We have a lot of "by" things here. When the guys are working on the house, barn or garage, they talk about whether or not a "two by" will work. That means a "2 by 4" - a long plank of wood, cataloged as 2" deep and 4" wide, probably 8, maybe 12 feet long. But these long, milled planks are not actually 2 inches or four inches - the milling takes off some of the wood and changes the measurement - unless it's one of ours, milled by Uncle Dan - but I can't remember if that makes the result closer to its name or further away, larger or smaller. (See how confusing my life is?)
One of the guys has a fascination with the "military six by six" - a vehicle with a lot of tires rolling under it. Six of them, somehow - but it can't be six of tires six times because there are not 36 tires under the vehicles. I have seen one. But while I was looking at it, someone's voice started going on about something having to do with the drive "train" (there's no train anywhere to be seen) and axles and things. I don't have good recall of the incident.
Today I have a "three by" -- three by two, I'd say. Three kids, two happy things each.
My baby, the Young Giant with the tattoos and guitar and developing career (one of the bands he is in is playing at Jimmy Mak's next week - yay!), has finally moved to a decent apartment, and he's rooming with his best friend. This move was accomplished in the middle of a lot of financial chaos (beginning of the quarter, needing the student money as well as the job's paychecks, and both of them to slide into the accounts in time for rent payment), but he still got 100 points on his music theory quiz, which was the writing of counterpoint. (All of that might be a six by six - but I'm counting the apartment and the good quiz as the two things.)
His brother, the Young Giant who cut off his beard over the Christmas holiday and looks a lot less like a Yedi now, has a new Trader Joe's opening near him in Olympia (that's one thing), and so now he can shop at Trader Joe's and "the co-op" for food. He told his mother about it - that's the second thing. His mother likes to be told things.
And their sister, the soldier, is moving on out of the crowded Kandahar base, to a much smaller one. Fewer people will be a huge relief to her. She's not a fan of playing sardines. I got a message (not directly from her) saying that she'll be on a base run by the Brits - which is also good news. I hope she'll have web access there - and an address that stays put for long enough for us to send her things. But the better news is that we're at the halfway mark. From here on out, there's less time left in this deployment than has already been served.
I can be very deeply grateful for a lot of things today. The earthquake in Haiti has thrown a sharp and dusty light on a lot of things. In the olden days, we rich and rapacious "first world" folk might have read about this in the papers - today we see it on television, hear it on the radio (through our computers if we want to), and like never before in human history the entire globe has responded. The deeper the anguish, the more the heroes shine. In this disaster, all creeds, nations, peoples, and tongues have gathered to bring relief. Humans are amazing. Give if you can. Give what you can. And pray for the Haitians and the relief workers.
Heal the anguish of the world. Have mercy upon all the faithful departed. Amen.