Compromises on land and sea


NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. Unless your name is Forbes Kuddoo and you own the
world’s only floating island restaurant. I half expected to see Tatoo
great me when I pulled up to this little slice of paradise just off Pier
39 in San Francisco, the other evening.

Instead of arriving by “de plane, de plane,” we came by boat with
Captain Kuddoo at the helm. “I had to get my captain’s license and learn
morse code to run this shuttle,” he said with a hint of Scottish pride.

You may remember Forbes Kuddoo from the celebrated battle to keep his
floating island moored off Sausalito more than a decade ago. Some folks
called his home, a houseboat decorated like a lush tropical island, an
eyesore.

He was finally forced to move — and like a true survivor — came up
with the plan to transform his palm tree-covered vessel into a
restaurant. The permit process took 10 years, but he accomplished his
goal in 1998 and has been buoyed by rave reviews ever since.

“If James Bond had a restaurant, it’d be this one,” said one reviewer
who was obviously impressed by the “tricked out, underwater mansion.”
The island not only has a lighthouse and waterfall, but a 3,000-bottle
underwater wine cellar (with a romantic table for two, if you choose).
The food is top notch, and you would expect this at the prices they
charge.

But you can’t put a price on the atmosphere. Warm and inviting — it’s
like an underwater Trader Vic’s — with portholes all along the walls
where you can see fish swimming by your table. The subtle movements of
the sea gently rock you as flickering lights dance on the warm wood
walls that Kuddoo carved himself.

Forbes Island is just one more reason we are the luckiest people on
Earth. We live near world-class venues and attractions that others can
only hope to experience. All you need is a little time to uncover the
treasure in your own backyard.

Getting along

This will drive a stake through the generation gap. Helen Neville of
Rockridge and Diane Clark Johnson of Piedmont have written a brilliant
book called “Temperament Tools,” which can help you identify and work
with your child’s inborn temperament.

If you and your child have control issues you can either butt heads all
the time, or give your child choices (within your comfort zone).

What if you’re outgoing and your daughter is shy? Or you have low energy
and your son has high? This paperback is like a workbook — asking
questions and offering easy to understand answers. No psychobabble here,
these ladies write so clearly that after reading their book I was even
“tweaking” my own temperament.

You can find Temperament Tools at bookstores everywhere and online at
barnesandnoble.com. Also, for parenting classes at Kaiser for members
and non-members, call 510-752-1456.

E-mail bag

Here come more responses to the Montclair improvement survey taken by
Friends of Montclair Village.

Jennifer Jackson says she’d like to see a bookstore in Montclair that
sells magazines and newspapers, along with a gourmet grocery and more
unique restaurants. Linda Brown wants the trash cleaned up along Highway
13, and she’d like an on-call van service (not free, but with a fee) to
pick up people in the neighborhood for Village shopping and to get them
to the #15 and #64 buses. W. W. Haskell says “What about a theater?” In
fact, several people who responded to the Village improvement survey
suggested this.

Then there’s the beef about a lack of after-hours entertainment. Ian
Tidswell thinks it’s too quiet after 8 p.m. and would like a nice
neighborhood wine bar or café. “How about evening music or other
festivals to keep the place going after dark?” he adds.

Marc Viale offers this idea for improving Montclair Village: “It needs
to be updated with shops that reflect the demographics of the area —
people that can afford $500k+ houses.” He wants the kind of restaurants
you find on College Avenue.

Everyone cites traffic and parking as major problems in the Village, but
some folks want more gathering places for walkers and cyclists. Rich
Edwards says “perhaps closing off Antioch Court to make a pedestrian
mall would be a good idea.”

W. R. Harmon admires the flowers hanging from almost every downtown lamp
post in Victoria B.C. He says the Montclair Village Association should
buy pots of flowers that the merchants (or local garden clubs) could
help maintain.

Juliet Rose Tessicini sums up the sentiment of many when she writes:
“Despite the quaint appearance of Montclair, there is no center there.”
She echoes complaints that the Village needs a central gathering place.
Whether that be a night club, a theater, a pedestrian mall, or just more
benches, flowers and outdoor dining — there’s a yearning here that
Village merchants need to help address.

Finding Faith

Weak from another round of chemotherapy, KTVU reporter Faith Fancher has
made it to another fund-raiser in her honor. Friends of Faith had a
cocktail party and cooking demonstrations at the elegant Purcell Murray
Culinary Center in Brisbane recently.

Fancher’s efforts to attend were heroic – applying make-up in the
limousine as she was driven from the hospital to the event. She shared
with the audience the financial details of her cancer treatment —
saying it cost $20,000 last month just for her chemo.

The money raised at the party went to the Berkeley Breast Cancer
Emergency Fund, helping low-income patients with skyrocketing costs.
Despite the evening’s serious side, spirits were high. One woman even
won a $3,000 diamond bracelet donated by Simayof Jewelers.

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