Totally grateful and appreciative for your help - your links are awesome. One clarification: for those who subscribe to an RSS feed off of my site, there's no way through wordpress.com to keep a count for how many subscribers I have? I'm not ready to go to a wordpress.org site, but it would be stellar if I could track this. If not, I get it: it is free, can't look a gift horse in the mouth, etc.
If/when I do migrate to a wordpress.org site, would it be able to give me an accurate count of subscribers, total, from wordpress.com AND wordpress.org? Or just give me stats from when I started the self-hosting?
It's a good point you make, though, that whatever data I do get can be misleading. Take it with a grain of salt, I guess, and just focus on the blog...
Again, a million gratitudes.