JoelR: I've noticed a problem in some of my games of making sure dead groups stay dead. I'll win an early fight, but such that there's still aji left in the position. Then later in the game I'll lose track of that aji, and miss the obvious move.
Once I even noted to myself "watch out for ladder breakers", and by 50 moves later, when the ladder breaker was played, I responded incorrectly. How do I build the patience to keep this in mind? Go is a very long game.
Fwiffo: Capture stones caught in a ladder at the earliest opportunity. If the ladder breaker was played 50 moves later, you probably had time at some point to to capture the laddered stone(s) or patch up the cut.
Bob McGuigan: First I would recommend playing "serious" slow games, not fast games, to develop your stamina. Second, ladder breaks are a fact of life with ladders and are often troublesome even for pros. Fwiffo's proverb may be valid but what is the earliest opportunity? Surely you shouldn't capture when there are larger moves available. So it comes down to positional judgement: you have to be able to tell when the right time is to end the ladder, and this could be difficult at any level of skill.
Rich: I have to say, I very rarely regret taking a ladder stone compared to the number of times I regret not taking one, certainly in the first 100 or so moves. I suspect for most kyu players, it is extremely rare that playing honte is disadvantageously slow. Joel - I think StrategicConceptsOfGo is my personal favourite book covering aji. Otherwise, it sounds like you're treating assumptions (about ladders, life/death etc.) as facts; perhaps if you play slower games and make sure you re-evaluate these things every x moves, it might help counter this?