For her birthday, Amber Tansey suited up and rolled to medical calls with San Francisco firefighters.

The Santa Rosa native, now 28, has completed courses at SRJC's Public Safety Training Center and she aspires to go to work as an emergency medical technician.

It would be an ambitious goal even if she were not deaf.

"People are curious about how I can do the work," said the 2003 Santa Rosa High alum. She said she communicates by every means available: hand gestures, sign language, computer messages, written notes, assistance from an interpreter, lip-reading.

Tansey said she believes that the way she perceives the world can be an asset to an emergency response team. "I see the macro; I see what's happening all around me," she said.

Right now she's seizing opportunities to ride with paramedics and EMTs, and she's sizing up whether it would be better for her to seek work in an ambulance, on a fire truck or elsewhere in emergency medicine.

"I know I can do it," she said.

A former instructor, ambulance paramedic Bryan Smith, said Tansey's determination shone through at the JC academy.

"She is driven," Smith said.

"She might have to be willing to be creative, and the company she works for might have to be willing to be creative. But I definitely believe she can do it."

500 CANDLES? The grand birthday party at the Emeritus senior community in Santa Rosa the other day came together after staffers discovered that five women living there will turn at least 100 years old this year.

One of the celebration's guests of honor was Dorothy Cox, who turned 101 on Jan. 1 and who bounces out of bed every day for a brisk walk about the premises.

Honoree Mabel Yeomans, who'll be 100 on June 22, has the distinction of appearing on a popular birthday card. She was still short of 20 and doing some modeling when a photographer asked her to wear a skimpy, silly get-up: a spiny paddle of cactus covering each part of her that decency mandated be covered.

The resulting vintage-style card, printed by Marcel Schurman Company of Fairfield, was a big seller. You might still find one at a card shop.

Want to guess what the printed message says?

"Another year older and you're still looking sharp!"

JACK'S BEER: It really was a moment in beer-brewing history the other night at the pub of Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo's now world-renowned Russian River Brewing Company.

Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer Company, was there to mark the commercial, limited-time-only re-release of New Albion Ale. That's the craft beer originally brewed and bottled in Sonoma more than 30 years ago by pioneer micro-brewer Jack McAuliffe.

McAuliffe was there, too, basking in the acknowledgment by Koch, the Cilurzos and an admiring crowd of beer makers and aficionados.

At one point, Vinnie Cilurzo noted that some of the proceeds from sales of the New Albion Ale that Boston Beer Company is brewing and bottling with the original label will go to McAuliffe. He's had a rough go, both financially and physically.

Koch piped up to correct Cilurzo. The Samuel Adams beermaker said it's not true that a portion of New Albion Ale sales proceeds will go to McAuliffe.

"All," Koch said. "It's his beer."

LOSE A RING? You may recall that late last year Sonoma Coast State Parks employee Liz Beale went to extraordinary lengths to locate the owner of a Knoxville high school ring that was found on one of our beaches.

Well, Liz now had another lost-and-found ring and she's guessing its owner is missing it.

Found on New Year's Day, it's a white metal engagement-wedding combo. Liz and the good person who turned it into the parks office in Duncans Mills will be happy for it to be back on the rightful finger.