X,Y,Z Referencing Confusion

Hi all. I’m working on the final challenge project “What Can You Make Now” and I’m having trouble getting the x,y,z referencing. Is it absolute or relative to the object selected.

Here’s my specific problem: I have a rectangular prism that I want to rotate 90 degrees in, say, both an x and y direction. The object has the blue, green, red arrow thing with a similarly coloured x,y,z reference icon in the lower left of the workspace. I take rotation to mean about a particular axis. But it just doesn’t seem to make sense in this case. Am I doing something wrong or approaching it wrong.

Also, when i go to change the dimension of the prism, in this case the thickness which is aligned with the blue z axis it is the dimension in the y axis that changes.

Obviously my approach is wrong. Help please?!?!

OK, this is weird. After I posted the above I went back to have more of a play in blender. I used the keyboard short cut to scale along the z axis. (S > X). And I manipulated the dimension as I expected. However, as I was dragging the mouse to manipulate the Z dimension I noticed that the X dimension was dynamically changing in the Scale field in the properties bar. What gives?

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