I'm a newbie here too - although I've been using Ruby & Rails for well over 18 months now.
Ruby, as I'm sure you know, is a very rich object-oriented scripting language. Rails is a web application framework written using Ruby; that is a vast collection of scripts, libraries and plugins that provide a MVC (Model-View-Controller) framework for building modern web applications.
Rails has excellent support for AJAX and leads the way on cutting edge stuff like RESTful routing.
There are many good tutorials for Ruby itself, such as Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby:
Why is a prolific Rubyist who knows his stuff & writes in a slightly (okay, very) insane style. If that isn't to your taste there is plenty more stuff out there. The definitive book on Ruby is 'Programming Ruby' (known as the 'pickaxe', due to the cover image), now it's in 2nd edition but the first is available freely online:-
Wow, thanks! I really appreciate you taking the time out to write out all of that to help me out. I am sooo excited on getting started!!!
Glad you're so enthusiastic about it - another invaluable resource when you're starting out is IRC; lots of knowledgable people in both #ruby-lang and #rubyonrails on freenode if you get stuck and if you just idle and watch the conversations you'll learn lots of new stuff every day