I finally broke down and bought a very good camera. It was under a thousand dollars so it wasn't something professional photographers use but it's good enough to do what ever I want. I've been spending a lot of time learning about its various features and I've also been taking an online photography course that was purchased for me on my birthday.
There's far more to photography than I realized-especially when you go beyond the 'auto' modes so it's going to be a slow and steady kind of thing.
In the mean time you'll find the results of my efforts on the photo gallery page of my web site. Check it: georgeswebpage.com