Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Big, Non-Blogging Project I Haven't Been Blogging About

Have you noticed that posting has been a bit slim around here lately?

Well, you know how I write ahead on the weekends, right? While my kids are at theater rehearsals on Friday nights and Saturday mornings?

Well, last weekend, we had a parent meeting on Saturday, and the weekend before, I didn't get to blog at all, but spent my whole Panera time working on a big, non-blogging project: In fact, it's so big, I can't describe it in one sentence.

Let's back up to last year's Christmas letter--I'm referring to Christmas of 2006. After an unbroken 19 years of sending out an annual letter--by email, in recent years--'06-'07's holiday letter was a non-starter. We were waiting, partly, to see if we were indeed going to be moving and leading the church plant and all that. But the other big reason was that I was so frustrated with the email provider we had--a little company that we had a domain name with--and I could only check email from the desktop, which meant I couldn't work on anything from Panera, my "office."

So last January, Father Rooster switched us over to a different type of account that could be accessed from anywhere. Unfortunately, there was no way to transfer my address book except manually, so I just transferred a few of the most frequently-used addresses to the new account.

But--I've grown increasingly frustrated with the new provider as well, especially in comparison with my blog email, which is a Yahoo account and is much faster and easier and lets you flag emails and searches itself well (the other one could never find anything for me!) and lets you put in links and formatting and everything.

So this December, when it was time to think about a Christmas letter, I was ambivalent about the task. Not of writing it--it's been written since mid-December!--but of sending it. Lots of email addresses--still in Outlook, on the desktop--hadn't been updated in nearly three years. We had a new church directory and I needed to cross-check a lot of addresses with that and with the more frequently-used ones on the laptop, in the other account. I also wanted to add people that we haven't always exchanged with but that we now want to add, to stay in touch with when we move--a lot of people from our old church fall in this category.

Such a big hairy deal. And did I want to go to all that trouble with an email account I hated? No, I did not.

So, after much thought and waffling and considering of options, I decided to give up the domain name and create another Yahoo account for my personal email. At first I was afraid of the inconvenience of not being to keep both my personal email and my blog email open at the same time in a Firefox window--which I can't do since they're both Yahoo. But I found that the work-around isn't so bad--an Internet Explorer or Safari window can keep the other account open.

Settling that in my mind was a big hurdle. But the worst was manually inputting SOOO many email addresses into my new account's address book, cross-checking old ones and entering new ones. I've been working on it slowly for the past 10 days, when I could grab a few minutes from homeschooling--and I think I may have finished today.

So, now I have to turn my Christmas letter into an Epiphany letter--and I'm going to add a few links to my blog, now, since I can with Yahoo. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get that holiday letter out before the end of January! At least before it has to a Lenten letter....

Anybody know how many addresses at a time you can send to with Yahoo?


Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I usually do a Christmas letter, too, but ended up skipping it this year, what with all the BIG NEWS I wasn't ready to announce and the feeling awful. I don't think it would have come out very authentic or merry. Next year I hope I'll get back on track. Good luck with your little project - I hope it's not as labor intensive as you're expecting it to be!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I agree with you on the yahoo search capability--I LOVE it.

By the way, I think that you can merge your email addresses so that they both file into the same box. When I created my blog email, I just added it as secondary. So they all come in one box, and when I am composing an email I can pick who it's from.

SBC (Yahoo) is my internet provider, so that might be a perk from them, but I'm not sure.

Anyway--good job completing such a big project.