My Fatimah Story the Best, According to Me: A Portuguese Virgin Mary; Elite Daily Speaks of Closing Old Doors Before Opening New Ones;  New Opportunities For Success Shown by Article on the Running Fence; No Joy Without Sorrow; No Good Without Evil; My Most Recent Amazing Statistics 

I recently exchanged emails with a woman with whom I worked during  my County of Marin days. She is, and I was, active in the Marin County Association of Retired Employees, a voluntary association supporting retirees. You will hear more about our correspondence later.My life has changed rather drastically since the good old days, told her of  my Muslim name, she was rather amazed, telling me a Fatima story that I had never heard before. However, I like mine better. 

There was a fascinating reel on Instagram which spoke of Fatima, her marriage to Ali, their shared sense of humour and the delight Prophet Mohammed took in their joy, often standing outside their home to hear their shared laughter. I responded in delight to the reel

Me: My goodness!! My Muslim name is Fatimah and I certainly am funny!! Another reason to be proud of my Muslim name and my recent reversion to the Islamic Faith. 

I received 122 Likes to that comment – I love all of them! 

Here is the link to the Instagram reel:

Here is her  Fatima story. 

She: Thank you “Fatima”. That is also the name of the Portuguese Virgin (aka Mary) who was said to have appeared to three young girls and were given three letters of special note. They were said to contain some disastrous messages for the future and the girls told not to open them until they were much, much older. Legend has it that when one letter was opened at the inappropriate time it revealed the coming of WWII. Don’t know what became of the remaining letters and their contents. There was a movie called the Legend of Bernadette and I think that may have been based partly on the legend.Wow, that’s really off track from your referenced name isn’t it? LOL.

Me:It was a sheer delight to read your email. I have never heard that story about my namesake (hahaha). It is fascinating. I have been most active on Instagram and have gotten hundreds of likes on a response I made to a post about my real namesake. But I do like your Fatima as well – how gutsy of her to open the special note.. Well rather unfortunate for the world that WWII. I do remember that movie Song of Bernadette but do not recall seeing it.

I thought of saying: You have to close old doors before you can open new ones.” Googled it to find a ‘self help’ article written by Sina Steiding on Elite Daily.  “If one door closes, another will open,” they say. This short but simple sentence is supposed to make us believe that with every end, there’s a new beginning. We’ve all heard this phrase, usually just after we’ve been dumped or lost a job. In these moments, it might be hard to accept that without an end, there can be no beginning.

Having recently left my relationship, my job and the country I lived in, I understand the process of shutting the door on things that are important to me in order to open the door for bigger and better things.During that process, I had to realize this wise saying isn’t just a collection of empty words; it’s the complete truth.Many people have tried to open new doors before the old ones have been closed, and here are a few simple reasons as to why that approach cannot and will not work. Here are the three suggestions provided: 1, End one relationship before embarking on a new one. Loneliness may be hard but it is necessary, 2. It is impossible to live two lives at once. 3. A new opportunity will arise for those looking for it. 

Steiding ‘tells all’ about her life, it was most interesting. She concludes in this manner. I still like my old friends; I still enjoy my Bratwurst, and I still want to listen to my favorite music. But, I closed the door on my old life, and I gave the new one a chance.You can only open new doors if all of these old doors are properly closed without regret. Once they open, you’ll be surprised by how much you love your new life.

There was another saying, most apt. When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us. Another saying instructs: if one thing you do fails, you will soon have an opportunity to try to succeed at something else. This expression is often used to encourage someone to keep trying after they have had a disappointment or failure.

The later explanation pertains to my experience. My rent membership with MCARE was meeting with massive disappointment. Closed the door by opting out. Reading the last newsletter I discovered an article written by Mary Ann Gallardo, whose monthly column discussed Marin history. It took me back to the good old days – Marin during his hey days when everything was bright, glorious, everything worked, traffic not absolutely insurmountable, expensive but still affordable. I was SO fortune  to be there then, experiencing the glory days. Her email address was there:, the subject line Thank you for your article on the running fence. 

Me: Hello, Just to let you know that I read your article on the Running Fence with great interest as I remembered it well..  Your column is a great service and addition to the newsletter. It shall be the last column I shall read as I terminated my MCARE membership. Living in Canada (where I shall reside until my eventual demise) means that local events are not possible. Somehow the App Apricot or was impossible to access as they had an old email address. Frustrating beyond belief. No one including MCARE President helpful I do admit that I remained a member in order to find out who died – but it was painful often to see the circumstances of their death…So life is good. Hope yours is as well. My blog continues in huge popularity world wide and I have over a thousand followers on Instagram.  I now use my birth name (Dryburgh) instead of an anonymous. Thanks for your contributions. Will miss reading you. I am thinking it might be fun to put some of your running fence story on my blog. I was there then. Those were great years. Not so much any more I fear. Alexis McBride ( my Muslim name is Fatimah – people in the Middle East would call me Sheikha Fatimah (Sheikha means Queen). It is fun. I will continue to use my birth names unlike Cassius Clay. Hahaha Alexis

Here is Mary Ann’s story, in its entirety. 

“Running Fence was built on the Pozzi Valley Ford ranch in Sonoma County in 1972. Some of you might be too young to remember this big event. Bulgarianartist Christo Javacheff (1935-2020) approached Joe Pozzi for permission to build the fence across his propertyas a public art event. He envisioned it to run across the North Bay landscape. The fence was constructed of 200,000 square yards of white nylon fabric, 90 miles of cable, 2,050 steel posts, 350,000 hooks and 14,000 earth anchors. It was almost 20 feet high and 25 miles long meandering over West Marin and West Sonoma hills along Hwy. 101. It ended at the Pacific coast near Bodega. From 1972 to 1976 the fence was stretched into the sea between Estero de San Antonio and Estero Americano in Bodega Bay. Christo faced 18 public hearings and three sessions at the local Superior Courts. Christo hired many local high school students to help build the fence and paid them $7/hr.—minimum wage was $1.75. The kids were very pleased with their salaries. The estimated cost of the project was about $3 million paid entirely by the artist and his associate, Jeanne Claude.

In Sept. 1976, Running Fence was completed connecting the Hwy. 101 corridor to the ocean and stitching together municipalities and 59 families who allowed the fence

to cross their properties. An estimated 2 million visitors came to witness this unique form of art. Two weeks later, it was gone without a trace. Everything was disassembled and all materials donated to the ranchers. Many ranchers used those pipes that held up the art work for their cattle guards. (Taken from Marin Magazine Oct. 2022 Issue.)

There are so many great photos of Christo and the Running Fence that it was difficult to choose one to publish here. Click on these links to read more about this historical event:

Marin Magazine: Remembering Running Fence 50 years Later

Sonoma Magazine: Christo’s Running Fence: Photos, Stories and Memories.” 

I did not click the links to find the photos, but go right ahead if you want to. . Today’s  ‘photograph’  is my most recent statistics, provided by Computer Guru Chris.My math skills are limited, I am able to comprehend the sixty day statistics that amazes: 3,084 visitors made 8,242 visits.These statistics have remained somewhat the same over the seven years of the blog.  I have no idea who these people are, nor the country in which they live (occasionally I do  I do, but not on a consistent basis). I know for sure that the recent viewers are not from the UAE (where I have been banned.) Well, there are three UAE ‘higher ups’ who must be in command. Hi Guys, don’t miss you and you did not have a running fence built along your arid lands by two world famous two famous people.

This is taken from  creative Runny Fence environmental artists. “Their monumental later projects included Valley Curtain (1972; Rifle Gap, Colorado), Running Fence (1976; Marin and Sonoma counties, California), and Surrounded Islands (1983; Biscayne Bay, Florida). In 1985 in Paris, they wrapped the Pont Neuf (bridge) in beige cloth. In a 1991 project, the couple installed 1,340 giant blue umbrellas across the Sato River valley in Japan and 1,760 giant yellow ones in Tejon Pass, California. Four years later they wrapped the Reichstag in Berlin in metallic silver fabric. In 1995 the couple received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for sculpture. The Gates was unveiled in 2005. Stretching across 23 miles (37 km) of walkway in Central Park, the work featured 7,503 steel gates that were 16 feet (5 metres) high and decorated with saffron-coloured cloth panels. The Gates was on display for 16 days and attracted more than four million visitors.”

I was amazed to read their bio for two other personal reasons. I had forgotten; I traveled to and took photos of umbrellas in Tejon pass AND to NYC to see the Gates. I habitually repress my pre-London (2014-2017) past. There were terrible sorrows back then (and still now). Recent sorrows  connected with my reversion to the Islamic Faith on October 20,2020. But there is no bitter without sweet, no joys without sorrows, and , no good without evil. This has been a lesson, I must remember the joys as well as the sorrows. I shall remind myself of that daily – during my five obligatory prayers when I express my gratitude toward Allah (SWT).