Sometimes it's just easier to quit fighting with Blogger and acquiesce to their templates and how they want to do things.
A gremlin struck my blog. When? I'm not sure. But when I tried to fix the problem today, I just got myself more deeply mired in more problems, until I saw my blog in the most simple template and I just thought - Yes! An new fresh look to the blog. Everything is still here but it's now less cluttered. The photo's look better and it's easier on the eye.
Let serendipity prevail!