Serena reigned supreme the other night in the quarter-finals of the Australia Open. She almost lost it in that heat. Kuznetsova called a foul saying that when the Aussies stopped play for 30 minutes to close the roof, it gave Serena time to get her game back. Kuznetsova's right. Serena got into her own head and told herself she had to "Man Up or Go Home".

Suzanne reflected with me yesterday that she and Bob recently asked themselves how much their experience last year in the No Job Vacuum had aged them. I wanted to know how they answered that - she's not even sure the extent. The point is, when I was waiting for the computer to boot up a few minutes ago I got a glance at myself in the dark monitor and was met by a hagard-looking me. In this, the New Now.

"Manning Up" makes for hagard faces. Whether it's what you picture when you're struggling to put one foot in front of the other while forgetting to breathe (cheeks blown out, eyes popping), or when your head's locked in a rugby-player grip (squashed, wrinkled). Or, most disturbingly, if it's your expression at rest (tight, unsmiling, dehydrated). How much elasticity will we get back when all this is over? How old will we look - and feel - when the match is played?

I often read "More" Magazine, a newish monthly which "celebrates women over 40". The models are beautiful and over 40. The clothes are refined (though this month's issue promotes some pretty garish-looking recession ensembles), the humor is accessible, the spirituality pieces are about things like reinvention and leadership. I am encouraged that "More" brings women forward who are reinvented and honest, who embrace their faces and can say they are, honestly, happy. Mind you - I'd be happy too if I were Emma Thompson. She has a craft which she's turned into a business which is renewable and timeless and makes her money. But I appreciate that "More" says a little Botox is OK, and also says that being a strong woman is, indeed, about embracing the characteristics tagged as "Man-ly". Like - being bullheaded enough to wake up every day to be industrious; not caring all that much about how we look or how we're aging (let's face it, I've seen you too in your workout clothes at 4:00 in the afternoon); playing hard and not being forgiving while we play; not suffering fools and knowing when we have to push re-set on how we're spending our time; being Serena Williams, and Hillary Clinton. When I look in the dark monitor before I start writing, it's all of those adjectives I see, in me. I'm manning up.

This afternoon I'm going to rent "Sex and the City: The Movie". On demand.



You'll be amazed how these two factions of food come together in one roasting pan.

What you need: a bag of frozen shrimp (use what you want and keep the rest in the freezer for an alternate version of Cassie's Favorite Ceasar, see previous post); Olive oil; 2 heads of fresh broccoli OR cauliflower, OR 4-5 sweet potatoes, a few peppers- choose any of the above, I like broccoli the best; whole coriander seeds and whole cumin seeds; hot chili powder or cayenne pepper; a lemon for zesting.

To go with it: Spinach, rice, tofu, prepared as you like. Bread too if you want it.

What you do: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss your vegetable with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp each cumin and coriander seeds, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, chili powder or cayenne pepper to taste (but be sparing - 1/8 tsp is what I use). Spread in baking dish and roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine defrosted and shelled shrimp with remaining 2 tbsp oil, the zest of the lemon, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.

After 10 minutes, shrimp mixture joins vegetables in the roasting pan, continue to roast about 10 minutes more. Toss a couple of times. Vegetables should be tender but starting to crisp on edges, shrimp are opaque. Squeeze juice of that lemon on top and serve.

* Inspired by a recent Melissa Clark recipe in the New York Times.