Thanks to all who offered their thoughts on digital cameras based on my recent query. Well, I made a decision. Yes, in the best tradition of my workplace (admin group of an academic research unit), I conducted a whole lot of in-depth research, including primary and secondary sources (in print, online, and through personal interviews). I then carefully reviewed the data collected, running queries and meticulously weighing the pros and cons, even assigning weights to certain features. Finally, I decided to change nothing and stick with the status quo. (I told you I worked in academia!)
Seriously, I had gotten as far as narrowing down the brand to Canon, not only because I'm very comfortable with all the camera functions, which are similar across the brand, but because I read Canon donated camera equipment to photography programs at 12 U.S. community colleges, including Washtenaw Community College, where I teach adult enrichment gardening classes and where I've enjoyed taking classes myself. I hadn't figured out which model and in the meantime was actually becoming accustomed to using the viewfinder, not the LCD display, anyway.
Then my refrigerator died (click for details on that adventure). Have you priced fridges lately? Oh my. Fortunately, mine could have a doohickey thingamabob installed to coax the compressor back to life, but this is a temporary solution (could last two weeks, could last two years). In any case, the camera seems less of a priority now (you could even say it's on the back burner, but I really don't want to get my perfectly functioning stove involved in the saga of dying appliances), so I'll keep hobbling along as is, just like the fridge and camera.