Sunday, June 27, 2010

Holt - Vacation Photos 2010

Thanks to my sister  for sending me the photos.  Thanks SO MUCH for taking Holt on adventures this summer!

Arbuckle Wilderness Exotic Animal Theme Park Trip

More Fishing!

Holt, Craig (my brother-in-law) and Wyatt, my nephew.

Go carts - Holt in 2nd place.

Go carts - Holt in 3rd place.

At the top of Turner Falls.

Football with Trey (another nephew).

All 3 cousins throwing the football - Wyatt, Holt and Trey.

Looks like they are had a great time!
Have a glorious day!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Plum Upside-Down Pudding Cake

Have you ever seen a recipe in a magazine and you KNEW it would be amazing?  Only to come home and be unable to convince anyone else?  I was in the waiting room for my one-week surgery appointment when I saw this recipe in Coastal Living and the photo just grabbed my attention.  If I were only allowed 5 foods on a deserted island, plums would be one of them.  LOVE plums!

So, I told my husband and got "that" look.  While in Texas, told my mom and while she didn't seem thrilled, she did help me shop for ingredients.  And then my sister flat out said it did not sound good to her.  I was going to take this to the band reunion, but then Andy asked me if I really wanted to take something untried.  PEOPLE!!  I KNEW this would taste amazing, but whatever.   lol

We actually ended up bringing the ingredients home with us - always frugal!  And you know what?  It tastes amazing and guess who loves it?  My husband!!! photos are ridiculous.  First, I forgot to take it out of the pan and make it "upside-down" so by the time I remembered this, it was half gone.  So this will just have to do.  But, if you would like a very mild cake with a bit of tang, you must try this!  Only 1/2 cup sugar in the entire cake! 

Enticed yet?  Here's what you need to know:

Prep: 15 minutes  Cook: 25 minutes  Cool: 30 minutes

Makes 8 servings


4 small red or black plums, sliced
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 TBS. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole or lowfat buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 TBS. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Sweetened whipped cream

1.  Combine plums, 1 TB. sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt in a bowl, tossing gently.
2.  Grease sides and bottom of a 9-inch cast iron skillet or deep dish pie pan.  Cover bottom with plum slices, overlapping slightly.
3.  Whisk together eggs, remaining sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and butter until well-blended.
4.  Combine flour, baking powder and remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, whisk into egg mixture.  Pour batter over fruit.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in pan 30 minutes.  
5.  Run tip around edge of cake to loosen.  Invert onto a platter, and serve with whipped cream.

Let me know if you try this and what you think.  This is so good, it could be for dessert, for a breakfast cake.....very mild and not too sweet at all.  I think that is why hubby loves it.

Have a glorious day!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Second Son CAN Smile!

Holt is spending time with my sister's family in Texas and they took a vacation to Turner Falls in Oklahoma.  She just sent me this photo of the boys making smores by the campfire.  And our son (the one in the middle) is smiling!  Imagine that!  The other 2 boys are my nephews - ages 15 and almost 13.  Holt will be 18 in August.  Hard to believe!

Have a glorious day!


Silly Shoe Love

Today's post is just meant to make me smile and perhaps can be some humor for others.  I'm physically recovering from a major trip to Dallas and dinner out last night with business colleagues of my husband's.  To distract from the pain and make me smile,  I thought I would share a highlight of last week.

It isn't often that I find/found shoes that fit my narrow feet perfectly.  When Andy met me while working at that shoe store, I quickly informed him that if he had a problem with my purchasing quality shoes, to run now.  lol  I had nothing to fear - he personally had an affinity for Allen Edmonds shoes, 'nuff said. 

These days, sexy beautiful shoes are out and safe shoes are in.   Dansko it is.  I am definitely not complaining - I am THANKFUL I can still walk and thankful that shoes exist to ensure my safety.

My love of sexy high heels started young.  I post this picture for fun.  I was trying on my first pair of heels and a photo bug in the family managed to snap this photo as I RAN the minute I saw the camera.  For those that know my utter gracefulness (NOT), how I did not break my ankle during the attempted escape is still completely a shock.  lol  (And yes, I was doing a Miss America walk in my nightgown.  I especially love the knee hi hose- - awww, to be 14 again.  lol)

I was innocently walking down an aisle in Marshalls when these shoes caught my eye as I walked down the aisle.  I whipped my head around.   I KNEW I could not own these shoes but decided to take photos so I could continue dreaming.  So here is my montage of photos with my beloved shoes I cannot own.  Enjoy.  lol  I did NOT pay attention to nor write down the brand of these shoes - did not want to be tempted.  Smart girl, eh?

And if Andy is looking at this, you cannot see the helpful shopper holding me up *wink wink*.  lol   Tan courtesy of our pool and pedicure courtesy of a shop close to our hotel while I stayed the day with my ill hubby, only running out for this quick pedicure for the reunion that night.  (Details in future post).

I had another lovely shopper take this photo for me with my iPhone.  lol

If I ever find these shoes on complete clearance and under $10, I might just purchase them and ride in a wheelchair just to look at them all night.  Hey, gotta give me silly joy where I can find it!!

Meanwhile, these are the only sandals I can wear nowadays, but they are comfy!  Dansko Sissy.  Pricey, BUT they last years.  I am still wearing the first pair I purchased in 2005. 

When we realized how extensive and dangerously numb my feet were, I asked several professionals what their shoe recommendation(s) were and Dansko was hands down what they recommended.  If you have never tried on a pair of Dansko shoes, I recommend it, just to feel the difference.  Your body is put in a different posture than normal and this is why these shoes are so safe.  Many nurses and medical staff wear them for their durability and comfort.
Some day, I'm going to print a book of this blog, and I will have these photos forever.  Isn't this sad?  lol  But just looking at these photos makes me SO happy.  Folks with numb feet and balance issues understand.  *Smile*

Have a glorious day!


Friday, June 18, 2010

My Pretty Purple Birthday Cake

For as long as I can remember, my favorite birthday cake has been Angel food cake with "fluffy" icing. I believe it is Betty Crocker (comes in a box) and you mix it with boiling water. It truly reminds me of marshmallows, with its sticky goodness!

Have you ever tried this?  If not, you MUST!  Mom said she had to go to three grocery stores to find it, so I am praying it is not going to be discontinued.  Better stock up now, huh!

I just love the combination of the light, fluffy cake with the light fluffy icing.  Everyone I know prefers "real" cake with "real" icing, but for me, it is too sweet.  

Each year, I pick a color and for several years now, I have loved lavender. We've had pink, blue, green, and one year after mixing the wrong colors we had gray. That was weird. lol But boy, do I love these cakes. However, NO ONE else does and they think it is gross, so usually I get the entire cake to myself.

This year, mom knew we were coming down (I'm not always able to see her around my birthday, so I don't get this cake every year), and she used some new dye, called "Neon Purple". Check this out!

Yummm!  Thank you mom for the super delicious cake!

Have a glorious day!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Birthday Weekend Recap

Thought I'd start with a photo of my girls, showing their new "do" after their beauty/spa appointments.

And great news!!  The burning pain in my back that I mentioned the other day HERE, appears to be almost gone.  Yay!!! I've been asked if it might be shingles and I actually have recovered recently from my 4th bout of shingles in 2 years (and that is always on my face in one nerve pattern), and this pain is WORSE than shingles pain.  Horrid.  But I am thankful it only stayed around a few days this time instead of a month!

Since Holt will be going to Texas for the summer, we thought we'd treat him to dinner.  Now this is the child who hesitates to be seen in public with his parents.  I mean, y'all, he IS almost an adult.  Being the empty garbage gut that he is, he was suggesting steak, seafood (lobster), or anything else that might break the bank.  lol   Andy wanted me to pick a restaurant for my birthday dinner, but I plan to do that in Dallas this coming week.  Woo Hoo!!    So donning my "sweet amazing wife/mom hat", I suggested  Bonefish Grill, one of Andy's favorite places that Holt had not been to.   He enjoyed calamari for the first time, but I do not think he is my child - I cannot eat anything "rubbery".  lol  He and hubs ordered the same entree - Snapper with lump crab and lemon butter sauce.   I ordered the Coconut Crusted Shrimp appetizer.  So while the guys snarfed down 2 ordered of the bread, calamari, and their snapper dinners, I enjoyed my 6 pieces of shrimp and ice water.   Not to worry, the minute I was done I headed out the door to do some shopping, "girl style" as we were in a super nice outdoor mall area.  There ended up being a glitch in the plans - the guys were supposed to find me when they left the restaurant and accompany me birthday shopping, but Holt decided HE needed clothes and wouldn't let Andy leave him.  Hmmmmph.  So I shopped alone.  Not feeling too special, especially after I was so gracious with the restaurant.......but I was a good girl and did not shop it up to get even.  lol  I did treat myself to a Ben and Jerry's scoop of ice cream, I think it was called Bonner and Buzz?  Yumm.  Malted milk, caramel, coffee flavor....  Again, alone.  lol  They finally caught up with me, heads down, but it was all good.  Ice cream is soothing like that!

So today was my birthday - turned 44, a double even number!!! I prefer even over odd -  I'm weird like that.   I woke up in tears from pain, but thankfully the meds kicked in pretty quick.  Not sure what that pain was about, as that is unusual.  I got up and did my usual morning ritual while I wait for my body to loosen up and want to get going.  Andy was cleaning out and packing up our older son's room as he moved out Friday.  Not a word about my birthday.  He asked me a little hurriedly how soon I would be ready to go swimming and I told him I was busy responding to everyone on F.acebook (a zillion birthday wishes, thank you everyone!) and he snapped, "You can do that this evening!"  Hellooo.......HINT???   I wrongly assumed that since last night was all about THEM, that maybe I'd wake up to some flowers or a card or even a hug?  Ya know what they say about assuming!

So 2 hours later in the pool, still no mention of my birthday and he was actually a little cranky with his mind elsewhere.  I was thinking maybe he would be surprising me with something and was trying to throw me off the trail?   Since subtle is not really an adjective anyone would use to describe my personality, I finally just flat out said, "So, you know it's my birthday today"?  His eyes bugged out of his head.  It was hilarious.   And about 4 hours later, he remembered to get my card out and it was a very sweet card - have to give him kudos for that.  There for a while I thought he'd be running me by a store to read some cards to save money.  LMBO

After that sputtering start, we had a great afternoon in the pool.  The water was so warm and that salt-water filtration is just heavenly. To make up for the sad start, he took me shopping (and just to be clear, shopping does not imply buying!  I love to browse!) AND he promised to not rush me as he often does.   (I rarely drive and therefore I mostly only get out on weekends due to my pain and mostly numb feet - feeling the gas and brake pedals is really important, ya know?)  Surprise - he was so patient AND helpful (getting things I couldn't reach, for example, since I can't bend, lift or twist).  I couldn't believe it!!  We just talked and shared and laughed and joked.  Had a great time actually.  That alone was a great birthday present!

We did share another "NOT my birthday dinner" at Steak and Shake, another of his faves and then we ran by CVS to check one thing.  Wellllll, they were having all kinds of sales, so I bet we were in there another 45 minutes?  lol  The "new" Cheri has no sense of time, is just SO relaxed, and simply enjoys her excursions into town with her sweet husband.  Not once did he get annoyed, or rush me, or "half-listen" like guys sometimes do.  lol 

The main purpose of our trip (outside of seeing family) is I have 2 high school reunions - one has been dubbed a "Super Reunion" for a span of years, and then the next night is an informal band reunion.  Yes, I was a band geek, playing bassoon in concert season (both band AND orchestra - Yep, I do NOT wonder why more of the "cool" guys wouldn't ask me out!) and then after one marching season in the flag corp, I took up Tenor Sax for marching season.  So fun!  If you weren't in band, you can't know just how close that band bond can be.  Love my band buddies!! 

And now it is 2am and I am STILL up. Time to get myself to bed.  I'm reading a new book called "Who Switched Off My Brain - Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions" by Dr. Caroline Leaf.   

Her passion is studying the brain and on the inside jacket cover, it states:  "In this revised edition, Dr. Leaf clearly illustrates how the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience prove scripture - that you can renew your mind.  You can break the cycle of toxic thinking.  You can break unhealthy patterns.  Learn how "The Dirty Dozen", twelve areas of toxic thinking, can be swept away.  And uncover how healthy thoughts can actually start to help improve every area of your life - your relationships, your health and even your success."

THIS is the book I have been looking for, as I have watched how my pain worsens/skyrockets as stress increases in my life from other sources.  When I get control of my mind and stop worrying/dwelling/ pain improves.  But I wanted a book to help me step by step, as frankly living with never-ending pain is nothing something easily ignored, let alone anything else to add to it.  So far, I highly recommend the book!  Here is a video I watched online with her in an interview:

Who Switched off my brain?

Peter J Shepherd | MySpace Video

Anyhoo, I'll have an official review of this someday soon.  No paid request, just my personal interest!

After we get back from Dallas, hubs and I will have a new life - no kids!!  Wonder what that will be like?  (Just until August, but still, looking forward to it!)

Have a glorious day!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Adventures of Accidentally Taking Your Pet's Medication

No, you did not misread that title.  Yes, I took my pet's medication.

 I had to post this photo of Sweety at age 6 months.  A face only a mother could love?  lol   She is now 7 years old.

First, some important info:  I am REALLY bad about getting MY medication out and then forgetting to take it.   Hubs has been on me to take the pills the minute I have them in my hand - no more getting them out early, setting them near my computer.  Doesn't work, I will forget.  One of the meds I take MUST be taken on a regular schedule or I get messed up.

That said.........Today we noticed our Pekingese Sweety having an arthritis flare-up.  She went to a beauty appointment the other day, and almost always comes home a little worse for wear.  It takes a few days to get back to her old self.  She has degenerative disc issues in her back, and on the days we see her walking weird, she takes Previcox, which is to my understanding, doggie Advil/Nsaids.  

So, when I saw Sweety limping, I asked hubs to give her the pill.  He was busy.  I waited 15 minutes or so, asked him again, and could just TELL, you know how it is.......he'll mean well but forget, right?  So I got up and got the pill out of the wrapping and needed hubs to bring her to me. (I cannot bend, lift nor twist and getting the pill in a tiny Pekingese isn't on my list of "should do").  

Somehow, I got distracted and walked to my bathroom to get my water.  As I walked back in the kitchen, I popped that pill, the DOGGIE ADVIL, down my throat.  I freaked!  Andy read the box and it said something to the tune of, "Beware, not for human consumption."  Great, just great.  But was he shocked?  I can't say that he was.  Isn't that sad?  ROFL.

As I start chugging water to go force it back up through vomiting, I beg him to call Poison Control, just in case.  Right?  Just trying to be smart.   Well, I had NO luck on the vomiting plan (and bending over the toilet is also NOT on my list of "should do".)  Andy comes in with Poison Control on the phone and tells me they do not recommend I vomit this up.  Well, GOOD, 'cause it wasn't working!  After asking the weight of the dog (18 lbs) and me (never should ask a lady her weight!) and my age (Andy telling them if I lived, I would be 44 tomorrow, lol), it was determined that if I do NOT live until tomorrow, it won't be because I took Doggie Advil.  Things might have been different if Sweety and I were close to the same weight. 
Thank goodness!!!  And a few hours later, when Poison Control called to check on me, the funny girl asked me if I had started barking yet.  Ha Ha Ha!  And poor Sweety (the dog), I did not need to take any of her "30 pills for $40" medicine!

Sigh.  I did not notice any side effects and also didn't notice an improvement in my pain.  lol   

It just never ends with me, it truly doesn't.  So now, I'm pretty sure the next time I ask hubs to give Sweety her pill, I bet her hops right to that.  What do you think? 

Have a glorious day!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Central Pain Again - Am I Tough Enough?

If I have learned one thing recently, it is that I better start dealing with all the emotional stuff going on in my life right now so my body can take a break from falling apart!  As I finish healing from the appendectomy 3 weeks ago, my back decided to start burning again, just like before.  Once again, it is exactly from my bra strap to my hips and rather than being deep like my other nerve damage and burning, this is the skin level.  It honestly feels like the worst sunburn you could ever imagine and then multiply that by 10 or 100.  It is just simply BAD.

Because our youngest is on full restriction, I have been forced to do much more running around than I ever normally have to do.  That is wreaking havoc on my back, as touch is the number one trigger (going in and out of the van, etc.).  Also clothing touching my back, wind blowing on my back, basically anything that touches my back in any way.  

My normal safe place - the recliner - isn't so fun right now.  Mostly, laying on my stomach with my shirt tucked in my bra strap so my back is bare is the best place for now. 

I am praying this goes away again.  Last time, it took about a month.  For most folks who suffer Central Pain Syndrome, I don't think the pain goes away.  I am crossing fingers that mine does.  We had planned a trip to Dallas for next week, but at this moment, I could not make the trip.  Today, the pain was about 25% better during the day, but it is raging again tonight.  Dallas is 8+ hours away, and then I would have strange beds and strange chairs.  Not conducive to pain relief.  

I am once again thanking God for the Lidoderm patches that are saving my mind right now.  These are applied to the skin and can be left on for 12 hours at time. 

So during these times when everything is crashing around me and my mind is just overwhelmed, I turn to God and try to remember HE is in control.  It is hard to explain what it is like to have 24/7 burning pain even with the Spinal Cord Stimulator, it doesn't cut the pain entirely.  Most days it is just getting to be too much, I will be honest.  Not feeling so much like going to visit anyone right now. 

I have purposefully not written about the many stressors right now, not to put on "airs" but due to my belief that too much focus on negative things gives it power and makes it more real.  We can leave it at - major prayers would be much appreciated.  Hopefully things will improve dramatically within the next few weeks, but we can only wait and see.  Part of this is related to our sons and I can simply admit - I am covered up with grief.  Deep, penetrating grief.  Without faith, I don't know where I'd be right now.

Right now, the bright spot in my life is my husband and our relationship.  Focusing on us and the new challenge coming up is helping keep my mind off things I cannot change, cannot control, and must accept.

This poem/story really touched me when I first read it and talk about TEARS.  Oh my goodness, does it make me cry.  I don't have this CRPS/RSD, but the story touched me just the same.  Very similar feelings.   If you know anyone who suffers chronic pain, send this to them.  It will touch them, trust me:

Am I Tough Enough? by Traci Zuckerman

Living with chronic pain redirects your focus, tests all of your strengths, and emphasizes your weaknesses. I have reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)/complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) – it is a condition or illness that causes chronic pain that has tormented me for more than nine years.

There is a stigma that exists when you live with or have any disability, especially an invisible one like pain. You start to wonder if you have the strength to live with the never-ending flare ups and the changes that life with chronic pain brings. When you start to doubt yourself, you must reach down deep and use every bit of strength and determination you have to make it through the day.

Having to live with chronic pain is like being a prisoner within my own body. I do not have the same freedom of movement that I once did. Many of my abilities are limited or changed as a result of living with RSD/CRPS. I live each day not knowing what my body has in store for me. I never know if I will be merely stiff from swollen limbs or achy from the spasms of tight muscles or even tortured by the nerve pain that burns and sticks itself like electrical needles through my skin.

I have days when I'm shocked by pain that just appears out of nowhere. I have days when the pain slowly creeps up on me. Some days I become overwhelmed – anxious, depressed and worn out by the pain, but I always stay true to myself and try to go with the flow.

I have asked myself many times, "Am I tough enough to live like this?" I also wonder if others believe I'm tough enough. I wonder if I work hard enough at trying to deal with this. Am I trying my very best to respond in a productive way and keep myself motivated toward improving?

I get tired and worn out some days – living with chronic pain is much more demanding than a full time job. Sometimes when I open my eyes in the morning, the first thought I have is, "Maybe the RSD is gone." Rationally, I know RSD/CRPS won't disappear. I also know that the only way toward wellness is to stop looking back and keep moving forward. The memories of the things I have missed along the way are daunting so I focus in on what works today and what I can try to do tomorrow.

Living with chronic pain is like any 12 step or rehabilitation program – you must be diligent and determined to progress forward. That is why it is necessary for me to continue to have an open mind about different treatments or therapies and learn as much as I possibly can about RSD/CRPS. Continuing to explore my options has become a main focus for me – it helps me to feel like I'm in control and moving forward, rather than a prisoner to my pain and my body. I too have hope for and a dream of a life where I am not a prisoner to pain.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time wondering if I'm tough enough to make it through this. I know now that I have made it – I have the qualities and abilities I need to stay focused as I work toward wellness. I'm determined. I'm hopeful. I'm open-minded. I keep trying. It's my choice. I can see freedom from pain and even feel it sometimes, even as I experience the challenges along the way. I know now that I am tough enough and I know you are too.

OK, enough whining.  Thanks for reading.  I'll perk up before the next post, I promise.  Just keeping it real.  Who knows, maybe getting dehydrated from crying will short out the nerves!  lol

Hope you are having a pain-free day!!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Update on Curly Hair Progress

I wrote several months ago about growing my hair out and planning to "go curly", having just discovered I have curly hair.  lol  I KNOW, that seems ridiculous, doesn't it!  To be 43 and find out a few years ago - Hey, I have curly hair!  I just thought I had "messy" hair, never knew with the right product and styling technique, I could wear it curly.

So, I tried it out a few months ago and did NOT like it - too short!  My hair kinks up quite a bit, so I decided to go on a "grow out" mission.  This was in October, 2009:

Now today, we had been swimming all afternoon and decided to go run errands, I jumped in the shower and very quickly put product in my hair and used the diffuser on it a bit.  I had no rhythme or reason and didn't even remember what to do, honestly.  But I have to say I am impressed - considering the circumstances, I am thrilled with the progression of my curls.  Here is a photo we just took, after our errands and after sitting in a chair flattening it a bit:

 With the proper styling products and techniques, the "crown" won't be flat in general, but look how cork screw curly my hair is underneath?  I won't be "going curly" for probably another year at this grow rate, lol, but I look forward to it.

It was so funny watching Andy tonight - he has the weirdest "affect" - he said it was freaking him out how different I looked, like I was spunky or gonna be feisty or something.  He LOVES the curly look,and frankly loves any change I do to my hair (short of cutting it off short OR going red, neither of which he would enjoy).  lol

I alternate between completely flat (with a flat iron), mildly curled, heavily curled or now this naturally curly style. 

I don't think I posted this, but this photo was taken after my last hair cut/color last month.  Totally flat but with a new cut - hubs says it reminds him of the girl on Castle.  lol

Looking at this picture, you can really see how "much" my hair kinks up when allowed to go naturally curly, huh!

Do you change up your hair or hair style, or do you look mostly the same? 

Have a glorious day!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Show Us Your Life - Random Acts of Kindness

Kelly at Kelly's Korner Blog is doing her "Show Us Your Life - Random Acts of Kindness" this week.  Go there to read many ideas.

One of my favorite random acts of kindness involves the wait staff at restaurants.  My husband used to be a server and has related many tales of not so nice diners versus folks who were a pleasure to serve.  I started several years ago making sure to get the name of our waiter/ress when we go out to eat.  Either myself or my husband will engage them in brief conversation, asking how their day is going, what is their favorite item on the menu, things like that.  

I particularly like to go to "regular" places where the servers make less than minimum wage and get "average" tips.   Having worked in service/commission jobs my entire working life (college years and a few years in real estate when the boys were teenagers), I know the importance of being friendly and attentive if one hopes to get referrals, good tips, or just have a nice day.  Frankly, I think all sales/service folks should treat others as they would treat their family.  Can't go wrong doing that!

If the server is pleasant, does a great job, and actually brightens my day (rather than leaving me without ice water, waiting forever to bring the check), I go home and write a letter to the management of that restaurant, bragging on how great "Server's Name" was on "Date and Time", and that I am so happy with the service, I will be recommended all friends and family to that restaurant.  In Iowa when I was still in real estate actively, I would also state that I would be referring clients there as well.  This makes managers VERY happy, and will bring kudos to that server!

One week, I had sent a letter to a local restaurant (if I remember correctly, it was an IHop!  lol) including my business card at the time, and just a few days later, we dined there again.  As we walked in, several servers stopped and directly stared at us, with odd smiles.  I wasn't catching on too quickly, and we sat down to look at the menus.  A few moments later, the manager came over and thanked me profusely for sending the letter, that he never receives such feedback and it brightened everyone's day (recognizing me from my business card).  Our former server also came over and thanked me sincerely.  I think being a server can be a really thankless job, and if you have a pleasant experience, why not take the time to send a short note praising your experience?  Kudos will go to your server and trust me, it will brighten their day!

Key - I really do recommend you send a handwritten note!

I had no idea I would be remembered or get any recognition for doing so, but it just shows you how random acts of kindness DO matter and are appreciated.  From that day forward, we received EXCELLENT service every time we dined there, and that was great. 

Have a glorious day!