Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, which marks the beginning of summer. Or, as all of us in Southern California call it…every day. Still, summer will always hold a special place in my heart. For today’s Benchmark 5, I’m focusing on my favorite parts of summer.

  1. Music Festivals. There is no place on this planet I’d rather be than at a music festival. You can see dozens of bands in one weekend. Also, because there are so many artists in one place, you’re more likely to get guest spots and collaborations. Music festivals are a wonderful break from responsibilities and reality, where there are no emails to read, phone calls to return and just set after set of joy for your eyes and ears.
  2. BBQs. I enjoy the social gathering aspect of BBQs as much as I do the food (OK…almost as much). As much as I love me some BBQed ribs, burgers, chicken, hot dogs, etc., the side dishes might be my favorite part of BBQs. Love me some potato salad.
  3. Beach Volleyball. I played volleyball in high school. In college, I played intramural volleyball and also managed to convince a group of friends to play almost weekly. In recent years, I was on the DL with an ankle and a back. I can’t wait to get back out there and dig my toes in the sand, now that I’m fully recovered.
  4. Breaking Bad. I can’t get enough of this show. Best show on TV. The writing and acting is unparalleled. I have literally lost sleep, wondering what is going to become of Walter White. I doubted every single word I’ve ever put to a page, after watching the first few seasons in rapid succession. That’s how good it is. I was ready to pack it up and go home, convinced I’d never write anything that good. New season begins July 15.
  5. Camp(ing). I spent 10 years attending – and later working at – overnight camp. I met many of my best friends there. I wish I still had a legitimate reason to go to camp every summer. I miss it all the time. However, camping is still an activity that I greatly enjoy. Nothing like waking up smelling like last night’s campfire.