The Canon A620. I finally made a choice and so far I'm very impressed with this camera. It has everything I wanted, namely full manual control over a ton of features like shutter speed, aperture and ISO--it even has a manual focus option. The 640x480 at 30fps video is amazing, and I can even edit video on the camera, which is useful when the memory card is getting full. Did I mention it sports a whopping 7.1 megapixels? Perhaps more than is necessary for my needs, but then again, I just cropped about 60 percent out of a recent snapshot and the resulting image is still perfectly sharp when I blow it up to fill my 20" monitor. I could quite easily make an 8x10 print of this. That's the kind of flexibility 7mp brings. It may not be as compact as some cameras, but this one feels nice and solid in my rather large hands.
I'm still learning to use it, and that will take some time. It's been many years since I took an artistic approach to photography. As with most of these smaller digicams, they don't do all that well in low light, so one of my first accessory purchases will be a light tripod. If my reader(s) have a recommendation or warning about tripods (or some other must-have accessory), I'd be very happy to hear it.