One Year Later…Ohio is Home

by Renee on July 16, 2020

Hard to believe I’ve been back in Ohio for a year now. I’m so glad to be home again, near my Mom, my daughter, my cousin Anna, long-time friends, and familiar roads, parks, and places. While I miss my BFF Cami in Raleigh, as well as the friends I made there, I hope to see them again soon — I have a guest room, and my little Wren House is happy to welcome visitors (once COVID makes travel a little easier down the line perhaps). Cami is due to come next month, something to look forward to in these crazy times!

This year has been disappointing in many ways thanks to the coronavirus–no summer concerts, no family reunion, no wedding celebrations. But there are small joys thanks to good weather finally making an appearance in NE Ohio: socially distanced happy hours on my porch & patio with neighbors, the invitation to a friend’s pool, s’mores at Ali and Joseph’s campsite over the 4th of July, a trip to Lake Erie’s Mentor Headlands with Porter on a sunny day, the occasional brewery patio beer (Missing Mountain’s spot in Cuyahoga Falls is a favorite), even cooking on my grill.

I’ll take those doses of happiness where I can find them.


This year has also marked five years since we spent summer at Seidman Cancer Center, fighting Paul’s battle with lymphoma. So in honor of his memory, I’m once again raising funds for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. I haven’t done that since my Woman of the Year campaign with LLS in 2017. I’m taking part in their annual Light the Night event–it will be virtual in 2020. If you’re so inclined, here’s the link to donate. I’m also doing it to remember my sister Diana, who passed away in July of 2019 from leukemia. She will be laid at her final resting place this coming October, at Arlington National Cemetery, to honor her military service. Have I mentioned that cancer sucks? It does.

Meanwhile, friends: wear your masks, register to vote in November–and find joy in small ways. Cheers to hanging in there~


Support Your Local Black-Owned Brewery

by Renee on June 5, 2020

What a year 2020 has turned out to be. COVID-19 kept us inside, and made us appreciate the little things in life, like sharing a beer with friends at the local brewpub. Then yet another death of a black man at the hands of police, and racial tensions boiled over–something that was overdue in this country, quite honestly. Many of those same people who had been sheltering in place left their homes, masks and all, willing to risk their lives to protest this injustice. There are many ways we can try to change the way we address inequality. One small thing we can do is to support black-owned breweries in our region. (This article by Thrillist highlights a few.)

In a recent exchange about race on Facebook, an old white man told a friend of mine to “go back to the kitchen” — now this woman is a lawyer, and journalist, and while she may whip up fantastic meals, he was not praising her ability to make crepes. I understsand that I am a priveleged middle-aged white woman, and if this is the insult we put up with…well, so it goes. But I am just sick of this way of thinking across the board. I am also an adoptee who has no right to my own original birth certificate which every other American owns, and maybe it’s a small thing to you…but to me it is identity. So I know a *tiny* little bit about being marginalized. And I. Am. DONE.

Cheers to change, friends.


Happy Birthday, Jack! Celebrating 75

by Renee on May 11, 2020

JackToday my father, Jack McAuliffe, is 75 years old! Jack was born in Caracas, Venezuela because his father, John McAuliffe, was working in South America to crack codes for the FBI during WWII. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a letter of congratulations to the McAuliffes on the occasion of Jack’s birth. It was an auspicious beginning for Jack, who later lived in suburban Washington, D.C. during his youth. His parents sent him to a Maryland boarding school, where he met my birthmother, Linda. I was born in Washington, D.C. the year after Jack and Linda graduated high school. I was adopted by a loving couple, and while I wouldn’t meet Jack for many more years, when I did, I said I knew that beer was in my blood!

Today Jack is living in a home for U.S. Veterans because of some health challenges he’s had recently. He’s doing well and during this time of COVID-19 quarantine, he misses his friends at the Creekside Tavern in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Since his appearance at the Smithsonian’s opening of the “Brewing a Revolution” exhibit in November, he’s shaved his beard, and has had to stop drinking. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said he’d like vector maps–a nod to his time as a small aircraft pilot. So, that’s what I sent him!

Here in Ohio, things are slowly opening up, though I am not in a hurry to go back to retail establishments. However, tacosI would love for our weather to break so I could at least sit on a patio at a brewery. I had my kids over one particularly nice weekend, and we sat outside and had some Bomba tacos and guac at a socially acceptable distance.

Spring keeps rushing toward summer. The wrens in my front door wreath flew the nest. Mother’s Day came and went. Porter and I continue to hit the trails on a daily basis, between my Zoom meetings and answering work emails. Not sure what summer will bring–it doesn’t look like there will be any concerts on the calendar, but small backyard gatherings may be okay. Meanwhile, it’s still virtual get-togethers for the most part. The Cleveland Craft Beer group on Facebook will host a happy hour this week that I plan to join.

Stay safe and healthy. And cheers to my Dad, the father of craft beer!



The Corona Virus Chronicles…Continued

April 11, 2020

We are a month or so into our COVID-19 quarantine, and other than running to the grocery, the liquor store, and getting the occasional take-out, living life at home alone is my new norm. This blog has always been my writing outlet–an occasional letter to the world–mostly about my beer travels and things related to […]

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