Hi. I'm Deej59, the one who started this thread. I am now licensed and working on getting on the air. Thought I'd let you know what direction I went after all the excellent suggestions you gave me here a few months ago.
First, I bought a Yaesu FT-950. I spent a lot of time reading about transceivers, and that's the one I really fell in love with. Might be a lot of radio for a clueless newbie, but I'll get there.
Second, I bought an MFJ Alpha Loop antenna (30-10 meters), and then for 6 and 2 meters I got an MFJ-1622 that I will mount on the windowsill behind me, looking right at the top of the mountain, which, I'm told, has several repeaters. For 2 meters I'll just attach the feed line to my little Baofeng (sp) UV5RB handi-talkie.
As far as accessories, so far I've bought the wrong power supply, suggested by the guy who scammed me when I (thought I) bought an Icom 737 from a fraud using the name Charles Clements in the classifieds here on eHam. It was a lousy first buying experience in the ham world, but I am now an uber-suspicious buyer, so if I answer your add you will understand why I ask for ten references and a blood sample. I have to wait until payday to get the proper power supply, which will wipe out the last of my ham budget. I sold a beloved bass guitar to finance all this. Oh, and I just bought a Yaesu SP-102 external speaker for it on Ebay. Slightly dented case near the back, but otherwise okay, and $88 bucks with shipping. Not bad. I'm using my iPad in the shack, too, so I got a stand for it.
So that's how it has all shaken out, so far. Thanks to everyone who offered advice. I am still nowhere near clear on most of the important things I need to know to make this hobby work for me, but I'll get there. If anyone is willing to offer help to a guy who learns a little slower than most, please contact me. I need all the help I can get.
Here's the station in larval form, with no power supply and a fake panadapter image on the computer. Spartan, but growing.