About four years back, a patron of The Round Robin tavern felt the not entirely original urge to jot a note on a dollar bill, sign it and staple it to the ceiling.

Bill Cutting, who manages and co-owns the Mendocino Avenue bar, recalls thinking, "I don't know if I like that."

But he let the dollar be. Others, of course, followed.

Now remodeling the joint, Cutting decided it's time the scrawled, yellowed bills go.

"It took four guys three and a half hours to pull them all down," he said. "I found one that says, &‘This is the one that started it all' and has some girl's name on it."

Cutting took the currency to Exchange Bank, which followed rules requiring that defaced bills be sent to the feds, who confirmed their authenticity and forwarded them to the incinerator.

With the full face value credited to his account, Cutting pleased his mom and business partner, Shirley Cutting, by writing a $1,000 check to The Living Room. That's the day center for homeless and at-risk women at Church of the Incarnation, just down the street from the bar.

Shirley's a faithful eight-year volunteer there, helping to prepare breakfast and lunch every Monday. She's set to retire in January.

So today the grateful sorts running The Living Room are using money from the Round Robin ceiling to buy winter coats, umbrellas and such for struggling women and their children, and they're looking for someone with a heart like Shirley's to help feed them.

MERRY ME? People across America know Scott Weaver of Rohnert Park as the creative genius behind the famous toothpick sculpture of all the major attractions of San Francisco.

Fewer are aware that every year at this time, Scott transforms his family's Cielo Circle into a magical, holiday castle that will blow your mind.

He recorded a first the other night when SSU student Brittani Nix made a return visit to his fantastic display with her roommates. Little did she know, her boyfriend, Russell Brackett, hid there.

As their song, Staind's "Tangled Up In You," flowed from the speakers, Russell appeared and dropped to his knee, ring in hand.

Yes, Brittani replied, of course she will marry him.

Russell said he chose Scott Weaver's holiday castle as the backdrop to the proposal because the woman of his dreams "is one of the most Christmas-oriented people you'll ever meet."

hE'S IN TROUBLE but what a barely 7-year-old boy did at his Sonoma Valley school's book fair made his family and teachers say, wow.

One day at the fair, he observed a parent write a check for more than necessary for the purchase and receive the difference back in cash.

Next day, he came to the fair with a draft he'd taken from one of his parent's checkbook. He picked a book he liked, paid for it with a check he'd skillfully made out for a bit over the cost and, after school, used the change to buy a forbidden soda.

Since then, grown-ups in the lad's life have voided the check and annulled the purchase, and he has learned what "they threw the book at him" means.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)