Coleen is a Magical Name

When I was really little, I was always jealous of my friends who got to see their grandparents all the time. My family lived far away from our grandparents for most of our lives (all but one year). Not because we hated them or because we didn’t want to see them, simply because my parents’ plans were different from my grandparents’ plans. So in some ways, we were unlucky like that.

But in other ways, we were super, super lucky – like to have been blessed with awesome grandparents. I’m fortunate enough to have been named after my maternal grandmother (no, not the ‘Kaelly’ part – the ‘Coleen’ part). Let me just start this out by saying that my Grandma Coleen is one of the coolest people I know (and nicest and funniest and strangest).

I spent most of my life only seeing her twice a year, once a year when we got older and busier. I’ve never gotten to spend a ton of time with her, and I’ve never even made it a point to call her on a regular basis (which I’m realizing right now, as I type this, that I should probably call her more). But, I talk to my mother everyday, and she talks to her mother everyday. Therefore, my Grandma Coleen and I are always up-to-date on each other’s lives (plus, she reads this blog like her life depends on it – she’s a saint).

There. Now you know that I’m a horrible, horrible person who doesn’t talk to her grandmother nearly as much as I should. But that’s not the point. The point is: my name is Kaelly Coleen, her name is Neola Coleen (sorry, Grandma), we haven’t spent much of our lives around each other, and somehow, we’re the exact same person.

I don’t know what it is about my middle name, but it’s caused me to develop crazy traits and habits that are only possessed by my grandmother and I.

For instance, I’m not what anyone would call a ‘people-person.’ In fact, I generally hate people. (Not all people – I actually hate being alone more than anything in the world. If I could surround myself with people at all times, I would. But the general population sucks.) What I mean is that I cannot stand to talk to strangers, and I cannot stand to see people that I know in public.

My grandmother and I are both strange like this, but I didn’t find this out until I was a full-blown adult. We’re both avid phone-talkers and people-we-like-people, but not actual people-people. We’ll walk around a store for hours in search of Velveeta cheese (did you know it’s kept in the CRACKER aisle?!) before we ask a stranger for help, and we’ll both do a 180 degree turn if we see someone we know in public just so we don’t have to speak to them. My mother (her daughter) thinks we’re both completely insane because we were both born with a sense to hate the outside world.

We also have a lot of the same obsessions; one of them being our obsession with owls (and by this, I mean that I have never once in my entire life ever been around an owl, but I really like to buy things that have owls on them). We discovered our mutual love last Christmas, and she sent me kitchen t[owl]s right away. I have them displayed in my kitchen right now (because obviously I can’t use them – they’re too cute).

Another mutual favorite of ours is coffee. We love coffee. And coffee mugs. And things that say “coffee” on them. And pretty much anything that has to do with coffee. Coffee mugs are my most favorite thing in the world to receive from people, and they’re her favorite thing to give (I only think this because she’s given me like three already) (she’s more generous than me).

So you see, we’re really alike in a lot of ways (some of them strange), even though we’ve never really been around each other for that long. With that said, there are some traits that just didn’t carry over.

For example – she is the most frugal woman I know. (I’m really frugal when I have no money LOL, but pretty much not frugal at all when I do have money.) My most favorite frugal thing about her is that she owns an entire cutlery set of plastic silverware that looks like metal silverware. (All of the silverware is kept in the same drawer. I’ve known about the plastic-but-looks-like-metal-silverware for most of my life, but I still think that it’s metal every time I go to grab a fork.)

Most people buy plastic silverware (or dishes) so that they don’t have to do dishes as often. Instead, they can use the plastic dishes, toss them, then buy new, and never have to run their dishwasher ever again. Not my grandmother. My grandmother uses plastic utensils because she thinks it looks nice. She then washes it, and returns the plastic cutlery to her drawer. She does this with all plastic dishes – cups, plates, silverware, everything.

I’ve always thought it was silly and unnecessary. I mean, the woman has real dishes! Why not just use those?!

I want to be like my grandmother in a lot of ways. I want to love Jesus as much as she does, I want to be as generous as she is, I want to be as kind as she is, and I want to laugh as hard as she does. But I do not ever want to be the woman who washes my plastic forks.

Last week, I was loading the dishwasher as usual (because I’m neurotic). As I was putting the cups on the top rack, I put a plastic cup in the dishwasher without even noticing.

Then, I almost fell over. What have I done? I’m washing plastic cups now?! What’s happened to me?! Who am I?!

Coleen Neal. That’s who I am, apparently.

I suppose if I must turn into someone, Coleen Neal isn’t the worst person I could choose.


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