Author Archives: DaynaJD

About DaynaJD

I'm a high school science teacher who has a love of all things science, science fiction, fantasy, Disney and nerdy.

Resolution, smesolution

It’s a new year, full of new adventures and new experiences and new friends. And the same me. New Years tends to be the time for people to make outrageous claims about how they want to change their lives, hopefully for the better. But most of the time these “resolutions” last the three weeks it takes for the memories of bad holiday choices to fade. I have decided that I’m not making any resolutions this year.

Instead, I am going to continue to reflect on my life and behaviors and make adjustments during the entire year.

This year, I’m going to continue to reflect on and improve my teaching. I am going to look at my lessons and their outcomes and adjust my strategies. I’m going to listen to my students (both their voices and their actions) and be responsive to their needs. I am going answer questions and encourage exploration and reward positive thinking. I am going to help and be available but have boundaries because I am also a human.

This year, I’m going to continue to reflect on and improve my relationships. I am going to make time for friends and family. I am going to listen to their problems without offering unwanted commentary. I am going to help them when asked and ask for help when I need it. I am going to spend time with people I want to spend time with and not worry about the people that I don’t want to spend time with. I am going to be more accepting of my friends’ opinions, but not be afraid of sharing my opinions with them.

This year, I am going to be kind. I am going to be open to new ideas and experiences. I am going to not be afraid to be myself. I am going to not be afraid to change. I am going to not be afraid to not change.

This year, I am going to be the best version of myself that I can be.


7 days in black and white

I recently shared my “7 days in black and white” challenge pictures on Facebook. I wanted to put all seven together and showcase part of my life. So here it is, 7 days, black and white, no people, no pets, no explanation.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

What’s your #7inblackandwhite?

Hey, I’m 34

Or, I will be very soon.  It made me think about the things I have learned as an adult and how much I still don’t really know or understand.  Like molecular orbitals diagrams.  I am just never going to get the hang of drawing those diagrams!

There are some things I think I’ve figure out okay, though.  I pretty confident in my own abilities.  I know my limitations.  I understand when I am pushing myself to my limits and when I can give more.  I think a lot of people are still working on figuring those things out, so I’ve got that going for me.

There are things that I just haven’t figured out yet, though.  How to stop blaming myself for other peoples’ failures or faults.  That’s a hard one as a teacher because I want to blame myself when my students don’t “get it”.  I know some of the blame is mine: how well did I deliver the material?  How clearly did I set my expectations?  But I need to keep in mind that a lot of the blame can also be shouldered on them: How much did they study?  How hard did they work for it?  How often did they come to me for help and clarification?

Or how to stop worrying about what other people are going to think about me/judge me.  I don’t worry so much about strangers.  Eff those people who judge without knowing me.  It’s more the people in my life that I worry about judging me or thinking less of me.  If I do this, will my friend not like me any more.  If I say this, will this person stop talking to me.  Why hasn’t this person texted me back yet?  I must have done something wrong.  I need to keep in mind that people are busy, people are honest, and I can’t control what others ultimately think about me.  The best I can do is be the best version of myself possible and know that the people in my life like me for who I am.

How to live in the moment and stop worrying about what happened in the past.  I find myself thinking about past mistakes a lot when I should be enjoying current moments.  I need to let go of those past mistakes by acknowledging that they happened, but moving on by trying to not make the same mistakes again.  Making new mistakes is a given.  Doing the same thing over and over again is one definition of insanity.

Another year old, but maybe not another year wiser.  I look forward to having more experiences, making new mistakes, and enjoying all the wonders I can.

Happy birthday to me!

Disney Solo

Almost seven years ago, I made my first solo trek to the land of pixie dust and Happily


Jack and Sally were excited to see me!

Ever Afters.  I am, of course, talking about Disneyland.  I wasn’t even aware that one was allowed, as an adult, to go to Disneyland by oneself.  But I hadn’t been in years and I couldn’t find someone to go with me.  Thus began a beautiful experience in being okay with being myself and enjoying the things that I love because I love them.

Since that fateful trip seven years ago, I have made it a habit to go to Disneyland by myself at least once a year.  It might seem strange to others who have never been, or to those who only go with family on vacations, but going to Disneyland by myself has been a necessary part of my adulting practices over the years.  It’s a time when I can relax, go on the rides I want to go on without worrying about the needs of others, take my time to eat and people watch without making others feel anxious, and wait as long as I want for that character meet and greet without having others check their watch.

Please understand, my Disney family, I’m not saying that I do not enjoy going to DL with you!  I just went over Labor Day weekend with some wonderful friends and had an amazing time.  I will be going again over MLK Jr. weekend with some of the same wonderful friends and will have an amazing time again.  I enjoy going with my friends and family.  I am looking forward to taking my nephew soon.  I love going on rides with my friends.  I love having goofy and inane and super deep conversations with them while we wait in line for Space Mountain.  I cherish the memories I have of screaming at the top of our lungs together as we rescue the Guardians from the Collector.


Hiss!  He’s in the bushes…

It is a different experience when I Disney by myself.  In some ways it is more stressful because there is no one else there to help me figure out what I want to do next.  In many ways it is reveling to do exactly what I want to do when I want to do it without comprise.  “Hey, self, want to watch the Christmas parade?  Yes, yes I do.  There is a spot over there, let’s go stand there.”

I know many people don’t understand my obsession with Disney – cause let’s call a spade a spade! It’s definitely an obsession!  I’m sure they would understand my need to Disney by myself even less.  But I love the fact that I can stroll down Main Street without a care in the world and no one to answer to and do whatever I want when I want (within reason, of course!  It is still Disneyland!).  I love that I can ride Star Tours three times in a row and not worry that people are waiting for me.  I love that I can have my picture taken with any of the characters I want and not worry that my friends aren’t having fun.  Mostly, I love that I can just be me and enjoy my own company and not be afraid of what that means.

Not Adult Enough

Every once in a while I feel like I’m not Adulting correctly. Yes, with a capital A. I look around at other women in their 30s and see their nice blouses and nice pants and nice shoes. I’m just sitting over here in my Disneyland t-shirt, jeans, and Converse. Never mind the fact that I own my house and have a good job. I wear graphic tees as a 33-year so clearly my life isn’t put together.

It’s weird how we compare and judge ourselves. I am, by most standards, a pretty successful person. I hold 2 degrees and am earning a third. I have a decent paying job that allows me to pay my bills and still go to Disneyland when I want. I have friends and family who support me. I have students who like me (even if my class is hard). I have peers who respect me.

And yet, when I go out and see other 30-something women I judge myself because of the outfits I like to wear when I’m relaxing. I compare myself to them and think they are “more successful” than I am. I think they are more put together than I am. I think they’ve figured it all out. There is no reason for this other than the fact that these other women are wearing a pencil skirt and blouse with a belt. That’s literally the only thing I have to go on. It’s like my brain says, “Wow, that woman is wearing black slacks and a really nice top. She must have her shit together.” It doesn’t make any sense.

I do also think it’s a bit of worry about how others are viewing me. Maybe they look at me like I’m this girl-child who hasn’t figured anything out. “Look at this chick. Who wears graphic tees into their 30s?” *Scoff*

The thing is, though, I guess I don’t care enough to really change my behavior. I like the clothes I wear. I like displaying my nerdom. I like finding fun designs and showing them off. I’m actually pretty comfortable in the things I wear out.

I also want people to think that I’m adulting correctly. Because I am adulting the shit out of my life. When I’m not watching Disney movies or playing video games, of course.

How to measure oxygen

I wanted my honors chemistry students to see how chemists of old discovered the make-up of water using test tubes, batteries, and pushpins. The process would allow students to measure the amount of gas produced in each test tube and see it was a two:one ratio. All of this sounds great. Until I tested it out for myself…

The brass pushpins made hydrogen gas ok, but I couldn’t get oxygen. The silver ones worked a little better, but I still wasn’t able to produce oxygen gas. I tried salt water, I tried baking soda in water. I tried vinegar in water. I spent 3 straight mornings not grading or helping students, but trying to figure out this stupid lab. Jus when I was ready to give up, I found a site that reminded me graphic conducted electricity. So I made graphite water electrolysis devices.

Step one: poke holes in plastic cups.

Step two: insert pencil lead into said holes.

Step three: Use paraffin wax to secure the pencil lead.

Step four: Make thirteen more so that every pair can have one.

Step five: Test it to make sure it works

Step six: Cry when your 3rd hour class breaks the lead on half of them and you have to spend half of your lunch fixing them.

Step seven: Find out how much this set-up costs on Flinn Scientific and add it to you list for next year.

All and all I don’t think a single student got the 2:1 ratio of hydrogen to oxygen but they had a lot of fun setting it up and breaking apart the water. We’ll leave discussing just what the heck happened to Monday when I’m less frazzled from helping them set up the stupid thing correctly.

Oh, and if anyone knows a better solution to use besides salt, baking soda, or vinegar, please let me know in the comments!


I was going to write a blog post about Disneyland, seeing as how my Disney season is starting.  But then something happened and I couldn’t write about how happy I was.  My friend took his life.  I wasn’t prepared for it.

I don’t think anyone is really prepared for when their friend takes their own life.  It’s a shock to everyone because they seemed fine.  They make plans with people, reach out, try new things.  They has just hung out with people.  They were going out with people the next day.

I don’t know what happened and I won’t pretend to understand.  I know I can’t understand what he was going through.  I know I can’t understand how other people closer to him feel.  I know that I miss my friend.  I know that there is so much I want to tell him.

I want to tell him that I love him.  I’m sorry I hadn’t reached out in a while.  We get busy, there is stuff to do, he’ll be there tomorrow or next week or next month and I’ll see him then.  I would like to have one more conversation with him.  We used to have these great conversations when we were in high school.  The kind of conversations that only 16 year olds can have.  We used to have great conversations when we were older too.  I will miss the great conversations that could have been.

I want to tell him that I even though I didn’t talk to him often, I thought about him.  We had been friends for more than 17 years.  That kind of friendship doesn’t just go away.  Even if we didn’t speak, he was in my thoughts and memories.

I want to tell him that I’m angry.  So many people loved him and cared about him.  But I know that wouldn’t have made a difference.  Sometimes, there are things that can’t been seen because they can’t be felt.  Sometimes, we get to this place where the end seems to be the only way out.  That doesn’t make me any less angry.

I want to tell him that I miss him.  And that I’m sad that he is gone.  I went numb when I was told, but after the numbness came the tears.  Sometimes, I wasn’t sure I could every stop crying.  True, we hadn’t talked in months, but I never thought I would never be able to talk to him again.  Even now, I don’t want to believe it.

Mostly, I want to tell him that I will remember him.  I will remember the good times we had together.  I will remember the laughter and the smiles.  I will remember the sarcasm.  I will remember when he was there for me when I needed a friend to lean on.  I will remember him.  I will miss him.  I hope you are resting in peace, my friend.

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