Namely, it's awfully nice when the election-day change of routine consists of getting up fifteen minutes early and walking across the street to vote at the elementary school. :-)
Thanks to all and sundry for birthday wishes. The evening was indeed a VAST improvement over the day, complete with a last-minute change from yummy Mexican food (since it was discovered that the restaurant had closed and is reopening as something else next week!) to extremely yummy Italian food (with the bonus of repaying a little bit of Pietro's patronage of the opera).
Several gifts of the Things That Make Val Happy variety, perhaps most notably the out-of-print The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, which I put on my Amazon wishlist years ago in hopes that a used copy would turn up sometime. And one did, and Mom spotted it. Yay! And of course it's making me want to work on the Lizzie project again.