Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Unbeknownst to me, my Halloweens when I was growing up were very green.

Though I didn’t always want them to be.

Since the year I was born, I never wore a store-bought costume. My mother was a fabulous sewer and she made all of our costumes using things from around the house.  From clowns to witches, baton twirlers to bumble bees – they were made with love for us, and then passed down to cousins and friends.

We never knew anything else…until that Halloween of 1978.

My mom had taken my sister and me to Bradlees to get some last minute Halloween candy. Bradlees was the equivalent of Walmart but better!

Trips to Bradlees were a treat. They always had really fun stuff that we would beg her for and this trip would be no different.

As we entered the store, we stepped into a Halloween wonderland full of boxed costumes depicting every possible TV character.  It was like a walk through the Battle of the Network Stars.

Chachi.  Mork.  The Bionic Woman.  My eyes widened at every piece of molded, toxic plastic.

And then – I spotted her.  Kris Munroe.  I had to be one of Charlie’s Angels.

I knew I had an original Sheila masterpiece waiting for me but I had to be Kris.  My favorite TV character immortalized in a plastic mask with big eye cut-outs and a one-piece plastic jumpsuit that smelled so good!

I could not find a picture of the "Kris" costume...but you get the idea.

I grabbed the box so as no other 9 year old could take it and ran up to my mom.  “PLEASE can I be Kris for Halloween?”  I shouted as I practically tripped over the cart.
“You have a costume at home that I made you.”

This was going to be harder than I thought.

“You don’t understand. I HAVE to be her!!”

“Now stop.  Put that away.  It’s junk.” she said simply and continued to push the cart, trying to avoid running me over as I blocked the ca

I knew I only had one option left.  And it was risky.  But the situation was dire and I needed to act fast.  The plastic smell was intoxicating me (literally).

I dropped to my knees and began to cry.  And not just any cry.  Full out wailing.  In between sobs, I told her how awful my life was and that I just had to be Kris.

She stopped the cart and calmly asked me to stand up and put the costume away.

And I did.

I was devastated.  I sat the entire car ride home wondering what lucky girl was going to get to be Kris - the best Angel ever.

When I got home, I saw the ballerina costume hanging on my door that she had made especially for me.  And while I was still mad that I wasn’t the plastic version of Kris, I decided that Kris would be on assignment as a ballerina fighting crime.

It worked.

Today, boxed costumes are a thing of the past but store-bought costumes still fill the aisles of Bradlees-type stores.  Made in China with lots of dyes and chemicals, there is no better time to bring back the home-made costume!

And a few years ago I did get to meet the real Kris Munroe (Cheryl Ladd) who autographed my Charlie’s Angels trading card.  That made up for the boxed costume a zillion times over.

I thank my mom for her decision that day and send her a sincere apology for what I’m sure was not a pleasant afternoon.  If she were alive today, I know she’d be sitting at her sewing machine with her glasses on, busily creating works of art for the next generation of Forbes kids (and dogs).

And as I walked by the dozens of Halloween stores that popped up for the month of October, filled with every imaginable character, I think to myself how lucky I was and give my mom a smile.

Costumes hand-made with love by Sheila Forbes.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Action Day 2012 - The Power of We

For the past several years, I have been participating in Blog Action Day, a day when thousands of bloggers come together to write about the same socially conscious topic.

Never has a topic resonated so much with me as this year’s - The Power of We.

Having just returned from San Francisco from the training session for The Climate Reality Project, I’ve experienced first-hand what the Power of We means and what it can do.

When I first stepped on to the bold-patterned hotel carpet in the ballroom where our training was about to take place, I instantly froze at the sight of 1,000 like-minded people.

2012 Climate Reality Leadership Corps - I'm in the 3rd row behind Al Gore!
 I spend so much time trying to convince others to carry their own bags and use a reusable mug that I didn’t know what to do with myself when I was surrounded by people who were already doing that!  Who was I if I wasn’t yelling at someone to reduce, reuse and recycle?

The Climate Reality Project is the organization founded by Nobel Laureate and Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, to bring the facts to the public about the climate crisis and engage the public in conversation on how to stop it.

As a Climate Leader trained by Al Gore himself, I am now equipped to present the slideshow that Mr. Gore gave in the Academy Award-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Joining the global force that is The Climate Reality Project (already more than 3,000 strong and representing over 50 countries) is a tremendous honor that also carries a lot of responsibility.  The climate crisis has become about more than just changing your light bulbs - we need to change laws.

On November 14th and 15th, “we” will be out in big numbers for The Climate Reality Project’s 2nd Annual 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report. (This will be broadcast live over the internet and you can check back here for details or on The Climate Reality Project's website.)

People around the globe will share their stories of about the impact of climate change and how they’re moving forward with solutions.

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk outside on a hot, summer’s day without your hair expanding to the size of Texas from the humidity?

How about not having to swim through your neighborhood because your streets are flooded?

Better yet, wouldn’t it be fantastic if you made s’mores over a campfire as opposed to a wild fire?

24 Hours” will feature music, man-on-the-street interviews, multi-media content…all generating energy and urgency so that We CAN all work together to address the climate crisis.

So as I write about The Power of We, I’m talking about the power of you.

If you are ready to take a stand, talk about climate change and stand up to the will be making a difference.

And if you are one of thousands reading this, then that’s thousands making a difference.

The power of one converted into The Power of We!