Dear Scott (or anyone who can help)--
I finally managed to get PuTTY to log in (I used these instructions-http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Enabling_Shell_Access--to set up a new account, then logged in, filling in the url on the Dreamhost activation email and the settings recommended in the above wiki from Dreamhost).
So, I'm logged in somewhere or other on the host computer. With that, I plowed into the script at http://wiki.dreamhost.com/PHP.ini
I typed out: mkdir $HOME/mywebsitename.org/cgi-bin
the response from PuTTY was "no such file or directory"
Then I tried: mkdir $HOME/www.mywebsitename.org/cgi-bin
the response from PuTTY was again "no such file or directory"
I'm missing something here...what's wrong?