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Monday, March 4, 2024
Good morning to you!

Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.”

That’s a quote from John Carmack, a computer programmer and video game developer. When I hear about video games, I think of Asteroids, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Some of you can relate. But those of you in a younger generation may know the games Carmack programmed including Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. Today, Carmack is further developing artificial general intelligence in his startup, Keen Technologies. In short, he is a successful guy, in part because he learned how to avoid distractions.

I know what some of you are thinking: Video games are the distraction. You may also think cell phones, social media and streaming shows are distractions. For many, they can be. Just remember that a generation prior said the same about teen phone lines, TVs and Walkmans.

If we are being honest, a fishing pole, a novel or a two-mile run can be distractions, too. Anything that diverts us from focusing on our tasks at hand can be a distraction. So before we can determine what a distraction is, we must first determine what it is we truly want to accomplish. In a word, we need to define our goals.

I can see some of your eyes rolling right now. Goals. Goals. Goals. All you hear about is the need to have goals. You hear about it more than Caitlyn Clark — and that’s a lot.

The reality is that we all have goals, whether we truly define them or not. A goal may to be climb a mountain or to take a nap. A goal may be to lose 10 pounds or to be able to afford to buy a steak dinner. It may be to wash your car today or to hit your target score in Candy Crush.

Once we know what we want, then Carmack’s definition hits home. We have to decide what things we are not going to do, and that’s not as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

I am a news junkie, and I can easily fall into that rabbit hole and burn up 30 minutes on my cell phone. I can also be a perfectionist, and I will spend more time than necessary to make sure some things are done with exactness that isn’t always needed. And I relish a weekend nap, which almost always destroys my nighttime sleep. Are those distractions? Absolutely, along with many others. Carmack’s quote and writing this column helped me to identify these distractions and further cement my goals. I hope this helps you, too. Send me a note and let me know what things you will (or should) decide not to do.

Have a marvelous Monday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.


Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Rain chances in central Iowa will come mainly during the morning today, then shift to the east and southeast in the afternoon. Quiet weather is ahead Tuesday and Wednesday before more and better rain chances Thursday into early Friday morning.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The results have been tallied and published in the February issue of CITYVIEW and online!


Best Local Delicatessen

1. Manhattan Deli

2. Palmer’s Deli & Market

3. Maccabee’s Kosher Deli

Read all the results now!

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.

$685,000                                                             6660 Indianola Ave., Des Moines, IA 50320

Looking for a spectacular, secluded, energy-efficient CUSTOM BUILT home with 3 large bedrooms on the main floor and a fully appointed 2 BEDROOM IN-LAW APARTMENT with daylight windows on the lower level. Lower level has its own private entrance and perfectly set up for extended family living. Imagine the possibilities with more than 3,800 finished square feet in this stunning one of a kind in-town acreage on 2 acres, surrounded by trees with easy access to schools, parks, airport, restaurants and shopping.

See the listing here.

See More Homes For Sale
From Waukee Living magazine

Meet Megan Madden
Students put creativity and passion into fifth-grade projects.

By T.K. West

Originally from Lynnville-Sully, Megan Madden graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in elementary education and a minor in special education. When she originally interviewed at Brookview Elementary School, she says the school was surrounded by cornfields. She came to the Waukee Community School District because it was a growing district that put students as their top priority. Now, she is in her 23rd year with the district and teaches fifth grade at Brookview.

“The people I am surrounded by are wonderful in Waukee and always make you feel supported and valued,” Madden says.


Food manufacturers are producing snack foods for the North American market that contain an ingredient banned in Europe. That additive, titanium dioxide, was banned in the European Union after a May 2021 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) review couldn't rule out that it may cause DNA and chromosomal damage in humans. But it makes food and toothpaste colors look brighter, particularly white ones. (CBC)

National Restaurant Association's report on optimism finds: 38% of restaurant owners say their stores were not profitable in 2023; 51% said that customer traffic was down in 2023 from 2022; 28% expect to be less profitable in 2024 than 2023 while 27% expect to be more profitable. (NRA)

Specials: Red Lobster (3838 Westown Pkwy., West Des Moines) is advertising a Monday special of a Maine lobster tail paired with shrimp scampi for $20... Centro's (1003 Locust St., Des Moines) coal oven pizza pies are half priced on Mondays.

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com

Keep Iowa Beautiful photo contest winners

ABOVE: Iowa Landscapes, first place: “A Misty Sunrise at Hitchcock,” by Buck Christensen of Council Bluffs

Keep Iowa Beautiful has announced the winners of the 14th Annual Keep Iowa Beautiful Photography Contest, aimed at raising awareness of Iowa's natural and environmental beauty.  To see all the winning photos, visit Keep Iowa Beautiful.

Send your photos of beautiful sights in Iowa to tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com.


FROM KCCI: Turkey crashes through truck driver's windshield

MARION COUNTY, Iowa — Why did the turkey cross the road? Well, it didn't. Instead, it crashed into a passing semi-truck on Highway 14 in Marion County on Friday morning....READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: High school archer overcomes physical disability to become one of the best in Iowa

ES MOINES, Iowa- Around 2,000 students are competing at the State Archery Tournament this weekend, but one student defied the odds by overcoming a physical disability. Lucas Hledik was born without his left hand, but has practiced archery for years. His grandma bought him his first wooden bow and arrow from the Iowa State Fair when he was just a kid...READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Budget cuts at Drake University could shutter 13 academic programs

The university wants to cut costs and adapt to decreasing enrollment numbers nationwide by potentially nixing 13 of its current programs....READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Tamzin Merchant, K Michelle, Draymond Green, Jacob Hopkins, Catherine O'Hara, AJ Tracey, Kay Lenz, Mykelti Williamson, Patricia Heaton, Margo Harshman

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What kind of insect jumps over cups? A GLASS HOPPER! - Mike Chiston, Clare Baker, Judy Anderson, Gail Tomlinson, Rex Post, Kris Laurson. Or, An Evel Knievel boll weevil! - Carolyn Rogers. Or A red solo cup hopper. - William Snyder

Today's riddle

What do they call the two guys who lock the cages at the zoo?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in the West Des Moines (Jordan Creek), Waukee and Norwalk Living magazines, contact:

Martha Munro
Account Executive
Office: 515-953-4822 ext. 314
Mobile: 515-321-5246

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