the coronavirus was a thing, we were planning to grow more than we needed this year to share with the community.” Sueann and her husband, Ben Harlow, have a micro-farm with pigs, chickens and two unheated greenhouses.

Get In Touch

With all the time you’re spending at home, what projects are you working on? Tell NWPB through our Facebook page. If we build a community to discuss our projects with one another, we won’t feel so alone. You could discover a new hobby or end up with a wonderful project!