We have now entered the point of pre-publication (six days and counting!) where there's nothing to do but sit around worrying.

To pass the time, I like to torture myself by coming up with phrases I hope will never appear in reviews of my new book.

Today's phrase? "Inexplicably popular."

My daughter Lucy is obsessed with stories where bad things happen. Other kids might love tales of beautiful princesses, fire-breathing dragons, battles and castles and happily-ever-after. Lucy just wants stories where someone throws up or breaks a leg. Or throws up on a broken leg.

Her absolute favorite? The Tale of the Broken Parking Meter.

"Tell me about the time you got a parking ticket," she'll beg.

"Oh please," I'll say. "Not that again."

"Tell it! Tell it! Tellittellittellit!"

"Okay. It was a Monday afternoon. We were driving to yoga. I saw a parking spot on the street, and I said..."

"What a perfect parking spot!"

"Right. So I parked the car, but when I got out to feed the meter, I saw that the meter was broken."

"So then what did you do?"

"I made a sign that said METER BROKEN, PLEASE DON'T TICKET and I put it underneath the windshield."

Lucy starts chortling. "That was a big mistake!"

"Right you are. So you went to yoga, and I went to the coffee shop, and when we got back to the car..."

"There was a PARKING TICKET!"

"Too true."

"You should have put the sign on the METER, not on the CAR!"

I don't know why she thinks this is so funny. I'm hoping it's some sort of developmental phase that she'll pass through quickly. I'm also amused that she's such a city kid that she A., takes yoga; B., is completely fluent in the language of parking meters and parking tickets, and C., can hail a taxi without thinking twice. When I was her age, I think I'd only ever seen taxis and parking meter on "Sesame Street."

Jen