This game wasn't a success by most measures. I gained some experience playing the white side of the Catalan. I'm still learning this opening and I carelessly played what looked like a natural move only to find that it was a true gambit of a pawn. I still had reasonable Catalan-like compensation, and I thought I managed to hold things together with a key exchange sacrifice that give one or two moves to consolidate (somehow I need to consolidate to be better, not the rook, it was strange) I would've had a nice position, but my opponent found some accurate moves to put the point away. Kind of sad, I missed a few opportunities in the middlegame, but I think I got a much better feel for the position which is necessary before I can really start analyzing it intelligently on my own.
Kind of a curious point here. It's very hard to simulate the ideas you get under game-pressure at home. I've tried, but the development isn't normal. Maybe I just need to work on the exercise a little more. I've been thinking about this a little. I guess part of the problem is it becomes a little trickier when if you miss an idea for one side you will likely miss it for both, but still it seems there should be some reasonable way of trying to do this type of exercise for an hour or so a couple of times a week. Find some middle-game position in an opening I play, try to put in serious time and do some solitaire chess. Afterwards take a quick look to see if any of my ideas had interesting merit, check them out and be done with it.