Peregrine flight

Monday, July 8, 2024

Whinin' Boy Blues

I have had the serious blahs for about a month. Not just the state of the world or my wallet. Not sure why but I think the chemo set me back some, affected some changes in my physiology and head. Lack of appetite, nausea. Pissing blood clots. Can't really find my sea legs. Feel a little cognitive slippage. Just rockin' back and forth on a creaky rowboat, trying not to get sunburned and hoping a passing freighter rescues me or at least doesn't run me over. Chemo is poison and it gets to you somehow.

If you will allow, I will indulge in a little Monday pity party.

I just lost my third estate in a month. And it pisses me off a little bit. I have been in the fine art and antique business for over thirty years and feel fortunate to have survived as long as I have. You may not have noticed but there are not a lot of survivors hereabouts. I've done pretty well, considering, even though my wife has had to forgo a lot of common necessities that most people take for granted.

I got a call four days after my chemo to look at an estate in the Ontario area. I was not feeling well. I knew that. The client knew that. But I drove two hours each way because I thought it would be mutually beneficial for me and the client. I spent hours with the couple, appraising hundreds of items and being completely square with them about who made what and actual value.

I told them that it would be in their best interest to let me sell off the better material, about twenty items. The stuff was specialized and right down my wheelhouse. If left to an estate sale person I expect they would be killed. I offered to buy it outright.

They cut me right out of the herd. No gas, no expenses, no real thank you. Sucked me dry and then spit me out.

Same thing has happened twice since, one after a three hour appraisal on the coast and once after refreshing an old extensive appraisal of my own that was about four times higher than that performed by their "friend" who they ultimately decided to work with.

Sayonara. A.M.F.

I get a call or two a week from people asking me what something is worth. My philosophy is to be open and honest and not charge unless the appraisal is extensive and then I am at a fraction of most appraisers. The problem is that increasingly, people think my time, expertise and knowledge is worth nothing and they are content to use and exploit me as much as they can without compensation, like it is my job to serve them. 

It is a tough conundrum, you want to see new material and you figure people will do the right thing and offer to compensate you or give you a shot at buying something. The truth is they will screw you for a nickel.

You hear stories of dealers being predators, well, it works both ways.


I am trying to walk, to work in my garden, to bake, to do something while I wait for the wind to change. I have a show in Santa Barbara next week. Hopefully I will be feeling better.

Here are some of the flowers blooming down at Los Jilgueros Preserve right now. Not sure what makes the red stains on the white flower but the leaves are similarly discolored.

Sort of pretty.


I made a chicken tarragon the other night, the second time. Dijon, heavy cream, the full ride.

Served over orzo, it was pretty luscious.

After dinner I told my wife that I was planning crab quiche for the next night, prepared in the little phyllo shells I had bought the other day.

"No, you're not."

What, I asked. Why not?

"Because we are having cream and butter and all this rich and heavy food every day. I can't continue to eat like this."

Last night we had a salad.

But my maple bacon scones are coming soon, butter or not...


If I can kvell about a tree I would like to brag about my jubea chilensis.

My Chilean wine palm is about twelve feet tall now. 

This palm species has the fattest trunk of any palm in the world. 

Mine is now about four feet wide in diameter at the base, truly impressive.

It is an odd tree, the trunk matures to full width before the tree gets taller.

It is very healthy as is my mule palm, which looks incredible for its young age. 

A mule is a sterile cross between the queen palm and the pindo or butia palm, with the best characteristics of both.

Jubea in Santa Barbara
The jubea is one of the slowest growers in the world and I will probably not live long enough to see in its full glory.

Still it makes me very happy to have it in my garden! 

It is going to look better every year and it already looks fantastic!

I typically wait for fronds to die and turn brown before I trim. 

I have been waiting a long while on the jubea, it is very healthy. 

It will look better trimmed but in its time. 

I may not see it at its most beautiful but I know that somebody will someday!

I did trim the Mexican blue brahea armata yesterday.

The garden does take my blues away.


Postscript: Jerry Hall sent this nice photo over.

Postscript #2 - As if the day couldn't get worse, I accidentally swung an elbow when turning on my alarm to go home and connected with this full bottle of Jamesons.

My shoes and socks are soaked and I had no towels in the shop. Will deal with it tomorrow. My feet smell like an alcoholic. I had to go to the store to pick up maple extract and people were sniffing at me funny, my pants also taking a direct hit. Oh well, can't help what people think. Could probably use a drink right now.

I went home to clean up and found that the power company shut the power off. It was supposed to be fixed by two but didn't come back on until 6:30. I laid down for three hours and did absolutely nothing, afraid to tempt the fates again.

What a day.

I made these maple bacon scones with a nice maple glaze in hopes of turning things around. We will see.

1 comment:

Julie Reeder said...

Love reading your pieces Robert. I love how real they are, but I hate that people haven't treated you fairly. I wish I had some of that amazing food!