Three Things, Day 2: Heart, Sole & Synthwave

Today I am grateful for a good checkup.

When we adopted our rescue dog Ziti a little over a year ago, we were told she was recovering from heart worms. Her visit visit to our vet revealed that rather than recovering from them, a decent population of the parasites were still living rent-free in her ticker. 

A good and healthy girl.

Heart worms are passed via mosquito bites and are most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as along the Mississippi. Ziti was rescued from a puppy mill in Georgia, prime territory for the worms, which are usually between four and 12 inches long. Typically, a dog will have 15-ish of the nasty little beasts inside them, but some can wind up with as many as 250 of the parasites. 

Ziti received treatment for the roundworms this past winter. She handled the painful treatments like a champ. She had two shots of Immiticide, a drug that contains arsenic, to kill the heart worms. Both injections were deep in her back muscles, and recovery involved a combination of painkillers and steroids, along with ongoing oral supplements. 

Within two weeks of her first injection, Ziti was a different dog. Or rather, she was even more of the dog that we’d grown to love. She became more affectionate, had more energy, and her appetite grew. The second shot continued to improve her overall wellbeing. 

We went through the spring and summer with bated breath, though, hoping the supplements would flush out whatever heart worms hadn’t been killed by the treatments. Testing would give a definitive answer, but our wait proved to be even longer when Ziti went into heat about a month ago, pushing back the appointment. 

That appointment was today.

Armed with a stool sample we collected on our morning walk today, Ziti and Alison headed to the vet. Ziti loves going to the local animal clinic. Even after her first painful treatment, she was all wags and smiles when we returned for the second round of Immiticide. Alison said it was the same today.

The good girl’s tests came back negative, thank goodness. No more painful treatments!

The vet visit did show that Ziti’s put on a bit of weight, though. Not a lot, but enough to show that a) her appetite has grown and b) we might spoil her just a bit.

I had another thing written for this spot, but at the last minute, something blew my mind.

A blast from my writing past.
Photo courtesy Matt Renna

In my early writing days in the late 1990s, I did a bit of freelance reporting for The Burlington Free Press. Prior to that, I worked as a line cook at a wonderful little Italian restaurant in Williston, VT, called Cafe Espresso. Matt Renna was one of the servers there, and I knew he spent his days working as a cobbler at a little shop in downtown Burlington. When I got the chance, I pitched his work as a potential story, and my editor gave me the go-ahead.

Twenty-three years have passed since I wrote that article. Journalism has come and gone as my career. But I’m still writing, and Matt is still making shoes. He started out with Renna Shoes two years after my article was published, and that turned into Queen City Dry Goods. QCDG operates as a manufacturer of shoes, bags, apparel, and accessories, with a factory located in Williston, about a mile and a half from where I used to make roasted garlic flatbread and grilled pepper focaccia for Matt to serve.

The article about Matt showed up this afternoon when he posted it to QCDG’s social media accounts ( and and was kind enough to tag me. I haven’t looked at my old Free Press clippings in years, and it was a trip to re-read that article. It made me wonder what that article would read like if I wrote it today. I do have to say I was pleased to find no fewer than four shoe and foot-related puns scattered throughout the piece. I must have had a very tolerant editor.

Anyway, seeing that article and remembering those days made me grateful for the relationships we build and the positive impact we can have on one another even as time creates distance between us.

I need to stop by and say hi to Matt sometime soon, tell him I’m so excited and proud about the success he’s had, and buy an excellent pair of shoes.

I’ve really fallen in love with synthwave over the past couple years. 

The relatively new genre is heavily influenced by the music of 1980s horror, action, and sci-fi movies. Stuff like John Carpenter’s movie soundtracks, Tangerine Dream, and the Blade Runner soundtrack. Synthwave was really pushed into the zeitgeist by the soundtracks for Stranger Things and Drive

For me, it’s a mix of nostalgia, my love for ‘80s B-movie schlock, and the surprising complexity that’s involved in the sound. It’s the sort of thing you can listen to over and over, discovering new things each time or just escaping in the wave.

And there’s something to be said these days for easy escapes.

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