I DID IT!!! I finally made a decision! WOOOHOOO ;D
I bought the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8. Oh, and so far, I'm really happy I did! This lens and I became friends immediately. You know that feeling when you 'click' with a lens (sorry for the pun)? I think it is the creamy bokeh that just spoke to me immediately. That's why I posted a bokeh shot ... so you could see how nice it is. And the zoom range seems to be just right though I'm still not certain about the lower end yet. We'll see.
More later ... peace out!
PS - thanks to Paul Grand for this texture!