Come and Swim Up Waterfalls

water lily in pond by front door

We moved!  After 13 years at the same address, we have moved to a new house.  Actually, it’s not just a house.  It is an adventure.  Flowing waterfalls, a Koi pond, exotic ferns from the Jurassic period, a Jacuzzi on the roof, overgrown vines stretched like wrinkles across the stucco, and sun burnt wood from Dolly Parton’s old house covered in Burmese honeysuckle and Queen Isabella grapes frame the entire scene.      

From the street, the house is a 1974 monstrosity.  Although curb appeal is not something you can measure like square footage or bra size, I admit it is a bit of a deviation from what one might call a good investment.  No cookie cutter master planned community, manicured lawn, red tile roof, or neatly pruned trees.  No, it is more like Godzilla meets Mothra.  Japanese Zen garden and tropical rainforest rolled into a mangled, tangled magnificent mess, not unlike my new breasts.  Scars, dimples and blemishes abound but in spite of the imperfections, it is still beautiful.  I am still beautiful.    

Our new monstrosity


Pond with lillypads


back yard ferns and stone sculpture

Many of our friends helped us move.  I am so grateful to them.  Thank you!  One night, after bringing a load over to the house in Raundi and Michael’s van, we sat amongst the boxes and ate our first official dinner together, “In and Out” burgers with fries, animal style.  No time to cook these days.  Michael said, “Deanne, this house is soooo you.” 

He is soooo right!

When I first walked through the double doors, I knew this was the perfect place to recover from this last year.  You could feel the energy resonate in your inner most being.  It felt like you entered a living entity.  With its spacious, light and airy environment, you got the impression you are still outside.  Albeit a bit dated, it has amazing character and good bones.  I fell in love.  We all did.

Front doors

In an attempt to update the house a bit and add our own thumbprint, we pulled up the old white carpet and replaced it with hard wood, demolished the tile countertops, installed black granite and retextured and painted the walls. Clean white walls like heaven. 

The house, not knowing what hit it, rebelled furiously.  Like a child pushed to the limits, it had a few temper tantrums, spewing its guts into the family room via the downstairs toilet, leaking from the rooftop where the jacuzzi sits over the garage and blocking its main artery with intrusive roots under the driveway.  At those moments I truly wanted to run.  “What have I done,” I asked myself. 

Leaking Jacuzzi on roof

And when Maggie needed to get to soccer back in Laguna Niguel, 30 miles away, and Casey needed picked up from school in Santa Ana for early dismissal (I had no idea how to get there from the new house), and the pond was losing water by the minute, risking the lives of riduculously expensive Koi I desperately wished for a “pause” button.  I wanted to put the rest of the world on hold while we moved in, got settled and I learned to navigate the crazy freeway system in a new town.

But like the Koi, there is no stopping.  We must all keep swimming especially in the most difficult of times.  “In Japanese symbolism the Koi represents perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. The strongest Koi swims upstream until it reaches the final waterfall, where it vaults into the mists and becomes a water dragon.”

Koi, Koi and more Koi


Backyard waterfall into Koi pond

Every day I sit next to the pond and watch the Koi swim.  They continually remind me to never give up, work towards my goal and vault into the mist so that I too can become my own version of a water dragon.   

I am even considering a new tattoo, a Koi. 

The Koi came with the house by the way.  Eleven spectacular Japanese carp; gold, white, orange, black, yellow and red.  Maggie named each and every one of them.  There is Sam, Wish, Heart, Bug Eye, Stripe, Smurf, Orangeilocks, Dave Grohl, the Professor, Smurf and the great big white one, Gandalf.  You can’t go wrong when Gandalf lives in your back yard.    

So, in spite of all the difficulties and imperfections, I love it all; my new home, my new breasts and the Koi.  Every flaw and defect is mine.  It is where I reside.  My permanent dwelling, reminding me of where I have been and the far from ordinary life I plan to continue to live.  Someone recently told me, “Deanne, you are not a suburban housewife, that is just not who you are.”  You are right.  You are always right.  So, why this house?  Besides the fact that we needed a place to live, it called me like God called Joan of Arc.  Come and heal within my walls.  Come and finish raising your family.  Come and write your story.  Come and swim up waterfalls.

Coral Tree, Queen Palms, Bamboo and more waterfalls


The best spot to eat breakfast

7 Responses to “Come and Swim Up Waterfalls”

  1. Lynda Toraya Says:

    Loved reading this and the picts are amazing. Sooo happy for you and your family. Enjoy girl! :)

  2. Charlotte Brooks Says:

    So happy that things are working out. The house looks terrific! Cheers to a splendid future for the Browns and Koi. Love to all, Charlotte

  3. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Deanne, I am so happy for you. The house and grounds look so much like I
    would imagine for you. Enjoy the house and your family Honey. You certainly
    deserve the best. Hugs

  4. Maureen Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Deanne. BUT TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE LIVING? Good luck to you guys!

  5. John Alvarado Says:

    Great story! I hope to visit you soon and see this special house and the koi.

  6. Deanne Says:

    Ha Ha Maureen! We moved to Orange. We are nestled between Orange Park Acres and Villa Park in the hills. It is very different from where we came from, the ocean air and master planned communities, but I am embracing the change and making the most of it.

    It is closer to LA cutting down on Kevin’s commute, only a few miles from OCHSA where Casey is a Sophomore and just got into the commercial music conservatory as a drummer and down the street from the stables where Maggie works and takes horseback riding lessons. She is becoming quite the rider. I even took a few lessons myself. Very fun but quite challenging. I had no idea!

    Thank you everyone for your well wishes and continuing to read my blog. It gives me a reason to write. Love you all!

    Carpe Diem!

  7. Raundi Says:

    Word. Gadalf’s in the house! You deserve to reside in a marvelous place.

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