Problem 1: you probably created a character style, and it's selected as the default. With nothing selected, go to the character styles panel and select none to change that. Select the paragraphs that have the style apllied in error and Alt + Shift clcik the paragraph style name to remove local overrides and character styles.
Problem 2: Probably essentially the same problem. Your default text color is set to blue. Deselct all text, then click the "T" button inthe swatches panel to affect text and set the correct default color.
The "arrange" menu commands only work per layer. If all you see is send forward or to front, that probably means the object is already at the back of the stack on that layer. Stacking works per layer, all objects on a higher layer are in front of all objecst on a lower layer, so you cannot sned to back to move a top layer object behind a lower layer object.
Thank you for your help. I should have remembered what to do - I must have had a "short circuit" on my brain, just couldn't find the answer in the Help file. The keyboard shortcut you described did not work, but I eventually figured out the correct keystrokes to solve the problem.
And speaking of Help file, your answer on layers was the clue I needed. I went back to the Help file on creating layers and realized that I need to create the Graphics layer on top of the Text layer to duplicate past behavior. I did not remember doing that.
As a general rule it is best to put text above graphics in the stacking order whenever possible. This minimizes the interaction of transparency with text objects and reduces the probability of text being outlined or rasterized on output.
Thanks for your advice. It is clear that I have a lot of "homework" to do regarding layers. At the moment, I cannot get the graphics to move as I want them if they are are not on the top layer. I need to study this issue more.
You can select down through a stack of objects by holding the Cmd (Ctrl on windows) key and clicking repeatedly. Also, since CS5 you can select or lock individual objects directly from the Layers panel. If you need to move something on a low-level layer it is sometimes easiet to simply lock or hide entire layers above what you are trying to select.
I will experiment with the information you provided.