Ginger, I'm so glad you're painting and not giving up! It'll pay off....
First off, regarding your uploading problems - there's a link in my signature about uploading photo's, take a look at it and see if it helps you resolve the problem. If it doesn't, please contact me and I'll do my best to help you figure it out. I know some members have trouble with the uploader, and there are a few workarounds that can be used - just send me a pm and we'll work it out. We'd love to see your efforts!
Getting back to the topic of the thread - just wanted to add my thoughts. I'm a blender - heavily and happily blending! I blend everything, and might add a few touches to the final layer that are not blended. It works for me, colors are bright and clean. Several others have already mentioned what could be the problem for you. The paper- I find Canson hard to use and wouldn't recommend it...La Carte is my all time favorite paper, it's wonderful for blending and takes several layers. I believe Dianna Ponting uses La Carte for her work too.
Add the pastel in thin layers, and blend with "feather strokes" - I find I avoid making mud this way. I guess I have a light touch naturally, and additionally I use hard pastels for the first layers and save the softer sticks for final layers. Softies like Unison and Ludwigs are good for blending, but harder sticks like Faber Castell, Rembrandts, Nupastel and Girault are the best blending sticks.
Peggy makes an important point too, color theory is important - I've realized so and I'm learning...useful to study. But I gotta say I don't have problems with mud, and I blend all kinds of colors. The trick is using thin layers, a light touch with the finger, harder pastels and the surface.
Lastly, go with the technique that comes naturally for you! I don't believe there's any way that's more correct or better than another, that's the wonderful side of pastels! Find your own way, experiment and have fun - and keep up your "fighting spirit" - I'm sure you'll figure it out!