Thanks! Didn't want to start a war... ;-) I understand the limitations of my Lumix GF1 choice, but in doing the trade off between simplicity, quality, weight, flexibility etc, I concluded that the quality-to-weight ratio of the Lumix would beat the higher quality of a "true" DSLR like the Canon Rebel. I did want the flexibility of interchangeable lenses versus going with a compact digital system.
In the end I spent a lot of time looking at the olympus ep1 and the lumix gf1, and concluded that the GF1 was best in class for lightweight interchangeable lens systems, and compared the Nikon, Sony and Canon DSLRs, concluding that my favorite was the rebel, hence the comparison. My view of the lens quality came from a couple of comments posted by a friend of mine about her experience going from older Canons to her current Lumix - probably not relevant in this comparison, since she does not have either of the options I posted, but it was relevant IN MY HEAD nonetheless! Like Homer Simpson, I can only get stuff out of my head by putting new stuff in.
Anyways, I have ordered my GF1 with the 20mm pancake aspherical lens, and I am very comfortable with my choice, for my needs as a lightweight backpacker first, and beginning digital photographer second. Hopefully, I will now have a m4/3 system which will expand as my skills expand and stretch as far as I am capable of going.
Thanks for all your great commentary, it is very comforting to know that there are those out there on this forum who have real expertise and are willing to advise a beginner on early choices... I really appreciate your guidance.