Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nosy Interview: Cienna Madrid

Cienna in The Sun Unleashed, © NASA, Goddard, SDO AIA Team

Cienna and I met in Seattle through mutual friends, and were part of the same writing group (started by Elizabeth Mathews), where Cienna shared excerpts of her novel-in-progress that have me desperate to read the entire book. While we wait, we can placate ourselves with her writing for the Stranger and follow her on Twitter @ciennam

What do you smell like?  
My smell changes throughout the day as old smells are overshadowed by new. Picture a smelly sundial. On an ideal day, I get up at 6:30 a.m. smelling like really rank morning breath. I'm sure my boyfriend does not appreciate this smell, but my dogs do, and for that reason I've come to enjoy it (and put off brushing my teeth about a half hour). When I awake, Wyatt is under the covers behind my knees and Rio is next to the bed, staring at me. I flip back the covers and she jumps up to cuddle and lick my face--especially my mouth, which must smell like a combination of last night's dinner and fresh animal scat because it totally drives her wild. Doggy aphrodisiac. Wyatt struggles up from under the covers and they take turn getting pets, lapping at my neck and cheeks, and trying to stick their tongues in my mouth. It is incredibly gross and endearing. 

I get up at 6:45(ish) smelling like morning breath and dog. Rio and I go for a run. I come back smelling like dog and sweat. I make a pot of French press and jump in the shower. My soap is that round oatmeal hippie soap; I love the smell. I was using dog shampoo on my hair (I ran outta human stuff) but this weekend I finally got around to buying the fancy Aveda shit that smells like Rosemary. It is my favorite. 

I brush my teeth in the shower because I am a messy tooth brusher. I like foaming and spitting in the shower. My belly often smells like Arm & Hammer peppermint toothpaste. 

I come out of the shower smelling like oatmeal, Rosemary, and toothpaste. I get dressed, grab my coffee, and go to work at about 8:30. 

My main smell at work is coffee. I drink coffee all day long; I pee coffee all day long. It's a smell I associate as calming (whenever I'm feeling too stressed, I walk to Oddfellows to get a coffee) and productive. Being sick this last week, I haven't drank any coffee. It's a small, stupid ritual but it feels like a loss of self. 

After work, about 5:00 or so, I walk home (provided I don't have to go to a drinks thing for work--in which case I'll soon smell like whiskey). I wear sensible shoes and I'm a fast walker, so by the time I get home, I smell like sweat again. If it's been an especially stressful day, I'll put this lotion on that a hippie friend of mine sent me from N. California--a redwood moss lotion. It's a musky, fresh smell, like a hike in a bottle. 

At night, before I get into bed, I put peppermint oil on my temples and underneath my eyes and nose. It stings a bit and makes everything water but it does the job; it's relaxing. I go to sleep smelling of peppermint. 

On weekends, my sundial is simpler: I just smell like morning breath, coffee, and dogs all day long.

What do you like to smell?
When summer glances by Seattle, I miss the warm summer desert--specifically, the smell of sage, which grows wild where I grew up, and crops of mint, which is farmed not too far away from that. I miss cow smells. Roasted green chili--that's another smell that I love but don't get often enough. My poor nostalgic nose. People in Seattle don't eat, let along roast, green chili unless they're from Mexico or New Mexico. So I don't have any chili-roasting or eating friends. Even thinking about roasting green chili makes my mouth water. 

In Seattle, I make do with the smells of tomato plants and lilacs. I still live in the p-patch (miracle of miracles!) and at night sometimes I'll sneak around and smell people's tomato plants. I hate it when they're rooted too close to roses; Roses ruin everything. One of my recent tasks as an adult (I'm trying) was to plant a lilac bush in my front yard (I don't get enough sun for tomatoes). The bush is too young to bloom but I watch her like a hawk from my front window. And I obsessively water her. Even when it's raining. Last year, I killed two lavender bushes that way but I have great hopes for the lilac, which I've named Hillary. I've nearly drown her with love but she's still green; The bitch is tough. 

This may be weird, but I'm absolutely entranced by the smell of a (straight) dude friend of mine. He smells like fancy construction projects and margaritas. I asked him what he cologne he used awhile ago and he said none. Since it's an oddly intimate subject to press someone on--"what deodorant do you use, then???"--I've been working for weeks on deciphering his scent. I think the base is a sandalwood soap, with notes of mint (maybe a shampoo?). Whatever it is, I love getting whiffs of him. 

One final smell I love: Dog paws. They always smell fresh and sweet and outdoorsy, like hay.


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