update (wow, it worked)!
i have updated wordpress – from 2.0.5->2.1 (through a series of day-long processes). at the end of the day, i actually have all the data i ended last night with!
at the beginning of the process i was actully smart enough to do a backup (using a wonderful wordpress plugin wp-db-backup). the problem with this plugin is there is no restore component of the backup plugin, it needs to be done manually.
after some reading, i found a site within the wordpress community that assisted in taking the backed up database and replacing the whole database (tables and data) to the new updated database.
once i found the right info (with a close enough version to what i was seeing and working with), the replacement of all my data went very smoothly. i believe version 2.1 of wordpress has its own import/export feature (which i will look into more closely as time passes). for right now, wordpress 2.1 is where i want to be…
questions about wordpress (which is a GREAT blogging solution), backing up, supporting and restoring the databases – let me know.