It would have been easy to replace the old unit with a new Lumix. In fact, that almost happened, right up to the hands-on demo at a local camera store. The Canon PowerShot SX-20 IS feels SO good in the hand, the zoom is an amazing 35 mm equivalent of 28mm-560mm range, and the online reviews are very positive.
Now I'm back to feeling like a novice, trying to familiarize myself with all of the very different buttons, dials, menus, etc. in time for an Amtrak adventure next week. The manual comes on a CD, which is totally frustrating to access when you're out shooting, so today was the day to print out all 180 pages. No problem, except for the three ink cartridges that needed replacing at different times during this exercise..., and the time it took to print, change ink, print, change ink..., and the fun of 3-hole punching all 180 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper with a flimsy hole punch..., and now I have a 3-ring binder for a manual instead of a small pamphlet that might fit in a camera bag or backpack. RL spoiled me and saved the day by plowing through the manual and presetting a lot of the basic items for me. Thanks honey.
All that's left is for me to take scores of photos each day until it feels comfortable and natural. Wish me luck.