Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Journal Entry

I'm still not quite sure what to make of the way people have behaved lately regarding hcr (health care reform for those who have been living under a rock).  It's so much more than politics and yet so much less too.  It's ignorance, bigotry, hatred, competition for competitions's sake without any regard for the facts.  It's lies, meanness, stupidity and pure evil.  It's greed, corruption, malace, and avarice.  *those words sound good together--note to poetry self*  It's the big bad wolf leading the little lamb to slaughter.  It's finger-pointing, name-calling, blame-placing, fear-mongering, shameful behavior (for a child.  These are adults!?).

My mom worked in the health care field all of her life.  As a registered nurse (in the military, in a hospital, in a rehab hospital, in a nursing home, and in a group practice family medicine office), as an office manager, for large HMO's as quality review and in underwriting.

My husband works in state government.

Between the things I have heard from the two of them and also from being a consumer of health care and a health insurance policy holder I can tell you that the system(s) in place in this country that have to do with the availability of, cost of, regulation of, insurance of, and quality of health care do not work for all Americans.  

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Journal Entry

I have so many thoughts swirling around my brain right now. There are friends on twitter that I want to talk to about some of them. But these are not 140 character issues. If I could condense them down to just 140 I'd be on the road to solving or understanding them.

I wanted a way to write a long note and a way to attach it to a tweet. But that violates the whole spirit of twitter. Besides that, if that were possible it sounds like it would be a pain in the ass.

Then I read an extremely personal blog written by a lovely woman. Her most recent post describes sex with her husband. Graphically. Unflatteringly. I wondered, as I read this, why she would put this "out there" and in the end she told me. Her blog is helping her figure out things about herself and her relationships and she pulls no punches with herself.

And it hit me. A "blog" or web-log started out as being a digital way for people to keep journals. A public way. Most of us bloggers consider only the greater audience and forget about the journal part. I guess that's okay. But if it doesn't first and foremost serve you in some way I don't really see the point.

I understand some blogs are for businesses or professional pursuits. I have one of those. It's Dyed Bright Here. I also understand wanting to write poetry, fiction, eroticism, or some combination. I have one of those too. It's Zoom Erotica.

But this is my first blog. My true blog. My space for everything else in my life. Not "work" related. Not knitting or fiber related. Not writing where I am working (or playing) at the writing.

Just me.

Sometimes family.

Sometimes friends.

Often animals.

But, in the end, JUST ME.

It's good to remember that I have a place like that. I should go there. Come here. More often. You're welcome to join me but I should probably warn you that it's all about me.

If you want, I can come over to your place and we'll have some all about you time there. Fair enough?

Do we have a deal? Cool! Pull up a chair. Want some lemonade? Water? Coffee? Tea? Beer? Wine?
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Many Roles Art has Played In My Life

I mark the milestones of my life with art.  When I look back at the various ages and stages I have been through there is always some form of art as accompaniment on my soundtrack.  I have been enthralled by, curious about, dabbling in, experimenting with and pursuing art in its many forms as long as I can remember.

At the age of 5  I first asked to take piano lessons.  I played up until about the age of 24 when work and family and finally everything else became bigger priorities.

I drew horses both real and imagined all through elementary school.  

My great-grandmother showed me how to crochet a granny square (and play solitaire) when I was ten.

I was immersed in horses for all of my pre-teen years (drawing, riding, and reading horse stories). I read  (more than once) every book Marguerite Henry (author of  Misty of Chincoteague) and  Walter Farley (author of The Black Stallion) ever wrote.  I figured out how to turn a granny square into a blanket for my model horses by adding chains of stitches to act as the belts that hold a blanket in place.

In my teenage years I taught myself to play the guitar  and played keyboards in a high school band.

I discovered boys early in my teen years.  Flirtation is an art that I excelled in naturally. As an aside there is an expression I heard long ago that rings very true with me.  It is: Girls use sex to get love.  Boys use love to get sex.  Neither is satisfied.

I wrote a lot of poetry in high school and college.  Very heavy on the angst of that period in a young person's life, very light on actual talent or craft.  Lots of whining.  Lots of grand theatrics about trivialities.  But like every person between the ages of 12 and 32 I didn't know what I didn't know.  I was my own person who knew best for me and I know everything so screw it all and get the hell out of my way.

Reading has always been important to me too.  When I was in first grade and my mom came for a parent-teacher conference I was told to wait out in the hall.  They left the door slightly ajar and didn't realize I could hear them.  The teacher told my mom that I would always be a slow reader, below or just at grade level.  I was in the remedial reading group.  The teacher just sort of shrugged her shoulders at the whole of me, what could she do?  It wasn't until four years later when a family friend gave me the first six books in the Nancy Drew series that I began to read.  The books were brand new, the spines hard and firm, they had that 'new book' smell, and Nancy Drew with her pumps and cardigans was so cool.  Then in seventh grade I had the opportunity to take a speed reading class.  I jumped at it.  The memory of my 1st grade teacher's words came rushing up out of my subconscious pushing me to improve myself if only to show her. (note: I have never remembered her name or her face and we moved away from there when I was ten but I have never forgotten her words!). [ Note: Choose your words carefully.  You never know what will stick in someone else's soul and once said, can never be un-said.]

Through my teens and twenties books have always been a huge part of my life.  I haven't read most of the classics but I am OK with that.  I do love Shakespeare (even took a course on the bard when I went to Penn State).  Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, William Blake are among my favorites.  My dad lent me "From Here to Eternity" at the age of thirteen.  The sex scene on the beach was shocking and amazing.  It opened my eyes to the power of words and sexual imagery.  From there he gave me The First Deadly Sin, The Second Deadly Sin, and so on.  I have loved detective stories and cop fiction ever since.  A boyfriend in college insisted I  watch "The Osterman Weekend".  Of course, I then had to read everything Ludlum ever wrote. 

I got hooked on photography in college.  Eventually earning an Associates of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in the subject.  The kinds of photography that speak to me the most are documentary, sports, nature, and portraiture.  I love math and science so of all of the arts, photography presses more of my buttons at a single time than anything else.

I combined my fascination with "the boys in blue" and photography while a senior at the Moore College of Art.  I was stumped for a topic for my senior thesis and out of frustation started thumbing through the yellow pages.  I got to the "public safety" section and a lightbulb went off.  I had seen a book of black and white photos taken in New York City where the photographer (sorry, I don't remember the photographer's name or the title) followed NYC beat cops and took some amazing photographs.  I called the Philly police dept and  amazingly they said, "Yes".

That was the coolest 6 months of my life!  I spent the bulk of my time with the mounted unit.  I even rode one of the horses on the lawn in front of Independence Hall!  I also spent a fair amount of time with a K-9 training class.  Then there were the two beat cops who worked "Jeweler's Row".  Maybe now that we have a scanner I will take the time to scan some of those images in...

When my husband and I were still just dating he took me home for that all important panic attack inducing meet-the-parents visit.  I was delighted to find that his mother's obsessions are quilting and cross stitch.   I learned both of these arts from her.  I stopped doing cross stitch out of frustration.  Frustration that I do not have the drawing talent needed to create my own intricate patterns.  Frustration at the necessity of always refering to a pattern (I'm a wing-it kind of person).  And, finally frustration that it aggravated my carpal tunnel syndrome so terribly.  With quilting I know the mechanics but I don't enjoy doing it.  I do, however, enjoy the design process associated with quilts.  Gayle (my MIL) and I are currently finding our way in this area.  She loves the actual making of a quilt but always works from someone else's pattern. So we are a good fit together except that she prefer the much more traditional style of quilts whereas I love quilts that are more modern and abstract.  Oh well, it is just another beginning.

I have gone on and on about knitting, dying, and spinning.  I won't bore you here with more of that.  If that is stuff you don't, in fact, find boring then try this link for my Dyed Bright Here blog.

I am  a HUGE fan of Twitter.  The previously promised post about twitter is still stewing in the back of my brain.  I will serve it up when it is ready....soon.  I have stumbled upon a huge number of writers.  Some of these people actually earn a living (or part of one) with their writing.  But, most pursuit it either as a part time job or just as a hobby they would love to earn a living with.  A few (like me) just find the ability to string together words in such a way as to tell a story, convey emotions, make the reader feel something fascinating to say the least.  Writers use the same words as you and I.  Or should that be you and me?  There is an art and a craft to choosing better words.  The best words.  And putting them together in such a way as to impart feelings.

Lately, I've been writing a lot.  Mostly because I've been forcing myself to.  It reminds me of the time I used to spend sitting at the piano practicing every day.  I had to make myself go through the motions.  The scales.  The arpeggios.  The sonatas.  The etudes.  The preludes.  And then, once or twice a week when I had the time and the inclination, I got to riff.  To just let go and play anything and everything that I wanted.  To create music that fit my mood for the day.  I used to play most of Elton John's greatest hits and they were good for letting go.  Sometimes I just composed on the fly.  Back in the day, we didn't have computerized, digitized keyboards that would take down your work as you played it and put in on the staffs for you.  If I wanted to keep something past it's initial birth I had to memorize it.  Play it over and over again, and painstakingly transcribe it to music paper.  Yea, that didn't happen much at all.  To continue the comparison between practicing the piano and writing everyday, I have found that poetry, specifically haiku, is the type of writing that I can just let loose with.  A sort of written riff.  Something tells me you may be seeing a lot more of that here in the future.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Piece of the Puzzle that is me...

It occurred to me today when I was explaining to someone on twitter who has interests in horses and also happens to be a yarn person that I started following because of the horses not the yarn that I haven't talked about horses here in a very long time.  

I haven't ridden on a regular basis since I got pregnant with Max (who is currently 16 1/2) so we're talking 17 ish years.  As a little girl (8 to be precise and I didn't feel little at the time) I begged for riding lessons.  We lived in Shaker Heights, Ohio and there was a magical place called Red Raider that was owned and run by Fox Smith.  In the summer it was a huge day camp.  During the rest of the year, it was a very active stable.  Fox made the rounds in a van or bus to the elementary schools and the junior high schools picking up the kids who were taking weekly riding lessons and drove us all out to Red Raider.  As an adult, I have no idea where it is I just know that it no longer exists as it once did.  Fox and his wife both died and the property was sold and turned into upscale developments.  But, I digress.

Once we got there, we split into two main groups.  Half of us had our riding lesson first while the other half had their flat lesson.  A flat lesson (or lesson on the flat) is one where the students learn everything else about horses from coat colors to parts of the horse, proper use and care of all the tack, grooming, training, veterinary care, even equine psychology.  Nothing was off limits and the topic of the week was up to the whim of Fox or one of the other instructors.  The group that was riding would be divided by ability.  Each lesson was a full hour and after both were done we would pile back in the bus and Fox would drive us all home.  He had the route home mapped out so that he could stop within a block of each kid's home and we would trudge that last little bit, dogged tired in a way that only happens when you are under the age of 20 and have been allowed to be immersed in that thing that you love more than anything else so completely.

To this day, I can still you the name of the first horse I ever rode by myself (Silhouette.  A tall statuesque black mare who scared the crap out of me but was one of the gentlest souls I have ever encountered) and maybe one of these days when I am REALLY old (not just feeling old) I will regale whoever I can get to stop and listen with stories of all the various equine characters large and small that I went on adventures with as a kid.

Over the years I rode at summer camps (Red Raider, Firebird overnight camp for girls in Bowerston, OH) and at other stables (Roosevelt.  An overnight camp for boys owned by Bill Lorrimer (he also owns Firebird), with girlfriends lucky enough to have their own, in pastures and fields, on military bases (a friend in high school lived in Columbus, GA and kept her horses in one of the barns at Fort Benning because her dad was retired from the military at some mucky-muck rank, at a touristy place up in Indian River, MI taking people on trail rides while we visited my grandparents for a few weeks in the summer, and finally at my parents "gentleman's" horse farm (11 acres on top a hill here in South Central PA).

When I wasn't on a horse as a kid, I was drawing them.  I suck at drawing things from my imagination or from the real thing in front of me but take a picture of it or put another artists rendition in front of me and I do a pretty good job.  

Life tends to lead us on wandering paths.  Sometimes we double back or cross a trail we have made previously. It just worked out that I got degrees in photography.  I stumbled upon knitting and dying, and spinning and everything else fiber related.  I've never not loved horses, I just can't ride one right now because of my weight.  And, while that sounds like an excellent reason to get the weight off (and it is) things very often are not as easy as they sound or look.  

In January of 1990 my parents purchased a 6 year old Thoroughbred who had been on the track (so the story goes) and been a dud and then been neglected when the guy who owned him grew bored with riding as a hobby and found something better to do.  He is 16 hands.  Which for you non-horse folks means he is 64 inches tall at the withers (the shoulder blade and tallest part of a horses body, not counting the head or neck). He is an average bay (reddish brown with black mane, tail, and socks) with a little bit of white on his forehead.  He was skin and bones when Mom and Dad brought him home and had rain rot on his back (a fungal infection from being left out in the rain for days on end).  His name is Yankee Doodle.  We call him Dan.

My parents are not wealthy but nor do they want for anything.  All of our pets over the years have been part of the family.  While we have never spent excessive funds on pet related things neither have we spared any expense when one of the animal members of the family has needed expensive medical care.  4 or 5 years ago Dan suddenly developed a very bad case of diarrhea.  My parents regular vet made repeated visits to the farm.  (Note, my mom is a nurse and as such can give extensive horse care beyond what the average owner is usually capable of.)  They hung IV's to try to keep him hydrated but diarrhea in a horse is a serious problem and it quickly became more than Mom, Dad, and their wonderful vet could manage.  The vet suggested New Bolton.  If you are familiar with equine sports or medicine that should sound familiar.  New Bolton is the equine hospital where the best equine surgeons in the country valiantly tried to save Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro's life with multiple surgeries on his shattered leg after going down in the Preakness.  This is not some little vet clinic down the road.

Now at this point, I had stopped showing Dan about 11 or 12 years earlier.  He has only been ridden occassionally since then.  He is basically a 1200 lb pet who at 15 years of age was already past his prime.

Mom and Dad loaded him in the trailer and ever so carefully drove the 2 hours to New Bolton.  Three weeks later he was finally on the road to recovery and ready to come home.  The total vet bill was somewhere in the low 5 figures.  

Before I got pregnant with Jake I had been losing a lot of weight.  I had gone down from a size 24 to about a 16.  I was watching the scale like a hawk with the intention of riding Dan again when my weight got down to what I thought would be a safe weight for his aging back.  Mom and Dad noticed and encouraged me to get back up in the saddle even though I was a good 18 lbs more than I thought was fair to the old boy.   It felt amazing to be up on his back again.  But, he didn't think so.  He acted like a much younger horse, almost to the point of being uncontrollable.  This is a horse who would do his level best to keep his rider on his back if he sensed the rider was green or nervous or unsure in any way.  I told my dad that something wasn't right.  So, I got off.  You could see the relief on his sweet face.  I had hurt his back and he had acted up as the only way he knew to tell he to get the hell off.  He was hurt and pissed.  As soon as I was off he was ok and later walked over to me on his own and we made up.  

I don't think I have ever felt so small as a person before or since as I did when I hurt him.  I had known I shouldn't ride him but did anyway.  I think that has a lot to do with why the ache in my soul that not riding causes just isn't a motivating factor for me to lose the weight.  Maybe one of these days I will finally get down to a weight that I feel comfortable asking another creature to carry.  Dan just turned 26 this past New Year's Day.  So, I doubt if I will ever be able to get on his back again...

Dan, my mom, and dad the day we brought Dan home from his stay at New Bolton.  He had lost a few HUNDRED pounds while he was sick.  He had gained a little back before they sent him home.

Saying, "Hello" and "You again?" to Buttons (Cute as a Button).

With Dad up.  Dan was never a jumper but Dad used to put him over a few fences every once in a while just for shits and giggles (for both of them).

Just being the big pet that he is so good at being.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hold your head up!

This morning was one of those mornings.  You know the kind.  It doesn't matter how many hours you slept.  You feel like you just went to bed.  After a marathon.  And getting run over by a bus.  Your back aches.  Your head aches.  You can't breathe.  And you are late.  So are the kids.

Today wasn't quite that bad for me.  But close enough.

Some mornings I get up a little early and get my shower first thing.  Or not.  Some days I throw on jeans and a t-shirt and go about my day, grabbing a shower late morning or early afternoon.  And, on some days I just stay in my PJ's (long nightshirt or oversized t-shirt) as long as possible.  Either way, I am presentable by 3:00 in the afternoon because I have to get out of the car and actually go in to the school to retrieve Jake.

On those PJ days I pull on a pair of sweatpants, step into my loafers, and pull on a sweatshirt or jacket.  In the winter I add socks and then hunker down in my winter coat.  A down-filled, long coat from Land's End that is rated to -15.  I am comfy.  I am cozy.  No one can tell that my boobs are resting in my lap while I am driving.  

It's not cold enough out now to warrant pulling on a coat warm enough to survive a tundra expedition and big enough to contain a family of four.  So, today I pulled on a zip-up sweatshirt.  I think I need to get a better plan in place for warmer weather.  Perhaps include hoisting the girls up.

But enough about my morning attire today...

As I was driving home I was noticing the women walking from various garages and parking lots to the office buildings (mostly state buildings) near by.  I understand that it is first thing in the morning.  I understand that even the best of us can be a bit grumpy/bitchy before we officially start our day.  But it seemed to me that the women looked a whole lot more miserable than the men.  Why is that?

Then, I noticed the shoes.  I didn't see any really comfortable looking footwear on any of the women.  Sure, some of them wore flats (and I mean true flats not just lower heeled shoes).  But most were wearing heels.  And not looking very happy about it.  They were schlumped over at the shoulders.  They were plodding along.  Most of them were if not completely heads-down in their posture they were definitely not heads-up or walking tall.

I understand what it means to be a working woman.  With kids.  But these women looked defeated.  Before they even start their day.

Like many people I have lived and am living many different lives.  I have been a college student on a large campus in a college town.  I have worn a suit every day, carried a briefcase, and worked in office buildings with lawyers, bankers, and other corporate types.  I have worked the night shift in a large warehouse as co-worker to forklift operators and truck drivers.  I have volunteered at my sons' school public and private.  And, now I am an unemployed, stay-at-home, trying to start my own business woman, wife, and mother.

Maybe I am just selfish.  Because I have always been aware of my own physical comfort as well as my appearance.  I am not tall.  I am not within a mile of my ideal weight.  But I am able to see myself as attractive and take pride in my appearance.  Hell, I can even be a sexy flirt when I feel like it.  But in doing those things I have always made sure to be comfortable.  When I had to wear heels all day I wore tennis shoes when I had to walk outside.  What's the point of squeezing your feet into a pair of heels if you don't stand up straight and tall and take advantage of what that kind of shoe is going to do to your posture?  Heels are designed to alter your natural carriage.  They make you throw your shoulders back, put more arch in your back, and sort of tuck your ass under a bit so that you don't fall flat on your face.  

Let's face it, while there are some heels out there that are more comfortable than others, they are all hard on a woman's body.  Sure, you can get used to wearing them but that doesn't make them good for you or your body.  I love wearing heels.  I only wear them a few times a year now.  In part, because I broke three bones in my foot a dozen years ago.  But, also because I no longer need to as part of my business 'uniform'.  However, even when they were pretty much required attire, I still enjoyed them and more specifically, the effect they had on men.  I don't see the point of wearing clothing that makes you uncomfortable in any way.

Why did I see so many women this morning who looked like they were beaten down?  Why were they schlumping across the streets with their heads down on a slightly overcast yet still beautiful almost-spring morning?

I understand feeling run over.  I have the luxury of staying in my old and beat-up nightshirt past 7 am.  But come on!  If you must go out into the world, HOLD YOUR HEAD UP!!  I know you're tired.  I know your family depends on you to hold it together and it's all you can do (barely) to hold just yourself together.  I know your boss is a misogynist bastard who gives you twice the work and only pays you half.  But nothing is going to improve if you just cringe and put your head down.  So, start with picking your chin up.  Then straighten up.  Even if you are short you can walk to your full height.  Even if you are overweight you can be comfortable in your own skin and your clothes.  Hell, if you want, you can be sexy too.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  So, look in the mirror and find those parts of you that are beautiful.  

Hold your head up high.  Stop looking at your feet and look people in the eyes.  Try to figure out what you want in life, where you want to be and then take steps to get there.  

Why are you miserable?  And, what can I do to help?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Winning and Losing

I'm not really sure why this topic came to mind today.  There wasn't some traumatic incident that makes me want to sit in the corner crying about how life's not fair.

Well, it's not, you know.  Get over it.

This is one of those "hot topics" that the guys I used to work with (Okay, I confess.  Me too.) used to get all worked up about.  They would try to outdo each other (when Don't guys do that?) with more ridiculous (and yet, sadly, true) examples of parents of sucky, wimpy, stupid, slow, or just basically douchey  kids spoiling things for everyone because they don't want their kid to find out at the tender age of (insert any age younger than 30 here) that they are a loser.

I know you've heard the stories about the school districts across the country that have outlawed the game of dodge ball.  Or, done similarly heinous things in the name of "fairness" or "sportsmanship".  They talk about the frailty of kid's egos.  Their newly forming sense of self.  Oh, please!

I am NOT advocating for bullies.  Nor do I think it's okay to rub a kid's nose in it when they lose.  But let the little bastards lose!

I'm not saying we should say, "You suck" to these kids.  That would be cruel.  I am not a cruel person.  I am a realistic person.  I think we should instead be saying, "Hey, you suck at dodge ball.  But I bet there are lots of things you ARE good at.  Why don't we go figure out what those things are."

Life is not about avoiding those things we suck at.  Because we all are terrible at lots of things.  Very few people excel at more than a handful of things.  

Life is about learning to participate in those things we are awful at when necessary and handling the ribbing or kidding that my result without getting angry and going postal.  It's about teaching those who are good at things to tease gently or not at all. Or, to teach those who excel at something to teach those who don't so that all can enjoy together.

So, when the game of life becomes too hard for some of these kids, we should teach humor and grace along with winning AND losing.  Then, put the nerds, and geeks, and uncoordinated kids, and jocks all in a math competition or a music competition and let those who tease get teased.  Then, life would be a little fairer.  But not by much.  Suck it up.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Quick Fix

As parents, most of us recognize the value of the whole family sitting down to the evening meal together.  We've all seen the PSA ads about how studies show that when families eat dinner together at least three nights a week the kids are less likely to use drugs or alcohol and more likely to do well in school.  It also helps save a lot of money for the family.  Eating out, even at a fast-food place, can be very expensive.  It's also better nutritionally.  

Well, I don't know about you or your family but for me, even three times a week can be difficult sometimes.  I know that as my boys get older and bigger it is even more important to have family togetherness times.  First of all, because as teenagers they are subjected to more peer pressure and more temptations of the worst kinds that can have devastating effects.  But secondly, because the time when they won't be around on a regular basis is getting nearer every day (sit down and stop cheering Addison, it's not necessarily a good thing!). As our boys have gotten older it has become way too easy to just let them "forage" for their own meals when neither one of us feels like cooking for all of us.  But at least a few times a week I pull something out of the freezer, fridge, pantry, and my ass  imagination and cook for all of us.

This is one of my go-to favorites that is outrageously simple and everyone eats.  The history of this dish starts with the best warm dip ever invented.  I think my mom got this from the Kraft parmesian cheese label.  It is a warm artichoke dip that goes like this:

1 cup Kraft mayo
1 cup Kraft parmesian cheese
1 can of artichoke hearts (if you can find the ones that are already quartered you're ahead of the game)

Dump all ingredients into a pie pan.  Use a fork to roughly chop up and mash the artichoke hearts.  Use the same fork to mix everything together.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.  Serve with crackers. 

I love, love, love this stuff so much I decided to try a slightly different form with chicken.  The resulting recipe is now officially known as....

Mayonnaise Chicken

For this you will need:

4-6 portions of chicken (I but the Purdue Perfect Portions but anything will do)
1 1/2--2 cups Kraft mayo
1 packet of dried seasoning mix.  This is where you can vary the taste...any dip mix, seasoning mix will do.  I have used Knorr vegetable soup, Mrs. Grass, Hidden Valley Ranch, Lipton Recipe Secrets...
1/2-1 cup Kraft parmesian

**NOTE**  The measurements for the mayo and parmesian are aproximate.  If you are making 4 portions you can use the smaller measurement (or not, this stuff is yummy).

Preheat oven to 350 ish.  I say "ish" because it will do just fine at 375 if you want to make Pillsbury or some other dinner rolls at the same time.

Place the chicken in a baking dish in a single layer
Mix all the other ingredients together
Spoon the mixture over the chicken and around the sides to sort of seal it in
Bake for 30 minutes

That's it.  I like to serve it with white rice that has been cooked in chicken broth instead of water and a veggie (usually brocolli as it's the only veggie everyone will eat).

Prep time is maybe 5 minutes.

Give it a try next time you want to bring them all to the table but don't know what to make.  Let me know how it goes.