I'll admit your reply leaves me a bit confused, but I'll respond as best I can. You "avoided LR like the plague" and "LR didn't impress" but you want to buy a copy anyway? "Is it possible to have LR without PS?" OK... :-}
Yes: you can buy LR all by itself, and own it outright. Although, since you cannot buy PS anymore, but only pay the monthly fee for it, and since it comes with LR, I am, as I said, a bit confused.
People have lots of various preferences in a raw converter. I happen to like DxO and/or AccuRaw. I was unimpressed with CameraOne Raw, unlike most of the rest of the known universe. But then I'm not as offended by LR's converter as you may be. (I did calibrate it for my camera, so that might make a difference.) My main use for LR is it's database and indexing. Phocus might be nice if I still had my Hassie, but I'm perfectly happy with my D800.
There is a wealth of digital photo processing out there, including On1's immanent release and the recent Exposure X. It's great to have all the possible tools - almost too much to choose from without a year of study. And then, is the range of difference, once you run an image thru post, really worth the effort? (Of course, maybe at 70 I'm just getting lazy... ;-)
Thanks for all your input, Jeff. You make this an ever better group!
_Tracy Valleau, moderator